Today in History: August 19

1612 – The “Samlesbury witches”, three women from the Lancashire village of Samlesbury, England, were put on trial, accused of practicing witchcraft, one of the most famous witch trials in British history.

1692 – Salem witch trials: In Salem, Province of Massachusetts Bay, five people, one woman and four men, including a clergyman, were executed after being convicted of witchcraft.

1782 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Blue Licks: The last major engagement of the war, almost ten months after the surrender of the British commander Charles Cornwallis following the Siege of Yorktown.

1812 – War of 1812: American frigate USS Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada earning the nickname “Old Ironsides”.

1839 – The French government announced that Louis Daguerre’s photographic process is a gift “free to the world”.

1848 – California Gold Rush: The New York Herald broke the news to the East Coast of the United States of the gold rush in California (although the rush started in January).

1854 – The First Sioux War began when United States Army soldiers killed Lakota chief Conquering Bear and in return were massacred.

1862 – Dakota War: During an uprising in Minnesota, Lakota warriors decided not to attack heavily defended Fort Ridgely and instead turned to the settlement of New Ulm, killing white settlers along the way.

1909 – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened for automobile racing. Wilfred Bourque and his mechanic were killed during the first day’s events.

1934 – The first All-American Soap Box Derby was held in Dayton, Ohio.

1934 – The German referendum of 1934 approved Adolf Hitler’s appointment as head of state with the title of Führer.

1940 – First flight of the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber.

1944 – World War II: Liberation of Paris: Paris, France rose against German occupation with the help of Allied troops.

1953 – Cold War: The CIA and MI6 helped to overthrow the government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran and reinstated the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

1955 – In the Northeast United States, severe flooding caused by Hurricane Diane, claimed 200 lives.

1960 – Cold War: In Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union, downed American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers was sentenced to ten years imprisonment by the Soviet Union for espionage.

1960 – Sputnik program: Korabl-Sputnik 2: The Soviet Union launched the satellite with the dogs Belka and Strelka, 40 mice, two rats and a variety of plants.

1964 – The first American tour by the Beatles began in San Francisco, CA. The tour would cover 26 cities.

1964 – Syncom 3, the first geostationary communication satellite, was launched. Two months later, it enabled live coverage of the 1964 Summer Olympics.

1972 – NBC-TV presented The Midnight Special for the first time with John Denver as the first host.

1973 – Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson were married.

1980 – 1,400 people riot in Toronto when Alice Cooper cancelled a show due to illness.

1981 – Gulf of Sidra Incident: United States F-14A Tomcat fighters intercepted and shot down two Libyan Sukhoi Su-22 fighter jets over the Gulf of Sidra.

1991 – Dissolution of the Soviet Union: The August Coup began when Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was placed under house arrest while on holiday in the town of Foros, Ukraine.

1991 – Crown Heights riot began in Brooklyn, New York.

2004 – Google Inc. had its initial public offering on Nasdaq.

2010 – Operation Iraqi Freedom ended when the last of the United States brigade combat teams crossed the border to Kuwait.

2017 – Tens of thousands of farmed non-native Atlantic salmon were accidentally released into the wild in Washington waters in the 2017 Cypress Island Atlantic salmon pen break.

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