216 BC Hannibal Barca wins his greatest victory over the Romans at Cannae. After avidly studying the tactics of Hannibal, Scipio Africanus eventually bested his Carthaginian adversary.
47 BC Caesar defeats Pharnaces at Zela in Syria and declares, “veni, vidi, vici,” (I came, I saw, I conquered).
1552 The treaty of Passau gives religious freedom to Protestants living in Germany.
1553 An invading French army is destroyed at the Battle of Marciano in Italy by an imperial army.
1589 During France’s religious war, a fanatical monk stabs King Henry II to death.
1776 The Continental Congress, having decided unanimously to make the Declaration of Independence, affixes the signatures of the other delegates to the document.
1790 The first US census begins enumerating the population.
1802 Napoleon Bonaparte is proclaimed “Consul for Life” by the French Senate after a plebiscite from the French people.
1819 The first parachute jump from a balloon is made by Charles Guille in New York City.
1832 Troops under General Henry Atkinson massacre Sauk Indian men, women and children who are followers of Black Hawk at the Bad Axe River in Wisconsin. Black Hawk himself finally surrenders three weeks later, bringing the Black Hawk War to an end.
1847 William A. Leidesdorff launches the first steam boat in San Francisco Bay.
1862 Union General John Pope captures Orange Court House, Virginia.
1862 The Army Ambulance Corps is established by Maj. Gen. George McClellan.
1876 Wild Bill Hickok is shot while playing poker.
1914 Germany invades Luxembourg.
1918 A British force lands in Archangel, Russia, to support White Russian opposition to the Bolsheviks.
1923 Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes president upon the death of Warren G. Harding.
1934 German President Paul von Hindenburg dies and Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor.
1943 Lt. John F. Kennedy, towing an injured sailor, swims to a small island in the Solomon Islands. The night before, his boat, PT-109, had been split in half by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri.
1950 The U.S. First Provisional Marine Brigade arrives in Korea from the United States.
1964 U.S. destroyer Maddoxis reportedly attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats.
1965 Newsman Morley Safer films the destruction of a Vietnamese village by U.S. Marines.
1990 Iraqi forces invade neighboring Kuwait.
1997 Author William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch), considered the godfather of the “Beat Generation” in American literature, dies at age 83.

Born on August 2

1754 Pierre Charles L’Enfant, French engineer who designed the layout of Washington, D.C.
1820 John Tyndall, British physicist and the first scientist to show why the sky is blue.
1865 Irving Babbitt, scholar and founder of the modern humanistic movement.
1924 James Baldwin, writer whose works include Go Tell it on the Mountain and Notes of a Native Son.
1932 Peter O’Toole, Irish actor.
1942 Isabel Allende, author of The House of the Spirits.
1949 James Fallows, writer and editor of U.S. News and World Report.
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