Today in History – August 25

766 – Emperor Constantine V humiliated nineteen high-ranking officials, after discovering a plot against him. He executed the leaders, Constantine Podopagouros and his brother Strategios.

1609 – Galileo Galilei demonstrated his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers.

1814 – War of 1812: On the second day of the Burning of Washington, British troops torched the Library of Congress, United States Treasury, Department of War, and other public buildings.

1835 – The first Great Moon Hoax article was published in The New York Sun, announcing the discovery of life and civilization on the Moon.

1875 – Captain Matthew Webb became the first person to swim across the English Channel, traveling from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in 21 hours and 45 minutes.

1894 – Kitasato Shibasaburō discovered the infectious agent of the bubonic plague and published his findings in The Lancet.

1916 – The United States National Park Service was created.

1944 – World War II: Paris was liberated by the Allies.

1945 – Ten days after World War II ends with Japan announcing its surrender, armed supporters of the Chinese Communist Party killed U.S. 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 ordered Secretary of the Army Frank Pace to seize control of the nation’s railroads.

1967 – George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party, was assassinated by a former member of his group.

1967 – The Beatles went to Wales to study transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

1970 – Elton John’s first US appearance (Troubador – West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California).

1973 – Butch Trucks, drummer of the Allman Brothers, received chest injuries in a car crash.  He was charged with speeding and driving while under the influence of intoxicants.

1975 – Bruce Springsteen’s landmark third album “Born To Run” was released.

1981 – Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Saturn.

1986 – Warner Bros. released Paul Simon’s seventh solo album “Graceland”, a blend of pop, African, zydeco, and rock music.  It won the Grammy for album of the year in 1987 and sold over 16 million copies.

1989 – Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Neptune, the last planet in the Solar System at the time, due to Pluto being within Neptune’s orbit from 1979 to 1999.

2001 – American singer Aaliyah and several members of her record company were killed as their overloaded aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Marsh Harbour Airport, Bahamas.

2012 – Voyager 1 spacecraft entered interstellar space becoming the first man-made object to do so.

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