This Day In History, August 27th

What happened on this day in history: Krakatoa erupts, Edmund Kemper commits his first murder, and more.

410 C.E.: Visigoths Sack Rome

Visigoths from Eastern Europe end a three-day sack of Rome, becoming the first foreign enemy to take the city in over 800 years. Led by Alaric, the Germanic people looted much of Rome, though they protected many of the treasures in St. Peter’s Basilica. The sack was a major event in the fall of the Western Roman Empire. St. Jerome later wrote: “The City which had taken the whole world was itself taken.”

1883: Krakatoa Erupts

Krakatoa Eruption

Wikimedia CommonsAn 1888 lithograph of Krakatoa’s eruption.

The Indonesian volcano Krakatoa erupts in one of the deadliest volcanic events in recorded history. The island that Krakatoa sat on and the surrounding archipelago were destroyed when the volcano collapsed into a caldera. The explosion was so loud that it was reportedly heard 3,000 miles away. More than 36,000 deaths were attributed to the eruption and the resulting tsunamis.

Listen above to the History Uncovered podcast, episode 84: History Happy Hour, August 2023, also available on Apple and Spotify.

1896: The Anglo-Zanzibar War Begins And Ends

The shortest war in history, the Anglo-Zanzibar War is fought between the British Empire and the East African island sultanate of Zanzibar. The war, which was fought over the succession of the next sultan, lasted between 38 and 45 minutes. A Zanzibari prince who was angry about Britain’s choice for the successor took over his palace, so the British bombarded it. Only one British soldier was wounded, while the prince’s Zanzibari fighters suffered 500 casualties.

1955: The Guinness Book Of Records Debuts

The first edition of the Guinness Book of Records, the predecessor to the Guinness World Records book, is published in Great Britain and quickly becomes a hit. The book is released annually, documenting the feats of humans and animals around the world. It was inspired by a debate among Sir Hugh Beaver and his friends about whether or not the golden plover was the fastest game bird in Europe.

1964: Edmund Kemper Commits His First Murder

Today In History August 27

Wikimedia CommonsEd Kemper’s 1973 mugshot.

American serial killer Edmund Kemper commits his first murder at the age of 15 when he shoots his grandmother in her kitchen after an argument. He then killed his grandfather when he returned home later that day. Kemper was committed to Atascadero State Hospital in California and released on his 21st birthday. He later murdered eight women, including his mother, in a series of horrific attacks and became known as the “Co-ed Killer.”