Today is Saturday, Aug. 24, the 236th day of 2013. There are 129 days left in the year.
On Aug. 24, A.D. 410, Rome was overrun by the Visigoths, a major event in the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
On this date:
In 1572, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of French Protestants at the hands of Catholics began in Paris.
In 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces invaded Washington, D.C., setting fire to the Capitol and the White House, as well as other buildings.
In 1821, the Treaty of Cordoba was signed, granting independence to Mexico from Spanish rule.
In 1912, Congress passed a measure creating the Alaska Territory. Congress approved legislation establishing Parcel Post delivery by the U.S. Post Office Department, slated to begin on Jan. 1, 1913.
In 1932, Amelia Earhart embarked on a 19-hour flight from Los Angeles to Newark, N.J., making her the first woman to fly solo, nonstop, from coast to coast.
In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty came into force.
In 1959, three days after Hawaiian statehood, Hiram L. Fong was sworn in as the first Chinese-American U.S. Senator while Daniel K. Inouye was sworn in as the first Japanese-American U.S. Representative.
In 1968, France became the world’s fifth thermonuclear power as it exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.
In 1970, an explosives-laden van left by anti-war extremists blew up outside the University of Wisconsin’s Sterling Hall in Madison, killing 33-year-old researcher Robert Fassnacht.
In 1981, Mark David Chapman was sentenced in New York to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon.
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into Florida, causing $30 billion in damage; 43 U.S. deaths were blamed on the storm.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union declared that Pluto was no longer a planet, demoting it to the status of a “dwarf planet.”
Ten years ago: The Justice Department reported the U.S. crime rate in 2002 was the lowest since studies began in 1973. Israeli missiles killed four Hamas fighters, including a fugitive commander. Hurricane Ignacio sideswiped the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. Former U.S. House Minority Leader John J. Rhodes Jr. died in Mesa, Ariz., at age 86. Japan’s Musashi-Fuchu routed East Boynton Beach of Florida 10-1 to win the Little League World Series.
Five years ago: A suicide bomber struck a welcome-home celebration on Baghdad’s outskirts for an Iraqi detainee released from U.S. custody, killing at least 25 people. An Iran-bound passenger jet carrying 90 people crashed in Kyrgyzstan, killing some 70 people. On the final day of the Beijing Games, Kobe Bryant hit two 3-pointers in a big fourth quarter to help the United States defeat Spain 118-107 and win the men’s basketball gold medal for the first time since 2000. Waipahu, Hawaii, defeated Matamoros, Mexico, in the Little League World Series, 12-3.
One year ago: A suit-clad gunman, Jeffrey Johnson, opened fire outside New York’s Empire State Building, killing a former co-worker, Steve Ercolino, before being gunned down by police. A Norwegian court found Anders Behring Breivik guilty of terrorism and premeditated murder for twin attacks on July 22, 2011, that killed 77 people; he received a 21-year prison sentence that can be extended as long as he is considered dangerous to society. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency wiped out 14 years of Lance Armstrong’s cycling career — including his record seven Tour de France titles — and barred him for life from the sport after concluding he’d used banned substances.