On Aug. 3:
In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, on a voyage that took him to the present-day Americas.
In 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr went on trial before a federal court in Richmond, Virginia, charged with treason. (He was acquitted less than a month later.)
In 1914, Germany declared war on France at the onset of World War I.
In 1921, baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis refused to reinstate the former Chicago White Sox players implicated in the “Black Sox” scandal, despite their acquittals in a jury trial.
In 1943, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. George S. Patton slapped a private at an army hospital in Sicily, accusing him of cowardice. (Patton was later ordered by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to apologize for this and a second similar episode.)
In 1958, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus became the first vessel to cross the North Pole underwater.
In 1966, comedian Lenny Bruce, whose raunchy brand of satire and dark humor landed him in trouble with the law, was found dead in his Los Angeles home; he was 40.
In 1972, the U.S. Senate ratified the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union. (The U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the treaty in 2002.)
In 1980, closing ceremonies were held in Moscow for the Summer Olympic Games, which had been boycotted by dozens of countries, including the United States.
In 1981, U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike, despite a warning from President Ronald Reagan they would be fired, which they were.
In 1987, the Iran-Contra congressional hearings ended, with none of the 29 witnesses tying President Ronald Reagan directly to the diversion of arms-sales profits to Nicaraguan rebels.
In 1994, Arkansas carried out the nation’s first triple execution in 32 years. Stephen G. Breyer was sworn in as the Supreme Court’s newest justice in a private ceremony at Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist’s Vermont summer home.
In 2008, Nobel Prize-winning Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn died near Moscow at age 89. Al-Qaida confirmed the death of a top commander (Abu Khabab al-Masri), apparently in a U.S. airstrike in Pakistan; he was accused of training the suicide bombers who’d killed 17 American sailors on the USS Cole in 2000. At least 145 people were killed in a stampede of pilgrims at a remote mountaintop Hindu temple in India.
In 2013, President Barack Obama’s trade representative, Michael Froman, vetoed a yet-to-be-enacted ban on imports of Chinese-made Apple iPads and iPhones, overruling the U.S. International Trade Commission and dealing a setback to rival South Korean electronics company Samsung. Zimbabwe’s electoral panel declared that longtime President Robert Mugabe had won re-election by a landslide.
In 2017, Senators introduced two bipartisan bills aimed at protecting Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by President Donald Trump. (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the effort was unnecessary, and that he wouldn’t let the legislation reach the floor.) West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said he was switching parties to join the Republicans, a move that came as President Donald Trump visited his increasingly conservative state.
Thought for Today:
“Many of us spend half of our time wishing for things we could have if we didn’t spend half our time wishing.”
— Alexander Woollcott, American critic (1887-1943)