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The h2g2 Calendar - 8 - August

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  • Every year - People in the north east of England wear a white rose in their lapels during the celebration of Yorkshire Day.

  • 10 BC - The Roman emperor Claudius is born (d. 54).

  • 1964 - Following civil war, the Belgian Congo is renamed the Republic of the Congo.

  • 1744 - Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck, biologist famed most for a flawed evolutionary theory, was born in Bazentin-le-Petit, Picardy, France.

  • 2004 - A fire in a supermarket kills 396 people and injures 500 in Asunción, Paraguay.


  • 1776 - Delegates to the Continental Congress begin signing the US Declaration of Independence.

  • 1788 - Leopold Gmelin, the 19th Century German chemist most noted for his Handbuch der Chemie, in which he compiled and organised the principles of chemistry as known at the time, is born.

  • 1869 - Japan's samurai, farmer, artisan, merchant class system (Shinōkōshō) is abolished in the Meiji Restoration reforms.

  • 1951 - Musician Steve Hillage is born on this day.

  • 1981 - Panamaian Dictator General Omar Torrijos dies in an air crash under suspicious circumstances.


  • 1852 - Harvard wins the first annual rowing race against Yale, marking the first inter-collegiate athletic event in the USA.

  • 1492 - Every American schoolchild knows that In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. On this date Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain on his first voyage.

  • 1966 - Comedian Lenny Bruce dies of a morphine overdose, as mentioned in the entry on heroin.

  • 2005 - President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya of Mauritania is overthrown in a military coup while attending the funeral of King Fahd in Saudi Arabia.


  • 1693 - Dom Perignon is (traditionally) credited with inventing champagne.

  • 1875 - Danish fairy tales' author Hans Christian Andersen passes away near Copenhagen, Denmark, after suffering from liver cancer.

  • 1900 - HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother is born Elizabeth Angela Marguerite to the distinguished and ancient Scottish Bowes-Lyon family.

  • 1923 - Reg Grundy, the Australian media and television mogul whose company is behind the TV soap Neighbours, is born.

  • 1938 - The first Supermarine Spitfire is delivered to 19 Squadron, RAF Duxford in Cambridgeshire.

  • 1944 - After more than two years of hiding, Anne Frank and her family are arrested on this date by Nazis.

  • 1977 - Punk rockers the Sex Pistols celebrate the Silver Jubilee on the Thames in their own special way.


  • 910 - The last major Viking army to raid England is defeated by the allied forces of Mercia and Wessex, led by King Edward and Earl Aethelred.

  • 1906 - Actress Joan Hickson, perhaps best known for her appearances as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, is born in Kingsthorpe, Northampton.

  • 1912 - Japan's first taxi service begins in Ginza, Tokyo.

  • 1979 - Mauritania renounces its claims on Western Sahara.


  • 1874- Paranormal investigator Charles Hoy Fort is born on this date in Albany, New York, USA.

  • 1890 - Baseball Legend Cy Young makes his Major League debut for the Cleveland Spiders.

  • 1926 - Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

  • 1945 - The first Atomic Bomb to be used against an enemy is released by the US B29 bomber, Enola Gay, to explode above the city of Hiroshima, Japan.

  • 1949 - Over 40 people are injured in a London rail disaster when a train is sent to wrong platform a Euston station.

  • 1965 - The Beatles album Help! is released and and becomes the first album in British music history to enter the charts at Number 1.

  • 1991 - Tim Berners-Lee releases files describing his idea for the World Wide Web, which debuts as a publicly available service on the Internet.


  • 1606 - The first documented performance of Macbeth takes place in the Great Hall at Hampton Court, UK.

  • 1876 - Margaret Zelle is born in Germany. Better known as the dancer, courtesan and spy 'Mata Hari', her life was dramatised in a film starring Greta Garbo.

  • 1913 - Colonel Samuel F Cody dies in an air crash when his self-designed seaplane breaks up in mid-air.

  • 1945 - US president Harry Truman announces the bombing of Hiroshima while aboard a heavy cruiser in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

  • 1952 - Alexei Sayle is born in Liverpool. The stand-up comedian and author most famous for his random monologues as various members of the Balowski family in BBC2 sitcom The Young Ones.

  • 1957 - Oliver Hardy dies, one half of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, probably the greatest and most successful comedy team in the history of cinema.

  • Psychedelic rockers Shiva's Headband play the first show at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas.


  • Every year - Look a shooting star! On this date the Perseids Meteor Shower reaches its traditional peak of 50 meteors per hour.

  • 1897- Prolific children's book author Enid Blyton is born on this date in East Dulwich, South London.

  • 1953 - Nigel Mansell, the English Formula One racing driver, is born.

  • 1956 - Chris Foreman, guitarist with the band Madness, is born.

  • 1996 - One person is killed and 69 are injured in a London rail disaster at Watford, when an empty train hits a passenger train.


  • 1896 - Erich Armand Arthur Joseph Hückel, the German physicist who brought quantum mechanics to Chemistry, was born in Charlottenburg, near Berlin, Germany.

  • 1936 - Jesse Owens wins his fourth Olympic gold medal, becoming the first US citizen to achieve this distinction in a single Games.

  • 1945 - Three days after the Enola Gay bombed Hiroshima, the second Atomic Bomb to be used against an enemy is released to explode above the city of Nagasaki, Japan.

  • 1968 - Gillian Anderson, star of the TV show The X Files, is born.

  • 1974 - The 37th President of the United States, Richard Milhous Nixon resigns from office.

  • 1975 - Soviet composer Dmitri Dmitryevich Shostakovich dies in hospital in Moscow from heart failure.

  • 1990 - The television comedy series 'Drop the Dead Donkey' debuts on UK Channel 4.


  • 1821 - Missouri is the second territory (after Louisiana) of the Louisiana Purchase to achieve statehood and joins the Union as a 'slave state' under the Missouri Compromise.

  • 1932 - Horse Feathers is released, the first Marx Brothers film with an actual plot.

  • 1990 - The Magellan space probe reaches Venus.

  • 2008 - Isaac Hayes, the US musician and actor, dies (b. 1942).


  • Every year - Feast day of Saint Clare of Assisi, the Patron Saint of television.

  • 480 BC - The Battle of Thermopylae is fought over three days, but on this day the last Greek contingents - 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians and 400 Thebans - are surrounded and destroyed by the Persian Army, signalling the end of the battle.

  • 1934 - The first civilian prisoners arrive at Alcatraz Island.

  • 1937 - The Boulton Paul P.82 Defiant, the first RAF fighter in service with a four-gun turret, makes its maiden flight.

  • 1994 - Peter Cushing, star of numerous Hammer horror films, dies (b. 1913).


  • Every year - the Perseid meteor shower peaks.

  • 1827 - William Blake dies in London, leaving uncompleted a cycle of drawings inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy.

  • 1939 - The Luftwaffe begins bombing Royal Air Force Radar Stations on the Isle of Wight.

  • 1960 - A few dozen passengers are taken to hospital after a fire breaks out on a London Underground train between Redbridge and Gants Hill.

  • 1964 - Ian Fleming, the novelist who created the character James Bond, dies (b. 1908).

  • 1964 - South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games due to the country's racist policies.

  • 2003 - After extensive legal battles, body and head of baseball legend Ted Williams are separately cryogenically frozen.


  • 3114 BC - According to the Lounsbury correlation, the Mayan calendar begins.

  • 1876 - The first complete performance of Wagner's Ring cycle is given at Bayreuth, Germany, in the opening season of the Festspielhaus, lasting four days.

  • 1899 - English film director Alfred Hitchcock is born (d. 1980).

  • 1919 - Horse racing legend Man o'War suffers his only defeat to the aptly named Upset.

  • 1926 - Future President of Cuba, Fidel Castro is born in the modern-day province of Holguín.

  • 1961 - The Berlin Wall is constructed, separating East from West.

  • 1997 - The first episode of the TV Show 'South Park' is aired.


  • 1846 - A meteorite strikes near the town of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA.

  • 1958 - The mother of Elvis Presley, Gladys Presley dies of hepatitis.

  • 1958 - Six members of the Egyptian fencing team die in an air crash on their way to Philadelphia, when their plane ditches into the atlantic ocean.

  • 1961 - Adolf Eichmann is convicted of war crimes for his involvement in the atrocities of Hitler's 'Final Solution'.

  • 1967 - The UK Marine Broadcasting Offences Act declares participation in offshore pirate radio illegal.

  • 1973 - The United State's military halts the bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam war.

  • 1975 - Based on Richard O'Brien's Musical, The Rocky Horror Picture Show goes on general release in London.

  • 2002 - Nobody is injured in a London rail disaster at Dalston Junction when a freight train nearly collides with a passenger train due to an incorrect setting of points.


  • 1769 - Napoleon Bonaparte is born (d. 1821).

  • 1935 - The American Wiley Post dies in an air crash when he crashes into a River in Alaska with his hybrid Lockheed plane.

  • 1952 - A flashflood drenches the town of Lynmouth, in Devon, UK, killing 34 people.

  • 1969 - Billed as 'Three Days of Love and Peace', the Woodstock Music and Art Festival begins in Bethel, New York, USA.

  • 1977 - Searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, the Big Ear radio telescope on the grounds of the Ohio Wesleyan University receives the Wow! signal.


  • 1888 - TE Lawrence, who would gain fame as 'Lawrence of Arabia', is born in Wales.

  • 1896 - Gold is discovered in a tributary of the Klondike River in Canada, setting off a gold rush.

  • 1930 - The first colour sound cartoon, Fiddlesticks, is made by Ub Iwerks.

  • 1960 - The Quarrymen become The Beatles.

  • 1961 - Ringo Starr joins The Beatles.

  • 1977 - The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley is found dead in his Graceland mansion.


  • 1943 - Acclaimed American actor Robert De Niro is born in New York City.

  • 1945 - The book Animal Farm, by George Orwell, is first published by Fredric Warburg.

  • 1959 - The Yellowstone earthquake in Montana, USA, creates Quake Lake.

  • 1988 - General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan dies in an air crash near Bahawalpur, Pakistan, under suspicious circumstances.


  • Every year - The feast day of St. Helena of Constantine is celebrated in the West.

  • 1884 - English conductor Basil Cameron is born Basil George Cameron Hindenberg in Reading, England.

  • 1933 - Roman Polanski, director of films such as Rosemary's Baby, is born himself.

  • 1969 - Jimi Hendrix plays on the unofficial last day of the Woodstock festival.

  • 1977 - Mega-band The Police play their first gig in Birmingham, UK.

  • 1991 - A hard-line communist Coup-d'etat in the Soviet Union places Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife Raisha under house arrest at his dacha in the Crimea.


  • 1871 - Orvile Wright is born. With his elder brother, Wright becomes one half of the most famous aviation duo in history.

  • 1936 - Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca is killed by the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War.

  • 1959 - John Lennon and Paul McCartney join The Beatles' precursor The Quarrymen.

  • 1981 - Pet Shop Boys Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe meet in an electronics shop on Kings Road, London, England.

  • 1987 - In the UK, Michael Ryan kills 16 people in Hungerford with an assault rifle, and then commits suicide.

  • 1990 - Leonard Bernstein conducts his final concert, ending with Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.


  • 1858 - Charles Darwin first publishes his theory of evolution in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, alongside Alfred Russel Wallace's same theory.

  • 1890 - HP Lovecraft is born in Providence, Rhode Island, USA.

  • 1914 - In World War I, German forces occupy Brussels, Belgium.

  • 1917 - Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer, one of Germany's foremost 19th Century organic chemists, who elucidated the structure of indigo blue, preparng the way for the commercial dye-stuffs industry, dies.

  • 1942 - Musician Isaac Hayes, called 'the black Moses', is born on his grandparents' share-cropper farm near Memphis.

  • 1977 - Designed to gather data on Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 2 is launched into orbit.


  • 1673 - Henry Grey, the first Earl of Stamford, dies aged 74.

  • 1770 - Captain James Cook claims eastern Australia for Britain, naming it New South Wales.

  • 1952 - Joe Strummer is born. Strummer's band The Clash become forerunners in the British Punk movement.

  • 1968 - Soviet Union-dominated Warsaw Pact troops invade Czechoslovakia, crushing the Prague Spring.


  • 565 - St Columba claims to have seen a monster in Loch Ness, Scotland.

  • 1642 - The English Civil War begins as the Royal standard is raised at Nottingham.

  • 1776 - A British naval bombardment announces the start of the Battle of Long Island, the first stage of the American Revolutionary War's Battle of New York City, USA.

  • 1851 - The first America's Cup Race takes place around the Isle of Wight.

  • 1922 - Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins dies in an ambush, at the age of 31.

  • 2003 - Chief justice Roy Moore is suspended after refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove a rock inscribed with the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court, USA.


  • 1785 - Oliver Hazard Perry is born in South Kingston, Rhode Island, USA.

  • 1912 - Gene Kelly, star of the classic musical Singin' in the Rain, is born (d. 1996).

  • 1940 - The Germans start to bomb London in World War II.

  • 1972 - The last US Ground Troops leave Vietnam.


  • 79 - Mount Vesuvius erupts, burying the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae in volcanic ash.

  • 1814 - During the War of 1812, the British capture Washington, DC and set fire to the White House.

  • 1915 - Major Lanoe G Hawker receives the Victoria Cross for attacking three enemy aircraft a month earlier.

  • 1921 - The world's largest airship, the R38, suffers a structural collapse, killing 44 and causing the vessel to crash into waters of the Humber.

  • 1927 - Twelve passengers are killed and 21 are badly injured in a London rail disaster when a train is completely derailed near Sevenoaks station.

  • 1957 - Comedian, Actor and Writer Stephen Fry is born in Hampstead, London.

  • 1981 - Mark Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon.

  • 1989 - Pete Rose receives official lifetime ban from Major League baseball.

  • 2006 - A new category of planets, the Dwarf Planets, are created in Prague by the International Astronomical Union.


  • 1981 - The Voyager 2 spacecraft reaches the ringed planet of Saturn.

  • 1894 - Shibasaburo Kitasato discovers the infectious agent of the bubonic plague and publishes his findings in The Lancet.

  • 1989 - NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft reaches the eighth planet of Neptune.

  • 2001 - Rising star of R&B Aaliyah dies in an air crash at Marsh Harbour, Bahamas when the overloaded plane fails to take off.


  • Every year - The infamous Annual World Bog Snorkelling Championships take in the town of Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, Wales.

  • 1910 - Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun and Nobel laureate, is born (d. 1997).

  • 1974 - Charles Lindbergh, the US aviator whose child was once kidnapped, dies (b. 1902).

  • 1883 - At midday, the Krakatau volcano begins to erupt; it's still the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history.


  • Every year - Feast day of Saint Monica, the Patron Saint of alcoholics.

  • 1896 - The Anglo-Zanzibar War, notable for the bizarre reason that it lasts just 38 minutes, is fought between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar between 9.02 and 9.40 local time.

  • 1883 - The Indonesian volcano Krakatoa enters the final stage of its eruption, with four enormous explosions, followed by a pyroclastic flow, killing about 1,000 people. The final shock waves travel around the Earth as many as seven times, and 30-metre (100ft) tsunamis kill about 36,000 people worldwide. The final explosion is the loudest sound in recorded history, measuring 180 dBSPL some 160km (100 miles) away.

  • 1908 - The 36th President of the USA, Lyndon Baines Johnson is born in Texas.

  • 1965 - Elvis and The Beatles get together for a jam session at Presley's Graceland mansion.

  • 1990 - Blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan dies in an air crash when the helicopter on its way to Chicago crashes on a ski slope at the Alpine Valley resort.

  • 2003 - Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing 34,646,416 miles (55,758,006km) from Earth.


  • 1914 - British Troops on the western front in WWI are saved in a strange incident that is later called the Miracle of Mons.

  • 1961 - Motown releases its first number-one hit, 'Please Mr Postman' by The Marvelettes.

  • 1963 - A massive Civil Rights March on Washington, DC led by Dr Martin Luther King Jr doesn't fail to impress US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

  • 2008 - Phil Hill, the 1961 Formula One world champion, dies (b. 1927).



  • 1797 - Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, is born (d. 1851).

  • 1918 - Baseball legend Ted Williams is born; he is named honour of US President Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt.

  • 1939 - Respected radio DJ and champion of new music for over 30 years John Peel is born John Robert Parker Ravenscroft in Heswall, near Liverpool.

  • 1945 - British forces liberate Hong Kong from Japanese occupation.

  • 1994 - The band Oasis release their chart-topping album Definitely Maybe.

  • 1994 - Acclaimed film director Lindsay Anderson dies of a heart attack in Angouléme, Frances.

  • 1995 - An auto accident leaves Delirious? frontman Martin Smith in hospital where he comes up for the idea for the band. The accident is also memorialised on the band's King of Fools album.


  • 1879 - Alma Mahler-Werfel, daughter of a famous painter, married in turn to a musician, an architect and a writer, is born Alma Maria Schindler.

  • 1962 - Trinidad and Tobago becomes independent.

  • 1969 - Former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano dies in plane crash.

  • 1981 - 40 Cal, the US rapper, is born.

  • 1985 - The underwater camera sled Argo transmits the first recorded pictures of the debris field from the Titanic.

  • 1997 - Diana Frances Spencer dies in a car crash in Paris, France.

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