1590: John White returns to the Colony of Roanoke (in today’s North Carolina, USA) to find the settlement deserted and the entire population vanished. The mystery prevails to this day.
1793: the Great Meteor of 1793 is seen across the United Kingdom.
1945: Sukarno becomes the first President of Indonesia, following the country’s declaration of independence from the Netherlands the previous day.
1963: James Meredith becomes the first African-American to graduate from the University of Mississippi, an important milestone for the USA’s Civil Rights Movement.
1977: Steve Biko is arrested in a police roadblock in King William’s Town, Eastern Cape.
1774: Meriwether Lewis, American explorer, who along with William Clark explored the Louisiana Territory, which later became part of the USA.
1935: Hifikepunye Pohamba, second President of Namibia.
1952: Patrick Swayze, American actor, known for Dirty Dancing, Ghost and Donnie Darko.
1962: Felipe Calderón, former President of Mexico.
1850: Honoré de Balzac, French novelist and playwright.
1940: Walter Chrysler, founder of Chrysler.
1945: Subhas Chandra Bose, Indian nationalist and politician.
18 August is National Science Day in Thailand, Constitution Day in Indonesia, and Vietnam Veterans Day in Australia.