#TodayInHistory – August 14 min read
August 1 – Some important events on this day.
30 BC 👉🏼 Octavian (later known as Augustus) enters Alexandria, Egypt, bringing it under the control of the Roman Republic
527 👉🏼 Justinian I becomes the sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire
1086 👉🏼 Results of the Domesday inquiry presented to William the Conqueror in Salisbury (the date of compilation and the Great Domesday are historically contestable).
In 1066 the course of British history changed forever when William, the Duke of Normandy, landed on the southern coast of England and seized the country from its Anglo-Saxon king Harold Godwinson. The French had a long history of claims in England, and in 1002 the English king Aethelred the Unready married the sister of Richard II, the Norman duke.
However, the Normans weren’t the only ones keen on the English throne: the Norwegians, led by King Harald Hardrada, invaded northern England but Harold defeated them at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on September 25, but at the cost of severely weakening his army immediately prior to William the Conqueror’s invasion.
William invaded with around 7,000-12,000 men, and constructed a castle in the area of Hastings. This is where the famous Battle of Hastings would happen, on October 14, 1066. King Harold was killed (by an arrow to the eye according to legend – though this is debated among historians) and William marched on London, eventually receiving the capitulation of the English barons and Harold’s uncrowned successor Edgar Aetheling.
William was crowned on 25 December 1066 and reigned until 1087. The conquest introduced the Norman language to England, eliminated the English elite, changes to governance and the formal elimination of slavery.
1498 👉🏼 Christopher Columbus lands on “Isla Santa” (Venezuela)
1774 👉🏼 English chemist Joseph Priestley discovers oxygen by isolating it in its gaseous state.
English chemist made his most famous discovery, during an experiment at Boxwood House in England on this day. Using a a 12-inch-wide glass “burning lens” he aimed it at a lump of mercuric oxide placed in an upside down glass container in a pool of mercury. The gas his experiment emitted he announced five or six times as good as common air.”
Priestley called this air “dephlogisticated air” and his findings enabled French chemist Antoine Lavoisier to discover its role in combustion and name it oxygen in 1778.
1781 👉🏼 British army under general Cornwallis occupies Yorktown, Virginia.
When the British colonial forces were defeated at Yorktown after a month of battle, American independence was essentially guaranteed, and the guns fell silent as the Revolutionary War ended.
The British had been led by Charles Cornwallis, who was backed up by German auxiliary units from the states of Ansbach and Hesse-Kassel. The Americans, commanded by George Washington, were supported by the French. After severely damaging the surrounded British forces in Yorktown, in Virginia, Cornwallis asked for a surrender on October 17, and negotiations were completed on October 19. Cornwallis himself was not present for the surrender ceremony, citing ‘illness’, but he did sign the document.
With the surrender, some 7,000 British soldiers became prisoners, and American essentially became an independent state. Having lost the last significant battle on the American continent, the British and American governments began to negotiate a final settlement, which concluded with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Under this agreement Britain recognized the United States as an independent country.
1831 👉🏼 London Bridge opens to traffic
1834 👉🏼 Slavery abolished throughout the British Empire: Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into effect
1900 👉🏼 The 1st Michelin Guide is published by the brothers Édouard and André Michelin as a hotel and restaurant reference guide to encourage more road travel and thus boost tire sales (exact date beyond Aug 1900 unknown).
….But why a tyres company has been interested in restaurants 👀?
1907 👉🏼 First Scout camp opens on Brownsea Island, in Poole Harbour, Dorset
1936 👉🏼 XI Summer Olympic Games are opened by Adolph Hitler in Berlin
1944 👉🏼 Anne Frank’s last diary entry; 3 days later she is arrested
1958 👉🏼 US atomic submarine USS Nautilus begins 1st transit of North Pole “operation Sunshine”
2004 👉🏼 A supermarket fire kills 396 people and injures 500 in Asunción, Paraguay
2016 👉🏼 Anthrax outbreak in Yamalo-Nenets, Siberia kills one and infects 8 others, also kills 2,300 reindeer, global warming blamed