On This Day in History, September 5

In 1781, a French fleet led by Comte de Grasse and a British fleet led by Sir Thomas Graves fought in the Battle of the Chesapeake, a vital part of the Yorktown campaign that brought an end to the American Revolution. Both fleets had sailed south from New England, seeking to take control of the Chesapeake Bay and provide assistance to their fellows engaged at Yorktown. Due to the French victory at this battle, the British were unable to withdraw from the city and were forced to surrender.

In 1938, 60 Nacistas, Chilean fascist revolutionaries backed by Nazi Germany, were executed in the Seguro Obrero Massacre following their surrender on the grounds that they would be allowed to live. The Nacistas had engaged in a coup to preempt a democratic victory by opposition in a three-way election. While about 20 of their number were killed in a standoff and shoot out, the remaining number surrendered once given assurances.

In 1977, NASA launched the first Voyager probe, Voyager 1, for the purpose of exploring the Solar System. Operational in the decades since its launch, Voyager 1 was used to study Jupiter and Saturn, along with the latter’s moon of Titan. Titan was notable for scientists due to favorable atmospheric conditions. On August 25, 2012, Voyager 1 passed out of our solar system and into interstellar space. It’s projected to continue operating until 2025.

A Notable Birth

1817 – Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy (d. 1875) was a Russian writer best known for his historical dramatic works. He benefited from his family’s noble status, traveling across Europe and admitting to closeness to a future Tsar. He was a second cousin with Leo Tolstoy.

A Notable Death

1629 – Domenico Allegri (b. 1585) was an Italian composer and singer. Involved with the early Baroque period, he had connections with other Italian musicians of the time, including his elder—and more famous—brother, Gregorio Allegri.

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