Today In History August 24

Today In History August 24

History is the study of life in society in the past, in all its aspects, concerning present developments and future hopes. It is the story of the man in time, an inquiry into the past based on evidence. Indeed, the evidence is the raw material of history teaching and learning. It is an Inquiry into what happened in the past, when it happened, and how it happened. It is an inquiry into the inevitable changes in human events in the past and the ways these changes affect, influence, or determine the patterns of life in society. History is, or should be an attempt to re-think the past.

Let’s discuss a few major Historical events in Today’s History.

79 AD: Mount Vesuvius erupts

It was shortly after noon on August 24th in 79 A.D. and Mount Vesuvius sent a tall cloud of steam and ash high up in the atmosphere.  The ancient Roman town of Pompeii near modern-day Naples was soon covered in all darkness and the thickness of the falling debris increased by about 6 to 8 inches per hour.  The rocks which comprised the debris were up to 3 inches in diameter and fell with a speed of up to 100 miles per hour.  This first phase of the eruption led to casualties primarily caused by roof collapses. After 12 hours of continuous explosive activity, the second phase of the eruption started and it was characterized by a large flow of lava down the sloping Mount Vesuvius and this caused more deaths and destruction.  The eruption of Mount Vesuvius spewed 1.5 million tons of lava per second into Pompeii and surrounding towns.  In a short period, two thousand people were killed, the small towns of Herculaneum, Oplonti, and Stabiae were destroyed, and Pompeii was changed forever. 

1814: British troops set fire to the White House

The United States capital of Washington, D.C., burned on this day in the year 1814, but it may have been an act of nature that forced the British from the besieged city.

During the War of 1812 on 24th August 1814, British troops invaded Washington, D.C. In response to an American attack on York, Ontario in Canada, the British troops occupied the U.S. capital and set fire to many federal buildings including the White House. President Madison and members of the government fled the city during the occupation. It marks the only time in United States history that Washington, D.C. had been occupied by a foreign military.


1875: Captain Webb becomes the first person to swim the English Channel

Captain Matthew Webb was the first person to achieve what was thought to be impossible when he swam across the English Channel from England to France in the year 1875.

Captain Webb’s first attempt to swim the Channel on 12th August 1875 was unsuccessful due to strong winds and rough seas.

Twelve days later, on 24 August 1875, Webb started from the Admiralty Pier in Dover and 21 hours and 45 minutes later, landing near Calais, he completed the first solo swim between England and France. The swimmer Captain Webb is the original pioneer and hero who inspires successful and aspiring Channel Swimmers to this day.