Today in History
On Aug. 19, 1848, the New York Herald reported the discovery of gold in California.
On this date:
In 1807, Robert Fulton's North River Steamboat arrived in Albany, two days after leaving New York.
In 1812, the USS Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere off Nova Scotia during the War of 1812, earning the nickname "Old Ironsides."
In 1918, "Yip! Yip! Yaphank," a musical revue by Irving Berlin featuring Army recruits from Camp Upton in Yaphank, N.Y., opened on Broadway.
In 1934, a plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler.
In 1936, the first of a series of show trials orchestrated by Soviet leader Josef Stalin began in Moscow as 16 defendants faced charges of conspiring against the government. All were convicted and executed.
In 1942, during World War II, about 6,000 Canadian and British soldiers launched a disastrous raid against the Germans at Dieppe, France, suffering more than 50 percent casualties.
In 1951, the owner of the St. Louis Browns, Bill Veeck (vehk), sent in 3-foot-7 Eddie Gaedel to pinch-hit in a game against Detroit. In his only major league at-bat, Gaedel walked on four pitches and was replaced at first base by a pinch-runner.
In 1960, a tribunal in Moscow convicted American U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage. Although sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment, Powers was returned to the United States in 1962 as part of a prisoner exchange.
In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford won the Republican presidential nomination at the party's convention in Kansas City.
In 1980, 301 people aboard a Saudi Arabian L-1011 died as the jetliner made a fiery emergency return to the Riyadh airport.
In 1982, Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya (sah-VEETS'-kah-yah) became the second woman to be launched into space.
In 1991, Soviet hard-liners made the stunning announcement that President Mikhail S. Gorbachev had been removed from power, a coup attemp that collapsed two days later.
Ten years ago: A suicide truck bomb struck U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, killing 22, including the top U.N. envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello (SUR'-jee-oh vee-EHR'-uh duh MEHL'-oh). A suicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem killed 22 people.
Five years ago: Tropical Storm Fay rolled ashore in Florida short of hurricane strength but mysteriously gained speed as it headed over land. Heavily armed insurgents in Afghanistan killed 10 French soldiers in a mountain ambush and then sent a squad of suicide bombers in a failed assault on a U.S. base near the Pakistan border. Russia and Georgia exchanged prisoners captured during their brief war. American Shawn Johnson won a gold medal on the balance beam at the Beijing games. LeRoi Moore, a versatile saxophonist with the Dave Matthews Band, died in Los Angeles of complications from an ATV accident; he was 46.
One year ago: Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, the conservative Republican U.S. Senate candidate, said in a television interview that it was "really rare" for women to become pregnant when they were raped. Akin afterwards backed off his on-air comments, saying that he'd misspoken. NATO said a man in an Afghan police uniform shot and killed an international service member, raising the death toll to 10 in such attacks in the space of just two weeks. Tony Scott, 68, director of such Hollywood hits as "Top Gun" and "Days of Thunder," died in Los Angeles after jumping from a suspension bridge.
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