On This Day … 29 July


  • 587 BC – The Neo-Babylonian Empire sacks Jerusalem and destroys the First Temple.
  • 238 – The Praetorian Guard storm the palace and capture Pupienus and Balbinus.
    • They are dragged through the streets of Rome and executed.
    • On the same day, Gordian III, age 13, is proclaimed emperor, the sixth emperor of the year.
  • 904 – Sack of Thessalonica: Saracen raiders under Leo of Tripoli sack Thessaloniki, the Byzantine Empire’s second-largest city, after a short siege, and plunder it for a week.
  • 923 – Battle of Firenzuola: Lombard forces under King Rudolph II and Adalbert I, margrave of Ivrea, defeat the dethroned Emperor Berengar I of Italy at Firenzuola (Tuscany).
  • 1014 – Byzantine-Bulgarian wars: Battle of Kleidion: Byzantine emperor Basil II inflicts a decisive defeat on the Bulgarian army, and his subsequent treatment of 15,000 prisoners reportedly causes Tsar Samuil of Bulgaria to die of a heart attack less than three months later, on 06 October.
  • 1018 – Count Dirk III defeats an army sent by Emperor Henry II in the Battle of Vlaardingen.
  • 1030 – Ladejarl-Fairhair succession wars: Battle of Stiklestad: King Olaf II fights and dies trying to regain his Norwegian throne from the Danes.
  • 1148 – The Siege of Damascus ends in a decisive crusader defeat and leads to the disintegration of the Second Crusade.
  • 1588 – Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines: English naval forces under the command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake defeat the Spanish Armada off the coast of Gravelines, France.
  • 1693 – War of the Grand Alliance: Battle of Landen: France wins a Pyrrhic victory over Allied forces in the Netherlands.
  • 1775 – Founding of the US Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps: General George Washington appoints William Tudor as Judge Advocate of the Continental Army.
  • 1818 – French physicist Augustin Fresnel submits his prizewinning “Memoir on the Diffraction of Light”, precisely accounting for the limited extent to which light spreads into shadows, and thereby demolishing the oldest objection to the wave theory of light.
  • 1836 – Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.
  • 1848 – Great Famine of Ireland: Tipperary Revolt: In County Tipperary, Ireland, then in the United Kingdom, an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule is put down by police.
  • 1858 – United States and Japan sign the Harris Treaty.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Confederate spy Belle Boyd is arrested by Union troops and detained at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C.
  • 1899 – The First Hague Convention is signed.
  • 1907 – Sir Robert Baden-Powell sets up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour on the south coast of England.
    • The camp runs from 01-09 August and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.
  • 1921 – Adolf Hitler becomes leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party.
  • 1932 – Great Depression: In Washington, D.C., troops disperse the last of the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans.
  • 1937 – Tōngzhōu Incident: In Tōngzhōu, China, the East Hopei Army attacks Japanese troops and civilians.
  • 1948 – Olympic Games: The Games of the XIV Olympiad: After a hiatus of 12 years caused by World War II, the first Summer Olympics to be held since the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, open in London.
  • 1950 – Korean War: After four days, the No Gun Ri Massacre ends when the US Army 7th Cavalry Regiment is withdrawn.
  • 1965 – Vietnam War: The first 4,000 101st Airborne Division paratroopers arrive in Vietnam, landing at Cam Ranh Bay.
  • 1967 – Vietnam War: Off the coast of North Vietnam the USS Forrestal catches on fire in the worst US naval disaster since World War II, killing 134.
  • 1973 – Greeks vote to abolish the monarchy, beginning the first period of the Metapolitefsi.
  • 1981 – After impeachment on 21 June, Abolhassan Banisadr flees with Massoud Rajavi to Paris, in an Iranian Air Force Boeing 707, piloted by Colonel Behzad Moezzi, to form the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
  • 1993 – The Supreme Court of Israel acquits alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk of all charges and he is set free.

People (Births)

  • 1763 – Philip Charles Durham, Scottish admiral and politician (d. 1845).
  • 1883 – Benito Mussolini, Italian fascist revolutionary and politician, 27th Prime Minister of Italy (d. 1945).
  • 1884 – Ralph Austin Bard, American financier and politician, 2nd Under Secretary of the Navy (d. 1975).
  • 1897 – Neil Ritchie, Guyanese-English general (d. 1983).
  • 1913 – Erich Priebke, German war criminal, leader of the 1944 Ardeatine massacre (d. 2013).
  • 1915 – Bruce R. McConkie, American colonel and religious leader (d. 1985).
  • 1915 – Francis W. Sargent, American soldier and politician, 64th Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1998).
  • 1917 – Rochus Misch, German SS officer (d. 2013).
  • 1956 – Faustino Rupérez, Spanish cyclist.
  • 1962 – Vincent Rousseau, Belgian runner.
  • 1965 – Adam Holloway, English captain and politician.
  • 1966 – Sally Gunnell, English hurdler and sportscaster.
  • 1971 – Andrea Philipp, German sprinter.
  • 1988 – Tarjei Bø, Norwegian biathlete.
  • 1989 – Grit Šadeiko, Estonian heptathlete.
  • 1992 – Karen Torrez, Bolivian swimmer.

People (Deaths)

  • 1752 – Peter Warren, Irish admiral and politician (b. 1703).
  • 1813 – Jean-Andoche Junot, French general (b. 1771).
  • 1895 – Floriano Peixoto, Brazilian general and politician, 2nd President of Brazil (b. 1839).
  • 1966 – Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, Nigerian general and politician, 2nd Head of State of Nigeria (b. 1924).
  • 1966 – Adekunle Fajuyi, Nigerian colonel (b. 1926).
  • 1983 – David Niven, English military officer and actor (b. 1910).
  • 1991 – Christian de Castries, French general (b. 1902).
  • 2001 – Edward Gierek, Polish soldier and politician (b. 1913).
  • 2003 – Foday Sankoh, Sierra Leonean soldier, founded the Revolutionary United Front (b. 1937).
  • 2008 – Bruce Edward Ivins, American scientist and bio-defence researcher (b. 1946).
  • 2013 – Tony Gaze, Australian soldier, pilot, and race car driver (b. 1920).
  • 2014 – M. Caldwell Butler, American soldier, lawyer, and politician (b. 1925).
  • 2014 – Jon R. Cavaiani, English-American sergeant, Medal of Honour recipient (b. 1943).
  • 2014 – Thomas R. St. George, American soldier and author (b. 1919).

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