(Copyright 2004, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.  DO NOT REPRODUCE or distribute without permission.) 

For a more comprehensive list, including a Year by Year timeline, see our Research Guide.

Aug. 1st. . .

10BC--Claudius I, Roman emperor who invaded Britain in 43 and made it a province, born.

1137--Louis VI, King of France, died.

1714--Queen Anne, the last Stuart sovereign who reigned as Queen of England, died.  George I of Hanover became King upon her death.

1716--The Doggett's Coat and Badge race, the first competitive rowing event, took place on the Thames.

1740--'Rule Britannia' was sung for the first time in Thomas Arne's Alfred.

1774--Sir Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen.

1778--The first savings bank opened, in Hamburg.

1779--Francis Scott Key, U.S. poet who wrote 'The Star Spangled Banner', born.

1819--Herman Melville, U.S. novelist of Moby Dick, born.

1831--New London Bridge was opened by King William IV and Queen Adelaide.

1873--The Clay Street Hill Railroad, San Francisco's cable car system, began running.

1876--Colorado became the 38th state of the Union.


Aug 2nd. . .

1100--King William II, was accidentally killed by an arrow while out hunting.

1754--Pierre Charles L'Enfant, French army engineer, architect and city planner, born.

1788--Thomas Gainsborough, English painter, died.

1799--Jacques Mongolfier, French balloonist, died.

1865--Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, was published.

1875--The Belgravia Roller Skating Rink opened in London, the first in Britain.

1876--'Wild Bill' Hickok, U.S. frontier scout and law enforcer, was shot in the back by Jack McCall in Deadwood, South Dakota.

1881--Ethel Dell, English romantic author of Storm Drift, born.

1894--Death duties were introduced into Britain.


Aug 3rd. . .

216--Hannibal seized the Roman army supply depot after defeating the infantry in the Battle of Cannae.

1460--James II, King of Scotland, was killed during the siege of Roxburgh Castle.

1492--Christopher Columbus set sail from Andalucia, Spain, in the Santa Maria on his first voyage of discovery.

1778--The La Scala Opera House opened in Milan.

1792--Sir Richard Arkwright, English inventor of the spinning frame, died.

1801--Sir Joseph Paxton, English architect and designer of the Crystal Palace, born.

1811--Elisha Graves Otis, U.S. safety lift inventor, born.

1872--King Haakon VII of Norway, born.

1881--William George Fargo, co-founder of the Wells-Fargo Express Company, died.

1887--Rupert Brooke, English poet, born.


Aug 4th. . .

1265--Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, was defeated and killed at the battle of Evesham.

1792--Percy Bysshe Shelley, English romantic poet, born.

1792--Edward Irving, Scottish clergyman who founded the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, born.

1839--Walter Pater, English writer and critic, born.

1841--William Henry Hudson, British writer on natural history, born.

1859--Knut Hamsun, Norwegian writer of realistic novels and Nobel prize winner, born.

1870--Sir Harry Lauder, Scottish music-hall comedian, born.

1870--The Red Cross Society was founded in Britain.

1875--Hans Christian Andersen, Danish fairy-tale writer, died.

1877--Dame Laura Knight, English artist, born.


Aug 5th. . .

1729--Thomas Newcomen, English inventor of the first 'automatic' steam engine, died.

1792--Lord Frederick North, British Prime Minister whose indecisive leadership led to the loss of the American colonies, died.

1799--Robert Howe, English admiral, died.

1815--Edward John Eyre, English administrator in Jamaica, born.

1850--Guy de Maupassant, French author, born.

1858--The laying of the first transatlantic cable was completed by Cyrus Field and opened by Queen Victoria at the British end, exchanging greetings with President Buchanan in the U.S.

1891--The first traveller's cheque, devised by American Express, was cashed.

1895--Friedrich Engels, German co-author with Marx of the Communist Manifesto, died.


Aug 6th. . .

1504--Matthew Parker, second Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, born.

1623--Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare's wife, died.

1637--Ben Jonson, English playwright who had Shakespeare in the original cast of one of his plays, died.

1660--Diego Velasquez, Spanish painter, died.

1804--Dorothy Wordsworth, author and daughter of William Wordsworth, born.

1809--Alfred, Lord Tennyson, English Poet Laureate, born.

1859--The first known advertising slogan, 'Worth a guinea a box', appeared on Beechams Powders' packets and advertising material.

1881--Alexander Fleming, Scottish bacteriologist who discovered penicillin, born.

1888--Martha Turner, a 35-yr-old prostitute believed to have been Jack the Ripper's first victim, was stabbed to death in Whitechapel.

1889--London's Savoy Hotel was opened.


Aug 7th. . .

1556--A UFO or Flying Saucer appeared over the city of Basle in Switzerland and was captured as an illustration in a woodcut.

1657--Robert Blake, British naval commander who captured the Spanish treasure fleet off Santa Cruz, died.

1711--Ascot became 'Royal' with the attendance of Queen Anne at the horse races.

1742--Nathanael Greene, Rhode Island Quaker and general in the revolutionary War, born.

1831--Dean Farrar, English clergyman born in Bombay who wrote sentimental school stories, born.

1840--The British parliament passed an act prohibiting the employment of climbing boys as chimney sweeps.

1876--Mata Hari, exotic Dutch spy who passed secrets to the Germans during the First World War, born.

1885--Dornford Yates, English novelist, born.


Aug 8th. . .

117--Hadrian became emperor of Rome following the death of his father.

1576--Tycho Brahe began work in the first purpose-built observatory in Denmark.

1588--England's final naval engagement with the Spanish Armada took place.

1786--A doctor, Michel Gabriel Piccard, became the first to climb Mont Blanc.

1827--George Canning, English statesman and Prime Minister, died just three months after his term began.

1834--In Britain, the Poor Law Amendment Act was passed, which replaced outdoor relief with the workhouse system of parishes caring for their poor.

1876--Frank Richards, English author, born.

1896--Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, U.S. author of The Yearling, born.


Aug 9th. . .

1387--Henry V, English king who led his army in the battle of Agincourt, born.

1593--Izaak Walton, English author of The Compleat Angler, born.

1631--John Dryden, the first Poet Laureate to hold the title officially, born.

1653--Maarten Tromp, Dutch admiral, was killed during a battle with the English fleet off the coast of Holland.

1757--Thomas Telford, Scottish civil engineer who designed and built the Menai suspension bridge in Wales, born.

1819--William Thomas Morton, American dental surgeon who discovered the use of ether, born.

1848--Captain Frederick Marryat, English author of Mr. Midshipman Easy, died.

1867--John Harrison Surratt was arrested as an alleged co-conspirator in the assassination of President Lincoln, but his alibi split the jury.


Aug 10th. . .

1675--The foundation stone of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich was laid by King Charles II.

1787--Mozart completed his popular Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music).

1810--Count Cavour, Italian statesman, born.

1821--Missouri became the 24th state of the Union.

1823--Charles Samuel Keene, English illustrator who contributed to Punch, born.

1846--The Smithsonian Institution was established at Washington with a bequest from English scientist, James Smithson, to foster scientific research.

1874--Herbert Hoover, 31st U.S. President, born.

1889--The screw bottle top was patented by Dan Rylands of Yorkshire.

1893--Dr. Rudolf Diesel's prototype engine was tested, but it would take four more years to perfect.


Aug 11th. . .

1519--Johann Tetzel, the monk who sold indulgences to raise money to pay for St. Peter's in Rome, died.

1673--Richard Meade, English physician whose patients included royalty, born.

1711--The first race meeting at Ascot was held in honor of Queen Anne.

1807--The Clermont, Fulton's steamboat, made a successful run up the Hudson River.

1823--Charlotte Mary Yonge, English novelist, born.

1873--Bertram Mills, British circus proprietor, born.

1876--Mary Roberts Rinehart, U.S. mystery writer, born.

1890--John Henry, Cardinal Newman, English churchman and promoter of the High Church, died.

1897--Enid Blyton, English author of children's stories, born.


Aug 12th. . .

1753--Thomas Bewick, English illustrator and wood engraver, born.

1762--George IV, King of England, whose secret marriage to Roman Catholic Maria Fitzherbert was annulled, born.

1774--Robert Southey, English poet and Poet Laureate, born.

1822--Viscount Castlereagh, British foreign secretary under pressure to legally dissolve George IV's marriage to Caroline, committed suicide.

1827--William Blake, English poet and painter, died.

1848--George Stephenson, English engineer who built the steam locomotive Rocket, died.

1851--The first Hundred Guinea Cup was offered by the Royal Yacht Squadron of Great Britain for a race around the Isle of Wight.

1883--The last quagga, a zebra-like animal, died at the Amsterdam Zoo.

1887--Thomas Alva Edison made the first sound recording on to a foil-wrapped cylinder on the Edisonphone.


Aug 13th. . .

1704--The Anglo-Austrian army defeated the French armies at Blenheim.

1792--Queen Adelaide, consort of William IV, born.

1814--The Cape of Good Hope was made a British colony when it was ceded by the Dutch.

1818--Lucy Stone, American social reformer, born.

1820--Sir George Grove, English engineer who became the first director of the Royal College of Music, born.

1826--Rene Laennec, French physician and inventor of the stethoscope, died.

1860--Annie Oakley, U.S. marksman and star of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, born.

1867--The first performance of Wagner's The Ring Cycle in its entirety was staged at Bayreuth.

1896--Sir John Everett Millais, English Pre-Raphaelite painter, died.


Aug 14th. . .

1552--Paolo Sarpi, Italian statesman, patriot and historian, born.

1777--Hans Christian Oerstad, Danish scientist who discovered electromagnetism, born.

1778--Augustus Toplady, English clergyman who wrote the hymn, 'Rock of Ages', died.

1810--Samuel Sebastian Wesley, English organist and composer, born.

1840--Baron von Kraft-Ebing, German neuropsychiatrist who pioneered the study of sexual perversions, born.

1867--John Galsworthy, English novelist and playwright, born.

1893--The world's first car registration plates were introduced in France.  They also issued the first driving licenses for passing a driving test, and to complete the day, the first parking restrictions came into force.


Aug 15th. . .

1057--Macbeth, King of Scotland, killed in battle by Malcolm and buried on the island of Iona.

1769--Napoleon I, French Emperor, born in Corsica.

1771--Sir Walter Scott, Scottish historic novelist and inventor of the genre with his novel Waverley, born.

1785--Thomas de Quincey, English essayist and opium addict who wrote Confessions of an Opium Eater, born.

1842--The first regular British detective force was formed. It would assume the name Criminal Investigation Department in 1878.

1843--The Tivoli Pleasure gardens were opened in Copenhagen.

1875--Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, English composer, born.

1885--Edna Ferber, U.S. novelist and playwright, born.

1888--T.E. Lawrence, Welsh soldier and writer known as 'Lawrence of Arabia', born.


Aug 16th. . .

1513--Henry VIII commanded his troops at Guinegatte in a victory over the French, since known as the Battle of the Spurs.

1645--Jean de La Bruyere, French writer remembered for his maxims, born.

1738--Joe Miller, leading English comic, died.

1763--Frederick Augustus, Duke of York and second son of George III, born.

1766--Lady Nairne, Scottish poet and author of Jacobite songs, born.

1819--Troops broke up a crowd meeting to demand Parliamentary reforms on St. Peter's Field, Manchester.  Eleven died in what became known as the Peterloo Massacre.

1854--Duncan Phyfe, American cabinetmaker and furniture maker, died.

1902--Georgette Heyer, English novelist, born.


Aug 17th. . .

1786--Davy Crockett, U.S. frontiersman and politician, born.

1786--Frederick II, who laid the foundation of Prussia's greatness, died.

1812--Napoleon's army defeated the Russians at Smolensk.

1833--The first steamship to cross the Atlantic entirely under power, the Canadian Royal William, began her journey from Nova Scotia to the Isle of Wight.

1888--Monty Woolley, U.S. actor, born.

1892--Mae West, U.S. actress and playwright, born.

1896--Gold was discovered at Bonanza Creek, a small tributary of the Klondike in Canada's Yukon Territory.

1896--Mrs. Bridget Driscoll of Croydon, Surrey, became the first pedestrian to be knocked down and killed by a motor vehicle.


Aug 18th. . .

1227--Genghis Khan, rule of Mongolia, died after a fall from his horse.

1587--Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents to be born in America, was born in present-day North Carolina.

1743--The first rules of boxing, drawn by Jack Broughton, Britain's third heavyweight champion, were confirmed this day.

1774--Meriwether Lewis, American explorer, born.

1792--John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, and British Prime Minister, born.

1823--Andre Jacques Garnerin, French balloonist, died.

1834--Marshall Field, U.S. department store founder who opened the store in Chicago in 1868, born.

1830--Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria-Hungary, born.


Aug 19th. . .

14AD--Augustus, first Roman Emperor, known as Octavian, died.

1631--John Dryden, English poet and Poet Laureate, born.

1646--John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal in Britain, born.

1662--Blaise Pascal, French philosopher, died.

1743--Comtesse du Barry, Louis XV's last mistress, born.

1750--Antonio Salieri, Italian composer and conductor, born.

1808--James Nasmyth, Scottish inventor of the steam hammer, born.

1843--Charles Montague Doughty, English explorer and author, born.

1871--Orville Wright, U.S. aviation pioneer, born.

1876--George Smith, English Assyriologist, died of exhaustion during an excavation at the age of 36.

1897--Electric-powered cabs appeared in London, but proved uneconomical.


Aug 20th. . .

1561--Jacopo Peri, Italian composer, born.

1619--The first African slaves arrive in Jamestown, Virginia, when a Dutch ship anchors with twenty human captives among its cargo.

1741-- Vitus Jonas Bering, Danish explorer and navigator, is the first European to sight Alaska. The Bering Sea is named after him.

1745--Francis Asbury, pioneer bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America, born.

1823--Marco Bozzaris, Greek patriot in the Greek War for Independence, died.

1833--Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the U.S., born.

1847-- U.S. General Winfield Scott defeats a Mexican army of 20,000 at the Battle of Churubusco during the Mexican-American War.

1860--Raymond Poincare, French statesman and 9th president of the republic, born.

1866-- The newly organized National Labor Union holds its first formal meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, calling on Congress to mandate an eight-hour work day.

1890--H.P. Lovecraft, American author of the macabre story, born.


Aug 21st. . .

1754--William Murdock, Scottish engineer who invented coal-gas lighting, born.

1765--William IV, King of England, born.

1808--Arthur Wellesley, the future Wellington, defeated Napoleon's General Junot at the battle of Vimiero.

1858--The Lincoln-Douglas debates began in a race for the Senate.

1831--Nat Turner begins a bloody slave insurrection in Southampton County, Virginia with his followers, killing almost sixty whites, before being subdued by militia and federal troops.

1872--Aubrey Beardsley, artist and one of the leaders of the 'Decadent' movement, born.

1879--Claude Grahame-White, English pioneer aviator, born.

1881--African-American catcher Moses Fleetwood Walker of the Cleveland Whites is barred from a minor league game against the Louisville Eclipses in Kentucky. Racial segregation soon becomes the rule in every league from the majors on.


Aug 22nd. . .

1485--Henry VII led his troops to victory over Richard III in the last battle of the War of the Roses on Bosworth Field.

1642--The Civil War began in England when Charles I erected his standard in front of a few hundred of his Royalists in Nottingham.

1741--Jean Francois de la Perouse, French navigator, born.

1806--Jean Honore Fragonard, French painter, died.

1827--Joseph Strauss, Austrian composer and conductor, and son of Johann Strauss, born.

1847--Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Scottish composer, born.

1851--The yacht America won the Royal Yacht Squadron Cup, now known as 'America's Cup,' at the International Regatta, Cowes, England.

1862--Claude Debussy, French composer of La Mer, born.

1889--'Lord' John Sanger, English circus owner, died.

1893--Dorothy Parker, American satirical writer, born.


Aug 23rd. . .

93AD--Julius Gnaeus Agricola, Roman general renowned for his conquests in Britain, died.

410AD--The Visigoths sacked Rome and put an end to the era of Roman civilization and influence.

1305--Sir William Wallace, Scottish patriot who demanded independence for his country, was hanged, drawn and quartered at Smithfield, London.

1628--The Duke of Buckingham was assassinated at Porstmouth by John Felton, a discontented subaltern.

1754--Louis XVI, the last King of France who set in motion the revolution, born.

1849--W.E. Henley, English poet and critic, born.

1852--Arnold Toynbee, English historian and social reformer who coined the phrase 'the industrial revoution,' born.

1869--Edgar Lee Masters, U.S. poet and novelist of Spoon River Anthology, born.


Aug 24th. . .

79AD--Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in hot volcanic ash.

1572--Thousands of French Huguenots were murdered in Paris by order of Catherine de Medici and the Catholic French court.

1680--Captain Blood, Irish adventurer who tried to steal the Crown jewels from the Tower of London, died.

1690--Job Charnock established a trading post in West Bengal, which would become India's largest city--Calcutta.

1724--George Stubbs, English painter, born.

1770--Thomas Chatterton, starving English poet, refused food from his friends and instead took arsenic and died.

1814--British troops invaded Washington and set fire to the White House and the Capitol.  Both were rebuilt and enlarged.

1847--Charlotte Bronte sent her manuscript of Jane Eyre from the railway station at Haworth to her London publisher.


Aug 25th. . .

325--The General Council of Nicaea decided the rules for computing the date of Easter each year.

1530--Ivan IV ('the Terrible), first Tsar of Russia, born.

1688--Sir Henry Morgan, Welsh buccaneer and Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica, born.

1718--Hundreds of French immigrants settled in Louisiana.

1804--Alicia Meynell became the first known woman jockey when she rode over a four-mile course in York.

1819--James Watt, English engineer and inventor, died.

1819--Allan Pinkerton, U.S. detective, born in Scotland.

1822--Sir William Herschel, German-born British astronomer, died.

1841--Three women graduated as Bachelors of Arts at the Oberlin College Institute, Ohio, the first women to be granted degrees.

1875--Captain Matthew Webb became the first person to swim the English Channel.


Aug 26th. . .

1346--The Battle of Crecy took place in the first decade of the Hundred Years War between Britain and France.  Edward III of England was the victor.

1584--Frans Hals, Dutch portrait and genre painter, born.

1676--Sir Robert Walpole, first Prime Minister, born.

1740--Joseph Michel Montgolfier, French hot air balloonist, born.

1743--Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, French chemist, born.

1789--The French Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Men.

1850--Louis Philippe, the 'Citizen King' of France, died in England after abdicating.

1819--Prince Albert, Consort to Queen Victoria, born in Bavaria.

1875--John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir, Scottish novelist and Governor-General of Canada, born.


Aug 27th. . .

551BC--Confucius, Chinese philosopher, born--(one suggested birthday).

1576--Titian, Venetian painter, died.

1783--The Montgolfier brothers helped launch the first hydrogen balloon to fly.

1784--James Tytler of Edinburgh made the first free flight in a balloon in Britain.

1859--The world's first oil well was drilled at Titusville, Pennsylvania.

1879--Sir Rowland Hill, English postal service pioneer, died.

1877--The Hon. Charles Stewart Rolls, English aviator and motor manufacturer, born.

1871--Theodore Drieser, author of An American Tragedy, born.

1883--A volcanic eruption on Pulau sent ash and debris 50 miles into the air, and caused tidal waves reaching as far away as Hawaii, killing thousands.

1899--C.S. Forester, English novelist, born in Cairo.


Aug 28th. . .

1565--Spanish explorers landed at the site of St. Augustine, Florida.

1749--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, novelist and playwright, born.

1828--Count Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist of War and Peace, born.

1833--Sir Edward Burne-Jones, English painter of the Pre-Raphaelite school, born.

1849--Venice surrenders to Austrian forces, which had laid siege to the city since its proclamation of independence a month earlier.

1850--The Channel telegraph cable was finally laid between Dover and Cap Gris Nez.

1850--The first performance of Wagner's Lohengrin was staged at Weimar.

1862-- Stonewall Jackson captures and plunders Union supply depot at Manassas Junction, Virginia.

1879--Cetewayo, the last great ruler of Zululand, is captured by the British after defeat at the battle of Ulundi.


Aug 29th. . .

1619--Jean-Baptiste Colbert, French statesman and founder of the French Navy, born.

1671--Edmond Hoyle, English writer of books which codified the rules of card and indoor games, died.

1780--Jean Auguste Ingres, French classical painter, born.

1782--The HMS Royal George sank off Spithead while at anchor.  Nine hundred lives were lost.

1809--Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. physician, poet and humorist, born.

1831--Michael Faraday successfully demonstrated the first electrical transformer at the Royal Institute, London.

1842--The Treaty of Nanking was signed to end the Opium War.

1877-- Brigham Young, Mormon leader in Salt Lake City, died.

1885--The first motor cycle was patented by Gottlieb Daimler in Germany.


Aug 30th. . .

30BC--Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, died after an asp bit her.

1483--Louis XI, King of France responsible for its unification after the Hundred Years War, died.

1748--Jacques Louis David, French court painter, born.

1797--Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, English author of Frankenstein, and daughter of the early feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft, born.

1860--The first trams in Britain began running, operated by the Birkenhead Street Railway.

1862--'Stonewall' Jackson led the Confederate troops to victory against the Union army at the second Battle of Bull Run in the American Civil War.

1881--The first stereo system was patented by Clement Ader of Germany.

1871-- Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford, British experimental physicist who was the first to split an atom, born.


Aug 31st. . .

12AD--Caligula, Roman emperor remembered for his murderous reign, born.

1422--Henry V, King of England, died from dysentery while in France.

1569--Jahangir, Mogul emperor whose influence encouraged the growth of Persian culture, born.

1688--John Bunyan, English author of Pilgrim's Progress, died.

1867--Charles Pierre Baudelaire, French poet, died.

1870--Maria Montessori, Italian educationist, born.

1888--A prostitute named Mary Ann Nicholls was found in Whitecahpel. She would be the first of Jack the Ripper's victims.

1880-- Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands, born.

1900--Coca-Cola went on sale in Britain.