#TodayInHistory – August 163 min read
August 16 – Some important events on this day.
1384 👉🏼 Hongwu Emperor of Ming China, Emperor Dong, hears case of couple who tore money bills while fighting over them (equal to act of destroying stamped government documents – law necessitated 100 floggings). Hongwu Emperor decides to pardon them.
1819 👉🏼 Peterloo Massacre, Manchester, England: cavalry charges demonstrators, 15 people killed and 400–700 injured
1896 👉🏼 Gold first discovered in Klondike, found at Bonanza Creek, Alaska by George Carmack
1930 👉🏼 I British Empire Games open in Hamilton, Canada
1945 👉🏼 Puyi, the last Chinese Emperor and ruler of Manchukuo is captured by Soviet troops
1946 👉🏼 Direct Action Day: Widespread riots erupt in Calcutta between Muslims and Hindus over whether Pakistan should be a separate state, killing over 4,000 and leaving 100,000 homeless.
1969 👉🏼 Second day of the Woodstock rock festival in NY.
The Woodstock Music and Art Fair ran from the 15-18th August 1969 and was attended by 400,000 people.
It is regarded as an iconic moment in music history and the event that best encapsulates the counterculture generation of the 1960s.
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1972 👉🏼 Morocco King Hassan II’s B727 shot during failed coup attempt by General Mohamed Oufkir. Reportedly, King Hassan grabbed the radio and told the rebel pilots “Stop firing! The tyrant is dead!”, fooling pilots to break off attack
1989 👉🏼 A solar flare from the Sun creates a geomagnetic storm that affects micro chips, leading to a halt of all trading on Toronto’s stock market.
1991 👉🏼 Belgium census is 10,000,963 inhabitants
2008 👉🏼 Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt sets new world record of 9.69 seconds to win the coveted 100m gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics
2012 👉🏼 Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange is granted political asylum by Ecuador
2016 👉🏼 “When the Levees Broke” documentary directed by Spike Lee, of effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans, premieres at New Orleans Arena.
Perhaps the most infamous hurricane of all time, Katrina devastated large swathes of the US Gulf Coast, particularly Louisiana, where the ‘Big Easy’ New Orleans was inundated with floodwaters after the city’s levees broke. More than 1,836 people died.
Exacerbating one of the worst natural disasters in American history was the much criticized government response, particularly by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In the Superdome in New Orleans, supplies were limited, leading to a rapid deterioration in conditions and an evacuation which took five days. Deaths from violence, reports of looting, thirst and starvation in Louisiana in the days after Katrina provoked harsh criticism of people like George W. Bush, mayor Ray Nagin, FEMA head Michael Brown (who resigned partway through the crisis) and others. Kanye West infamously said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during a live broadcast for charity.
The breach of the levees caused catastrophic flooding in New Orleans – as much as 80% of it was flooded for weeks. The estimated cost of Katrina was $125 billion, tying it with Hurricane Harvey in 2017 as the costliest natural disaster in American history.
2018 👉🏼 British Columbia, Canada, declares State of Emergency with 566 wildfires burning, prompting evacuation of 3,000 people
2019 👉🏼 Huge fire in Chalantika slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh, destroys 1,200 houses and leaves up to 10,000 homeless