Today in History: October 26

1689 – General Enea Silvio Piccolomini of Austria burned down Skopje to prevent the spread of cholera; he died of the disease soon afterwards.

1813 – War of 1812: A combined force of British regulars, Canadian militia and Mohawks defeated the United States Army in the Battle of the Chateauguay.

1825 – The Erie Canal opened which allowed direct passage from the Hudson River to Lake Erie.

1881 – Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday participated in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.

1935 – Judy Garland, at the age of 12, sang on Wallace Berry’s radio show on NBC.

1936 – The first electric generator at Hoover Dam went into full operation.

1937 – Nazi Germany began expulsions of 18,000 Polish Jews.

1942 – World War II: In the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands during the Guadalcanal Campaign, one U.S. aircraft carrier was sunk and another carrier was heavily damaged, while two Japanese carriers and one cruiser were heavily damaged.

1944 – World War II: The Battle of Leyte Gulf ended with an overwhelming American victory.

1958 – Pan American Airways made the first commercial flight of the Boeing 707 from New York City to Paris.

1965 – The Beatles were awarded the MBE (Member of the British Empire) medals.

1968 – Space Race: The Soyuz 3 mission achieved the first Soviet space rendezvous.

1970 – Elton John’s “Your Song” was released in the U.S.

1977 – Ali Maow Maalin, the last natural case of smallpox, developed a rash in Somalia. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider this date to be the anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, the most spectacular success of vaccination.

1980 – In Los Angeles, CA, Paul Kantner (Jefferson Starship) suffered a brain hemorrhage during a recording session. He stayed in the hospital for 15 days.

1981 – Queen and David Bowie released the single “Under Pressure” in the U.K.

1992 – Pearl Jam set a new record for first week sales when the album Vs. sold 950,000 copies.

1993 – Catholic churches in San Juan, Puerto Rico urge residents to tie black ribbons on trees to protest Madonna’s first concert there.

1995 – Yolanda Saldivar was sentenced to life in prison by a Texas jury for the murder of Selena.

2001 – The United States passed the USA PATRIOT Act into law.

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