It happened today – this day in history – August 2

216BC: The Carthaginian army lead by Hannibal defeats numerically superior Roman army at the Battle of Cannae during the Second Punic War.

1100: William II is killed by an arrow shot by Sir Walter Tyrell while hunting in the New Forest.

1610: Henry Hudson enters the bay later named after him.

1701: The Great Peace of Montreal is signed between New France and North American Indian nations at the urging of Huron chief Kondiaronk.

1802: Napoleon is declared “Consul for Life”.

1819: The first parachute jump in the US.

1830: Charles X of France abdicates in favour of his grandson the Duc de Bordeaux.

1858: The Government of India is transferred from the East India Company to the British Crown.

1865: Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” is published. On the same day, the Transatlantic cable being laid by the SS Great Eastern snaps and is lost.

1870: The world’s first underground tube railway opens in London.

1876: Wild Bill Hickok (James Butler) is shot dead from behind by Jack McCall while playing poker aged 39.

1880: Parliament officially adopts Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

1887: Rowell Hodge patents barbed wire.

1894: Death duties are first introduced in Britain.

1914: German troops overthrow Luxembourg. On the same day, Britain mobilizes troops.

1918: Japan announces that it is deploying troops to Siberia in the aftermath of the First World War.

1922: China is hit by a typhoon which kills 60,000. On the same day, inventor Alexander Graham Bell dies aged 75.

1923: US President Warren G Harding dies from a heart attack at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, aged 57.

1928: Italian dictator Benito Mussolini signs a peace treaty with Abyssinia.

1934: Adolf Hitler becomes commander-in-chief of the German armed forces. On the same day, First World War general and President of Germany, Paul von Hindenburg, dies from lung cancer aged 86.

1936: Louis Blériot, French aviator who made the first flight across the English Channel, dies from a heart attack aged 64.

1940: Clermont-Ferrand sentences General Charles de Gaulle to death in his absence in France.

1943: An armed revolt breaks out in the Treblinka concentration camp. On the same day, John F Kennedy’s PT-boat 109 sinks at the Solomon Islands.

1945: The surviving crew of the USS Indianapolis are spotted by a PV-1 Ventura pilot on a routine sector search.

1948: Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands wins the 100m in 11.9 at the London Olympics.

1952: Floyd Patterson wins the gold medal in the middleweight division at the Helsinki Olympic Games.

1961: Cyrille Adula becomes premier of Congo.


1964: North Vietnam fires on a US destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin. which eventually escalates US involvement in the Vietnam War. On the same day, a race riot breaks out in Jersey City, New Jersey.

1965: Forest fires devastate the south of France.

1967: The second Blackwall Tunnel opens in Greenwich.

1969: Bob Dylan makes a surprise appearance at his 10th high school reunion.

1970: Rubber bullets are used for the first time in Northern Ireland.

1973: More than 50 people die in a fire caused by three boys illicitly smoking at the Summerland leisure resort on the Isle of Man.

1976: Peter “Puddy” Watts, road manager with Pink Floyd, who provided the manic laughter on the album “The Dark Side Of The Moon”, dies of a heroin overdose. On the same day, legendary director Fritz Lang dies from a stroke aged 85.

1980: A bomb detonates at Bologna railway station in Italy, killing 85 people. Although thought to have been planted by right wing extremists, no one has ever been prosecuted. On the same day, at the Moscow Olympics, Cuban super-heavyweight Teofilo Stevenson becomes the first fighter to win three Olympic gold medals in the same division.

1983: Iconic Motown bassist James Jameson dies aged 47 of complications stemming from cirrhosis of the liver, heart failure and pneumonia.

1984: Jeff Blatnick, in remission from Hodgkin’s disease, becomes the first American to win a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the Los Angeles Olympics.

1985: England captain David Gower scores his 5,000th run in Test cricket during the drawn fourth Test v Australia at Old Trafford.

1987: David Martin, bass player with Sam The Sham & the Pharaohs and co-writer of the hit Woolly Bully, dies of a heart attack aged 50.

Singles chart:

  1. La Bamba – Los Lobos
  2. Who’s That Girl – Madonna
  3. Alone – Heart
  4. Always – Atlantic Starr
  5. I Just Can’t Stop Loving You – Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett
  6. Labour Of Love – Hue and Cry
  7. True Faith – New Order
  8. Call Me Spagna
  9. Jive Talkin’ – Boogie Box High
  10. She’s On It – The Beastie Boys
1987: U2 – The Joshua Tree

Album chart:

  1. Hits 6 – Various Artists
  2. Introducing The Hardline According To – Terence Trent D’Arby
  3. The Joshua Tree – U2
  4. Sixties Mix – Various Artists
  5. Who’s That Girl – Original Soundtrack
  6. Whitney – Whitney Houston
  7. Bad Animals – Heart
  8. Invisible Touch – Genesis
  9. F.L.M – Mel and Kim
  10. Hearsay All Mixed Up – Alexander O’Neal

1989: NASA confirms Voyager 2’s discovery of three more moons of Neptune.

1990: More than 100,000 Iraqi soldiers invade Kuwait. On the same day, US President George Bush orders troops to Saudi Arabia.

1995: Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd issues a decree replacing all members of the Council of Ministers who do not have blood ties to the royal family.

1996: The star-studded US men’s basketball team win the gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics.

1997: Writer William S Burroughs dies from a heart attack aged 83. On the same day, Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti dies aged 58.

2001: New Orleans International Airport is re-named Louis Armstrong Airport in honour of the jazz legend.

2012: Swimmer Michael Phelps wins an unprecedented third consecutive gold medal in the 200m individual medley at the London Olympics.

2017: The Duke of Edinburgh makes his final solo public appearance before retiring from public engagements aged 96.

2018: Apple becomes the first American public listed company to reach $1 trillion in value.

2019: Saudi Arabia announces new rules for women including allowing them to travel independently abroad without a male guardian’s permission.

2020: The Space X Dragon capsule carrying NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken splashes down in the Gulf of Mexico after the first commercial crewed mission. On the same day, the UAE starts up the Arab world’s first nuclear power station at the Barakah plant.

Kevin Smith

BIRTHDAYS: Garth Hudson, musician (The Band) 86; Joanna Cassidy (Caskey), actress, 78; Andy Fairweather-Low, singer-songwriter/guitarist, 75; Ted (David) Turner, guitarist (Wishbone Ash) 73; Steve Hillage, guitarist/producer, 72; Joe Lynn Turner, singer (Rainbow) 72; Alain Giresse, French footballer, 71; Sammy McIlroy, footballer, 69; Butch Vig, drummer/producer (Garbage) 66; Neil Morse, musician (Transatlantic/Spock’s Beard), 63; Lee Mavers, singer-songwriter/guitarist (The La’s) 61; Mary-Louise Parker, actress, 59; Kevin Smith, director/screenwriter/actor, 52; Jimmy Pop (James Moyer Franks) singer-songwriter (The Bloodhound Gang) 51; Sam Worthington, actor, 47; Edward Furlong, actor, 46; Donna Air, actress/TV presenter, 44; Charlie XCX (Aitchison) singer-songwriter, 31; Jacob Collier, singer-songwriter, 29.