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This Day in History: August 14


1720 – The Spanish military Villasur expedition is wiped out by Pawnee and Otoe warriors near present-day Columbus, Nebraska.

1842 – American Indian Wars: Second Seminole War ends, with the Seminoles forced from Florida to Oklahoma.

1848 – Oregon Territory is organized by act of Congress.

1888 – An audio recording of English composer Arthur Sullivan's "The Lost Chord", one of the first recordings of music ever made, is played during a press conference introducing Thomas Edison's phonograph in London, England.

1911 – United States Senate leaders agree to rotate the office of President pro tempore of the Senate among leading candidates to fill the vacancy left by William P. Frye's death.

1912 – U.S. Marines invade Nicaragua to support the U.S.-backed government installed there after José Santos Zelaya had resigned three years earlier.

1933 – Loggers cause a forest fire in the Coast Range of Oregon, later known as the first forest fire of the Tillamook Burn. It is extinguished on September 5, after destroying 240,000 acres (970 km2).

1935 – Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act, creating a government pension system for the retired.

1936 – Rainey Bethea is hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky in the last public execution in the United States.

1941 – World War II: Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt sign the Atlantic Charter of war stating postwar aims.

1945 – Japan accepts the Allied terms of surrender in World War II and the Emperor records the Imperial Rescript on Surrender (August 15 in Japan Standard Time).

1959 – Founding and first official meeting of the American Football League.

1962 – Two gunmen hijacked a mail truck in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and made off with $1.5 million.

1975 – The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the longest-running release in film history, opens in London.

1980 – Lech Wałęsa leads strikes at the Gdańsk, Poland shipyards.

2003 – A widescale power blackout affects the northeast United States and Canada.

2015 – The US Embassy in Havana, Cuba re-opens after 54 years of being closed when Cuba–United States relations were broken off.


1851 – Doc Holliday, American dentist and poker player (d. 1887)

1863 – Ernest Thayer, American poet and author (d. 1940)

1912 – Frank Oppenheimer, American physicist and academic (d. 1985)

1916 – Wellington Mara, American businessman (d. 2005)

1945 – Steve Martin, American actor, comedian, producer, and screenwriter

1947 – Danielle Steel, American author

1950 – Gary Larson, American cartoonist

1953 – James Horner, American composer and conductor (d. 2015)

1954 – Stanley A. McChrystal, American general

1956 – Jackée Harry, American actress, director, and television personality

1969 – Tracy Caldwell Dyson, American chemist and astronaut

1983 – Mila Kunis, Ukrainian-American actress


1870 – David Farragut, American admiral (b. 1801)

1890 – Michael J. McGivney, American priest, founded the Knights of Columbus (b. 1852)

1891 – Sarah Childress Polk, American wife of James K. Polk, 12th First Lady of the United States (b. 1803)

1951 – William Randolph Hearst, American publisher and politician, founded the Hearst Corporation (b. 1863)

1955 – Herbert Putnam, American lawyer and publisher, Librarian of Congress (b. 1861)

1972 – Oscar Levant, American actor, pianist, and composer (b. 1906)