This Day in History - August 23
Today is the 236th day of 2012. There are 130 days left in the year.
1990: Soviet Republic of Armenia declares independence, and Estonia begins formal negotiations with Kremlin on separation from Soviet Union.
1572: On the eve of the Feast of St Bartholomew, 3,000 French Protestants are massacred in Paris on the orders of King Charles IX, precipitating a fifth religious civil war.
1838: The first American women's college, Mount Holyoke, holds its first graduation.
1839: Hong Kong is taken by the British in war with China.
1908: Abdul Aziz of Morocco is defeated at Marrakesh by Mulai Hafid, the new Sultan.
1914: Japan declares war on Germany in World War I.
1969: Archaeologists unearth a 3,400-year-old city buried by volcanic ash beneath Thira, capital of Santorini island. Two-storey buildings, Minoan painted vases, a medicine cabinet and storage jars are uncovered. The city is named "Prehistoric Pompeii".
1973: Four people are taken hostage by a robber in a Stockholm bank in Sweden. During the six-day drama the captor and captives develop a friendship later described as "the Stockholm syndrome".
1982: Lebanon's parliament elects Christian militia leader Bashir Gemayel president. He is assassinated three weeks later.
1986: Leaders of nine southern African nations, meeting in Angola, express support for international economic sanctions against South Africa.
1994: A wave of refugees fleeing Cuba on inner tubes, planks and plastic foam blocks head for the US naval base in Guantanamo.
1995: The first group of peacekeepers pull out of the UN "safe area" of Gorazde, a withdrawal criticised as leaving the Bosnian enclave vulnerable.
1997: Iran's new moderate president, Mohammad Khatami, appoints a female vice-president, the first woman to serve in a top government post since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
2000: A Gulf Air Airbus A320 crashed into shallow Persian Gulf waters after circling and trying to land in Bahrain, killing all 143 people aboard.
2001: A Japanese court rules that the central government must pay a total of $375,000 to 15 Koreans who survived an explosion aboard a Japanese ship shortly after World War II.
2002: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe unexpectedly dissolves his cabinet and ousts moderates. A move officials say is related to his controversial programme to seize land from white farmers and redistribute it to landless blacks.
2006: A British pilot breaks a land-speed record for driving with a diesel engine, racing across the Bonneville Salt Flats at more than 325 mph (523 kph).
2007: Pakistan's Supreme Court rules that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif can return to Pakistan from exile.
2009: The outcry over alleged vote fraud in Afghanistan's election escalates, with President Hamid Karzai's chief opponent charging that turnout figures were padded.
2010: A 12-hour hostage drama in the heart of the Philippine capital of Manila ends with the deaths of eight Hong Kong tourists and the ex-policeman who seized their bus to demand his job back.
2011: A pair of judges puts an end to the sensational sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, setting him free after prosecutors argued the hotel housekeeper accusing the French former head of the International Monetary Fund of sexual assault could not be trusted.
Francois Hotman, French political author (1524-1590); France’s King Louis XVI (1754-1793); Arnold Toynbee, British historian (1852-1883); Gene Kelly, US actor-dancer (1912-1996); Barbara Eden, US actress (1934-); Shelley Long, US actress (1949-); Queen Noor, American-born widow of Jordan’s King Hussein (1951-).