• On Aug. 10, 1793, after more than two centuries as a royal palace, the Louvre is opened as a public museum in Paris by the French revolutionary government. Today the Louvre’s collection is one of the richest in the world, with artwork and artifacts representative of 11,000 years of human civilization and culture.
• On Aug. 6, 1862, the C.S.S. Arkansas, the most feared Confederate ironclad on the Mississippi River, is blown up by her crew after suffering mechanical problems during a battle with the U.S.S. Essex near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The ship was 165 feet long and 35 feet wide.
• On Aug. 9, 1936, at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, black American track star Jesse Owens wins his fourth gold medal of the Games in the 4×100-meter relay. His team’s world record of 39.8 seconds stood for 20 years.
• On Aug. 7, 1947, Kon- Tiki, a balsa wood raft captained by Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, completes a 4,300- mile, 101-day journey from Peru to an archipelago near Tahiti. Heyerdahl wanted to prove his theory that prehistoric South Americans could have colonized Polynesia by drifting on ocean currents.
• On Aug. 12, 1953, less than one year after the United States tested its first hydrogen bomb, the Soviet Union detonates a 400-kiloton device in Kazakhstan. The explosive power was 30 times that of the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
• On Aug. 11, 1973, “American Graffiti,” a nostalgic coming-of-age tale set in the car-centric culture of suburban California, is released in theaters across the U.S. The movie went on to become a sleeper hit.
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