What happened on this day in history: Gold is discovered in Yukon Territory, Elvis Presley dies, and more events from August 16th.
1858: The First Transatlantic Telegraph Is Sent
Queen Victoria sends the world’s first transatlantic telegraph, congratulating United States President James Buchanan on the success of Britain and the U.S. at building the new telegraph cable. The new ability to quickly send and receive information across the Atlantic Ocean would be revolutionary for news, business, and trade. Unfortunately, the new cable stopped working after just a few weeks, and it would be eight years before there was consistent overseas communication via telegraph.
1896: Gold Is Discovered In The Yukon Territory
George Carmack spots gold nuggets near the Klondike River in the Yukon Territory of Canada, sparking the Klondike Gold Rush. Carmack was reportedly camping near Rabbit Creek when he saw a chunk of gold jutting out from the bank, though the men who were with him claim Carmack’s brother-in-law Skookum Jim actually made the discovery. Over the next three years, 100,000 prospectors would arrive in the region to mine for gold.
1958: Madonna Is Born
Madonna, the “Queen of Pop,” is born Madonna Louise Ciccone in Bay City, Michigan. The singer dropped out of college and moved to New York City to pursue a career in dance, and five years later she released her debut album, skyrocketing her to fame. Today, Madonna is the best-selling female music artist of all time with more than 300 million records sold around the world. She’s also the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time.
1977: Elvis Presley Dies
The “King of Rock and Roll” Elvis Presley dies at the age of 42 inside his Memphis, Tennessee home. He’d been scheduled to fly out to begin another tour that very evening, but his fiancee Ginger Alden found him unresponsive on the bathroom floor. An autopsy performed the same day showed that Elvis died of a heart attack, likely brought on by his addiction to opiates.
2018: Aretha Franklin Dies
Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” dies in Detroit, Michigan. Franklin remains beloved around the world to this day, known for her hit songs like “Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Three days before Franklin’s death, the media caught wind that she was seriously ill. Other artists like Stevie Wonder and Jesse Jackson all visited her while she rested at home before passing away at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer. Rolling Stone has called her “the greatest singer of her generation.”