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 culprit was Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia.)

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

1993: NASA lost contact with the Mars Observer spacecraft.


August 22


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.

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


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.)

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.”

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.


August 24

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.

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.


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.

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

1967: George Lincoln Rockwell, 49, founder of the American Nazi Party, was murdered, shot by a disgruntled former group member, at a shopping center in Arlington, Va.

1991: Linus Torvalds announced the first version of what would become the free Linux computer operating system.


August 26


1498: Michelangelo was commissioned by French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères to carve the Pietà.

1748: The Pennsylvania Ministerium became the first Lutheran denomination in North America, founded this day in Philadelphia, Pa.

1920: The 19th Amendment to U.S. Constitution went into effect, giving women the right to vote.

1977: The National Assembly of Quebec adopted French as the province’s official language.


August 27


1770: German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was born in Stuttgart, Germany.

1776: British forces under Gen. William Howe defeated Americans under Gen. George Washington during the Battle of Long Island in what is now Brooklyn, New York.

1896: The shortest war in world history, the Anglo-Zanzibar War, took place from 9:00 a.m. to 9:40 a.m., between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar.

1939: The world’s first practical turbojet aircraft, the Heinkel He 178, had it’s maiden flight in Nazi Germany.

2003: Mars made its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing a mere 34,646,418 miles away.