On August 23:
79 Mount Vesuvius began stirring, on the feast day of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
1305 William Wallace, Scottish patriot, was executed for high treason.
1328 Battle of Cassel: French troops stopped an uprising of Flemish farmers.
1514 Battle of Chaldiran ended with a decisive victory for the Sultan Selim I, Ottoman Empire, over the Shah Ismail I, Safavids founder.
1555 Calvinists were granted rights in the Netherlands.
1572 St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre – Mob violence against Huguenots in Paris.
1595 Michael the Brave confronted the Ottoman army in the Battle of Calugareni.
1708 Meidingnu Pamheiba was crowned King of Manipur.
1775 King George III declared that the American colonies existed in a state of open and avowed rebellion.
1793 French Revolution: a levée en masse was decreed by the National Convention.
1799 Napoleon left Egypt for France en route to seize power.
1813 Battle of Grossbeeren, the Prussians under Von Bülow repulsed the French army.
1839 The United Kingdom captured Hong Kong as a base as it prepared for war with Qing China.
1858 The Round Oak rail accident in Brierley Hill, England.
1866 Austro-Prussian War ended with the Treaty of Prague.
1873 Albert Bridge in Chelsea, London opened.
1875 William Eccles, English radio pioneer, was born (d. 1966).
1896 First Cry of the Philippine Revolution was made in Pugad Lawin (Quezon City), in the province of Manila.
1900 Malvina Reynolds, American folk singer/songwriter, was born (d. 1978).
1904 The automobile tyre chain was patented.
1912 Gene Kelly, American dancer and actor, was born (d. 1996).
1914 World War I: Japan declared war on Germany and bombed Qingdao, China.
1914 – World War I: the Battle of Mons; the British Army began withdrawal.
1921 British airship R-38 experienced structural failure over Hull in England and crashed in the Humber estuary. Only 4 of her 49 British and American training crew survived.
1923 Capt. Lowell Smith and Lt. John P. Richter performed the first mid-air refueling on De Havilland DH-4B, setting an endurance flight record of 37 hours.
1929 Hebron Massacre during the 1929 Palestine riots: Arab attack on the Jewish community in Hebron in the British Mandate of Palestine, continuing until the next day, resulted in the death of 65-68 Jews and the remaining Jews being forced to leave the city.
1934 Barbara Eden, American actress and singer, was born.
1938 English cricketer Sir Len Hutton set a world record for the highest individual Test innings of 364, during a Test match against Australia.
1939 New Zealand writer Robin Hyde died in London.
1939 World War II: Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression treaty, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. In a secret addition to the pact, the Baltic states, Finland, Romania, and Poland were divided between the two nations.
1942 Beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad.
1942 The last cavalry charge in history took place at Izbushensky.
1943 Nelson DeMille, American novelist, was born.
1943 Kharkov was liberated.
1944 Marseille was liberated.
1944 King Michael of Romania dismissed the pro-Nazi government of General Antonescu, who was arrested. Romania switched sides from the Axis to the Allies.
1944 Freckleton Air Disaster – A United States Army Air Forces B-24 Liberator bomber crashed into a school in Freckleton, England killing 61 people.
1946 Keith Moon, English musician (The Who), was born (d. 1978).
1946 Ordinance No. 46 of the British Military Government constitutes the German Land (state) of Schleswig-Holstein.
1947 Assisted immigration to New Zealand for British people resumed after WWII.
1947 – Willy Russell, British playwright, was born.
1948 World Council of Churches was formed.
1949 Rick Springfield, Australian singer and actor, was born.
1951 Queen Noor of Jordan, was born.
1954 First flight of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
1958 Chinese Civil War: The Second Taiwan Strait crisis began with the People’s Liberation Army’s bombardment of Quemoy.
1966 Lunar Orbiter 1 took the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.
1975 Successful Communist coup in Laos.
1977 The Gossamer Condor won the Kremer prize for human powered flight.
1979 Soviet dancer Alexander Godunov defected to the United States.
1982 Bachir Gemayel was elected Lebanese President amidst the raging civil war.
1985 Hans Tiedge, top counter-spy of West Germany, defected to East Germany.
1989 Hungary: the last communist government opened the Iron curtain and caused the exodus of thousands of Eastern Germans to West Germany via Hungary.
1989 Singing Revolution: two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stoodon the Vilnius-Tallinn road, holding hands (Baltic Way).
1989 – 1,645 Australian domestic airline pilots resign after the airlines threaten to fire them and sue them over a dispute.
1990 Saddam Hussein appeared on Iraqi state television with a number of Western “guests” ( hostages) to try to prevent the Gulf War.
1990 Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union.
1990 West and East Germany announced that they would unite on October 3.
1994 Eugene Bullard, The only black pilot in World War I, was posthumously commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.
1996 Osama bin Laden issued message entitled ‘A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places.’
2000 Gulf Air Flight 072 crashed into the Persian Gulf near Manama, Bahrain, killing 143.
2006 – Natascha Kampusch, who was abducted at the age of 10, managed to escape from her captor Wolfgang Priklopil, after 8 years of captivity.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia