This Day in History
Today is the 228th day of 2012. There are 138 days left in the year.
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.
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 establishment of colony there.
1865: Sir Joseph Lister, a British surgeon, discovers the antiseptic process and reduces postoperative patient mortality to less than 15 per cent in one year.
1914: The Panama Canal is officially opened.
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.
1950: A magnitude 8.4 earthquake kills 200 people and destroys 30,000 square miles (76,800 square kilometres) of land in Assam, northeast India.
1962: The Netherlands and Indonesia settle West New Guinea dispute.
1971: Bahrain gains independence from Britain.
1975: Bangladesh's founding father, Sheik Mujibur Rahman, is assassinated with most of his family in a successful military coup.
1990: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein offers to withdraw from Iranian territory and release prisoners of war in bid to win favour with Tehran against US.
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.
2002: Police in Zimbabwe begin arresting white farmers who defied a government order to leave their farms.
2003: The US closes the Washington, D.C. offices of two Iranian opposition groups after determining that they were aliases of the Mujaheddin al-Khalq, an organization designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department.
2005: On the first day of Israel's Gaza pullout, thousands of Israeli troops hand out eviction notices to sobbing settlers and help some pack, but also scuffle with crowds of protesters who are resistant to leave.
2006: The British Defense 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.
2009: A suicide car bomber strikes near the front gate of NATO headquarters in Kabul, killing seven people and wounding nearly 100 in a brazen daylight attack less than a week before Afghanistan's landmark presidential election.
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.
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-).