[Golden boy Michael Phelps rocked the Water Cube a record eighth time on this day in 2008, bringing his career Olympic medal total (so far) to 16 - the most ever for an American... Phelps' achievement tied one set by Russian gymnast Alexander Dityatin at the Moscow Summer Games in 1980 and his overall achievement (14 gold and two bronze over two Olympiads) has only been surpassed by the 18 (including nine gold, five silver, and four bronze) won by Russian gymnast Larissa Latynina during the 1956, 1960, and 1964 Games. Naturally, the Baltimore Bullet is poised to take on the world at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London - at which time my money is on him shattering even this extraordinary record!]
1807 - Robert Fulton's first American steamboat - originally called the North River Steamboat and later known as the Clermont - left New York City for Albany on the Hudson River (which is also known to New Yorkers as the North River) inaugurating the first such commercial service in the world.
1883 - The Dominican Republic's national anthem, Himno Nacional, was first performed; an immediate success musically, lyrically the song left much to be desired. It was rewritten to be more historically accurate in 1897, which version is still in use today.
1907 - Pike Place Market - the longest continuously-running public farmers' market in the US - opened in Seattle.
1908 - The very first animated cartoon, Émile Cohl's Fantasmagorie, was first shown.
1915 - Leo Frank was lynched in Marietta, Georgia, for allegedly murdering Mary Phagan after his death sentenced was commuted by Governor John Marshall Slaton.
1945 - The Indonesian Declaration of Independence was first read, sparking the five-year Indonesian National Revolution against the colonial rule of the Netherlands and eventually bringing about the abdication of Holland's Queen Wilhelmina.
1947 - The Radcliffe Line - the border between Union of India and Dominion of Pakistan - was revealed; it was named for Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the man who drew it.
1953 - The first documented meeting of Narcotics Anonymous was held in Southern California.
1959 - Quake Lake was formed by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake centred in Yellowstone National Park near Montana's Hebgen Lake.
1960 - Gabon gained its independence from France; the country's first president was Léon M’ba.
1962 - East German Peter Fechter became the Berlin Wall's first victim, when he was shot trying to cross it into the West.
1969 - The Category 5 Hurricane Camille made landfall along the Mississippi coast near Bay St. Louis, killing 248 people and causing $1.5 billion in damage.
1970 - The Soviet Union launched Venera 7 as part of its Venera Program; the spacecraft would later become the first to successfully transmit data from the surface of another planet (in this case, Venus).
1978 - Double Eagle II became the first hot-air balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean when it landed in Miserey, outside of Paris, 137 hours after leaving Presque Isle, Maine. (Honestly, if I had to spend 137 hours in a hot-air balloon I'd be in Miserey too...)
1980 - Ten-week-old Azaria Chamberlain disappeared during a family vacation to Uluru - likely taken by a dingo - leading to what was then the most publicized trial in Australian history, and later providing Meryl Streep the opportunity to blow movie audiences away yet again.
1987 - Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess was found dead in his cell in Spandau Prison.
1988 - Pakistani President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphel were killed in a plane crash near Bhawalpur.
1998 - US President Bill Clinton admitted in taped testimony to an 'improper physical relationship' with White House intern Monica Lewinsky; later that day he went on TV to confess to the nation that he 'misled people' about the true extent of their relationship.
2008 - Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal at the Beijing Summer Olympics, surpassing swimmer Mark Spitz's 1972 record for the most gold medals won by an American in a single Olympiad.
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