[Michelangelo's Pietà balances classical ideals with naturalism;
it currently resides at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.]
1071 - At the Battle of Manzikert the Great Seljuk Sultanate under Alp Arslan defeated a Byzantine army commanded by Romanos IV, Nikephoros Bryennios, Theodore Alyates, and Andronikos Doukas at Manzikert - an engagement which resulted in the capture and benign eight-day imprisonment of the Byzantine Emperor, who was later released following the signing of a treaty and the payment of a hefty ransom.
1278 - Ladislaus IV of Hungary and Rudolph I of Germany defeated Premysl Ottokar II of Bohemia in the Battle of Marchfield near the Moravian town of Dürnkrut, a battle which would have a profound effect on the geopolitics of Central Europe for centuries by allowing for the rise of the Habsburg Dynasty.
1346 - During the Hundred Years' War, the military supremacy of the English longbow over the French combination of crossbow and armoured knights was established at the Battle of Crécy.
1498 - Michaelangelo was commissioned by Jean de Billheres, Cardinal of Santa Sabina, to create the La Pietà for his crypt in the Chapel of Santa Petronilla; it was later moved to its present location during the rebuilding of St. Peter's Basilica. The sculpture is considered among the world's foremost works of art, and is the only one of his works Michaelangelo ever signed.
1748 - The first Lutheran denomination in North America - the Pennsylvania Ministerium - was founded in Philadelphia.
1768 - Captain James Cook set sail on his First Voyage from Plymouth, England, on board HM Bark Endeavour; the mission's stated purpose was to observe the transit of Venus from Cape Horn, and then continue on, charting the Southern Hemisphere.
1778 – The first recorded ascent of Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia, was undertaken by Luka Korošec, Matija Kos, Štefan Rožič, and Lovrenc Willomitzer at the behest of Baron Sigismund Zois.
1883 - Mount Krakatoa entered the final phase of its cataclysmic eruption, killing more than 36,000 people.
1914 - The German colony of Togoland - which had been invaded by French and British forces on August 7th, during World War I - was forced to surrender; the puny German garrison (a commander and deputy commander, 10 German sergeants, 1 native sergeant and 660 Togolese policemen); meanwhile, half a world away, the British Expeditionary Force at the Battle of Le Cateau on August 26, 1914, during its withdrawal from the Battle of Mons.
1920 - The 19th amendment to the US Constitution took effect, giving women the right to vote.
1939 - The first Major League Baseball game was telecast, a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field.
1962 - Former Romper Room Lady and mother of four Sherri Finkbine returned home to Phoenix having undergone an abortion in Sweden which was denied to her in Arizona. Finkbine had been taking Thalidomide, which at the time was prescribed for morning sickness; during the early stages of her pregnancy it came to light that the medicine had profound physical side-effects for the fetus. In Finkbine's case, the baby girl would have been born without arms and only one leg and may in fact have not been born at all. Following her high-profile abortion, Finkbine went on to have a healthy fifth child. The incident became a made-for-TV movie in 1992, A Private Matter, with Sissy Spacek in the leading role.
1968 - The most tumultuous Democratic National Convention ever opened in Chicago, following the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April and the front-runner Senator Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY) in June. The candidate chosen, Hubert Humphrey, did not excite the American electorate any more than his running mate Edmund Muskie; they were later massively defeated by Richard M. Nixon.
1972 - The Games of the XX Olympiad opened in Munich.
1977 - The Charter of the French Language was adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec.
1978 - Albino Luciani was elected Pope John Paul I at a papal conclave held, as is traditional, in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel.
1980 - John Birges planted a bomb at Harvey's Resort Hotel in Stateline, Nevada; although the subsequent explosion nearly destroyed the hotel, there were no casualties.
2003 - The final report on the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion was released by NASA; according to official findings, it crashed and burned.
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