Today in History: August 23

Today in History: August 23

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1244

Turks expel the crusaders under Frederick II from Jerusalem.

1305

Scottish patriot William Wallace is hanged, drawn, beheaded, and quartered in London.

1541

Jacques Cartier lands near Quebec on his third voyage to North America.

1711

A British attempt to invade Canada by sea fails.

1775

King George III of England refuses the American colonies' offer of peace and declares them in open rebellion.

1821

After 11 years of war, Spain grants Mexican independence as a constitutional monarchy.

1863

Union batteries cease their first bombardment of Fort Sumter, leaving it a mass of rubble but still unconquered by the Northern besiegers.

1900

Booker T. Washington forms the National Negro Business League in Boston, Massachusetts.

1902

Fanny Farmer, among the first to emphasize the relationship of diet to health, opens her School of Cookery in Boston.

1914

The Emperor of Japan declares war on Germany.

1926

American film star Rudolph Valentino dies, causing world-wide hysteria and a number of suicides.

1927

Immigrant laborers Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are executed for a robbery they did not commit. Fifty years later, in 1977, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis establishes a memorial in the victims' honor.

1939

Joseph Stalin and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop sign a non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Germany, freeing Adolf Hitler to invade Poland and Stalin to invade Finland.

1942

German forces begin an assault on the major Soviet industrial city of Stalingrad.

1944

German SS engineers begin placing explosive charges around the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

1950

Up to 77,000 members of the U.S. Army Organized Reserve Corps are called involuntarily to active duty to fight the Korean War.

1952

Arab League security pact linking seven Arab States in a military, political and economic alliance goes into effect.

1954

First flight of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

1958

The Second Taiwan Strait crisis begins: People's Liberation Army bombards island of Quemoy during Chinese Civil War.

1961

Belgium sends troops to Rwanda-Urundi during bloody Tutsi-Hutu conflict.

1966

Lunar Orbiter 1 takes first photograph of Earth from the moon.

1975

Pathet Lao communists occupy Vientiane, Laos.

1977

Bryan Allen, piloting the Gossamer Condor, wins the Kremer prize for the first human-powered aircraft to fly a one-mile, figure-eight course.

1979

Bolshoi Ballet dancer Alexander Godunov defects in New York City.

1979

Iranian army opens offensive against Kurds.

1990

East and West Germany announce they will unite on Oct 3.

1990

Armenia declares independence from USSR.

1996

Osama bin Laden issues message entitled "A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places."

2006

Natascha Kampusch,  abducted at the age of 10 in Austria, escapes from her captor, Wolfgang Priklopil, after 8 years of captivity.

2011

A 5.8 earthquake centered at Mineral, Virginia, damages the Washington Monument, forcing the landmark to close for repairs.

2011

Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi is overthrown after National Transitional Council forces take control of Bab al-Azizia compound during the 2011 Libyan Civil War.