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August 24, 2013

Today in History

Today is Saturday, Aug. 24, the 236th day of 2013. There are 129 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On August 24, A.D. 410, Rome was overrun by the Visigoths, a major event in the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

On this date:

In 1572, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of French Protestants at the hands of Catholics began in Paris.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces invaded Washington, D.C., setting fire to the Capitol and the White House, as well as other buildings.

In 1821, the Treaty of Cordoba was signed, granting independence to Mexico from Spanish rule.

In 1912, Congress passed a measure creating the Alaska Territory. Congress approved legislation establishing Parcel Post delivery by the U.S. Post Office Department, slated to begin on Jan. 1, 1913.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart embarked on a 19-hour flight from Los Angeles to Newark, N.J., making her the first woman to fly solo, nonstop, from coast to coast.

In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty came into force.

In 1959, three days after Hawaiian statehood, Hiram L. Fong was sworn in as the first Chinese-American U.S. Senator while Daniel K. Inouye was sworn in as the first Japanese-American U.S. Representative.

In 1968, France became the world’s fifth thermonuclear power as it exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.

In 1970, an explosives-laden van left by anti-war extremists blew up outside the University of Wisconsin’s Sterling Hall in Madison, killing 33-year-old researcher Robert Fassnacht.

In 1981, Mark David Chapman was sentenced in New York to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon.

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 planet, demoting it to the status of a “dwarf planet.”

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