Year
1879
Month Day
August 08

Emiliano Zapata born

Emiliano Zapata, a leader of peasants and indigenous people during the Mexican Revolution, is born in Anenecuilco, Mexico.

Born a peasant, Zapata was forced into the Mexican army in 1908 following his attempt to recover village lands taken over by a rancher. After the revolution began in 1910, he raised an army of peasants in the southern state of Morelos under the slogan “Land and Liberty.” Demanding simple agrarian reforms, Zapata and his guerrilla farmers opposed the central Mexican government under Francisco Madero, later under Victoriano Huerta, and finally under Venustiano Carranza. Zapata and his followers never gained control of the central Mexican government, but they redistributed land and aided poor farmers within the territory under their control. On April 10, 1919, Zapata was ambushed and shot to death in Morelos by government forces.

Zapata’s influence has endured long after his death, and his agrarian reform movement, known as zapatismo, remains important to many Mexicans today. In 1994, a guerrilla group calling itself the Zapata Army of National Liberation launched a peasant uprising in the southern state of Chiapas.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneels during national anthem, gives interview about it for the first time

At an NFL preseason game on August 26, 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains seated as other players stand to observe the national anthem. This simple action, which Kaepernick makes no attempt to broadcast to the public, gives rise to a controversy that ...read more

5-day long Russo-Georgian War begins

On August 8, 2008, a long-simmering conflict between Russia and Georgia boiled over into a shooting war between the small Caucasian nation and the superpower of which it was once a part. The brief Russo-Georgian War was the most violent episode in a conflict that began more than ...read more

Sonia Sotomayor is sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

On August 8, 2009, Sonia Sotomayor is sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents, Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice to serve on the nation's highest court. Sotomayor's mother was an orphan from rural Puerto Rico. Her ...read more

Brigham Young chosen to lead Mormon Church

After Joseph Smith, the founder and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormonism, and his brother, Hyrum, were murdered by an angry mob in an Illinois prison six weeks earlier, Elder Brigham Young is chosen to be the Church’s next leader. The ...read more

Soviets declare war on Japan; invade Manchuria

On August 8, 1945, the Soviet Union officially declares war on Japan, pouring more than 1 million Soviet soldiers into Japanese-occupied Manchuria, northeastern China, to take on the 700,000-strong Japanese army. The dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima by the Americans did not have ...read more

German saboteurs executed in Washington

During World War II, six German saboteurs who secretly entered the United States on a mission to attack its civil infrastructure are executed by the United States for spying. Two other saboteurs who disclosed the plot to the FBI and aided U.S. authorities in their manhunt for ...read more

Nixon resigns

In an evening televised address on August 8, 1974, President Richard M. Nixon announces his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. With impeachment proceedings underway against him for his involvement in the Watergate affair, Nixon was finally ...read more

Lights go on at Wrigley

On August 8, 1988, the Chicago Cubs host the first night game in the history of Wrigley Field. The first-ever night game in professional baseball took place nearly 60 years earlier, on May 2, 1930, when a Des Moines, Iowa, team hosted Wichita for a Western League game. The ...read more

Gangsta rap hits the mainstream with the release of N.W.A’s "Straight Outta Compton"

As of 1988, the top-selling hip hop albums of all time were Run D.M.C.’s Raising Hell and the Beastie Boys’ License to Ill, both released in 1987 and both selling millions without ruffling many feathers. In June 1988, Public Enemy released It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us ...read more

Spike Lee’s first feature, "She’s Gotta Have It," premieres

On August 8, 1986, actor, writer and director Spike Lee’s first feature-length movie, She’s Gotta Have It, opens in theaters around the United States. Made on a shoestring budget, She’s Gotta Have It was a comedy about a free-spirited African-American woman in Brooklyn, New York, ...read more

President Truman signs United Nations Charter

President Harry S. Truman signs the United Nations Charter and the United States becomes the first nation to complete the ratification process and join the new international organization. Although hopes were high at the time that the United Nations would serve as an arbiter of ...read more

Robert E. Lee offers resignation as commander of the Confederate army

In the aftermath of his defeat at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Confederate General Robert E. Lee sends a letter of resignation as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The letter came more than a month after Lee’s retreat from ...read more

Battle of Amiens

On August 8, 1918, the Allies launch a series of offensive operations against German positions on the Western Front during World War I with a punishing attack at Amiens, on the Somme River in northwestern France. After heavy casualties incurred during their ambitious spring 1918 ...read more