Aug. 27 (UPI) -- On this date in history:
In 1859, the first successful oil well in the United States was drilled near Titusville, Pa.
In 1883, the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history occurred on Krakatoa, a small, uninhabited island west of Sumatra in Indonesia.
In 1939, Adolf Hitler served notice on England and France that Germany wanted Danzig and the Polish Corridor. Germany invaded Poland days later and on Sept. 3, France and Britain declared war, starting World War II.
In 1999, two Russian cosmonauts and a French astronaut left Mir to return to Earth, leaving the orbiting Russian space station unmanned for the first time in 13 years.
In 2007, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced his resignation, effective Sept. 17. He had been embroiled in several controversies, including the firings of nine U.S. attorneys, treatment of detainees, surveillance and other issues.
In 2008, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois was formally chosen as the Democratic presidential nominee at the party's national convention in Denver. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware was the party's vice presidential nominee.
In 2009, 17-year-old Briton Mike Perham, after a nine-month voyage in a 50-foot yacht, was recognized as the youngest person to sail alone around the world without assistance. At age 14, he had been the youngest to sail solo across the Atlantic.
In 2010, the planned $3 billion merger of Continental and United Airlines was approved by the U.S. Justice Department, clearing the major regulatory hurdle to the creation of the world's biggest airline.