On August 5

Most of us would rather wait until we are good and dead before entering a coffin. But not Houdini. On this day that age in history, August 5, 1926, Houdini willingly locked himself inside of a casket, underwater, and stayed there for an hour and a half before escaping. August 5 is not only a day in history for mad escapes from old-timey magicians, but it’s also an essential milestone in medieval English history. 

Famous Historical Events

910: After being invaded every five minutes, the native Britons had had enough of the Vikings and their plunder, pillage, and wanderlust. On this day in history, the last major Viking army to raid fed-up England was defeated in the epic Battle of Tettenhall.

After entering the region of Mercia in England, the Vikings laid waste to the land and took off with a lot of valuable loot. But King Edward and Earl Aethelred led the English forces into the region, trapping the escaping Vikings. Thousands were killed, including several Viking kings. It was a stunning victory for the English. 

Medieval Battle Reenactment

1305: In 1305, William Wallace, leader of the Scottish resistance against the English, is captured on this day in history near Glasgow. From there, he is transported to London to await his trial and execution. King Edward, the First of England, had him hanged, drawn, and quartered, a particularly gruesome death even for that time in history. Mel Gibson made Wallace a household name in his film Braveheart, which went on to win numerous awards. 

Wallace Statue

1583: On this day in history, Humphrey Gilbert claims Newfoundland for Britain. Newfoundland becomes the first English colony in North America and helps to begin Britain’s ascent to empire status and world domination. 

St. John's Newfoundland

1914: The first electric traffic light is installed in the U.S. The light is hung at the corner of East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. Before this age in history, roads and intersections were very dangerous. A lack of uniformity regarding traffic rules and the fact that early automobiles, horses, carriages, and pedestrians all shared the road made getting from Point A to Point B a significant hazard to life and limb. 

Not working traffic light

Famous Birthdays

1930: Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong

Armstrong, the first man on the moon, was born on this day in history in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Before his death at 82 in 2012, Armstrong was a world-renowned NASA astronaut and the commander of the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon Mission. He’s the guy who said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” 

1956: Maureen McCormick

Maureen McCormick is best known for her role as Marcia Brady of the Brady Bunch in the early 1970s. On this day in history, she was born in Encino, California. 

Famous Deathdays

1792: Frederick North

North is credited –  more like discredited – for being the British Prime Minister who lost the American colonies during the Revolution. 

1962: Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Monroe died on this day at the age of 36 from suicide via a drug overdose. The strange circumstances surrounding the time leading up to her death have made this event and this day in history ripe fodder for the conspiracy theory canon. Monroe is famous for many movie roles, and her rendition of “Happy Birthday” which she sang to President JFK. Monroe also modeled in the first edition of Playboy Magazine. 

What can we learn from this day in history, August 5? What goes around comes around if you’re a Viking. For more historical tidbits about August 5, check out this page to learn more.

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