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This Day in History: August 23

Events

1775 – American Revolutionary War: King George III delivers his Proclamation of Rebellion to the Court of St James's stating that the American colonies have proceeded to a state of open and avowed rebellion.

1784 – Western North Carolina (now eastern Tennessee) declares itself an independent state under the name of Franklin; it is not accepted into the United States, and only lasts for four years.

1831 – Nat Turner's slave rebellion is suppressed.

1864 – The Union Navy captures Fort Morgan, Alabama, thus breaking Confederate dominance of all ports on the Gulf of Mexico except Galveston, Texas.

1923 – Captain Lowell Smith and Lieutenant John P. Richter performed the first mid-air refueling on De Havilland DH-4B, setting an endurance flight record of 37 hours.

1927 – Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti are executed after a lengthy, controversial trial.

1939 – World War II: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression treaty, the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. In a secret addition to the pact, the Baltic states, Finland, Romania, and Poland are divided between the two nations.

1942 – World War II: Beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad.

1943 – World War II: Kharkiv is liberated as a result of the Battle of Kursk.

1944 – World War II: Marseille is liberated by the Allies.

1944 – World War II: King Michael of Romania dismisses the pro-Nazi government of Marshal Antonescu, who is arrested. Romania switches sides from the Axis to the Allies.

1944 – Freckleton Air Disaster: A United States Army Air Forces B-24 Liberator bomber crashes into a school in Freckleton, England killing 61 people.

1966 – Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.

1970 – Organized by Mexican American labor union leader César Chávez, the Salad Bowl strike, the largest farm worker strike in U.S. history, begins.

1987 – The American male basketball team lost the gold medal to Brazilian team at the Pan American Games in Indianapolis. The final score was 120–115 and triggered changes in this sport basis in USA, resulting in the "Dream Team".

1990 – Saddam Hussein appears on Iraqi state television with a number of Western "guests" (actually hostages) to try to prevent the Gulf War.

1990 – West Germany and East Germany announce that they will reunite on October 3.

1991 – Tim Berners-Lee opens the World Wide Web (WWW) to new users.

1993 – The Galileo spacecraft discovers a moon, later named Dactyl, around 243 Ida, the first known asteroid moon.

1994 – Eugene Bullard, the only black pilot in World War I, is posthumously commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.

1996 – Osama bin Laden issues message entitled 'A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places.'

2011 – A magnitude 5.8 (class: moderate) earthquake occurs in Virginia. Damage occurs to monuments and structures in Washington D.C. and the resulted damage is estimated at $200 million–$300 million USD.

Births

1785 – Oliver Hazard Perry, American commander (d. 1819)

1847 – Sarah Frances Whiting, American physicist and astronomer (d. 1927)

1868 – Edgar Lee Masters, American lawyer, author, poet, and playwright (d. 1950)

1890 – Harry Frank Guggenheim, American businessman and publisher, co-founded Newsday (d. 1971)

1897 – Henry F. Pringle, American historian and journalist (d. 1958)

1912 – Gene Kelly, American actor, singer, and dancer (d. 1996)

1921 – Kenneth Arrow, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate

1924 – Robert Solow, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate

1931 – Barbara Eden, American actress and singer

1931 – Hamilton O. Smith, American microbiologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate

Deaths

1723 – Increase Mather, American minister and author (b. 1639)

1819 – Oliver Hazard Perry, American commander (b. 1785)

1960 – Oscar Hammerstein II, American director, producer, and composer (b. 1895)

1990 – David Rose, American pianist and composer (b. 1910)