August 2, 1990 - The Iraqi army invaded Kuwait amid claims that Kuwait threatened Iraq's economic existence by overproducing oil and driving prices down on the world market. An Iraqi military government was then installed in Kuwait which was annexed by Iraq on the claim that Kuwait was historically part of Iraq. This resulted in Desert Shield, the massive Allied military buildup, and later the 100-hour war against Iraq, Desert Storm.
August 3, 1492 - Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three ships, Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Seeking a westerly route to the Far East, he instead landed on October 12th in the Bahamas, thinking it was an outlying Japanese island.
August 5, 2011 - Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency downgraded the United States debt from its highest rating of AAA to a lesser AA+ rating, marking the first-ever decline of credit worthiness for the U.S. The agency cited America’s $14 trillion in outstanding debt and ineffective political leadership regarding debt reduction.
August 6, 1965 - The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Act suspended literacy, knowledge and character tests designed to keep African Americans from voting in the South. It also authorized the appointment of Federal voting examiners and barred discriminatory poll taxes. The Act was renewed by Congress in 1975, 1984 and 1991.
August 17, 1978 - The first transatlantic balloon trip was completed by three Americans; Max Anderson, Ben Abruzzo, and Larry Newman, all from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Starting from Maine on August 11th, they traveled in Double Eagle II over 3,000 miles in 137 hours, landing about 60 miles west of Paris.
August 18, 1920 - The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, granting women the right to vote.
August 21, 1959 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Hawaii to the Union as the 50th state.
August 24, 79 A.D. - Vesuvius, an active volcano in southern Italy, erupted and destroyed the cities of Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum.
August 28, 1963 - The March on Washington occurred as over 250,000 persons attended a Civil Rights rally in Washington, D.C., at which Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his now-famous I Have a Dream speech.