August 24
79   Mount Vesuvius erupts destroying Pompeii, Stabiae, Herculaneum and other smaller settlements.
410   German barbarians sack Rome
1572   Some 50,000 people are put to death in the ‘Massacre of St. Bartholomew’ as Charles IX of France attempts to rid the country of Huguenots.
1814   British troops under General Robert Ross capture Washington, D.C., which they set on fire in retaliation for the American burning of the parliament building in York (Toronto), the capital of Upper Canada.
1896   Thomas Brooks is shot and killed by an unknown assailant beginning a six year feud with the McFarland family.
1942   In the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, the third carrier-versus-carrier battle of the war, U.S. naval forces defeat a Japanese force attempting to screen reinforcements for the Guadalcanal fighting.
1954   Congress outlaws the Communist Party in the United States.
1963   The US State Department cables its embassy in Saigon that if South Vietnam’s president Ngo Dinh Diem does not remove his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu as his political adviser the US would explore alternative leadership, setting the stage for a coup by ARVN generals.
1989   Colombian drug lords declare “total and absolute war” on Colombia’s government, bombing the offices of two political parties and burning two politicians’ homes.
1991   Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; Ukraine declares its independence from USSR.
1994   Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) create an initial accord regarding partial self-rule for Palestinians living on the West Bank, the Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities.
2004   Chechnyan suicide bombers blow up two airliners near Moscow, killing 89 passengers.
Born on August 24
1810   Theodore Parker, anti-slavery movement leader.
1890   Jean Rhys, writer (Wide Sargasso Sea).
1895   Richard Cushing, the director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
1898   Malcolm Cowley, poet, translator, literary critic and social historian.
1899   Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine writer (Ficciones).
1905   Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, blues singer, a major influence on Elvis Presley.
1915   Alice H. B. Sheldon, science fiction writer and artist, CIA photo-intelligence operative, lecturer at American University and a major in the U.S. Army Air Force.
1929   Yasir Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Movement.
1951   Oscar Hijuelos, novelist (The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love).
1960   Calvin “Cal” Ripken, Jr., shortstop and third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles (1981–2001) who broke Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played.
1963   Hideo Kojima, creator and director of video games (Metal Gear series).
1965   Reginald “Reggie” Miller, professional basketball player who set a record for most career 3-point field goals (later superseded by Ray Allen); Olympic gold medalist.
1973   Grey DeLisle-Griffin, voice-over actress in animated TV shows (The Fairly OddParents) and video games (Diablo III).
2003   Alexandre Coste, son of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and former air stewardess Nicole Coste.

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