Aug. 15 (UPI) -- On this date in history:
In 1914, a U.S. ship sailed from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, officially opening the Panama Canal.
In 1935, humorist Will Rogers and pilot Wiley Post were killed when their plane crashed in Alaska.
In 1947, India gains independence from Britain after 200 years of rule. The Indian Independence Bill also grants independence to Pakistan, though that country observes its freedom one day earlier.
In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, often described as a landmark counterculture event, opened on Max Yasgur's farm near Bethel, N.Y., drawing an estimated 400,000 people for three days of music.
In 1985, South African President P.W. Botha, rejecting Western pleas to abolish apartheid, declared, "I am not prepared to lead white South Africans and other minority groups on a road to abdication and suicide."
In 2003, Libya admitted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, that claimed 270 lives and agreed to pay reparations totaling $2.7 billion.
In 2004, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez survived a referendum to oust him.
In 2007, an 8-magnitude earthquake struck 90 miles southeast of Lima, Peru, killing an estimated 500 people and injuring hundreds more.
In 2008, Nepal elected a Maoist candidate, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, to be its next prime minister, defeating a man who held the post three times.
In 2013, Egyptian authorities said the death toll had surpassed 600 in violence that began with a crackdown on protesting supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
In 2014, Pope Francis celebrated his first mass in South Korea. He spoke out against materialism and economic inequality during the "Mass of the Assumption of Mary."
In 2015, the North Korean government moved to its own time zone -- back 30 minutes -- going back to what it once was before the Japanese took control of the country more than a century ago.
In 2017, 11 people died when a tree fell and crushed onto a crowded square during a religious ceremony on the Portuguese island of Madeira.