On This Day: Partition divides India, Pakistan after British independence

People ride on a refugee special train at Ambala Station in India in February 1954. The 1947 partition of India and Pakistan left many people displaced for years. File Photo courtesy of the Indian government

Aug. 15 (UPI) — On this date in history:

In 1914, a U.S. ship sailed from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, officially opening the Panama Canal.

In 1935, humorist Will Rogers and pilot Wiley Post were killed when their plane crashed in Alaska.

In 1947, India gains independence from Britain after 200 years of rule. The Indian Independence Act also partitioned British India into modern-day India and Pakistan.

In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, often described as a landmark counterculture event, opened on Max Yasgur’s farm near Bethel, N.Y., drawing an estimated 400,000 people for three days of music.

In 1985, South African President P.W. Botha, rejecting Western pleas to abolish apartheid, declared, “I am not prepared to lead white South Africans and other minority groups on a road to abdication and suicide.”

UPI File Photo

In 1994, the notorious international terrorist known as “Carlos the Jackal” was captured in Sudan. The next day he was extradited to France, where he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

In 2003, Libya admitted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, that claimed 270 lives and agreed to pay reparations totaling $2.7 billion.

In 2004, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez survived a referendum to oust him.

File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI

In 2007, an 8-magnitude earthquake struck 90 miles southeast of Lima, Peru, killing an estimated 500 people and injuring hundreds more.

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In 2013, Egyptian authorities said the death toll had surpassed 600 in violence that began with a crackdown on protesting supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

In 2015, the North Korean government moved to its own time zone — back 30 minutes — going back to what it once was before the Japanese took control of the country more than a century ago.

In 2021, Taliban militants took control of Afghanistan after storming Kabul and the presidential palace and causing President Ashraf Ghani to flee. The fall came as U.S. troops fully withdrew from the country after 20 years of war.

File Photo by Staff Sgt. Kylee Gardner/U.S. Air Force

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