• On Aug. 30, 30 B.C., Cleopatra, queen of Egypt and lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, takes her life following the defeat of her forces against Octavian, the future first emperor of Rome. She may have committed suicide by means of an asp, a poisonous Egyptian serpent and symbol of divine royalty.
• On Aug. 29, 1876, Charles F. Kettering, inventor of electric self-starter, is born in Ohio. Kettering’s inventions spread far beyond the automotive industry: He helped develop the refrigerant Freon and an incubator for premature infants.
• On Aug. 27, 1883, the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history occurs on Krakatau, an uninhabited volcanic island west of Sumatra in Indonesia. The explosions threw 5 cubic miles of earth 50 miles into the air, created 120-foot tsunamis and killed 36,000 people.
• On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution. The amendment was the culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by woman suffragists.
• On Aug. 25, 1944, after more than four years of Nazi occupation, Paris is liberated by the French and the U.S. infantry. Gen. Dietrich von Choltitz, commander of the German garrison, defied an order by Adolf Hitler to burn Paris to the ground and instead signed a formal surrender.
• On Aug. 28, 1968, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, thousands of Vietnam War protesters battle police in the streets, while the Democratic Party falls apart over its stance on Vietnam.
• On Aug. 24, 1981, Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life for the murder of John Lennon, a founding member of The Beatles. After the shooting on Dec. 8, 1980, Chapman stayed at the scene, reading “The Catcher in the Rye,” a book he was obsessed with, until the police arrived. His requests for parole have all been denied.
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