Today in History – August 5

1100 – Henry I was crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey.

1583 – Sir Humphrey Gilbert established the first English colony in North America, at what is now St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

1620 – The Mayflower departed from Southampton, England, carrying would-be settlers, on its first attempt to reach North America.  It was forced to dock in Dartmouth when its companion ship, the Speedwell, sprung a leak.

1689 – Beaver Wars: Fifteen hundred Iroquois attacked Lachine in New France, the area colonized by France in North America.

1735 – Freedom of the press: New York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger was acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, on the basis that what he had published was true.

1763 – Pontiac’s War: Battle of Bushy Run: British forces led by Henry Bouquet defeated Chief Pontiac’s Indians at Bushy Run.

1816 – The British Admiralty dismissed Francis Ronalds’s new invention of the first working electric telegraph as “wholly unnecessary”, preferring to continue using the semaphore.

1858 – Cyrus West Field and others completed the first transatlantic telegraph cable after several unsuccessful attempts. It operated for less than a month.

1861 – American Civil War: In order to help pay for the war effort, the United States government levied the first income tax as part of the Revenue Act of 1861 (3% of all incomes over US$800; rescinded in 1872).

1861 – The United States Army abolished flogging.

1862 – American Civil War: Battle of Baton Rouge: Along the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Confederate troops attempted to take the city, but were driven back by fire from Union gunboats.

1864 – American Civil War: The Battle of Mobile Bay began at Mobile Bay near Mobile, Alabama.  Admiral David Farragut led a Union flotilla through Confederate defenses and sealed one of the last major Southern ports.

1882 – Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, today known as ExxonMobil, was established officially. The company later grew to become the holder of all Standard Oil companies and the entity at the center of the breakup of Standard Oil.

1884 – The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid on Bedloe’s Island (now Liberty Island) in New York Harbor.

1888 – Bertha Benz drove from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back in the first long distance automobile trip, commemorated as the Bertha Benz Memorial Route since 2008.

1914 – In Cleveland, Ohio, the first electric traffic light was installed.

1926 – Harry Houdini performed his greatest feat in which he spent 91 minutes underwater in a sealed tank before escaping.

1957 – American Bandstand, a show dedicated to the teenage “baby-boomers” by playing the songs and showing popular dances of the time, debuted on the ABC television network.

1959 – In New York, The Isley Brothers recorded “Shout” at RCA Victor’s Music Center Of The World.

1962 – Apartheid: Nelson Mandela was jailed. He was not released until 1990.

1962 – American actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead at her home from a drug overdose.

1963 – Cold War: The United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union signed the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

1964 – Vietnam War: Operation Pierce Arrow: American aircraft from carriers USS Ticonderoga and USS Constellation bombed North Vietnam in retaliation for strikes against U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.

1966 – The Beatles album “Revolver” was released in the U.K.

1969 – The Lonesome Cowboys police raid occurred in Atlanta, Georgia, which led to the creation of the Georgia Gay Liberation Front.

1973 – Mars 6 was launched from the USSR.

1974 – Vietnam War: The U.S. Congress placed a $1 billion limit on military aid to South Vietnam.

1974 – Watergate scandal: President Richard Nixon, under orders of the US Supreme Court, released the “Smoking Gun” tape, recorded on June 23, 1972, clearly revealing his actions in covering up and interfering investigations into the break-in. His political support vanished completely.

1975 – Stevie Wonder signed a $13 million contract to cover seven years. The contract was the largest contract in the recording industry at the time.

1976 – NBC-TV aired The Beach Boys: It’s O.K. The show was a 15th anniversary special for the group.

1981 – President Ronald Reagan fired 11,359 striking air-traffic controllers who ignored his order for them to return to work.

1981 – Olivia Newton-John received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1986 – Lionel Richie released the album Dancing on the Ceiling.

1999 – Music written by Johann Sebastian Bach was found in the Ukraine. The music was thought to have been destroyed over 50 years ago during World War II. The material was found in the musical estate of Carl Phillipp Emanuel Bach, who was one of J.S. Bach’s children.

2015 – The Environmental Protection Agency at Gold King Mine waste water spill released three million gallons of heavy metal toxin tailings and waste water into the Animas River in Colorado.


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