Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Today in History - Aug. 30

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Today in History - Aug. 30

Article excerpt

Today in History - Aug. 30

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Today in History for Aug. 30:

On this date:

In 30 B.C., Cleopatra, the celebrated queen of Egypt, committed suicide.

In 1463, King Louis XI died after ruling France for 22 years. He was known for his diplomatic skills -- he was nicknamed the "Spider King" for his web of machinations -- and considered one of France's most successful kings in terms of uniting the country. Because of his fears of assassination, he spent his last years in virtual self-imprisonment near Tours.

In 1780, American revolutionary general Benedict Arnold made a secret pact with the British to surrender the American fort at West Point, N.Y. The plot failed, but Arnold escaped to fight for the British.

In 1797, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, wife of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and the author of "Frankenstein," was born. She died in 1851.

In 1812, the first settlers, mostly Scottish, arrived at the Red River colony in Manitoba. Thomas Douglas, Earl of Selkirk, sent a former soldier, Miles Macdonell, to establish the colony on land he had received from the Hudson's Bay Co. Macdonell was appointed governor of the new colony. Destroyed in a feud with the North West Co. in 1815, the colony was re-established by Selkirk in 1817.

In 1813, more than 500 settlers were killed by Natives in the Massacre of Fort Mims, near Mobile, Ala.

In 1851, the legislative council of British Columbia held its first session.

In 1860, the first British tramway was inaugurated at Birkenhead.

In 1862, Union forces were defeated by the Confederates at the second battle of Bull Run during the U.S. Civil War.

In 1896, actor Raymond Massey was born in Toronto. His first movie was "High Treason" in 1929. He was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his role of Abe Lincoln in the 1940 movie "Abe Linclon in Illinois." He died July 23, 1983.

In 1901, British engineer Cecil Booth patented the first commercially produced vacuum cleaner. His gigantic creation was mounted on wheels and parked outside the houses being cleaned. One of its first jobs was to clean the aisle carpet of Westminster Abbey for the 1902 coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. The King was so impressed he ordered vacuum cleaners for both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

In 1905, Ty Cobb made his major-league debut as a player for the Detroit Tigers, hitting a double in his first at-bat in a game against the New York Highlanders. (The Tigers won 5-3.)

In 1914, New Zealand forces occupied German Samoa.

In 1929, the steamship "San Juan" sank after colliding with a Standard Oil tanker off the coast of San Francisco killing 70 people.

In 1936, Donald Duck first appeared in comic-strip form.

In 1940, Sir Joseph John Thomson, English physicist and discoverer of the electron, died. Thompson won the Nobel Prize in physics for his study of the conduction of electricity through gases. His long tenure as director of the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge helped make it a leading centre for atomic research.

In 1941, the Second World War siege of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) began as Nazi forces severed the last railroad link between Leningrad and the rest of the Soviet Union.

In 1945, the international committee of chief prosecutors indicted 24 top German leaders as major war criminals.

In 1945, U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur arrived in Japan to set up Allied occupation headquarters.

In 1947, 90 people were killed and 60 injured in a theatre fire in a suburb of Paris.

In 1950, the first Canada-wide railway strike ended when Parliament ordered 125,000 members of 17 striking unions back to work. The strike began Aug. 22 after negotiations broke down over union demands for higher pay and a shorter work week. The strike nearly paralyzed long-distance communication and caused layoffs in industries dependent on railways, such as mining, food packing and wood and chemical processing. …

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