August 19


1989: Several hundred East Germans crossed the frontier between Hungary and Austria during the Pan-European Picnic, part of the events which began the process of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

1991: The dissolution of the Soviet Union began with a coup as Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was placed under house arrest while on holiday in the town of Foros, Ukraine.
2014: NASA satellites take photos showing that the eastern basin of the Aral Sea had for the first time completely dried up.
2016: Kiley Neushul scores 3 goals as the US women’s water polo team routs Italy 12-5 to win the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro and retain their Olympic title.

August 20

1858: Charles Darwin first published his theory of evolution through natural selection in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, alongside the same theory presented by Alfred Russel Wallace.

1866: President Andrew Johnson formally declared the American Civil War over.

1882: Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” debuted in Moscow.

1910: The “Big Blowup” forest fire burned approximately 3 million acres in northern Idaho, eastern Washington and western Montana for three days starting Aug. 20.

1920: The first commercial radio station, 8MK (now WWJ), began broadcasting in Detroit.

1998: The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Quebec cannot legally secede from Canada without the federal government’s approval. The United States launched cruise missile attacks against alleged al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical plant in Sudan in retaliation for the Aug. 7 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
2015: 30 students at West Point Military Academy are injured in a mass pillow fight.
2019: NASA confirms mission to Jupiter’s ice-covered moon Europa to search for alien life, to launch 2025.


August 21


1888: The first successful adding machine was patented by William Seward Burroughs.

1897: Oldsmobile was founded by Ransom E. Olds.

1911: The Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in Paris. (It was recovered two years later in Italy; the unknown thief was never caught.)

1912: Arthur Eldred became the first Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America.

1959: Hawaii was admitted to the union as the 50th state.

1961: The Motown music label released what would be its first No. 1 hit, “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes.

1968: The first Medal of Honor to be awarded to an African American U.S. Marine went posthumously to James Anderson Jr. (He had been killed in 1967 in Vietnam.)

1979: Soviet ballet dancer Alexander Godunov created an international incident when he defected to the United States while performing in New York.

1991: The coup attempt against Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev collapsed.

1993: NASA lost contact with the Mars Observer spacecraft.
2018: Water-ice first detected on the Moon by India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft (2008-9) in findings published by scientists.
2019: Nigeria goes three years without a case of polio in landmark toward eradication of the disease.


August 22


1654: Jacob Barsimson became the first Jewish immigrant to America when he  arrived in New Amsterdam.

1786: Faced with foreclosures, debt-ridden farmers in Massachusetts denounced the federal government and launched what would be known as Shays’ Rebellion. (It lasted until Feb. 1787. The leader, Daniel Shays, was pardoned on June 13, 1788.)

1848: The United States annexed New Mexico.

1849: The first air raid in recorded history took place when  Austria launched unmanned balloons against the city of Venice.

1864: The First Geneva Convention was signed by 12 nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

1902: Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. president to ride in an automobile. Cadillac Motor Co. was founded in Detroit.

1952: The penal colony on Devil’s Island, off the coast of French Guiana, South America, was permanently closed.

1989: Nolan Ryan became the first Major League Baseball pitcher to record 5,000 strikeouts when he struck out Rickey Henderson.

1996: President Bill Clinton signed welfare reform into law, producing a major shift in U.S. welfare policy

2007: The ‘Storm’ botnet, created by the Storm worm, sent out a record 57 million emails in one day. The Texas Rangers routed the Baltimore Orioles 30-3, the most runs scored by a team in modern Major League Baseball history.
2018:  Forbes say George Clooney made more money in a single year ($239 million) than any actor ever ($239m), due to sale of alcohol company, followed by Dwayne Johnson ($124m).
2019: Bielefeld in Germany offers €1m prize to anyone in who can prove the town doesn’t exit to disprove 25-year-old conspiracy theory.


August 23


1784: Western North Carolina (now eastern Tennessee) declared itself an independent state called Franklin. (It was not accepted into the United States and lasted only four years.)

1904: The automobile tire chain was patented in the United States.

1923: The first mid-air refueling occurred, on a De Havilland DH-4B, and allowed the plane to set an endurance flight record of 37 hours.

1954: The C-130 Hercules transport aircraft had its first flight.

1966: The Lunar Orbiter I took the first photo of the earth from the moon’s orbit.

1973: A bank robbery gone wrong in Stockholm, Sweden, turned into a hostage crisis. Over the next five days, the hostages begin to sympathize with their captors, leading to the term “Stockholm syndrome.”

1990: Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union. West Germany and East Germany announced that they would reunite on Oct. 3. Tim Berners-Lee opened the World Wide Web to new users.

1996: Osama bin Laden issued a message titled “A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places.”

2007: The skeletal remains of Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich and his sister Anastasia—the last members of Russia’s royal family—were found near Yekaterinburg, Russia.

2011: A magnitude 5.8 earthquake occurred in Virginia, damaging monuments and structures in Washington D.C. and causing an estimated $200 million to $300 million damage. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown after the National Transitional Council forces took control of Bab al-Azizia compound during the Libyan civil war.
2017: World’s driest place, the Atacama desert in Chile blooms after unexpected rainfall.
2019: Russia launches the 1st floating nuclear power station the Akademik Lomonosov from port of Murmansk.


August 24


A.D. 79: Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae under a layer of ash between 50 feet and 300 feet deep.

1456: The first Gutenberg Bible was printed.

1813: Massachusetts Gov. Caleb Strong (Federalist) proposed that the state secede from the United States because the federal government had failed to live up to the U.S. Constitution.

1814: British troops invaded Washington, D.C., and set fire to the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and many other buildings.

1891: Thomas Edison received a patent for the motion picture camera.

1909: Workers began pouring concrete for the Panama Canal.

1926: The Rev. Gerald Eakins, 27, of Saratoga, Wyo., died after falling into a boiling hot spring in Yellowstone National Park.

1928: George H. Brown, 52, of Lampasas, Texas, died four hours after falling into a boiling hot spring in Yellowstone National Park.

1932: Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly non-stop across the United States, from Los Angeles to Newark, N.J.

1967: A group of hippies led by Abbie Hoffman disrupted trading at the New York Stock Exchange by throwing $1 bills from the viewing gallery, causing trading to cease as brokers scrambled for them.

1981: Mark David Chapman was sentenced to 20 years-to-life in prison for murdering John Lennon.

1989: Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose was banned from baseball for gambling by Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.

2006: The International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefined the term ‘planet’ such that Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet.
2017: Largest-ever lottery jackpot win in the US – $758.7m won by Mavis Wanczyk of Massachusetts in US Powerball Jackpot.
2019:US adventurer Victor Vescovo is the first person to visit the deepest point of every ocean when he reaches Molloy Hole, in the Arctic.


August 25


1609: Galileo Galilei demonstrated his telescope to Venetian lawmakers.

1835: The New York Sun perpetrated “The Great Moon Hoax,” a series of six articles about the supposed discovery of life and civilization on the Moon.

1875: Captain Matthew Webb became first person to swim across the English Channel, swimming from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in 22 hours.

1894: An article in The Lancet described the infectious agent of the bubonic plague.

1916: The U.S. National Park Service was created.

1950: President Harry Truman ordered the U.S. Army to take over the country’s railroads to avert a strike.

1975: Bruce Springsteen released his album and single titled “Born to Run.”

1991: Linus Torvalds announced the first version of what would become the free Linux computer operating system.
2007: 1st Women’s Snow Polo World Championship takes place in Bariloche, Argentina.
2019: Double Dave, a rare two-headed timber rattlesnake found in Pine Barrens forest, New Jersey.