It happened today – this day in history – August 23

476: Odoacer is proclaimed King of Italy by his troops

1305: Scottish patriot William Wallace is executed for high treason by Edward I.

1500: Governor Francisco De Bobadilla arrives in the Indies, arrests Christopher Columbus and sends him back to Spain in chains.

1541: Explorer Jacques Cartier lands near Quebec City in his third voyage to Canada.

1617: The first one-way streets open in London.

1754: Birth of Louis XVI of France.

1799: Napoleon leaves Egypt for France to seize power.

1839: The British capture Hong Kong from China.

1866: The Treaty of Prague ends the Austro-Prussian War.

1873: Opening of the Albert Bridge across the River Thames.

1911: Prime Minister Herbert Asquith holds a secret meeting about British strategy in case of war with Germany.

1914: German troops begin to plunder Belgium. On the same day, Japan declares war on Germany.

1915: Tsar Nicholas II takes control of the Russian Army.

1917: Race riot in Houston Texas.

1921: The British declare a truce with Irish Nationalists Sinn Féin.

1924: Mars makes its closest approach to Earth since the 10th century.

1926: Silent film idol Rudolph Valentino dies from pleuritis aged 31.

1933: Mahatma Gandhi is released from Indian jail following another hunger strike.

1939: John Cobb of Britain drives 365.85mph at Bonneville Flats. On the same day, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agree the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact and secretly divide Poland between themselves, setting the stage for World War II.

1940: The Luftwaffe begins night bombing on London.

1942: 600 Luftwaffe planes bomb Stalingrad, killing 40,000 people.

1943: The Red army recaptures Charkow.

1944: Allied troops capture Marseille. On the same day, in a Romanian Royal coup: King Michael orders forces to cease fire against the Allies and dismisses pro-Axis premier, Marshal Ion Antonescu. Also, a US B-24 crashes into a school in Freckelton, Lancs, killing 76.

1953: Ferrari driver Alberto Ascari clinches his second Formula 1 World Drivers Championship by winning Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten.

1960: Death of lyricist Oscar Hammerstein aged 65.


1961: Police launch a murder hunt after a man is found shot dead and his companion seriously wounded in a lay-by on the A6 in Beds.

1962: John Lennon marries a pregnant Cynthia Powell at Liverpool’s Mount Pleasant register office.

1963: The Rolling Stones appear on ITV show Ready, Steady, Go! for the first time, performing their debut single, a cover of Cuck Berry’s Come On.

1966: The Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from Moon.

1967: Whilst celebrating at his 21st birthday party an inebriated Keith Moon of The Who drives a Lincoln Continental into the swimming pool of the Holiday Inn at Flint, Michigan.

1973: The Intelsat communications satellite is launched.

1975: Communists take over Laos. On the same day, guitarist Paul Kossoff is revived after suffering a heart attack.

1976: Thousands die when an earthquake strikes China.

1979: Kurds in Iran oust government troops from a large area near the Iraqi border. On the same day, Bolshoi Ballet dancer Alexander Godunov defects to the west in New York city.

1985: The head of West German counter intelligence, Hans-Joachim Tiedge, is exposed as an East German spy when he defects.

1990: Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein appears on state television with western hostages, provoking a storm of outrage. Also, and Armenia declares independence from the Soviet Union.

1991: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev begins a purge of cabinet members and officials involved in the failed coup four days earlier.

1995: Actor Larry Hagman receives a liver transplant.

1998: Singles chart:

  1. No Matter What – Boyzone
  2. Music Sounds Better With You – Stardust
  3. What Can I Do – The Corrs
  4. To The Moon And Back – Savage Garden
  5. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright – Sweetbox
  6. Mysterious Times – Sash ft Tina Cousins
  7. Real Good Time – Alda
  8. Viva Forever – The Spice Girls
  9. My Weakness Is None Of Your Business – Embrace
  10. Ghetto Superstar (That Is What You Are) – Pras Michel ft ODB & Maya
1998: Madonna – Ray Of Light

Album chart:

  1. Talk On Corners – The Corrs
  2. International Velvet – Catatonia
  3. Blue – Simply Red
  4. Savage Garden – Savage Garden
  5. Follow The Leader – Korn
  6. Postcards From Heaven – The Lighthouse Family
  7. Life Thru A Lens – Robbie Williams
  8. Jane McDonald – Jane McDonald
  9. Desireless – Eagle Eye Cherry
  10. Ray Of Light – Madonna

2004: Kelly Holmes wins the 800m at the Athens Olympics.

2005: Hurricane Katrina forms over the Bahamas.

2011: Muammar al-Gaddafi is overthrown after National Transitional Council forces take control of his Bab al-Azizia compound during the Libyan Civil War.

2013: UN inspectors are stopped by the Syrian government from investigating a reported site of a massacre using chemical weapons.

2014: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie get married in France.

2015: A 12 year old boy trips and rips the 17th-century painting “Flowers” by Paolo Porpora worth $1.5m at an exhibition in Taiwan.

2019: Russia launches the first floating nuclear power station, the Akademik Lomonosov, from the port of Murmansk.

2020: Bayern Munich beat Paris St Germain 1-0 in Lisbon to win the Champions League.

BIRTHDAYS: Barbara Eden (Morehead), actress, 90; Roger Greenaway, songwriter, 83; Baron Peter Lilley, politician, 78; Willy Russell, dramatist, 74; Linda Thompson, singer, 74; Geoff Capes, Olympic shot putter, 72; Shelley Long, actress, 72; Edwyn Collins, singer-songwriter, 62; Gary Mabbutt, footballer, 60; Shaun Ryder, singer (Happy Mondays/Black Grape) 59; Joel Cohen, screenwriter/director, 58; Roger Avary, screenwriter, 56; Charley Boorman, documentary maker, 55; Jay (John) Mohr, actor, 51; Mark Butcher, cricketer, 49; Ray Park, actor/martial artist, 47; Eliza Carthy, folk singer, 46; Julian Casablancas, singer/songwriter, (The Strokes) 43; Richie Neville, singer (Five) 42; James Collins, footballer, 38; Glen Johnson, footballer, 37; Amy Pemberton, actress, 33; Lianne La Havas, singer-songwriter, 32; Fabian Balbuena, footballer, 30.