This Day in History — August 15

Thursday, August 15, 2019

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Today is the 227th day of 2019. There are 138 days left in the year.


1865: Sir Joseph Lister, a British surgeon, discovers the antiseptic process and reduces post-operative patient mortality to less than 15 per cent in one year.


1057: Macbeth is killed in battle by Malcolm, son of late king Duncan, near Aberdeen, Scotland. In 1047, Macbeth killed Duncan to grab the Scottish throne. The fight for the crown continued for generations.

1498: Grenada is sighted by Christopher Columbus. He sails past the island without landing and gives it the name Concepcion.

1834: South Australia Act is passed by Britain's Parliament, allowing for the establishment of colony there.

1914: The Panama Canal is officially opened.

1920: Polish Marshal Jozef Pilsudski crushes Soviet troops in the Battle of Warsaw, blocking their march on western Europe.

1945: Korea is liberated from 35 years of colonial rule with Japan's defeat in World War II. The peninsula is divided into the communist North and capitalist South.

1947: After 200 years, India becomes independent from British rule with Jawaharlal Nehru as prime minister. Pakistan, a new country, is carved out of India.

1950: A magnitude 8.4 earthquake kills 200 people and destroys 30,000 square miles (76,800 square kilometres) of land in Assam, north-east India.

1955: Indian Independence Day is marked with an invasion of Portuguese Goa where 5,000 Indians, advocates of passive resistance, walk into the fire of Portuguese police. Thirteen Indians are killed and 100 injured.

1965: Four days of rioting begin in Los Angeles, what becomes known as the Watts Riots, that leave more than 30 dead and hundreds injured.

1971: Bahrain gains independence from Britain.

1974: Wife of South Korea's President Park Chung-Hee is killed in Seoul by assassin's bullet evidently intended for her husband.

1975: Bangladesh's founding father, Sheik Mujibur Rahman, is assassinated with most of his family in a successful military coup.

1982: South Korea frees 1,251 convicted criminals and 35 jailed political dissidents in a general amnesty, celebrating its liberation from Japanese colonial rule in August 1945.

1990: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein offers to withdraw from Iranian territory and release prisoners of war in a bid to win favour with Tehran against United States.

1991: UN Security Council authorises Iraq to export US$1.6 billion worth of oil to finance desperately needed food, medicine and emergency supplies.

1994: Carlos the Jackal, freelance terrorist, is arrested in Sudan and flown to Paris for trial. He is eventually sentenced to life in prison by a Paris court for the 1975 murders of two French secret agents and an alleged informer.

1996: In a sign that Bosnia's wartime isolation is over, Sarajevo's battered airport welcomes its first commercial flights in more than four years.

2000: A group of 100 separated family members from North Korea arrive in South Korea for temporary reunions with relatives they haven't seen for half-a-century; a group of 100 South Koreans also visits the North.

2001: The death toll in the ambush of a refugee train by Angolan rebels rises to 252 after rescue workers identify 100 more bodies.

2006: The British Defence Ministry says more than 300 British soldiers who were executed by the military for cowardice during World War I will be pardoned.

2007: India celebrates the 60th anniversary of its independence from British rule a day after Pakistan celebrates. Pakistan's independence came a day earlier than India's so that the last British viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten, could attend both ceremonies.

2008: Leftist Fernando Lugo becomes Paraguay's president, ending six decades of one-party rule.

2010: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he has never seen anything like the flood disaster in Pakistan after surveying the devastation and urges foreign donors to speed up assistance to the 20 million people affected.

2012: Syrian fighter jets scream through the sky over the rebel-held town of Azaz. Dropping bombs that level the better part of a poor neighbourhood and wound scores of people, many of them women and children. Activists say more than 20 people were killed.

2011: A relentless barrage of bombings kill 63 people in the most sweeping and coordinated attack Iraq has seen in over a year, striking 17 cities from northern Sunni areas to the southern Shiite heartland.


Napoleon Bonaparte, French emperor (1769-1821); Sir Walter Scott, Scottish novelist-poet (1771-1832); Ethel Barrymore, US actress (1879-1959); T(homas) E(dward) Lawrence (of Arabia), British soldier and author (1888-1935); Julia Child, American TV chef and author (1912-2004); Oscar Peterson, Canadian jazz pianist (1925-2007); Linda Ellerbee, US author/journalist (1944- ); England's Princess Anne (1950- ); Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Mexico-born film director (1963- ); Debra Messing, actress (1968- ); Ben Affleck, actor (1972- )

— AP

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