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On This Day in History, August 23

What Happened On This Day – August 23

  • 1990 Armenia Declares Independence From the Soviet Union

    The Western Asian country had been part of the USSR since 1922. Until 1936, the country was part of the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (TSFSR), along with Azerbaijan and Georgia. In 1936, the TSFSR was broken up and Armenia was renamed the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. The country declared itself independent of the USSR on the 23rd of August, 1990, and finally achieved independence a year later on September 21, 1991.

  • 1966 First Photograph of the Earth Taken From the Orbit of the Moon

    NASA’s Lunar Orbiter 1 was the first American unmanned spacecraft to orbit the Moon. Taking black and white pictures of the Earth was not the Orbiter’s main task. Its primary task was to scope out landing sites on the Moon for future spacecrafts.

  • 1944 Romania Switches Sides in World War II

    A coup in the Southeast European country moved its allegiance from the Axis powers to the Allies during the Second World War. In the early years of WW II, Romania had tried to remain neutral but in 1940, due to external pressures, the country joined Nazi Germany and the Axis powers. On this day, King Michael I removed the government of Ion Antonescu and declared Romanian support to the Allies. Some experts believe that by switching sides Romania helped shorten the war by several months.

  • 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact is signed

    The German foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and the Soviet foreign minister, Vyacheslav Molotov signed a non-agression pact in Moscow. The pact stipulated that the USSR would not get involved in a war in Europe.

  • 1904 Snow Chains Patented

    Harry D. Weed of New York was awarded a patent for snow chains by the United States Patent Office. Snow chains are attached to tires of vehicles to improve their traction on snowy and icy roads.

Births On This Day – August 23

  • 1988 Jeremy Lin

    American basketball player

  • 1978 Kobe Bryant

    American basketball player

  • 1926 Clifford Geertz

    American anthropologist

  • 1912 Gene Kelly

    American dancer, actor

  • 1864 Eleftherios Venizelos

    Greek politician, Prime Minister of Greece

Deaths On This Day – August 23

  • 2006 Maynard Ferguson

    Canadian trumpet player, bandleader

  • 1926 Rudolph Valentino

    Italian/American actor

  • 1819 Oliver Hazard Perry

    American naval officer

  • 1305 William Wallace

    Scottish knight, landowner

  • 634 Abu Bakr

    Arabian caliph

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