Today in History

Today is Tuesday, Aug. 27, the 239th day of 2013. There are 126 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 27, 1883, the island volcano Krakatoa erupted with a series of cataclysmic explosions; the resulting tidal waves in Indonesia’s Sunda Strait claimed some 36,000 lives in Java and Sumatra.

On this date:

In 1776, the Battle of Long Island began during the Revolutionary War as British troops attacked American forces, who ended up being forced to retreat two days later.

In 1859, Edwin L. Drake drilled the first successful oil well in the United States, at Titusville, Pa.

In 1908, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, was born near Stonewall, Texas.

In 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed in Paris, outlawing war and providing for the peaceful settlement of disputes.

In 1939, the first turbojet-powered aircraft, the Heinkel He 178, went on its first full-fledged test flight over Germany.

In 1942, the Times of London published an editorial calling on the British government to promote the production of penicillin, the first mention of the antibiotic by a newspaper.

In 1957, the USS Swordfish, the second Skate Class nuclear submarine, was launched from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine.

In 1962, the United States launched the Mariner 2 space probe, which flew past Venus in December 1962.

In 1963, author, journalist and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois died in Accra, Ghana, at age 95.

In 1967, Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles, was found dead in his London flat from an overdose of sleeping pills; he was 32.

In 1979, British war hero Lord Louis Mountbatten and three other people, including his 14-year-old grandson Nicholas, were killed off the coast of Ireland in a boat explosion claimed by the Irish Republican Army.

In 1989, the first U.S. commercial satellite rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. — a Delta booster carrying a British communications satellite, the Marcopolo 1.

Ten years ago: A granite monument of the Ten Commandments that became a lightning rod in a legal storm over the separation of church and state was wheeled from the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court building as protesters knelt, prayed and chanted, “Put it back!” In Chicago, a man who had been fired from an auto parts warehouse six months earlier came back with a gun and killed six employees before being shot dead by police. Thirty-nine people died in a stampede at an Indian religious festival. A multinational summit on North Korea’s nuclear program opened in Beijing.

Five years ago: Barack Obama was nominated for president by the Democratic National Convention in Denver. A federal judge in Boise, Idaho, sentenced longtime sex offender Joseph Edward Duncan III to death for the 2005 kidnapping, torture and murder of 9-year-old Dylan Groene (GROH’-nee).

One year ago: Republicans opened their national convention in Tampa, Fla., a day late, then immediately adjourned as Tropical Storm Isaac surged toward New Orleans and the northern Gulf Coast.

Today’s Birthdays: Cajun-country singer Jimmy C. Newman is 86. Author Dame Antonia Fraser is 81. Actor Tommy Sands is 76. Bluegrass singer-musician J.D. Crowe is 76. Musician Daryl Dragon is 71. Actress Tuesday Weld is 70. Actor G.W. Bailey is 69. Rock singer-musician Tim Bogert is 69. Actress Marianne Sagebrecht is 68. Country musician Jeff Cook is 64. Actor Paul Reubens is 61. Rock musician Alex Lifeson (Rush) is 60. Actor Peter Stormare is 60. Actress Diana Scarwid is 58. Rock musician Glen Matlock (The Sex Pistols) is 57. Golfer Bernhard Langer is 56. Country singer Jeffrey Steele is 52. Gospel singer Yolanda Adams is 52. Country musician Matthew Basford (Yankee Grey) is 51. Writer-producer Dean Devlin is 51. Rock musician Mike Johnson is 48. Rap musician Bobo (Cypress Hill) is 45. Country singer Colt Ford is 44. Actress Chandra Wilson is 44. Rock musician Tony Kanal (No Doubt) is 43. Actress Sarah Chalke is 37. Actor RonReaco Lee is 37. Rapper Mase is 36. Actress-singer Demetria McKinney is 35. Actor Aaron Paul is 34. Rock musician Jon Siebels (Eve 6) is 34. Actor Shaun Weiss is 34. Contemporary Christian musician Megan Garrett (Casting Crowns) is 33. Actor Kyle Lowder is 33. Actor Patrick J. Adams is 32. Singer Mario is 27. Actress Alexa Vega is 25.

Thought for Today: “In order to have wisdom we must have ignorance.” — Theodore Dreiser, American author (born this date in 1871, died 1945).

(Above Advance for Use Tuesday, Aug. 27)

Copyright 2013, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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