On This Day in History, August 7

In 1714, the Russian Navy scored its first victory at the Battle of Gangut, as part of the Great Northern War. This conflict, begun in 1700, was an attempt by Russia to challenge Sweden for dominance in the Nordic and Baltic regions. The defeat of Sweden in this war led Russia to become a new major power in Europe and shifted Sweden away from their previous monarchy and towards a more democratic system.

In 1942, the Allied forces led by the United States Marines landed troops on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Over the next six months, fighting across the region, especially centered around the island of Guadalcanal, would lead to an Allied victory over the Japanese and would begin the process of island hopping employed to drive the Japanese back from their colonial possessions.

In 1987, American long distance swimmer Lynne Cox became the first person to swim from the United States to the Soviet Union, now Russia. She departed from Little Diomede Island, part of Alaska, and swam about two kilometers across a stretch of the Bering Sea to Big Diomede across the International Date Line. Despite occurring during the Cold War, the leaders of both nations congratulated her for her feat.

A Notable Birth

1560 – Elizabeth Báthory (d. 1614) was a Hungarian noble widely known as being the most prolific female serial killer. While her total number of victims is unknown, hundreds of witnesses and survivors of her bloody murders confessed against her, and vampiric stories about her emerged from the trial.

A Notable Death

2006 – Peter Jennings (b. 1938) was a Canadian born American journalist best known for his decades long tenure as the anchor for ABC’s World News Tonight. He began operating as a journalist in his youth, rising to his first role as a news anchor in 1965.

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