Today is Saturday, Aug. 31, the 243rd day of 2013. There are 122 days left in the year.
On Aug. 31, 1886, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.3 devastated Charleston, S.C., killing at least 60 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
On this date:
In 1688, preacher and novelist John Bunyan, author of “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” died in London.
In 1888, Mary Ann Nichols, apparently the first victim of “Jack the Ripper,” was found slain in London’s East End.
In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act prohibiting the export of U.S. arms to belligerents.
In 1941, the radio program “The Great Gildersleeve,” a spinoff from “Fibber McGee and Molly” starring Harold Peary, debuted on NBC.
In 1954, Hurricane Carol hit the northeastern Atlantic states; Connecticut, Rhode Island and part of Massachusetts bore the brunt of the storm, which resulted in nearly 70 deaths.
In 1963, French artist Georges Braque, 81, died in Paris.
In 1972, at the Munich Summer Olympics, American swimmer Mark Spitz won his fourth and fifth gold medals, in the 100-meter butterfly and 800-meter freestyle relay; Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut won gold medals in floor exercise and the balance beam.
In 1973, movie director John Ford, 79, died in Palm Desert, Calif.
In 1980, Poland’s Solidarity labor movement was born with an agreement signed in Gdansk that ended a 17-day-old strike.
In 1986, 82 people were killed when an Aeromexico jetliner and a small private plane collided over Cerritos, Calif. The Soviet passenger ship Admiral Nakhimov collided with a merchant vessel in the Black Sea, causing both to sink; up to 448 people reportedly died.
In 1988, 14 people were killed when a Delta Boeing 727 crashed during takeoff from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
In 1991, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan declared their independence, raising to 10 the number of republics seeking to secede from the Soviet Union.
Ten years ago: Vowing revenge and beating their chests, more than 300,000 Shiites marched behind the rose-strewn coffin of a beloved cleric, Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, who had been assassinated in a car bombing in Najaf, Iraq.
Five years ago: With Hurricane Gustav approaching New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded with the last of its residents to get out, imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on those who were staying and warned looters they would be sent directly to prison. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edwin O. Guthman, who’d served as press secretary to Robert F. Kennedy, died in Los Angeles at age 89. Former CBS newsman Ike Pappas died in Arlington, Va., at age 75.
One year ago: In a speech to an annual Federal Reserve conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Chairman Ben Bernanke sent a clear message that the Fed would do more to help the still-struggling U.S. economy but did not specify exactly what or when. Writer Richard Bach, 76, author of “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” was seriously hurt after his small plane went down in Washington state.