On This Day in History, August 27

In 1776, British General William Howe inflicted a serious defeat upon Washington’s Continental Army at the Battle of Long Island, also called the Battle of Brooklyn. The British began by attacking fortifications along the Heights of Guan at points that are in the modern day Flatbush and Jamaica sections of Brooklyn and Queens. A flanking force caused a devastating and panicked retreat, though Washington was able to later safely flee his position at Brooklyn Heights.

In 1896, the British Empire fought the shortest war in history with their victory in the Anglo-Zanzibar War. With the recent death of a favorable sultan, Britain issued an ultimatum against Zanzibar. When it wasn’t met by their deadline, British ships bombarded the sultan’s palace, where the new sultan had barricaded himself. After approximately 38 minutes, Zanzibar surrendered and was brought into the Empire.

In 2003, Mars came into its closest proximity to Earth in 60,000 years, being 34,646,418 miles, or 55,758,005 kilometers, away. Despite the narrowness in distance between the neighboring planets, it still takes a little over three minutes for light, including electromagnetic waves, to travel between worlds. There have been many projects and missions to learn more about Mars and any potential it may have to support life.

A Notable Birth

1884 – Denis G. Lillie (d. 1963) was a British biologist who involved with the Terra Nova Expedition, which reached the geographical South Pole in Antarctica. His primary focus was on animals, plants, and fossils.

A Notable Death

1963 – W. E. B. Du Bois (b. 1868) was an American scientist, primarily concerned with civil rights and sociology. A founder of the NAACP and the first African American to receive a doctorate, his influence can still be felt today.

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