A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  Aug. 20, 2002 at 3:18 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

Today is Aug. 26.

The Dutch East Indies volcano of Krakatoa blew up on this date in 1883, destroying two-thirds of the island and killing 36,000 people. Many were killed by resulting tidal waves. The blast -- regarded as the largest in recorded history -- was heard thousands of miles away. By the way, despite the movie title to the contrary, Krakatoa is actually west of Java.

The 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect on this date in 1920, giving American women the right to vote.

It was on this date in 1964 that delegates to the Democratic National Convention nominated President Lyndon B. Johnson and Minnesota Sen. Hubert Humphrey to head the Democratic ticket. They won in November.

He was known as the "September Pope." On this date in 1978, Cardinal Albino Luciani was elected the 263rd pope. He chose the name John Paul to honor his two immediate predecessors -- Paul VI and John XXIII. John Paul sat on St. Peter's Throne only 33 days, dying on Sept. 28.

Two days after ravaging southern Florida, Hurricane Andrew roared ashore in Louisiana bayou country on this date in 1992, causing more death and destruction.

And, on this date in 1974, Charles Lindbergh died at the age of 72.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is Aug. 27.

The first successful oil well in the United States was drilled near Titusville, Pa., on this date in 1859. That first well struck oil after only 69 feet.

In its first attack on the royal family, the IRA killed Lord Louis Mountbatten, a cousin of the queen, by blowing up his boat on this date in 1977.

It was on this date in 1928 that 15 nations, meeting in Paris, signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which outlawed war as a means of settling international disputes. World War II would begin scarcely 11 years later.

Heavy fog in southeastern Wisconsin was blamed for the helicopter crash on this date in 1990 that killed all five persons aboard -- including blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and members of rock star Eric Clapton's entourage. The chopper had slammed into a ski hill after taking off from the Alpine Valley entertainment complex.

Two Russian cosmonauts and a French astronaut left Mir to return to Earth on this date in 1999 -- leaving the orbiting Russian space station unmanned for the first time in 13 years.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is Aug. 28

More than 200,000 civil rights protesters, led by Martin Luther King Jr., staged an orderly "Freedom March" in Washington, D.C., on this date in 1963. It was at this rally that the Rev. King delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Things were far from orderly on this date in 1968 in Chicago, as the Democratic Party nominated Hubert Humphrey for president. Outside, on the streets and in the parks of the Windy City, thousands of anti-Vietnam war demonstrators battled police. It was during this time that Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley made his famous comment that, "The police are here to PRESERVE disorder."

Broadcasters realized radio could earn profits from the sale of advertising time on this date in 1922, when the Queenboro Reality Corp. of Jackson Heights, N.Y., paid $100 for the first radio commercial. The spot -- promoting Hawthorne Court, an apartment complex in Queens -- aired on New York radio station WEAF.

At least 27 people were killed and more than 350 injured on this date in 1990 when a tornado roared through Will County, Ill., southwest of Chicago.

And, in 1996, after four years of separation, Prince Charles and Princess Diana were formally divorced.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is Aug. 29.

Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays was one of the leaders of more than 1,000 rebels who sought redress of their grievances during an uprising that began on this date in 1786. What became known as "Shays Rebellion" included attacks on courts of law and raids on arsenals, and ended with Shays' arrest in Feb. 1787. He was convicted and sentenced to death, but later pardoned and given a small pension for services rendered during the Revolutionary War.

Atahualpa, last of the Inca rulers, was strangled under orders of Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro on this date in 1533. The Inca Empire died with him.

It was on this date in 1973 that Judge John Sirica ordered President Nixon to turn over secret Watergate tapes. Nixon refused, and appealed the order.

Sex and politics: Clinton political adviser Dick Morris resigned on this date in 1996 after supermarket tabloids reported he had been seeing a prostitute and letting her listen in on his phone conversations with the president.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is Aug. 30.

Benedict Arnold is a name synonymous with "traitor" because of what the American Revolutionary War general did on this date in 1780. He secretly promised to surrender the U.S. fort at West Point, N.Y., to the British army. Arnold later fled to England, and died in poverty.

It was on this date in 1862 during the Civil War that the second Battle of Bull Run began. Union troops commanded by Maj. Gen. John Pope were defeated by Confederate forces.

The German Army surrounded the Soviet city of Leningrad on this date in 1941. When the siege ended 900 days later, the Russian city lay in ruins and hundreds of thousands of people had died.

The first White House presidential baby was born on this date in 1893. Frances Folsom Cleveland, the wife of President Cleveland, became the first presidential wife to have a baby at the White House. The infant, a girl, was named Esther. (The first child ever born at the White House was a granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson, in 1806.)

And it was on this date in 1983 that Guion Bluford became the first African-American astronaut in space.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is Aug. 31.

It was on this date in 1997 that Britain's Princess Diana died of her injuries, a few hours after a car accident in Paris that also claimed the lives of her companion, Dodi Fayed, and their driver. A bodyguard survived, although he was seriously injured. The crash was the final chapter in the life of Lady Diana Spencer, whose fairy-tale marriage in July 1981 to Prince Charles -- heir to the British throne -- degenerated into a soap opera and ended in divorce in 1996. The world mourned the death of the young woman who wanted to be known as the "Queen of Hearts," and her funeral a week later was broadcast around the world.

Death rained from the skies onto Cerritos, Calif., on this date in 1986, when an Aeromexico DC-9 collided with a single-engine plane in mid-flight and crashed in flames into a residential neighborhood. 82 people in both planes and 15 on the ground died.

White separatist Randy Weaver surrendered on this date in 1992, ending an 11-day siege by federal agents of his Idaho mountain cabin that cost the lives of his wife, teenage son, and a U.S. marshal.

It was on this date in 1994 that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) announced a cease-fire in its 25-year-old war against British control of Northern Ireland. The truce followed six months of secret talks with London.

Thomas Edison was awarded a patent for the first movie projector on this date in 1887.

The following year, 1888, saw prostitute Mary Ann Nichols become the first known victim of the notorious London serial killer known as "Jack the Ripper."

And it was on this date in 1903 that a Packard automobile completed a 52-day journey from San Francisco to New York, becoming the first car to cross the nation under its own power.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is Sept. 1.

World War II began on this date in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. In response, Great Britain and France served an ultimatum on Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, but it was ignored. The United States would remain out the fray until December 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

It was on this date in 1983 that a Korean Air Lines Flight 007, en route from New York City to Seoul, South Korea, strayed into Soviet air space -- flying over secret Soviet military installations in the process -- and was shot down by a Soviet interceptor jet. The jumbo jet crashed into the Sea of Japan, killing all 269 people aboard. One day later, the Soviets admitted they had shot down the plane but claimed it was spying. However, there's no evidence that KAL 007's wandering off-course was anything other than a mistake.

After years of searching, scientists on this date in 1985 found the wreckage of the British luxury liner Titanic on the Atlantic Ocean floor, about 400 miles off Newfoundland. The supposedly unsinkable vessel had sunk within hours of striking an iceberg in April 1912, killing more than 1,500 people.

An earthquake, followed by a disastrous fire, struck Tokyo on this date in 1923. An estimated 74,000 people were killed in what's considered Japan's worst-ever quake.

Aaron Burr, vice president under Thomas Jefferson, was acquitted of treason charges on this date in 1807. He had been accused in connection with a plot to establish an independent empire in the nation's south and west.

And it was on this date in 1914 that the last known passenger pigeon died at the Cincinnati Zoo.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories