Today in History – October 15

1066 – Following the death of Harold II at the Battle of Hastings, Edgar the Ætheling was proclaimed King of England by the Witan; he was never crowned, and conceded power to William the Conqueror two months later.

1582 – Adoption of the Gregorian calendar began.  It eventually led to near-universal adoption and is the calendar we use today.

1764 – Edward Gibbon observed a group of friars singing in the ruined Temple of Jupiter in Rome, which inspired him to begin work on The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

1783 – The Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon made the first human ascent, piloted by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier.

1793 – Queen Marie Antoinette of France was tried and convicted of treason.

1815 – Napoleon began his exile on Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

1827 – Charles Darwin was admitted to Christ’s College, Cambridge.

1860 – 11-year-old Grace Bedell wrote to Abraham Lincoln and suggested he grow a beard.  He took her advice.

1863 – American Civil War: The H. L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink a ship, sank and killed its inventor.

1878 – The Edison Electric Light Company began operation.

1888 – The “From Hell” letter allegedly sent by Jack the Ripper was received by investigators.  The letter was sent along with half of a preserved human kidney.  The author claimed to have fried and eaten the other half.

1895 – Henry Perky patented a machine he developed with William Ford for the preparation of cereals for food, otherwise known as shredded wheat.

1910 – Airship America was launched from New Jersey in the first attempt to cross the Atlantic by a powered aircraft.

1917 – World War I: Dutch dancer Mata Hari was executed by France for espionage.

1919 – 14 horses began a 300-mile race from Vermont to Massachusetts for $1000 prize money.

1924 – US President “Silent” Calvin Coolidge declared the Statue of Liberty a national monument.

1928 – The airship Graf Zeppelin completed its first trans-Atlantic flight when it landed at Lakehurst, New Jersey, United States.

1937 – Ernest Hemingway’s novel “To Have & Have Not” was published.

1940 – “The Great Dictator”, a satiric social commentary film by and starring Charlie Chaplin, was released.

1951 – Mexican chemist Luis E. Miramontes completed the synthesis of norethisterone, the basis of an early oral contraceptive.

1951 – “I Love Lucy”, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, debuted on CBS.

1952 – “Charlotte’s Web” by E. B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams was published by Harper & Brothers.

1956 – FORTRAN, the first modern computer language, was first shared with the coding community.

1959 – TV series “The Untouchables” starring Robert Stack premiered.

1965 – Vietnam War: A draft card was burned during an anti-war rally by the Catholic Worker Movement, resulting in the first arrest under a new law.

1966 – The Black Panther Party was created by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.

1966 – President Lyndon Johnson signed a bill which created the US Department of Transportation.

1970 – During the construction of Australia’s West Gate Bridge, a span of the bridge fell and killed 35 workers. The incident is the country’s worst industrial accident to date.

1973 – Country music artist Dolly Parton released her single “Jolene”.

1977 – Debbie Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” reached #1 and remained at that position for 10 weeks.

1981 – Professional cheerleader Krazy George Henderson led what is thought to be the first audience wave in Oakland, California.

1989 – Wayne Gretzky became the all-time leading points scorer in the NHL.

1989 – American radio and television evangelist Billy Graham was given the 1,900th star on Hollywood Boulevard, the first clergyman to be granted a star.

1990 – Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to lessen Cold War tensions and open up his nation.

1991 – The “Oh-My-God particle”, an ultra-high-energy cosmic ray measured at 40,000,000 times that of the highest energy protons produced in a particle accelerator, was observed at the University of Utah HiRes observatory in Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.

1995 –Saddam Hussein was reelected president of Iraq through a referendum.

1997 – The Cassini probe launched from Cape Canaveral on its way to Saturn.

2001 – NASA’s Galileo spacecraft passed within 112 miles of Jupiter’s moon Io.

2003 – China launched Shenzhou 5, its first manned space mission.

2005 – A planned neo-Nazi protest against African-American street gangs set off a riot in Toledo, Ohio. Twenty-nine people are arrested.

2018 – 13-year-old American girl, Jayme Closs, was kidnapped from her Barron, Wisconsin home after her parents were both murdered.  She escaped on January 10, 2019, after 88 days in captivity.  Her kidnapper, who also killed her parents, was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole plus an additional 40 years.

To report an issue or typo with this article – CLICK HERE