Dulce Rodrigues, writer
IT HAPPENED IN AUGUST
- 01 - Switzerland's National Day: celebration of the Everlasting League of 1291 through which the Swiss Confederation was born.
- 06, 1945 - Dropping of the first atomic bomb by the United States on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, during World War II.
- 09, 1945 - Second US atomic attack to Japan, this time against the city of Nagasaki.
- 11, 1578 - Pedro Nunes, one of the most prestigious scientists of the Renaissance, dies in Coimbra.
Born in Alcácer do Sal in the year 1502, Pedro Nunes became famous due to his knowledge of mathematics and geography.
He was the author of a great number of treatises and other books, two of which,
and De Arte atque ratione navigandi
very much contributed to the the development of new scientific methods and the construction of new instruments of astronomical observation.
One of these processes became known as nonius,
a derivation of his own Latin name Nonius.
We also owe to Pedro Nunes the theory of the loxodromic curve later used by Mercator for drawing maps.
A complete edition of all his writings appeared in Basel in 1592.
- 14, 1385 - Battle of Aljubarrota: Following the death of king Ferdinand of Portugal who had left no male child, the Castilian king invades the country and
claims his rights to the Portuguese throne. The independence of Portugal is endangered and the national pride operates a miracle:
despite the reduced number of the Portuguese forces (about 7000 men) against the crushing military power of the Castilians
(about 22000 men with better equipment), the Portuguese army, under the command of the constable Nuno Álvares Pereira, utterly defeats the Castilian forces at Aljubarrota.
The monarchy is then consolidated under king João I,
who had been proclaimed king of Portugal four months earlier. To commemorate this victory, king John orders the building of the
Mosteiro da Batalha (Monastery of Batalha).
- 15, 1195 - Saint Anthony of Lisbon - whose official name was Fernando de Bolhões -
is born in Lisbon in a small house right in front of the Lisbon cathedral, where later the church bearing his name was erected.
His religious vocation pushed him to enter the St. Augustine Order, first at the monastery of São Vicente de Fora, in Lisbon,
later at the monastery of Santa Cruz, in Coimbra. Years later, he met there a group of Franciscans whose influence was of the utmost
importance to his future. He then changed his name to Antonio and, after joining the Franciscans,
left for Morocco to spread Christianity among the people. On the way there he fell sick and decided to return to Portugal.
His boat, however, was wrecked during a storm and came ashore on the Italian coast.
Some Franciscans whom he helped later to create a Franciscan chapter in the town of Assis sheltered him.
Meanwhile he met Saint Francis who, charmed by his eloquence and wisdom, invited him to become professor of Theology to the other monks.
Saint Anthony died in Arcela, in the neighbourhood of Padua, on June 13, 1232, and he was canonised one year later.
In 1946 he was proclaimed Doctor of the Church, the first and only Portuguese to bear that title. In Portugal,
Saint Anthony is by far the most popular of all the saints, and the celebrations of June 13th take place all over Portugal,
this day being a holiday in some cities, among them the city of Lisbon.
As Saint Anthony was born on Assumption Day, his iconography - unlike that of other saints - shows him with
Baby Jesus in his arms,
a privilege he shares with the Virgin Mary who is also celebrated on August 15.
- 15 - Republic of India National Day: celebration of the independence, in 1947, from the domination of the British Empire.
- 15 - Liechtenstein's National Day: celebration of the prince's birthday.
- 23 - Romania's National Day: celebration of the liberation in 1944.
One of the most important dates in a person's life is our own birthday.
Would you like to know how much time has passed since that day?
Enjoy yourself making the calculation