CHARLOTTE, N.C. Once again a new month begins to unfold. In honor of the month of August, today’s Myth Trivia column looks back at some of the momentous events that occurred during those August “Dog Days of Summer” from years gone by. Thanks and a hat tip to our friends from Pop Culture Madness.
From the Declaration of Independence to the First Electric Light
- 1776 – On this August day, the official signing of the United States Declaration of Independence took place. Matthew Thornton of New Hampshire signed it on November 4, 1776.
- 1873 – The Clay Street Hill Railroad began operating the first car in San Francisco’s famous cable car system.
- 1492 – Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos de la Frontera, Spain.
- 1852 – In America’s first intercollegiate athletic event, Harvard University won its first Boat Race against Yale University.
- 1936 – Jesse Owens won the 100 meter dash. In the process, he beat “the world’s fastest man,” Ralph Metcalfe, at the Berlin Olympics.
- 1693 – Celebratory date for Dom Perignon’s invention of Champagne.
- 1861 – On an August 5 that will live in infamny, the United States government levied America’s first income tax. That tax was part of the Revenue Act of 1861. That initial tax: 3 percent on annual incomes over $800.
- 1914 – Cleveland, Ohio, installed the first electric traffic light.
From the electric chair to the opening of The Louvre
- 1890 – At Auburn Prison in New York, William Kemmler became the first person executed by the electric chair.
- 1969 – At a “zebra crossing” in London, photographer Iain Macmillan took one of the most famous photographs of all time. Subsequently, the photo served as the cover of the Beatles album, “Abbey Road.”
- 1519 – Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Seville, Spain to circumnavigate the globe.
- 1846 – The U.S. Congress chartered the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
- 1873 – The Louvre Museum opened in Paris.
From the Sultan of Swat to the first Sports Illustrated
- 1929 – Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs in his career.
- 1942 – Actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil received a patent (#2,292,387) for a Frequency-hopping communication system. Subsequently, this system later served as the basis for modern technologies like wireless telephones and Wi-Fi.
- 30 BC – On this tragic day, famed Egyptian Queen Cleopatra VII Philopator, the last ruler of the Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty, committed suicide.
- 1918 – Opha Mae Johnson was the first woman to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.
- 1961 – East Germany closed the border between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin with the Berlin Wall.
- 1935 – Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act.
- 1936 – Rainey Bethea was hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky in the last public execution in the United States.
- 1843 – Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest still intact amusement parks in the world, opened in Copenhagen, Denmark. It may be best known for its wooden roller coaster built in 1914.
- 1914 – The Panama Canal opened with the transit of the cargo ship SS Ancon.
- 1965 – The Beatles played at Shea Stadium in New York. Many consider this the first major rock concert ever. 60,000 screaming fans in attendance vigorously registered their approval.
- 1954 – The first published issue of Sports Illustrated appeared on newsstands.
Diving into Michael Phelps and the first Soap Box Derby
- 2008 – American swimmer Michael Phelps became the first person to win eight gold medals in one Olympic Games.
- 1903 – German engineer Karl Jatho allegedly flew his self-made, motored gliding airplane four months before the first flight of the Wright brothers.
- 1692 – In Salem, Massachusetts, five people, including a clergyman, were executed. They were convicted of witchcraft at the notorious Salem Witch Trials.
- 1909 – The first automobile race took place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
- 1934 – Dayton, Ohio hosted the first All-American Soap Box Derby.
The “August” theory of Charles Darwin vs. the first Gutenberg Bible
- 1858 – Charles Darwin first published his theory of evolution through natural selection. It appeared in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London.
- 1882 – Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture debuted in Moscow, Russia.
- 1911 – Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia stole the famed “Mona Lisa.” It was returned to the museum in 1913.
- 2004 – Masked men brandishing firearms stole the Edvard Munch Museum’s versions of ‘Madonna’ and “The Scream.” Oslo Police recovered both paintings on 31 August 2006.
- 79 A.D. – Mount Vesuvius erupted. The cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae were buried in volcanic ash. 1215 – Pope Innocent III declared the English Magna Carta invalid.
- 1456 – The printing of the first Gutenberg Bible was completed.
From the Liberation of Paris to the first Soviet A-bomb
- 1916 – The United States National Park Service was created.
- 1944 – Paris was liberated by the Allies.
- 1498 – Michelangelo began his work to carve his most famous Pieta, which depicted the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.
- 1859 – Petroleum was discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania leading to the world’s first commercially successful oil well.
- 1609 – Henry Hudson discovered Delaware Bay.
- 1963 – At the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his I Have a Dream speech.
- 1758 – The first American Indian reservation was established at Indian Mills, New Jersey.
- 1949 – The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, known as First Lightning or Joe 1, at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.
From the U.S. “Supremes” to the tragic death of Princess Diana
- 1967 – Thurgood Marshall was confirmed as the first African American Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
- 1984 – The Space Shuttle Discovery took off on its maiden voyage.
- 1803 – Lewis and Clark started their expedition to the west by leaving Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- 1888 – Mary Ann Nichols was murdered. She became the first of Jack the Ripper’s confirmed victims.
- 1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales, her companion Dodi Fayed died in a car crash in Paris.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. In addition, Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.