Today in History: August 24, Mount Vesuvius erupts
Today in History
Today is Wednesday, Aug. 24, the 236th day of 2022. There are 129 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Aug. 24, A.D. 79, long-dormant Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash; an estimated 20,000 people died.
On this date:
In 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces invaded Washington, D.C., setting fire to the Capitol (which was still under construction) and the White House, as well as other public buildings.
In 1912, Congress passed a measure creating the Alaska Territory.
In 1932, Amelia Earhart embarked on a 19-hour flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, making her the first woman to fly solo, non-stop, from coast to coast.
In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty came into force.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act, outlawing the Communist Party in the United States.
In 1981, Mark David Chapman was sentenced in New York to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon. (Chapman remains imprisoned.)
In 1989, Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti (juh-MAH’-tee) banned Pete Rose from the game for betting on his own team, the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into Florida, causing $30 billion in damage; 43 U.S. deaths were blamed on the storm.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union declared that Pluto was no longer a full-fledged planet, demoting it to the status of a “dwarf planet.”
In 2016, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake reduced three central Italian towns to rubble and killed nearly 300 people.
In 2019, police in Aurora, Colorado, responding to a report of a suspicious person, used a chokehold to subdue Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man; he suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and was later declared brain dead and taken off life support. (Three officers were placed on leave but returned to the force after a prosecutor found insufficient evidence to support charging them; the officers and two paramedics were later indicted by a grand jury on manslaughter and other charges following an investigation by state Attorney General Phil Weiser ordered by Gov. Jared Polis.)
In 2020, Republicans formally nominated President Donald Trump for a second term on the opening day of a scaled-down convention; during a visit to the convention city of Charlotte, North Carolina, Trump told delegates that “the only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election.” Anger over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by police spilled into the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin for a second night.
Ten years ago: A Norwegian court found Anders Behring Breivik guilty of terrorism and premeditated murder for twin attacks on July 22, 2011 that killed 77 people; he received a 21-year prison sentence that can be extended as long as he is considered dangerous to society. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency wiped out 14 years of Lance Armstrong’s cycling career — including his record seven Tour de France titles — and barred him for life from the sport after concluding he’d used banned substances.
Five years ago: Presidential adviser Jared Kushner met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to try to jumpstart peace talks. Former Carter administration Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus, who engineered the conservation of millions of acres of Alaska land, died at the age of 85. Mavis Wanczyk, a hospital worker from the western Massachusetts town of Chicopee, was announced as the winner of the biggest undivided lottery jackpot in U.S. history, a $758.7 million Powerball prize; lottery officials said she chose to take a lump sum payment of $480 million, or $336 million after taxes.
One year ago: President Joe Biden said he would stick to his Aug. 31 deadline for completing a risky airlift of Americans, endangered Afghans and others seeking to escape Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Kathy Hochul became New York’s first female governor after the resignation of Andrew Cuomo took effect; on her first day in office, Hochul acknowledged that the state had nearly 12,000 more deaths from COVID-19 than Cuomo had told the public. Former football star Herschel Walker filed paperwork to enter the U.S. Senate race in Georgia after months of speculation; the Republican had the backing of former President Donald Trump. Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts died in a London hospital at the age of 80.
Today’s Birthdays: Composer-musician Mason Williams is 84. R&B singer Marshall Thompson (The Chi-Lites) is 80. Actor Anne Archer is 75. Actor Joe Regalbuto is 73. Actor Kevin Dunn is 67. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is 67. Actor-writer Stephen Fry is 65. Actor Steve Guttenberg is 64. Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. is 62. Actor Jared Harris is 61. Talk show host Craig Kilborn is 60. CBS News correspondent Major Garrett is 60. Rock singer John Bush is 59. Actor Marlee Matlin is 57. Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller is 57. Broadcast journalist David Gregory is 52. Movie director Ava DuVernay is 50. Actor-comedian Dave Chappelle is 49. Actor James D’Arcy is 49. Actor Carmine Giovinazzo (jee-oh-vihn-AH’-zoh) is 49. Actor Alex O’Loughlin is 46. Actor Beth Riesgraf is 44. Actor Chad Michael Murray is 41. Singer Mika is 39. Actor Blake Berris is 38. Actor Rupert Grint (“Harry Potter” films) is 34.