1666 – In the early morning hours, the Great Fire of London started in the house of King Charles II’s baker on Pudding Lane near London Bridge. It soon spread to Thames Street, where warehouses filled with combustibles and a strong easterly wind transformed the blaze into an inferno. When the Great Fire finally was extinguished on September 6, more than four-fifths of London was destroyed. Miraculously, only 16 people were known to have died.
1789 – The American government established a permanent Treasury Department in hopes of controlling the nation’s debt. President George Washington named his former aide-de-camp, Alexander Hamilton, to head the new office.
1885 – Outraged by a company decision to allow Chinese miners to work the richest coal seams, a mob of 150 white miners in Rock Springs, Wyoming, brutally attacked their Chinese coworkers, killing 28, wounding 15 others, and driving several hundred more out of town.
1944 – Future President George Herbert Walker Bush was serving as a torpedo bomber pilot in the Pacific theater of World War II when his squadron was attacked by Japanese anti-aircraft guns. Bush was forced to bail out of the plane over the ocean.
1945 – Aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan formally surrendered to the Allies, bringing an end to World War II. Although Emperor Hirohito had announced the Japanese surrender on August 15, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur – instructed to preside over the surrender by President Harry Truman – held off the ceremony until September 2 in order to allow time for representatives of all the major Allied powers to arrive.
1963 – Nine months after he proclaimed “segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever,” Alabama Governor George Wallace issued an executive order shutting down Tuskegee High School to prevent integration.
1964 – Alvin York, Medal of Honor winner, and one of the most decorated American soldiers in World War I, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 76.
1969 – President Ho Chi Minh of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam died of a heart attack in Hanoi. He died on the 24th anniversary of his declaration of Vietnam’s independence from France.
1969 – America’s first automatic teller machine made its public debut, dispensing cash to customers at Chemical Bank in Rockville Center, New York. ATMs went on to revolutionize the banking industry, eliminating the need to visit a bank to conduct basic financial transactions.
2001 – Actor Troy Donahue (A Summer Place, Rome Adventure, Parrish, Hawaiian Eye) died of a heart attack at the age of 65.
2005 – Actor Bob Denver (The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and Gilligan’s Island) died of cancer at the age of 70.
2013 – 64-year-old Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage for protection. Nyad completed the 110-mile swim from Havana to Key West, through the jellyfish-and shark-infested waters of the Straits of Florida, in approximately 53 hours.