August 7 events in history

461 Roman Emperor Majorian is beheaded near the river Iria in north-west Italy following his arrest and deposition by the magister militum Ricimer
626 The Avar and Slav armies leave the siege of Constantinople
936 Coronation of King Otto I of Germany
1420 Construction of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore begins in Florence
1427 The Visconti of Milan's fleet is destroyed by the Venetians on the Po River
1461 The Ming Dynasty Chinese military general Cao Qin stages a coup against the Tianshun Emperor
1679 The brigantine Le Griffon, commissioned by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, is towed to the south-eastern end of the Niagara River, to become the first ship to sail the upper Great Lakes of North America
1714 The Battle of Gangut: The first important victory of the Russian Navy
1782 George Washington orders the creation of the Badge of Military Merit to honor soldiers wounded in battle. It is later renamed to the more poetic Purple Heart
1789 The United States Department of War is established
1791 American troops destroy the Miami town of Kenapacomaqua near the site of present-day Logansport, Indiana in the Northwest Indian War
1794 U.S. President George Washington invokes the Militia Acts of 1792 to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania
1819 Simón Bolívar triumphs over Spain in the Battle of Boyacá
1858 The first Australian rules football match is played between Melbourne Grammar and Scotch College
1879 The opening of the Poor Man's Palace in Manchester, England
1890 Anna Månsdotter becomes the last woman in Sweden to be executed, for the 1889 Yngsjö murder
1909 Alice Huyler Ramsey and three friends become the first women to complete a transcontinental auto trip, taking 59 days to travel from New York, New York to San Francisco, California
1927 The Peace Bridge opens between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York
1930 The last confirmed lynching of blacks in the Northern United States occurs in Marion, Indiana. Two men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, are killed
1933 The Simele massacre: The Iraqi government slaughters over 3,000 Assyrians in the village of Simele. The day becomes known as Assyrian Martyrs Day
1938 The Holocaust: The building of Mauthausen concentration camp begins
1940 World War II: Alsace-Lorraine is annexed by the Third Reich
1942 World War II: The Battle of Guadalcanal begins as the United States Marines initiate the first American offensive of the war with landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomon Islands
1944 IBM dedicates the first program-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (known best as the Harvard Mark I)
1946 The government of the Soviet Union presented a note to its Turkish counterparts which refuted the latter's sovereignty over the Turkish Straits, thus beginning the Turkish Straits crisis
1947 Thor Heyerdahl's balsa wood raft the Kon-Tiki, smashes into the reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands after a 101-day, 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) journey across the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to prove that pre-historic peoples could have traveled from South America
1947 The Bombay Municipal Corporation formally takes over the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport (BEST)
1955 Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering, the precursor to Sony, sells its first transistor radios in Japan
1959 The Lincoln Memorial design on the U.S. penny goes into circulation. It replaces the "sheaves of wheat" design, and was minted until 2008
1959 Explorer program: Explorer 6 launches from the Atlantic Missile Range in Cape Canaveral, Florida
1960 Côte d'Ivoire becomes independent from France
1964 Vietnam War: The U.S. Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution giving U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson broad war powers to deal with North Vietnamese attacks on American forces
1965 The infamous first Reyes party between Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters and motorcycle gang the Hells Angels takes place at Kesey's estate in La Honda, California introducing psychedelics to the gang world and forever linking the hippie movement to the Hell's Angels
1966 Race riots occur in Lansing, Michigan
1970 California judge Harold Haley is taken hostage in his courtroom and killed during an effort to free George Jackson from police custody
1974 Philippe Petit performs a high wire act between the twin towers of the World Trade Center 1,368 feet (417 m) in the air
1976 Viking program: Viking 2 enters orbit around Mars
1978 U.S. President Jimmy Carter declares a federal emergency at Love Canal due to toxic waste that had been negligently disposed of
1979 Several tornadoes strike the city of Woodstock, Ontario, Canada and the surrounding communities
1981 The Washington Star ceases all operations after 128 years of publication
1985 Takao Doi, Mamoru Mohri and Chiaki Mukai are chosen to be Japan's first astronauts
1985 The White House Farm murders took place near the English village of Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex, England
1987 Lynne Cox becomes first person to swim from the United States to the Soviet Union, crossing from Little Diomede Island in Alaska to Big Diomede in the Soviet Union
1989 U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland (D-TX) and 15 others die in a plane crash in Ethiopia
1998 The United States embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya kill approximately 212 people
1999 The Chechnya-based Islamic International Brigade invades the neighboring Russian Dagestan
2008 The start of the Russo-Georgian War over the territory of South Ossetia