Today in History, 5 August: What Happened on this Day

Historical Events

Execution of William Wallace


In the year 1305, the indomitable Scottish leader William Wallace, renowned for spearheading the resistance against English domination, was captured by the English forces near Glasgow. Subsequently, he was apprehended and transported to London to face trial and meet his fate through execution.


Battle of Ponza


A pivotal confrontation occurred in 1435, known as the Battle of Ponza, wherein the Genuezen forces managed to capture King Alfonso V of Aragon. This engagement marked a significant moment as it brought about the capture of the Aragonese monarch.


Triumphant Clash at Petrovaradin


A decisive clash unfolded in 1716, recognized as the Battle of Petrovaradin or Peterwardein. During this battle, Habsburg forces under the strategic leadership of Eugene of Savoy achieved a resounding victory over the Turkish forces. This triumph stood as a testament to their military prowess.


The Execution of the King of West Bengal

5 August 1775

A significant event in the annals of British rule in India occurred on August 5, 1775. Maharaja Nandakumar met his end by hanging in Calcutta (now Kolkata). This marked a historic moment as it represented the final instance of execution for fraud perpetrated under British jurisdiction in India.


Intriguing Episode


Tecumseh’s Tactical Ambush


In the midst of the War of 1812, a compelling incident transpired involving Tecumseh’s Native American contingent. They launched an ambush against Thomas Van Horne’s force of 200 American troops at Brownstone Creek. This unexpected assault compelled the American forces to flee and retreat.


The Transatlantic Telegraph Triumph


A monumental achievement was realized in 1858 when the first transatlantic telegraph cable successfully landed at Trinity Bay, Newfoundland. Spearheaded by the visionary Cyrus West Field, this accomplishment, although short-lived at three weeks, marked a significant leap forward in global communication.


Triumph at the Battle of Mobile Bay


A resounding victory etched its place in history in 1864 during the Battle of Mobile Bay. The Union Army, led by Rear Admiral David Farragut, emerged triumphant with the iconic declaration, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” This triumphant feat played out against the backdrop of the US Civil War.


The Inception of Liberty’s Symbol


A momentous event unfolded in 1884 with the laying of the cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty on Bedloe’s Island in New York City. This symbolic act marked the commencement of the creation of an enduring icon representing freedom and hope.


Convening of Russian-Japanese Peace Negotiations


A historic meeting took place in 1905 as the Russian and Japanese peace commissioners came together for the first time. This significant diplomatic gathering occurred within the residence of US President Theodore Roosevelt at Oyster Bay, New York.


Epic Encounter at the Battle of Liège


The stage was set for an epic encounter in 1914 with the Battle of Liège, which marked the inaugural clash of World War I. Under the command of Erich Ludendorff, the German forces launched a massive assault on the forts surrounding the Belgian city of Liège.


Lord Kitchener Assumes War Leadership


In the throes of World War I, a consequential appointment was made in 1914 as Field Marshal Lord Kitchener assumed the mantle of Secretary of War. This pivotal decision came on the heels of the British declaration of war against Germany.


Final German Air Raid of World War I


A momentous event occurred in 1918 as the last German air raid on England transpired during World War I. Four Zeppelin airships dropped bombs over the Midlands and North East England, marking the conclusion of this chapter in aerial warfare.

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The Barrow Gang’s Lethal Act


In 1932, Clyde Barrow and his associates perpetrated a fateful act by killing Sheriff C.G. Maxwell and Deputy Eugene C. Moore. This marked the initial instance of the Barrow gang targeting law enforcement officers.

Nelson Mandela’s Arrest


A development unfolded in 1962 as Nelson Mandela was apprehended for incitement and for illegally leaving South Africa. This event marked a turning point in the life of a man who would become an international symbol of resilience and justice.


Martin Luther King Jr.’s Struggle


A poignant incident occurred in 1966 during a march in Chicago, where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was subjected to stoning. This stark episode highlighted the challenges and adversities faced by those advocating for equality and justice.


Presidential Revelation on Watergate


A seismic revelation came to the fore in 1974 when US President Richard Nixon admitted to withholding information about the Watergate break-in. This acknowledgment marked a critical moment in a scandal that would reverberate through the corridors of power.


Resolute Presidential Action


In 1981, US President Ronald Reagan displayed resolute action by dismissing 11,500 striking air traffic controllers. This bold move underscored the president’s commitment to upholding the functioning of essential services.

Rodney King Riots


The year 1992 witnessed a significant incident on 5th August as four officers of the Los Angeles Police Department were acquitted of charges related to the beating of Rodney King. However, they were subsequently indicted on civil rights charges, setting off a wave of social unrest.


Triumph in Knin


An event of profound significance occurred in 1995 as Croatian forces captured the city of Knin, a significant Serb stronghold. This momentous achievement, known as Operation Storm, is commemorated annually in Croatia as Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day.


Support for Iron Dome Defense


In a display of global partnership, President Obama signed The Iron Dome Bill in 2014, providing an additional $225 million in funding for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. This act underscored the commitment to international security and cooperation.


A Land of Droughts


In a poignant statement in 2018, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declared the nation to be a “land of droughts.” This stark observation highlighted the challenges posed by environmental conditions and their impact on the land and its people.


Symbolic Cornerstone Laying


In 2020, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the symbolic cornerstone for Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. This marked a significant step in replacing a previous Muslim mosque, representing a complex interplay of religious and cultural narratives.


Harry Houdini’s Watery Escape



Harry Houdini, the legendary escape artist, left audiences spellbound in 1926 with an astonishing feat. He chose to spend an incredible 1½ hours enclosed within a submerged coffin before defying the odds and emerging to the surface, leaving spectators awestruck by his death-defying act of liberation.


“From Here to Eternity” Hits the Big Screen



A cinematic masterpiece graced the silver screen in 1953 with the release of “From Here to Eternity,” a compelling adaptation of James Jones’ book. Directed by the talented Fred Zinnemann, the film featured a stellar cast including Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, and Frank Sinatra. This unforgettable production claimed the prestigious Academy Award for Best Picture in 1954, solidifying its place in cinematic history.


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Stevie Wonder’s Monumental Contract



In a groundbreaking move that reverberated throughout the music industry, Stevie Wonder penned a historic contract in 1975. The musical virtuoso committed to a remarkable 7-year, 7-album deal with Motown Records, a deal accompanied by a staggering $13 million advance. This monumental agreement showcased both Wonder’s exceptional talent and the industry’s recognition of his unmatched artistry.

Notable Birthdays

William Allen: Loyalist Leader and Civic Figure

August 5, 1704 – August 29, 1780


On this day in 1704, William Allen, a prominent American loyalist, Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania, and Mayor of Philadelphia, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Allen’s life intertwined with the unfolding events of his time, making him a significant figure in the shaping of the region’s legal and civic landscape.


Guy de Maupassant: French Literary Luminary

August 5, 1850 – July 6, 1893


Celebrated French author Guy de Maupassant, renowned for his masterpiece “Boule de Suif” and other literary gems, was born on August 5, 1850, at the Château de Miromesnil in France. His captivating storytelling and profound insights into the human condition left an indelible mark on world literature.


Acharya Pyare Mohan: Nationalist Voice of Orissa

August 5, 1852


Acharya Pyare Mohan, a fervent nationalist hailing from Orissa, was born on this day in 1852. His early years were marked by the initiation of the publication of a significant periodical called ‘Utkal,’ a platform through which he voiced his dedication to the nationalist cause.


Hugh S. Johnson: Architect of Recovery

August 5, 1881 – April 15, 1942


Born on August 5, 1881, in Fort Scott, Kansas, Hugh S. Johnson played a pivotal role as the American head of the National Recovery Administration and a key member of FDR’s Brain Trust. His contributions to economic recovery during a challenging era were instrumental in shaping the nation’s path forward.


Dwarka Prasad Mishra: Freedom Fighter and Statesman

August 5, 1901


Dwarka Prasad Mishra, a dedicated Indian politician, freedom fighter, and journalist, was born on August 5, 1901. His active involvement in Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Non-cooperation Movement’ and subsequent political career, including his tenure as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, underscored his commitment to the nationalist cause.


Shivmangal Singh ‘Suman’: Poetic Maestro

August 5, 1916


August 5, 1916, marks the birth of Shivmangal Singh ‘Suman,’ a preeminent Hindi poet whose literary prowess left an indelible impact. Recognized with the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India, his life’s journey was punctuated by moments of distinction, including a compelling episode of being blindfolded and transported to an unknown destination.


Neil Armstrong: Pioneering Astronaut

August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012


Neil Armstrong, the intrepid American X-15 pilot and astronaut who etched his name in history as the first human to set foot on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission, was born on August 5, 1930, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. His iconic words, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind,” resound through the ages.


Reid Hoffman: Visionary Entrepreneur

August 5, 1967


Born on August 5, 1967, in Stanford, California, Reid Hoffman emerged as a visionary American entrepreneur and co-founder of the transformative professional network, LinkedIn. His innovative contributions to the digital landscape have redefined the way people connect and engage in the professional sphere.


Kajol: Iconic Hindi Film Actress

August 5, 1974


August 5, 1974, marks the birth of Kajol, a renowned Hindi film actress whose talents have graced the silver screen. With a lineage steeped in acting, Kajol’s presence in the industry, influenced by her mother Tanuja and maternal grandmother Shobhana Samarth, has left an indelible mark on Indian cinema.

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Frederick North: The Statesman’s Demise



Frederick North, also known as Lord North, a key figure who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain during a crucial period (Tory: 1770-82), passed away in 1792. His legacy is intertwined with the loss of America, a pivotal era in history that marked the American Revolutionary War.


Friedrich Engels: Revolutionary Mind Silenced



The year 1895 witnessed the passing of Friedrich Engels, a German social philosopher and revolutionary socialist. Engels’ collaboration with Karl Marx resulted in “The Communist Manifesto,” a seminal work that continues to influence political thought. Engels succumbed to throat cancer at the age of 74, leaving behind a lasting intellectual legacy.


Gopinath Bordoloi: Architect of Modern Assam

August 5, 1950


August 5, 1950, marks the end of an era with the passing of Gopinath Bordoloi, a renowned freedom fighter of India and the inaugural Chief Minister of Assam. Revered as the ‘builder of modern Assam,’ his contributions to the region’s progress and development left an indelible mark on the state’s trajectory.


Arthur Meighen: Canadian Statesman’s Farewell



The year 1960 saw the passing of Arthur Meighen, the 9th Prime Minister of Canada, who held office during two non-consecutive terms (C: 1920-21, 1926). Meighen’s influence on Canadian politics and his legacy as a leader were underscored by his contributions to the nation’s development.


Robert Muldoon: New Zealand’s Political Figure Departs



New Zealand mourned the loss of Robert Muldoon in 1992, a prominent politician who served as Prime Minister from 1975 to 1984. His role in shaping New Zealand’s political landscape during a transformative era highlighted his significance in the nation’s history.


Lala Amarnath Bharadwaj: Father of Indian Cricket

August 5, 2000


August 5, 2000, marked the passing of Lala Amarnath Bharadwaj, affectionately regarded as the father of Indian Cricket. He etched his name in history as the first batsman to achieve a century for India in Test cricket. His profound impact on the sport was further recognized through the prestigious Padma Bhushan award from the Government of India.


Pran Kumar Sharma: Cartoonist Extraordinaire

August 5, 2014


The world of art lost a luminary on August 5, 2014, with the passing of Pran Kumar Sharma, celebrated as cartoonist Pran. His creative genius took form in iconic characters like ‘Chacha Chaudhary,’ ‘Sabu,’ Rocket, Billu, and Mrs., captivating generations and solidifying his place as the most successful and beloved cartoonist in the Indian comic realm.


Toni Morrison: Literary Giant’s Departure



August 5, 2019, marked a somber day in the literary world with the passing of Toni Morrison. A trailblazing American writer known for works like “Tar Baby,” “Beloved,” and “Song of Solomon,” she broke barriers as the first African American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010. Her narrative prowess and insightful storytelling continue to inspire and resonate with readers around the globe.

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Categories: Trends
Source: HIS Education

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