August 23 – Some important events on this day.
79 👉🏼 Mount Vesuvius begins stirring, on feast day of Vulcan, Roman god of fire (goes on to destroy Pompeii)
476 👉🏼 Odoacer proclaimed King of Italy by his troops, 1st barbarian King of Italy
1305 👉🏼 William Wallace, Scottish patriot, is executed for high treason by Edward I of England.
One of the great heroes of Scotland, William Wallace was one of the main leaders of the First War of Scottish Independence. In September 1297 he defeated the English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge and was appointed the Guardian of Scotland, but was defeated at Falkirk in 1298. He resigned his post in favor of Robert the Bruce.
Wallace managed to avoid being captured until 1305 when he was turned over to Edward I of England and he was put on trial for treason. To this charge he replied “I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject.”
On this day, he was stripped naked and dragged by a horse through London. He was then hung, drawn and quartered – strangled by hanging, but kept alive, emasculated, disemboweled and had his bowels burned before him, beheaded and then cut into four parts.
William Wallace was portrayed by Mel Gibson in the Academy Award-winning film Braveheart, released in 1995.
1500 👉🏼 Governor Francisco De Bobadilla arrives in the Indies, soon after arrests and sends former Governor Christopher Columbus back to Spain in chains
1541 👉🏼 French explorer Jacques Cartier lands near Quebec City in his third voyage to Canada
1542 👉🏼 Rabbi Joseph Caro completes his commentary of Tur Code
1617 👉🏼 1st one-way streets open (London)
1793 👉🏼 French Revolution: The National Convention adopts the levée en masse, conscripting all able-bodied men between 18 and 25 for military service during the French Revolutionary Wars
1850 👉🏼 1st US National Women’s Rights Convention convenes in Worcester, Massachusetts
1924 👉🏼 Mars’ closest approach to Earth since 10th century
1942 👉🏼 Battle of Stalingrad: 600 Luftwaffe planes bomb Stalingrad (40,000 die)
1942 👉🏼 World War II: last cavalry charge in history takes place at Isbushenskij, Russia – the Italian Savoia Cavalleria charges Soviet infantry
1996 👉🏼 Osama bin Laden issues message entitled “A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places”
2000 👉🏼 A Gulf Air Airbus A320 crashes into the Persian Gulf near Manama, Bahrain, killing 143.
2005 👉🏼 Hurricane Katrina forms over the Bahamas, later becoming a category 5 hurricane.
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.
2007 👉🏼 Hashtag invented and first used in a tweet by US product designer Chris Messina
2019 👉🏼 Russia launches the 1st floating nuclear power station the Akademik Lomonosov from port of Murmansk