This Day In History, August 9th

What happened on this day in history: The bombing of Nagasaki, the murder of Sharon Tate, and other momentous events from this day.

1173: Construction Begins On The Leaning Tower Of Pisa

The Leaning Tower Of Pisa

PicrylThe tower’s tilt reached its height in 1990, before restoration work helped lessen its trademark lean.

Construction begins on the bell tower of the Cathedral of Pisa in Italy, which would soon become known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. After three of the white marble tower’s eight stories had been completed, it became obvious that the structure’s foundation was settling unevenly in the soft ground and it began to tilt. After centuries of reinforcement work, the tower now leans about four degrees from the perpendicular.

1854: Henry David Thoreau Publishes Walden

Henry David Thoreau’s famous book Walden, or, A Life In The Woods, is published. At the age of 27, Thoreau moved to Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, and built a small cabin in order to live off the land and document his views on politics, philosophy, and nature. The result was Walden, a series of essays about his time of experimental simple living.

1936: Jesse Owens Wins His Fourth Gold Medal

Black American track and field athlete Jesse Owens wins a gold medal in the 4 × 100 m sprint relay at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. It was Owens’ fourth gold of the competition, and outraged prominent Nazis like Joseph Goebbels.

1945: The Bombing Of Nagasaki

The Bombing Of Nagasaki

Wikimedia CommonsAn atomic cloud rises over the city of Nagasaki after the bombing on August 9, 1945.

After dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima three days earlier, American forces drop the “Fat Man” atomic bomb on the Japanese port city of Nagasaki. The bomb detonated at 11:02 a.m., killing 40,000 people immediately and 100,000 more over the next five years. The bombing of Nagasaki contributed to Japan’s surrender in World War II six days later.

1969: The Manson Family Murders Begin

10050 Cielo Drive

FlickrOn August 9, 1969, the Manson Family killed five people inside this house at 10050 Cielo Drive.

Pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four of her friends are killed by members of the Manson Family, the cult led by Charles Manson.

The gruesome murders took place in the Los Angeles home of Tate and her husband, filmmaker Roman Polanski. Manson allegedly ordered the killings because the previous occupant of the house, music producer Terry Melcher, had refused to give him a record contract. Manson and three of the killers were sentenced to life in prison for the murders.

2011: Warren Jeffs Is Sentenced To Life In Prison

Warren Jeffs, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years for two counts of felony child sexual assault.

Five years earlier, he’d been placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List after fleeing from charges that he’d arranged marriages between his adult followers and underage children. After being extradited to Texas, he was found guilty of the sexual assault of two of his own child brides, ages 15 and 12.