On This Day in History, August 25

In 1270, Louis IX, King of France and later called Saint Louis, died in Tunis from dysentery during the Eighth Crusade. Considered a just and moderate king, Louis’ reign in France was considered their medieval golden age. He reformed law at home, including the introduction of the presumption of innocence. Louis IX also faced conflict within France, dealing with rebellious nobles, and from outside, such as the English and Islamic realms.

In 1814, British troops continued the Burning of Washington, moving on from the White House and Capitol. A rear admiral went after the National Intelligencer building for printing negative stories of him. Others destroyed the Treasury, hoping to find gold. The Department of War building was burned, though its records had been removed. Due to the efforts of another man, the Patent Building was left unscathed—the only government building which survived the burning.

In 1914, German soldiers looted and burned the Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium, during the early stage of the First World War. Destroyed in the incident was the university’s library, including a treasure trove of documents and manuscripts. These included incunabula, printed before the 16th Century; a tablet from the Easter Islands with Rongorongo text E; and the oldest Czech Bible.

A Notable Birth

1951 – Rob Halford is an English musician, best known as the front man and singer for Judas Priest. His singing style and on-stage dress has been influential upon the metal world, and he is well known as being homosexual. He is also known as the “Metal God”. He is turning 69 today.

A Notable Death

1984 – Truman Capote (b. 1924) was an American writer who garnered fame through his work, In Cold Blood, which he labeled as being nonfiction. He started writing at a young age, quickly developing his skills, which he turned into a career. Several of his works would be adapted for the screen.

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