This Day In History, August 22nd

What happened on this day in history: The "Night of Fire" sets off the Haitian Revolution, the infamous Devil's Island penal colony closes, and more events that occurred on August 22nd.

1485: Battle Of Bosworth Field Takes Place

This Day In History August 22

Wikimedia CommonsRichard III and Henry Tudor fight in the center of Bosworth Field, as painted by Abraham Cooper in 1825.

The Battle of Bosworth Field, the last major battle of the Wars of the Roses, takes place between the Houses of Lancaster and York. Henry Tudor led an alliance of Lancastrians against the Yorkist King Richard III, defeating the monarch and taking the throne for himself. Richard III became the last English king to die in combat, and Henry launched the Tudor dynasty as Henry VII.

1791: “Night Of Fire” Sets Off The Haitian Revolution

The Haitian War of Independence begins with the “Night of Fire,” with more than 100,000 enslaved men and women rising up against French control. They burned plantations and executed as many French people as they could find. Toussaint Louverture quickly became a leader of the revolution, which succeeded in achieving Haitian independence in 1804.

1922: Michael Collins Is Assassinated

Michael Collins, an Irish revolutionary and member of Sinn Fein, is assassinated in County Cork, Ireland. The previous year, he agreed to the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which partitioned Ireland into the independent Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland) and Northern Ireland, which remained under the control of the United Kingdom. Collins was shot to death by anti-treaty forces who wanted revenge for his role in it.

1953: “Devil’s Island” Penal Colony Closes

Devil's Island

Antoine Hubert/FlickrDevil’s Island, also called Île du Diable, is one of French Guiana’s Îles du Salut, or Salvation Islands.

Devil’s Island, a penal colony in the waters of French Guiana, closes. The prison was particularly brutal, and about 75 percent of inmates who were sent to Devil’s Island died. The deep, shark-infested waters took the lives of many who tried to escape, and the tropical climate harbored mosquitoes and other vectors of disease. Devil’s Island had been in operation since 1852, but after the public found out about the brutal conditions, they demanded its closure.

1987: “Mr Cruel” Begins His Crime Spree In Australia

The yet-unidentified child rapist known only as “Mr Cruel” begins his attacks against girls in Melbourne, Australia. Dressed in a ski mask, he broke into a home in the quiet neighborhood of Lower Plenty. He bound the parents and son, then sexually assaulted the 11-year-old daughter. This brutal attack would cause massive panic in Melbourne.

A year later, “Mr Cruel” struck again, this time kidnapping a 10-year-old girl from her home. Hours later, the young girl was found on the side of the road, traumatized but alive. “Mr Cruel” struck a third time, kidnapping and molesting another young girl for 50 hours. The final crime of “Mr Cruel” was the abduction and eventual murder of 13-year-old Karmein Chan. After this, the mysterious criminal never struck again, and the crime spree remains unsolved to this day.