It happened today – this day in history – August 3

1460: Death of King James II of Scotland aged 29.

1492: Christopher Columbus sets sail on his first voyage with three ships, Santa María, Pinta and Niña from Palos de la Frontera, Spain for the “Indies”.

1778: La Scala opens in Milan.

1798: Admiral Horatio Nelson forces the remnants of the French fleet to surrender at the Battle of The Nile.

1829: Gioacchino Rossini’s “William Tell” premieres in Paris.

1860: The Second Maori War begins in New Zealand.

1867: Birth of first Labour Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin in Bewdley.

1887: Birth of war poet Rupert Brooke in Rugby.

1904: British journalist Francis Younghusband visits the forbidden city of Lhasa.

1908: Brothers Amadee and Jean Bouyssonie discover the fossil remains of a nearly complete 60,000 year-old Neanderthal man at La Chappelle-aux-Saints, France.

1914: The first unofficial trip through the Panama Canal by the SS Christobel. On the same day, Belgium rejects a demand to allow free crossing for the German Army leading to their invasion hours later. Germany also declares war on France leading British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey to remark: “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time.”

1923: Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes US President upon the death of President Warren G. Harding the day before.

1924: Death of writer Joseph Conrad aged 66.

1925: The last US troops leave Nicaragua after 13 years.

1926: Traffic lights are installed at Piccadilly Circus in London.

1932: Official automatic timing and photo-finish camera for track events is used for the first time at the Los Angeles Olympics.

1934: Adolf Hitler merges the offices of German Chancellor and President, declaring himself “Führer”.

1936: African American sprinter Jesse Owens wins the 100m (10.3 seconds) in front of Adolf Hitler at the Berlin Olympics. His first of four gold medals at the Games.

1940: Italian troops invade British Somalia.

1943: General George Patton slaps an American GI in hospital, accusing him of cowardice.

1944: Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp gases 4,000 gypsies.

1952: Ferrari driver Alberto Ascari clinches the Formula 1 World Drivers Championship by winning the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. On the same day, the Olympic Games close in Helsinki, Finland.

1954: Death of French novelist Colette (Sidonie-Gabrielle) aged 81.

1956: Singles chart:

  1. Why Do Fools Fall In Love – Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers
  2. Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera Sera) – Doris Day
  3. Walk Hand In Hand – Tony Martin
  4. I’ll Be Home – Pat Boone
  5. Sweet Old-Fashioned Girl – Teresa Brewer
  6. Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley
  7. Who Are We – Ronnie Hilton
  8. The Wayward Wind – Tex Ritter
  9. Mountain Greenery – Mel Torme
  10. I’m Walking Backwards For Christmas – The Goons

1957: Tunku Abdul Rahman, a British-educated Malay prince, is elected as head of state ahead of independence from Britain.

1958: The USS Nautilus becomes the first submarine to reach the North Pole. On the same day, British racing driver Peter Collins dies aged 26 when his Ferrari crashes during the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.

1960: Niger gains independence from France.

1963: The Beatles play The Cavern in Liverpool for the last time. During their set a power cut plunges the venue into temporary darkness, prompting Lennon and McCartney to perform an acoustic version of When I’m Sixty-Four, a song the band wouldn’t release until the Sgt Pepper album in 1967.

1966: The South African government bans Beatles records. On the same day, comedian Lenny Bruce dies at his home in the Hollywood Hills from a morphine overdose aged 39.

1967: 45,000 US soldiers are sent to Vietnam.


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1968: The two day Newport Pop Festival begins in Costa Mesa, California with Alice Cooper, Canned Heat, Country Joe and the Fish, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Sonny & Cher, Steppenwolf and Tiny Tim. Over 100,000 fans attend

1971: Paul McCartney announces the formation of his new group Wings with wife Linda and former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine. They are joined by Grease Band guitarist Henry McCulloch and American drummer Denny Seiwell.

1974: Guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter leaves Steely Dan and joins The Doobie Brothers.

1978: The Queen opens the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada.

1979: At 67 years, 2 months and 7 days, Sam Snead sets the record for the oldest golfer to make the cut in a major – PGA Championship.

1980: The Olympic Games close in Moscow.

1981: US President Ronald Reagan issues an ultimatum to 13,000 striking air traffic control workers: “if they do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated.”

1984: A bomb attack on Madras airport, India, kills 34. On the same day, Mary Lou Retton scores 10 for her final vault to win the individual all-round competition in Los Angeles and become the first American woman to win an Olympic gymnastics medal.

1990: The US commits naval forces to the Gulf regions following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

1994: King Hussain pilots the first Jordanian plane to fly over Israeli airspace.

1995: Hollywood actress and one of the first female directors, Ida Lupino, dies aged 77.

1996: Andre Agassi wins the men’s singles Tennis gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics beating Spaniard Sergi Bruguera 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

1999: Thierry Henry joins Arsenal from Juventus for £11m.

2001: A car bomb is detonated on Ealing Broadway injuring seven people.

2002: Ten-year old schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman go missing from a barbecue Soham, Cambs

2003: The Anglican Church in America votes to approve the appointment of an openly gay bishop, Canon Gene Robinson.

2006: Arthur Lee singer and guitarist of influential 1960s band Love dies in Memphis at the age of 61 following a battle with acute myeloid leukaemia.

2007: Queen guitarist Brian May hands in his astronomy PhD thesis – 36 years after abandoning it to join the band.

2008: Film star Morgan Freeman is injured near Ruleville, Mississippi, when his car flips over several times. On the same day, Russian writer and Nobel Prize winner, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, dies aged 80.

2012: The United Nations General Assembly reproaches the UN Security Council over its lack of action in Syria. On the same day, swimmer Michael Phelps wins the 100m butterfly in the London Olympics to take his all-time Games gold medal tally to a record 17.

2014: The Israeli Defence Force removes much of its ground forces from the Gaza Strip following the destruction of 32 tunnels built by Hamas and other militants. At least 13 Palestinians are reported killed in ongoing air raids and tank shelling.

2015: The Athens Stock Exchange re-opens after a month and falls by 22%.

2017: Brazilian footballer Neymar transfers from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record transfer fee of €222m on a 5-year deal. On the same day, Massachusetts woman Michelle Carter is sentenced to 2 1/2 years for urging her boyfriend to commit suicide and Rapper Kidd Creole is arrested and charged with stabbing a homeless man to death in New York City. Also, actor Robert Hardy dies aged 91 and American actor Ty Hardin (Orison Hungerford Jr) dies aged 87.

2018: Drake – Scorpion

2018: Album chart:

  1. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again – Motion Picture Cast Recording
  2. The Greatest Showman – Motion Picture Cast Recording
  3. Scorpion – Drake
  4. Staying at Tamara’s – George Ezra
  5. Mamma Mia – Motion Picture Cast Recording
  6. Gold: Greatest Hits – ABBA
  7. Divide – Ed Sheeran
  8. Vicious – Halestorm
  9. Beerbongs & Bentleys – Post Malone
  10. High As Hope – Florence & the Machine

2019: A suspected domestic terrorist shoots and kills 22 and injures 24 at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas. On the same day, a gunman kills nine and injures 27 at a bar in Dayton, Ohio.

2020: Spain’s former King Juan Carlos announces he will go into exile abroad amid his implication in a corruption inquiry. On the same day, Northern Ireland politician John Hume dies aged 83.

2021: Jamaican athlete Elaine Thompson Herah wins 200m gold in Tokyo to become the first female to claim the 100/200m double at consecutive Olympic Games.

BIRTHDAYS: Tony Bennett (Benedetto), singer, 96; Steven Berkoff, actor/theatre director, 85; Martin Sheen (Ramon Estevez), actor, 82; Martha Stewart, author US TV personality, 81; Eamon Dunphy, author/journalist/footballer, 77; Jack Straw, politician, 76; John Landis, director, 72; Osvaldo Ardiles, former footballer, 70; Kirk Brandon, singer/guitarist (Spear Of Destiny/Theatre of hate) 66; John C. McGinley, actor, 63; Lee Rocker (Leon Drucker) double bassist, 61; James Hetfield, guitarist/vocalist (Metallica) 59; Tasmin Archer, singer, 59; Skin, (Deborah Anne Dyer), singer (Skunk Anansie) 55; Gina G (Gardiner), singer, 52; Michael Ealy (Brown), actor, 49; Stephen Graham, actor, 49; Tom Brady, Quarterback, 45; Evangeline (Nicole) Lilly, actress, 43; Scroobius Pip (David Meads) actor/rapper/poet, 41; Mamie Gummer, actress, 39; Karlie Kloss, model, 30; Jannik Vestergaard, footballer, 30.

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