Today in History - Aug. 24

The Canadian Press, August 9, 2013 | Go to article overview

Today in History - Aug. 24


Today in History - Aug. 24

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Today in History for Aug. 24:

On this date:

In 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the Italian cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, killing 20,000 people.

In 410, the Visigoths sacked Rome, disillusioning Christians who were trusting in God's protection of the ecclesiastical centre of early Christianity. St. Augustine later tackled this religious problem in his monumental work, "City of God."

In 1456, in Mainz, Germany, volume two of the famed "Gutenberg Bible" was bound, completing a two-year publishing project, and making it the first full-length book to be printed using movable type.

In 1572, thousands of Protestants were massacred throughout France by the Roman Catholics during what is known as the "Massacre of St. Bartholomew."

In 1660, Pierre Radisson and his brother-in-law Chouart des Groseillers decided to form the Hudson Bay Co. after having a fortune in furs confiscated because they went west without the governor general's permission. The company was finally awarded a royal charter in the fur trade in 1670. Now known by the corporate nickname HBC, the company is in its fourth century of operations.

In 1791, the British Parliament passed the Constitutional Act, which divided Canada into two provinces, Upper and Lower, each with its own lieutenant-governor and legislature. The act was made necessary with the great influx of United Empire Loyalists after the American Revolution. The English-speaking settlers did not want to live under French law or the Roman Catholic church.

In 1814, British troops burned the White House in Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812. The British action was taken in retaliation for the American sacking and burning of York, now Toronto. A British fleet had landed earlier that August in Chesapeake Bay, and the troops under Gen. Robert Ross easily routed the 5,000 militiamen assembled to defend Washington. Ross's troops were unsuccessful in a later attempt to take Baltimore.

In 1870, Metis leader Louis Riel abandoned Fort Garry when troops led by Col. Garnet Wolseley arrived to put down the Red River Rebellion. Riel, who had set up a provisional government that had put Ontario Orangeman Thomas Scott to death, fled to the United States. He later returned to Canada to organize the North-West Rebellion in 1885.

In 1872, caricaturist and writer Sir Max Beerbohm was born in London.

In 1876, Cree from central Alberta and central Saskatchewan agreed to live on reserves.

In 1877, Alexander Graham Bell obtained the Canadian telephone patent.

In 1891, Thomas Edison filed for the first patent on a motion picture camera. The camera, called a kinetoscope, took motion pictures on a band of film to be viewed by peeping into a box. Although the film lasted only 13 seconds, some of the camera's features are still in use today.

In 1920, celebrated Canadian artist Alex Colville was born in Toronto. His family moved to Amherst, N.S. in 1929, and he studied at Mount Allison University, in Sackville, N.B. After graduation in 1942, he joined the army and was sent to Europe as a war artist. After the war he taught at Mount Allison until 1963, when he resigned to paint full time. Colville went back to teaching a few years later, working as visiting professor at University of California in 1967 and as a visiting artist in Berlin in 1971. He designed the coin that marked Canada's Centennial in 1967. On July 16, 2013, he died at his home in Wolfville, N.S. from a heart condition after years of coping with a variety of health issues.

In 1922, Rene Levesque was born in New Carlisle, Que. Following a career in journalism, Levesque became a minister in Jean Lesage's Quebec Liberal government in 1960 and guided the nationalization of the province's private electric utilities, which became Hydro-Quebec. Levesque quit the Liberals in 1967 to found the pro-independence movement, which became the Parti Quebecois. …

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