Today in History, 4 August: What Happened on this Day

Today in History: Historical Events


George Washington Becomes a Master Mason

On this day, George Washington, one of the founding fathers of the United States and the future first President, was initiated as a Freemason. He would later rise to the rank of Master Mason, marking his involvement in the influential fraternal organization.



William Blake Begins Apprenticeship as an Engraver

At the tender age of 14, the English poet and artist William Blake embarked on his artistic journey by becoming an apprentice to the engraver James Basire in London. This apprenticeship played a crucial role in shaping his later artistic endeavors.



Russian Antarctic Expedition Circumnavigates Antarctica

Led by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, the Russian Antarctic expedition returned to Kronshtadt after successfully becoming the first to circumnavigate the icy continent of Antarctica. This remarkable achievement marked a significant milestone in polar exploration.



First Clash of the US 7th Cavalry with the Sioux

During the Indian Wars in Montana, the US 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, clashed with the Sioux near the Tongue River. This encounter resulted in the loss of one man on each side, foreshadowing further tensions and conflicts in the region.



Pope Leo XIII Publishes Encyclical Aeterni Patris

Pope Leo XIII issued the encyclical Aeterni Patris, emphasizing the importance of philosophical studies in the context of Catholic teachings and promoting the restoration of Thomistic philosophy.



Opening of the Merwede Canal in the Netherlands

Queen Wilhelmina and Queen Emma presided over the inauguration of the Merwede Canal, connecting Amsterdam to the Rhine River. The canal played a vital role in facilitating transportation and trade in the region.



Lizzie Borden’s Infamous Axe Murders

In a chilling incident, Sunday school teacher Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother were brutally murdered with an axe in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie was later arrested, tried, and controversially acquitted, leaving the case an enduring mystery.



Adolf Hitler Receives the Iron Cross First Class

On the recommendation of his Jewish superior, Lieutenant Hugo Gutmann, Adolf Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross first class for bravery during World War I. This irony in history is a noteworthy aspect of Hitler’s early military career.



Rodin Museum Opens in Paris

The Rodin Museum in Paris, located in the Hôtel Biron, was inaugurated, housing an impressive collection of sculptor Auguste Rodin’s works and becoming a cultural treasure in the heart of the city.



Winston Churchill Departs for the US

During World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill set sail on the HMS Prince of Wales to meet with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, laying the groundwork for the alliance between the two nations.



Colonel General Jeremenko Arrives in Stalingrad

Colonel General Nikolai Vatutin, representing the Stavka (Soviet High Command), arrived in Stalingrad and was welcomed by Nikita Khrushchev during the pivotal Battle of Stalingrad.



Anne Frank Arrested by German Security Police

Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl whose diary would later become an iconic account of the Holocaust, was arrested by the German Security Police in Amsterdam following a tip-off from an informer.



Murder of Gambling Boss Theodore Roe

Theodore Roe, a prominent figure in the gambling underworld, was murdered by the crew of mobster Sam Giancana, adding to the violent legacy of organized crime in the United States.



Nelson Mandela Captured by South African Police

Nelson Mandela, the future President of South Africa and anti-apartheid revolutionary, was captured by the South African police, setting the stage for his long imprisonment and the global fight against racial discrimination.



Uganda Dictator Idi Amin Orders Expulsion of Asians

Idi Amin, the dictator of Uganda, ordered the expulsion of 50,000 Asians with British passports from the country, leading to a humanitarian crisis and significant population movements.



Oliver North Assigned to White House Duty

Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North was assigned to the White House as a member of the National Security Council staff, later becoming a key figure in the Iran-Contra affair.



Operation Storm Begins in Croatia

The Croatian army initiated Operation Storm, a large-scale military offensive against the Republic of Serbian Krajina, marking the largest land battle in Europe since World War II.



Michaëlle Jean Becomes Canada’s First Black Governor General

Prime Minister Paul Martin announced that Michaëlle Jean would be appointed as Canada’s 27th Governor General, making her the first black person to hold this prestigious position.



Kim Jong-il Meets Former President Bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, resulting in the release of two captured American journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, who had been found guilty of entering the country illegally.



US Olympic Team Triumphs in Medley Relay

The US swimming team secured victory in the 4x100m medley relay at the London Olympics, with Michael Phelps securing his 18th Olympic gold medal and the women’s team setting a world record in the process.



Hassan Rouhani Inaugurated as President of Iran

Hassan Rouhani was officially inaugurated as the President of Iran, promising to pursue a more moderate and open approach in international relations.



Rwandan President Paul Kagame Wins Third Term

Rwandan President Paul Kagame won his third term in office with an overwhelming 98.63% of the vote, extending his long-lasting leadership in the country.



Assassination Attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

During a live televised event, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro survived an assassination attempt by drone, highlighting the political turmoil and instability in the country.



Charges Filed Against Police Officers in Breonna Taylor Case

US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced charges against four police officers for violating the rights of Breonna Taylor during a raid in 2020 that resulted in her death, drawing attention to issues of police accountability and racial justice.



Elvis Presley Shakes the Music Scene with “Hound Dog”


In a groundbreaking moment in music history, Elvis Presley released his iconic version of “Hound Dog,” originally sung by Big Mama Thornton. Penned by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Presley’s rendition became an instant hit, leaving an indelible mark on rock ‘n’ roll and catapulting him to stardom.


The Birth of the Billboard Hot 100


A significant milestone in music industry history occurred when the first edition of the Billboard Hot 100 chart was published. At the pinnacle of the list was Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool,” marking the beginning of a long-standing tradition of ranking the most popular songs in the United States.


Pink Floyd’s Debut Album: “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn”


Pink Floyd, under the leadership of Syd Barrett, unveiled their first album, “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn.” This remarkable psychedelic rock record showcased Barrett’s innovative vision and creative prowess, leaving a lasting impact on the music world.

Danielle Steel’s “Thurston House” Takes the Literary World by Storm


The renowned romance novelist Danielle Steel released her captivating book “Thurston House,” captivating readers with her signature storytelling style and endearing characters. Steel’s prolific work earned her a devoted following and solidified her place as a literary powerhouse.


Prince’s Reign with “Purple Rain”


In a musical triumph, Prince’s “Purple Rain” album soared to the top of the charts, holding the #1 position for an astounding 24 weeks. The album’s fusion of rock, pop, and R&B, along with Prince’s electrifying performances, cemented its status as a classic in the realm of popular music.


A Landmark Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage


Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling in the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger marked a historic moment for the LGBTQ+ community when California’s Proposition 8, which had prohibited same-sex marriage, was overturned. The ruling was a significant step towards marriage equality in the United States.


Robert Downey Jr.: The World’s Highest-Paid Actor


In a notable accolade, Forbes Magazine named Robert Downey Jr. as the world’s highest-paid actor, earning an impressive $80 million. The list also featured four non-Hollywood actors, highlighting the global influence and recognition of talent beyond traditional showbiz circles.



Rana Udai Singh

4 August 1522

Rana Udai Singh, born after the death of his father Rana Sanga of Mewar, held a pivotal place in history. One of the most significant events in his life was when his mother, Karnavati, famously tied a rakhi on Emperor Humayun’s wrist to seek his protection. This act of sisterly bond and trust played a crucial role in shaping the future of Mewar. Udai Singh’s legacy continues through his valiant son, Rana Pratap, who became a symbol of unwavering resistance against foreign invaders.


Louis Vuitton


Born in Anchay, France, Louis Vuitton was a visionary entrepreneur who founded the eponymous luxury brand that continues to epitomize elegance and sophistication in the world of fashion. Renowned for its exquisite leather goods, the Louis Vuitton company has become an iconic symbol of style and craftsmanship, now under the prestigious ownership of LVMH.


Firozeshah Mehta

4 August 1845

Firozeshah Mehta, a notable Indian politician and architect of the Bombay Municipal Constitution (Charter), left an indelible mark on the city’s governance and development. Additionally, he founded the English-language newspaper Bombay Chronicle in 1913, contributing significantly to the dissemination of news and ideas. Recognized for his dedication to public service, he was bestowed with the prestigious title of ‘Knight’ in 1904.


Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother


Hailing from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, held a cherished place in the hearts of the British people. After the passing of her husband, King George VI, she continued to be revered as the Queen Mother, becoming a symbol of strength and unity for the nation. Throughout her long life, she remained beloved by her subjects and played a significant role in the royal family.


Louis Armstrong


Louis Armstrong, the legendary American jazz trumpeter and singer, forever changed the landscape of music with his incomparable talent. Known for classics like “Hello, Dolly!” and “What A Wonderful World,” he became an iconic figure in jazz history. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Armstrong’s soulful music continues to captivate audiences worldwide.


Maurice Richard

4 August 1921

Maurice Richard, the Canadian NHL star who played for the Montreal Canadiens, left an indelible legacy in the world of hockey. His prowess on the ice earned him the title of MVP in 1947, and he became an adored figure not only in Montreal, Quebec but also across the nation.


Kishore Kumar

4 August 1929

Kishore Kumar, the celebrated playback singer and talented actor in Indian cinema, enchanted audiences with his versatile voice. He sang in multiple languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, and others, leaving a lasting impact on the music industry. His melodious renditions touched the hearts of millions of fans across India.


Sheldon Adelson


Sheldon Adelson, the American business magnate and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands casino company, wielded significant influence in both the business and political realms. A major political donor to the GOP and Israel, Adelson’s impact was profound.


David Lange


As the 32nd Prime Minister of New Zealand, David Lange steered the country through significant reforms and achievements during his tenure from 1984 to 1989. Born in Otahuhu, Auckland, his leadership left a lasting mark on New Zealand’s political landscape.


Richard Belzer


Richard Belzer, the beloved American comedian, and actor will be fondly remembered for his portrayal of Det. John Munch in “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Law & Order: SVU.” His talent extended beyond the screen, as he penned intriguing books on stand-up comedy and various conspiracies.


Billy Bob Thornton

4 August 1955

The acclaimed American actor, Billy Bob Thornton, left an indelible mark on Hollywood with his mesmerizing performances, especially in the film “Sling Blade.” Hailing from Hot Springs, Arkansas, Thornton’s versatility and talent have earned him critical acclaim and numerous accolades throughout his illustrious career.


Barack Obama

4 August 1961

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, made history as the first African-American president. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, he inspired the nation with his message of hope and brought about significant changes during his two terms in office as a Democrat.


Meghan Markle

4 August 1981

Before marrying Prince Harry and becoming the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle gained recognition as a talented American actress, particularly for her role in the TV series “Suits.” Born in Los Angeles, California, she continues to make a difference through philanthropic work and activism.


Greta Gerwig

4 August 1983

Greta Gerwig, a versatile American actress and film director, earned critical acclaim for her directorial efforts in films like “Lady Bird” and “Little Women.” Born in Sacramento, California, her work continues to garner admiration and accolades in the film industry.


Hans Christian Andersen

4 August 1875

Hans Christian Andersen, the celebrated Danish author renowned for his enchanting fairy tales like “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Snow Queen,” passed away at the age of 70. His imaginative storytelling captivated the hearts of both children and adults alike, leaving a lasting impact on literature and the world of storytelling.


Enver Pasha


Enver Pasha, a prominent Turkish general and one of the “Three Pashas,” the dictatorial triumvirate during World War I, met his fate on the battlefield in the Soviet Union at the young age of 40. As the Ottoman Minister of War, he played a significant role in the war effort, but his demise marked the end of an era for the Ottoman Empire.


Kashi Prasad Jaiswal

4 August 1937

Kashi Prasad Jaiswal, a distinguished historian of India, breathed his last on this day. He was recognized internationally for his scholarly work in history and archaeology. Apart from his academic pursuits, he also served as the deputy minister of the esteemed ‘Kashi Nagri Pracharini Sabha’ and made significant contributions as an editor for papers like ‘Bihar Research General’ and ‘Pataliputra.’


Nandini Satpathy

4 August 2006

Nandini Satpathy, a prominent Indian woman politician and writer, passed away on this day. She served as the Chief Minister of Orissa from June 1972 to December 1976, leaving a mark on the state’s political landscape. Nandini’s family had strong ties to the Communist Party of India, as her uncle Bhagwati Charan Panigrahi founded the Orissa branch of the party. Her contributions in both politics and literature remain an inspiration for many.

| Today in History, 3 August: What Happened on this Day

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