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490 B.C. - The Athenian trained runner Pheidippides left the town of Marathon for the city of Sparta (both in Ancient Greece) to seek help against the invading Persian army. Despite not being able to recruit Spartan troops, Athenian troops defeated Persian forces. Pheidippides then ran to Athens to carry the news of the victory, an event that later marked the beginning of modern marathons. A yearly race from Marathon to Athens commemorates Pheidippides's feat.
31 B.C. - At the naval battle of Actium off the coast of Greece, Roman leader Octavian defeated the alliance of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII, queen of Egypt. The following year Mark Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. Octavian later became the first Roman Emperor with the title of Augustus Ceasar. The Battle of Actium helped Octavian to control the entire Roman World.
1666 - The Great Fire of London began in a baker's shop and rapidly spread throughout the city, destroying most of London's buildings and houses. To rebuild the city, Londoners used stone and brick instead of timber, the common building material at the time. It was this fire that prompted the first fire insurance policy.
1752 - The last day of the Julian calendar in Britain and its colonies. It was replaced by the Gregorian calendar and parliament decided an 11-day discrepancy between the two would be rectified by making the following day September 14.
1789 - An act of Congress organized the United States Treasury Department, the third presidential cabinet department.
1807 - The British began bombarding Copenhagen to stop Napoleon from using the Danish fleet against Britain.
1858 - At a dinner in New York City, the first special cigar bands were distributed. They honored Cyrus W. Field for his work laying the Atlantic telegraph cable.
1864 - In the U.S. Civil War, Union forces under General William Tecumseh Sherman occupied Atlanta, Georgia.
1865 - Fighting between Maori tribes and English settlers ended in New Zealand.
1866 - The general assembly of Crete proclaimed the abolition of the Turkish authority and union with Greece.
1870 - Napoleon III capitulated to the Prussian forces at the Battle of Sedan, France. This led to the fall of the Second French Empire.
1897 - Today saw the first issue of "McCall’s" magazine published. Originally, the magazine had been called "Queens Magazine" and "Queen of Fashion".
1898 - Lord Kitchener's Anglo-Egyptian forces decisively defeated the Dervishes at the Battle of Omdurman, Sudan.
1901 - U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt made his famous speech in which he said America should "speak softly and carry a big stick."
1923 - The first elections were held in the Irish Free State after independence from Britain.
1924 - In New York City, Rudolf Friml's popular operetta Rose Marie debuted to audiences, and received exceptional reviews.
1927 - "Some of These Days," Sophie Tucker's signature song, was recorded for Columbia Records.
1930 - Flying their plane "Point d'Interrogation," French aviators Dieudonne Coste and Maurice Bellonte completed the first non-stop flight from Europe to the United States.
1931 - On CBS, the radio show, "15 Minutes with Bing Crosby", debuted. Singer Bing Crosby became a star after the debut.
1935 - A hurricane hit the Florida Keys, killing 423 people.
1938 - On the New York Central railroad, the first railroad car to have fluorescent lighting was put in use. It was called coach #1472.
1940 - Britain and the United States signed a deal giving Britain 50 aged destroyers in exchange for permission for the United States to use British naval bases in the West Indies.
1945 - Today United States President Harry S Truman proclaimed as Victory-over-Japan Day otherwise known as V-J Day or Victory Day. While an informal surrender was given by Japan on August 14, 1945, today was so named because it was this day that the official ratification of the Japanese surrender to the Allies was made aboard the "USS Missouri" in Tokyo Bay (Far Eastern Time).
1945 - The Democratic Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed, with Ho Chi Minh as president.
1947 - American states signed a treaty of mutual assistance, the Treaty of Rio de Janeiro.
1947 - President Carlos Mancheno of Ecuador was overthrown in a coup.
1949 - United States President Harry Truman's Vice President, Alben W. Barkley, wrote a letter referencing his office as the Veep. The name stuck and Alben W. Barkley was there after called the Veep. Ever since, the nickname has been used for vice-presidents, in government or in business. Kentucky born Barkley was Veep from 1949 until 1953.
1962 - Chicago Cub Ken Hubbs set a fielding record for major-league baseball. For the 74th consecutive game, Hubbs played errorless.
1962 - The Soviet Union agreed to send arms to Cuba to help it meet "threats from aggressive imperialist elements."
1963 - Alabama Governor George Wallace stopped public school integration of blacks and whites by encircling Tuskegee High School with a cordon of state troopers.
1965 - For their single "Help!" The Beatles earned a gold record. The song was from the movie of the same title.
1971 - The United Arab Republic reverted to its former name, Egypt.
1972 - Chicago Cub, Milt Pappas, pitched 9-2/3 innings of perfect baseball, before walking Philadelphia Phillie Larry Stahl. At Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illnois, Pappas got the no-hitter and the 8-0 win.
1973 - Billy Martin manager of the Detroit Tigers was fired. Three days after ordering his pitching staff to throw spitballs at Cleveland Indians batters, Martin was let go. The Tigers still lost, 3-0.
1980 - Mark "The Bird" Fidrych won his first game in 2 1/2 years for the Detroit Tigers. He gave up seven hits to the Chicago White Sox but the Tigers still won 11-2.
1984 - At Louisiana Downs, jockey Larry Snyder rode Tennessee Rite to a nine-length vicotry in the $50,000 Prelude Stakes. Coming 24 years to the day from Snyder's first win in 1960, this was his 5,000th career victory.
1985 - It was announced that the Titanic had been found by a United States and French expedition 560 miles off Newfoundland.
1986 - Pitcher Steve Carlton earned his 322nd career win. Leading the Chicago White Sox toa 3-0 win over the Kansas City Royals, "Lefty" gave up seven hits. One of the hits was made by former Heisman Trophy winner, Bo Jackson, making his first major-league appearance at bat.
1990 - Canadian soldiers seized control of an outpost of Mohawk Indians near Montreal, ending a 53-day armed standoff.
1991 - The United States formally recognized the independence of Lithuania, Lativa and Estonia.
1992 - The United States and Russia agreed to a joint venture to build a space station.
1993 - The Vatican accepted a Chinese invitation for a high level visit to Beijing, the first such meeting since the 1949 communist takeover.
1994 - The Bulgarian government of Prime Minister Lyuben Berov resigned.
1996 - Muslim rebels and the Philippines government signed a peace pact ending 24 years of war that killed 125,000 people.
1998 - 229 people were killed when a Swissair jetliner crashed into the Atlantic near Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia.
1998 - Arnold Schwarzenegger filed a $50 million libel lawsuit against the tabloid The Globe, stating it libeled him by reporting he was in ill health and feared having a heart attack. A Globe cover story on August 4 headlined "Arnie's Heart Crisis", and reportedly defamed Schwarzenegger by implying his health was poor after heart surgery last year. "The physician quoted has never examined or had any contact with the superstar, and has never had access to Schwarzenegger's medical records," the statement said. It added that the actor's surgery was "a complete success" and that he did not have coronary heart disease. The suit was filed against the tabloid's publisher, Globe Communications Corp, who failed to comment.