On This Day … 19 August


  • 295 BC – The first temple to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility, is dedicated by Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges during the Third Samnite War.
  • 43 BC – Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, later known as Augustus, compels the Roman Senate to elect him Consul.
  • 947 – Abu Yazid, a Kharijite rebel leader, is defeated and killed in the Hodna Mountains in modern-day Algeria by Fatimid forces.
  • 1153 – Baldwin III of Jerusalem takes control of the Kingdom of Jerusalem from his mother Melisende, and also captures Ascalon.
  • 1504 – In Ireland, the Hiberno-Norman de Burghs (Burkes) and Anglo-Norman Fitzgeralds fight in the Battle of Knockdoe.
  • 1561 – Mary, Queen of Scots, who was 18 years old, returns to Scotland after spending 13 years in France.
  • 1666 – Second Anglo-Dutch War: Rear Admiral Robert Holmes leads a raid on the Dutch island of Terschelling, destroying 150 merchant ships, an act later known as “Holmes’s Bonfire”.
  • 1745 – Prince Charles Edward Stuart raises his standard in Glenfinnan: The start of the Second Jacobite Rebellion, known as “the 45”.
  • 1745 – Ottoman–Persian War: In the Battle of Kars, the Ottoman army is routed by Persian forces led by Nader Shah.
  • 1759 – Battle of Lagos Naval battle during the Seven Years’ War between Great Britain and France.
  • 1772 – Gustav III of Sweden stages a coup d’état, in which he assumes power and enacts a new constitution that divides power between the Riksdag and the King.
  • 1782 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Blue Licks: The last major engagement of the war, almost ten months after the surrender of the British commander Charles Cornwallis following the Siege of Yorktown.
  • 1812 – War of 1812: American frigate USS Constitution defeats the British frigate HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada earning the nickname “Old Ironsides”.
  • 1813 – Gervasio Antonio de Posadas joins Argentina’s Second Triumvirate.
  • 1839 – The French government announces that Louis Daguerre’s photographic process is a gift “free to the world”.
  • 1854 – The First Sioux War begins when US Army soldiers kill Lakota chief Conquering Bear and in return are massacred.
  • 1862 – American Indian Wars: During an uprising in Minnesota, Lakota warriors decide not to attack heavily defended Fort Ridgely and instead turn to the settlement of New Ulm, killing white settlers along the way.
  • 1919 – Afghan Independence Day, commemorates the Treaty of Rawalpindi in 1919, granting independence from Britain (Afghanistan).
  • 1920 – The Tambov Rebellion breaks out, in response to the Bolshevik policy of Prodrazvyorstka.
  • 1934 – The German referendum of 1934 approves Hitler’s appointment as head of state with the title of Führer.
  • 1936 – The Great Purge of the Soviet Union begins when the first of the Moscow Trials is convened.
  • 1940 – First flight of the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber.
  • 1942 – World War II: Operation Jubilee: The 2nd Canadian Infantry Division leads an amphibious assault by allied forces on Dieppe, France and fails, many Canadians are killed or captured.
    • The operation was intended to develop and try new amphibious landing tactics for the coming full invasion in Normandy.
  • 1944 – World War II: Liberation of Paris: Paris, France rises against German occupation with the help of Allied troops.
  • 1945 – August Revolution: Viet Minh led by Ho Chi Minh take power in Hanoi, Vietnam.
    • August Revolution Commemoration Day (Vietnam).
  • 1953 – Cold War: The CIA and MI6 help to overthrow the government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran and reinstate the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
  • 1960 – Cold War: In Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union, downed American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers is sentenced to ten years imprisonment by the Soviet Union for espionage.
  • 1964 – Syncom 3, the first geostationary communication satellite, is launched.
    • Two months later, it would enable live coverage of the 1964 Summer Olympics.
  • 1965 – Japanese prime minister Eisaku Satō becomes the first post-World War II sitting prime minister to visit Okinawa Prefecture.
  • 1981 – Gulf of Sidra Incident: United States fighters intercept and shoot down two Libyan Sukhoi Su-22 fighter jets over the Gulf of Sidra.
  • 1989 – Several hundred East Germans cross the frontier between Hungary and Austria during the Pan-European Picnic, part of the events that began the process of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
  • 1991 – Dissolution of the Soviet Union, August Coup: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is placed under house arrest while on holiday in the town of Foros, Ukraine.
  • 2002 – Khankala Mi-26 crash: A Russian Mil Mi-26 helicopter carrying troops is hit by a Chechen missile outside Grozny, killing 118 soldiers.
  • 2005 – The first-ever joint military exercise between Russia and China, called Peace Mission 2005 begins.
  • 2010 – Operation Iraqi Freedom ends, with the last of the US brigade combat teams crossing the border to Kuwait.

People (Births)

  • 1590 – Henry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland, English soldier and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire (d. 1649).
  • 1711 – Edward Boscawen, English admiral and politician (d. 1761).
  • 1719 – Charles-François de Broglie, marquis de Ruffec, French soldier and diplomat (d. 1791).
  • 1871 – Orville Wright, American engineer and pilot, co-founded the Wright Company (d. 1948).
  • 1878 – Manuel L. Quezon, Filipino soldier, lawyer, and politician, 2nd President of the Philippines (d. 1944).
  • 1883 – José Mendes Cabeçadas, Portuguese admiral and politician, 9th President of Portugal (d. 1965).
  • 1907 – Thruston Ballard Morton, American soldier and politician (d. 1982).
  • 1913 – Peter Kemp, Indian-English soldier and author (d. 1993).
  • 1934 – David Durenberger, American soldier, lawyer, and politician.
  • 1946 – Charles Bolden, American general and astronaut.
  • 1958 – Brendan Nelson, Australian physician and politician, 47th Minister for Defence for Australia.

People (Deaths)

  • AD 14 – Augustus, Roman emperor (b. 63 BC).
  • 947 – Abu Yazid, Kharijite rebel leader (b. 873).
  • 1541 – Vincenzo Cappello, Venetian admiral and statesman (b. 1469).
  • 1691 – Köprülü Fazıl Mustafa Pasha, Ottoman commander and politician, 117th Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire (b. 1637).
  • 1808 – Fredrik Henrik af Chapman, Swedish admiral and shipbuilder (b. 1721).
  • 1957 – David Bomberg, English soldier and painter (b. 1890).
  • 1970 – Paweł Jasienica, Polish soldier and historian (b. 1909).
  • 1980 – Otto Frank, German-Swiss businessman, father of Anne Frank (b. 1889).

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