This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
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August 10 is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 143 days remaining until the end of the year.
The term ‘the 10th of August’ is widely used by historians as a shorthand for the Storming of the Tuileries Palace on the 10th of August, 1792, the effective end of the French monarchy until it is restored in 1814.
On this day in 1846, Smithsonian Institution was created. After a decade of debate about how best to spend a bequest left to America from an obscure English scientist, President James K. Polk signs the Smithsonian Institution Act into law.
In 1829, James Smithson died in Italy, leaving behind a will with a peculiar footnote. In the event that his only nephew died without any heirs, Smithson decreed that the whole of his estate would go to “the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Smithson’s curious bequest to a country that he had never visited aroused significant attention on both sides of the Atlantic.
After the nephew died without heirs in 1835, President Andrew Jackson informed Congress of the bequest, which amounted to 104,960 gold sovereigns, or US$500,000 ($10,100,997 in 2008 U.S. dollars after inflation). The money, however, was invested in shaky state bonds that quickly defaulted. After heated debate in Congress, former President John Quincy Adams successfully argued to restore the lost funds with interest. Congress also debated whether the federal government had the authority to accept the gift. Congress ultimately accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust July 1, 1836.
Eight years later, Congress passed an act establishing the Smithsonian Institution, a hybrid public/private partnership, and the act was signed into law on August 10, 1846 by James Polk. (See 20 U.S.C. § 41 (Ch. 178, Sec. 1, 9 Stat. 102).) The bill was drafted by Indiana Democratic Congressman Robert Dale Owen, a Socialist and son of Robert Owen, the father of the cooperative movement.
610 – In Islam, the traditional date of the Laylat al-Qadr, when Muhammad began to receive the Qur’an.
955 – Battle of Lechfeld: Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor defeats the Magyars, ending 50 years of Magyar invasion of the West.
991 – Battle of Maldon: English, led by Bryhtnoth, Duke of Essex, are defeated by a band of inland-raiding Vikings near Maldon in Essex.
1270 – Yekuno Amlak takes the imperial throne of Ethiopia, restoring the Solomonic dynasty to power after a 100-year interregnum.
1519 – Ferdinand Magellan’s five ships set sail from Seville to circumnavigate the globe. Second in command Sebastian Elcano, Basque navigator, completes the expedition after Magellan’s death in the Philippines.
1557 – Battle of St. Quentin: Spanish victory over the French in the Habsburg-Valois Wars.
1675 – The foundation stone of the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London is laid.
1680 – The Pueblo Revolt begins in New Mexico.
1776 – American Revolutionary War: word of the United States Declaration of Independence reaches London.
1792 – French Revolution: Storming of the Tuileries Palace. Louis XVI of France is arrested and taken into custody.
1809 – Quito, now the capital of Ecuador, declares independence from Spain. (The rebellion was crushed on August 2, 1810.)
1821 – Missouri is admitted as the 24th U.S. state.
1829 – First ascent of Finsteraarhorn, the highest summit of the Bernese Alps.
1846 – The Smithsonian Institution is chartered by the United States Congress after James Smithson donates $500,000 for such a purpose.
1861 – American Civil War: Battle of Wilson’s Creek – the war enters Missouri when a band of raw Confederate troops defeat Union forces in the southwestern part of the state.
1901 – The U.S. Steel Recognition Strike by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers begins.
1904 – Russo-Japanese War: the Battle of the Yellow Sea between the Russian and Japanese battleship fleets.
1905 – Russo-Japanese War: peace negotiations begin in Portsmouth.
1913 – Second Balkan War: delegates from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece sign the Treaty of Bucharest, ending the war.
1920 – World War I: Ottoman sultan Mehmed VI’s representatives sign the Treaty of Sevres that divides up the Ottoman Empire between the Allies.
1932 – A 5.1kg (11.2-pound) chondrite-type meteorite breaks into at least seven pieces and lands near the town of Archie in Cass County, Missouri.
1944 – World War II: American forces defeat the last Japanese troops on Guam.
1948 – Candid Camera makes its television debut after being on radio for a year as Candid Microphone.
1949 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act Amendment, streamlining the defense agencies of the United States government, and replacing the Department of War with the United States Department of Defense.
1954 – At Massena, New York, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Saint Lawrence Seaway is held.
1969 – A day after murdering Sharon Tate and four others, members of Charles Manson’s cult kill Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
1971 – The Society for American Baseball Research is founded in Cooperstown, New York.
1977 – In Yonkers, New York, 24-year-old postal employee David Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”) is arrested for a series of killings in the New York City area over the period of one year.
1978 – Three members of the Ulrich family were killed in an accident. This leads to the Ford Pinto litigation.
1981 – Murder of Adam Walsh: The head of John Walsh’s son is found. Inspires the creation of the television series America’s Most Wanted.
1988 – Japanese American internment: U.S.
President Ronald Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, providing $20,000 payments to Japanese Americans who were either interned in or relocated by the United States during World War II.
1990 – The Magellan space probe reaches Venus.
1995 – Oklahoma City bombing: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols are indicted for the bombing. Michael Fortier pleads guilty in a plea-bargain agreement for his testimony.
1998 – The Royal Proclamation of HRH Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah as the crown prince of Brunei.
2003 – The highest temperature ever recorded in the UK – 38.5 C (101.3 F) in Kent. It is the first time the UK has recorded a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
2003 – Yuri Malenchenko becomes the first person to marry in space.
2006 – Scotland Yard disrupts major terrorist plot to destroy aircraft traveling from the United Kingdom to the United States. All toiletries are banned from commercial airplanes.
2009 – Twenty people are killed in Handlová, Trenčín Region, in the deadliest mining disaster in Slovakia’s history.
2012 – The Marikana miners’ strike begins near Rustenburg, South Africa.
2013 – The World Championships in Athletics takes place in Moscow, Russia.
* Christian Feast Day:
* Blane (Roman Catholic Church)
* Geraint of Dumnonia
* Lawrence of Rome
* Our Lady of Good Success of Parañaque, Patroness of Parañaque, Philippines
* August 10 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Declaration of Independence of Quito, proclaimed independence from Spain on August 10, 1809, but failed with the execution of all the conspirators of the movement on August 2, 1810. Independence finally occurred on May 24, 1822 at the Battle of Pichincha. (Ecuador)