On This Day in History: August 23

On August 23, 1305, infamous Scottish patriot William Wallace was executed in London. His life and death has been portrayed in the movie Braveheart, starring Mel Gibson. Here is a look at history today throughout the world.

1305: The Execution of William Wallace

William WallaceWilliam Wallace was a hero to the Scots in 1297, when he and Andrew Moray led a win at the Battle of Stirling Bridge against the English. However, a loss at the Battle of Falkirk and a betrayal from those close to him led to his capture in August 1305. He was handed over to King Edward I of England’s army, and taken to London to be tried for treason. He was given the traitor’s death, as his status as a Scottish lord wasn’t recognized. Wallace said that he couldn’t be a traitor to the English king, because he wasn’t one of his subjects.

1979: Aleksandr Godunov Defects

Soviet ballet star Aleksandr Godunov defected to the United States on this day in history. He was the first from the Bolshoi Ballet school, but followed a long list of other ballet dancers throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Coming from the Bolshoi Ballet School was an important point. This was Russia’s most prestigious school, and it was viewed as a serious snub. He also left his wife, Ludmila Vlasova, behind, because she decided to remain with the Russian company. He and others who defected to the United States went on to have highly successful careers.

2006: Natascha Kampusch Escapes Captivity

Natascha Kampusch had been kidnapped when she was just 10 years old. After eight years of being in captivity, she Louis XVImanaged to escape and tell her tale. When she was 10, her captor Wolfgang Priklopil dragged her into a white minivan. The man had even been questioned by police, but they didn’t believe it to be him! She was kept in his basement, where she was abused sexually and physically. Over time she was allowed out of the room and into the house. She was also able to educate herself. When she was vacuuming his car, Priklopil took a call and Kampusch used that chance to escape. She got to a neighbors and the police were called. Priklopil committed suicide after that, and Kampusch’s mother believes she suffered from Stockholm Syndrome, after expressing sympathy for him and carrying a photo of his coffin afterwards.

Famous Birthdays on August 23

King Louis XVI of France—1754

Geographer Jean Baptiste Lislet-Geoffroy—1755

Biologist Albert Claude—1898

Dancer Gene Kelly—1912

Professional footballer Sonny (Christian) Jurgensen—1934

I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing songwriter Roger John Reginald Greenaway—1938

Jesse’s Girl singer Rick Springfield—1949

Queen Noor of Jordan—1951

Floer homology creator Andreas Floer—1956

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade actor River Phoenix—1970

L.A. Lakers player Kobe Bryant—1978

Sources:

Featured image from Deposit Photos

Birthdays from FamousBirthdays.com and HistoryNet.com

William Wallace: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wallace#/media/File:Braveheart_edinburghcastle.jpg

Louis XVI of France: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XVI_of_France#/media/File:Louis16-1775.jpg

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