On This Day … 25 August


  • 766 – Emperor Constantine V humiliates nineteen high-ranking officials, after discovering a plot against him. He executes the leaders, Constantine Podopagouros and his brother Strategios.
  • 1248 – The Dutch city of Ommen receives city rights and fortification rights from Otto III, the Archbishop of Utrecht.
  • 1258 – Regent George Mouzalon and his brothers are killed during a coup headed by the aristocratic faction under Michael VIII Palaiologos, paving the way for its leader to ultimately usurp the throne of the Empire of Nicaea.
  • 1270 – Philip III, although suffering from dysentery, becomes King of France following the death of his father Louis IX, during the Eighth Crusade. His uncle, Charles I of Naples, is forced to begin peace negotiations with Muhammad I al-Mustansir, Hafsid Sultan of Tunis.
  • 1537 – The Honourable Artillery Company, the oldest surviving regiment in the British Army, and the second most senior, is formed.
  • 1543 – António Mota and a few companions become the first Europeans to visit Japan.
  • 1580 – War of the Portuguese Succession: Spanish victory at the Battle of Alcântara brings about the Iberian Union.
  • 1630 – Portuguese forces are defeated by the Kingdom of Kandy at the Battle of Randeniwela in Sri Lanka.
  • 1758 – Seven Years’ War: Frederick II of Prussia defeats the Russian army at the Battle of Zorndorf.
  • 1814 – War of 1812: On the second day of the Burning of Washington, British troops torch the Library of Congress, US Treasury, Department of War, and other public buildings.
  • 1825 – The Thirty-Three Orientals declare the independence of Uruguay from Brazil.
    • Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Uruguay from Brazil in 1825.
  • 1830 – The Belgian Revolution begins.
  • 1875 – Captain Matthew Webb becomes the first person to swim across the English Channel, travelling from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in 21 hours and 45 minutes.
  • 1883 – France and Viet Nam sign the Treaty of Huế, recognising a French protectorate over Annam and Tonkin.
  • 1914 – World War I: Japan declares war on Austria-Hungary.
  • 1914 – World War I: The library of the Catholic University of Leuven is deliberately destroyed by the German Army.
    • Hundreds of thousands of irreplaceable volumes and Gothic and Renaissance manuscripts are lost.
  • 1920 – Polish–Soviet War: Battle of Warsaw, which began on 13 August ends with the Red Army’s defeat.
  • 1939 – The UK and Poland form a military alliance in which the UK promises to defend Poland in case of invasion by a foreign power.
  • 1940 – World War II: The first Bombing of Berlin by the British Royal Air Force.
  • 1942 – World War II: Second day of the Battle of the Eastern Solomons; a Japanese naval transport convoy headed towards Guadalcanal is turned back by an Allied air attack.
  • 1944 – World War II: Paris is liberated by the Allies.
  • 1945 – Ten days after World War II ends with Japan announcing its surrender, armed supporters of the Chinese Communist Party kill US intelligence officer John Birch, regarded by some of the American right as the first victim of the Cold War.
  • 1950 – To avert a threatened strike during the Korean War, President Truman orders Secretary of the Army Frank Pace to seize control of the nation’s railroads.
  • 1961 – President Jânio Quadros of Brazil resigns after just seven months in power, initiating a political crisis that culminates in a military coup in 1964.
  • 1980 – Zimbabwe joins the United Nations.
  • 1991 – Belarus gains its independence from the Soviet Union.
  • 1991 – The Battle of Vukovar begins. An 87-day siege of Vukovar by the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA), supported by various Serb paramilitary forces, between August and November 1991 (during the Croatian War of Independence).
  • 1997 – Egon Krenz, the former East German leader, is convicted of a shoot-to-kill policy at the Berlin Wall.
  • Liberation Day (France).
  • Soldier’s Day (Brazil).

People (Births)

  • 1767 – Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, French soldier and politician (d. 1794).
  • 1776 – Thomas Bladen Capel, English admiral (d. 1853).
  • 1911 – Võ Nguyên Giáp, Vietnamese general and politician, 3rd Minister of Defence for Vietnam (d. 2013).
  • 1912 – Erich Honecker, German soldier and politician (d. 1994).
  • 1916 – Saburō Sakai, Japanese lieutenant and pilot (d. 2000).
  • 1919 – George Wallace, American sergeant, lawyer, and politician, 45th Governor of Alabama (d. 1998).
  • 1942 – Nathan Deal, American captain, lawyer, and politician, 82nd Governor of Georgia.

People (Deaths)

  • AD 79 – Pliny the Elder, Roman commander and philosopher (b. 23).
  • 766 – Strategios Podopagouros, Byzantine general.
  • 1091 – Sisnando Davides, military leader.
  • 1330 – Sir James Douglas, Scottish guerilla leader (b. 1286).
  • 1554 – Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, English soldier and politician, Lord High Treasurer (b. 1473).
  • 1688 – Henry Morgan, Welsh admiral and politician, Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica (b. 1635).
  • 1924 – Mariano Álvarez, Filipino general and politician (b. 1818).
  • 1925 – Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf, Austrian field marshal (b. 1852).
  • 1945 – John Birch, American soldier and missionary (b. 1918).
  • 1967 – George Lincoln Rockwell, American commander, politician, and activist, founded the American Nazi Party (b. 1918).
  • 2000 – Frederick C. Bock, American soldier and pilot (b. 1918).

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