October 16th in History

This day in historyOctober 16 is the 289th day of the year (290th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 76 days remaining until the end of the year.


Air Force Day (Bulgaria)

Boss’s Day (United States and Canada)

Ada Lovelace Day (International)

Christian Feast Day:

Day of Pope John Paul II (Poland)

Death anniversary of Liaquat Ali Khan (Pakistan)

Teachers’ Day (Chile)

World Food Day (International)

World Anaesthesia Day (International)

Dictionary Day


In 456, Magister militum Ricimer defeats Emperor Avitus at Piacenza and becomes master of the Western Roman Empire.

In 690,  Empress Wu Zetian ascends to the throne of the Tang dynasty and proclaims herself ruler of the Chinese Empire.

In 955,  Battle on the Raxa: King Otto I defeats the Obotrite federation led by Nako and his brother Stoigniew near Mecklenburg.

In 1384, Jadwiga is crowned King of Poland, although she is a woman.

In 1430, James II of Scotland  was born (d. 1460)

In 1590, Carlo Gesualdo, composer, Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, murders his wife, Donna Maria d’Avalos, and her lover Fabrizio Carafa, the Duke of Andria at the Palazzo San Severo in Naples.

Noah Webster pre-1843 IMG 4412 Cropped.JPGIn 1758, Noah Webster, American lexicographer and author born (d. 1843) Webster was a lexicographer, textbook pioneer, English-language spelling reformer, political writer, editor, and prolific author. He has been called the “Father of American Scholarship and Education”. His blue-backed speller books taught five generations of American children how to spell and read, secularizing their education. According to Ellis (1979) he gave Americans “a secular catechism to the nation-state”. His name became synonymous with “dictionary” in the United States, especially the modern Merriam-Webster dictionary that was first published in 1828

In 1780, Royalton, Vermont and Tunbridge, Vermont are the last major raids of the American Revolutionary War.

In 1781, George Washington captures Yorktown, Virginia after the Siege of Yorktown.

Marie Antoinette at the age of thirteen; this miniature portrait was sent to the Dauphin to show him what his future bride looked like (by Joseph Ducreux, 1769)

In 1793, Marie Antoinette, widow of Louis XVI, is guillotined at the height of the French Revolution. She was born an Archduchess of Austria, was Dauphine of France from 1770 to 1774 and Queen of France and Navarre from 1774 to 1792. She was the fifteenth and penultimate child of Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Empress Maria Theresa. She was tried by the Revolutionary Tribunal on 14 October. Unlike the king, who had been given time to prepare a defence, the queen was given less than one day. Among the things she was accused of (most, if not all, of the accusations were untrue and probably lifted from rumours begun by libelles) were orchestrating orgies in Versailles, sending millions of livres of treasury money to Austria, plotting to kill the Duke of Orléans, incest with her son, declaring her son to be the new king of France, and orchestrating the massacre of the Swiss Guards in 1792. She was declared guilty of treason in the early morning of 16 October, after two days of proceedings. She composed a letter to her sister-in-law Madame Élisabeth, affirming her clear conscience, her Catholic faith and her feelings for her children. The letter did not reach Élisabeth. Her hair was cut off and she was driven through Paris in an open cart, wearing a plain white dress. At 12:15 p.m., two and a half weeks before her thirty-eighth birthday, she was beheaded at the Place de la Révolution (present-day Place de la Concorde).Her last words were “Pardon me sir, I meant not to do it”, to Henri Sanson the executioner, whose foot she had accidentally stepped on after climbing the scaffold. Her body was thrown into an unmarked grave in the Madeleine cemetery, rue d’Anjou (which was closed the following year). Her sister-in-law Élisabeth was executed in 1794 and her son died in prison in 1795. Her daughter returned to Austria in a prisoner exchange, married and died childless in 1851.

In 1793, The Battle of Wattignies ends in a French victory.

In 1813, The Sixth Coalition attacks Napoleon Bonaparte in the Battle of Leipzig.

In 1834, Much of the ancient structure of the Palace of Westminster in London burns to the ground.

In 1841, Queen’s University is founded in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

In 1843, Sir William Rowan Hamilton comes up with the idea of quaternions, a non-commutative extension of complex numbers.

In 1846, William T. G. Morton first demonstrated ether anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the Ether Dome.

Oscar Wilde portrait.jpg

Oscar Wilde

In 1854, Oscar Wilde, Irish author, poet, and playwright (d. 1900) was born at 21 Westland Row, Dublin (now home of the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College), the second of three children born to Sir William Wilde and Jane Francesca Wilde, two years behind William (“Willie”). Jane Wilde, under the pseudonym “Speranza” (the Italian word for ‘Hope’), wrote poetry for the revolutionary Young Irelanders in 1848 and was a lifelong Irish nationalist.

In 1859, John Brown leads a raid on Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

In 1869, The Cardiff Giant, one of the most famous American hoaxes, is “discovered”.

In 1869, Girton College, Cambridge is founded, becoming England’s first residential college for women.

In 1875, Brigham Young University is founded in Provo, Utah.

In 1882, The Nickel Plate Railroad opens for business.

In 1905, The Partition of Bengal in India takes place.

In 1906, The Captain of Köpenick fools the city hall of Köpenick and several soldiers by impersonating a Prussian officer.

In 1916, In Brooklyn, New York, Margaret Sanger opens the first family planning clinic in the United States.

In 1923, The Walt Disney Company is founded by Walt Disney and his brother, Roy Disney.

In 1934, Chinese Communists begin the Long March; it ended a year and four days later, by which time Mao Zedong had regained his title as party chairman.

In 1939, World War II: First attack on British territory by the German Luftwaffe.

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-134-0791-29A, Polen, Ghetto Warschau, Ghettomauer.jpgIn 1940, Holocaust: The Warsaw Ghetto is established. The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all the Jewish ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. It was established in the Polish capital between October and November 16, 1940, in the territory of the General Government of German-occupied Poland, with over 400,000 Jews from the vicinity residing in an area of 3.4 km2 (1.3 sq mi). From there, at least 254,000 Ghetto residents were sent to the Treblinka extermination camp over the course of two months in the summer of 1942. The death toll among the Jewish inhabitants of the Ghetto, between deportations to extermination camps, Großaktion Warschau, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and the subsequent razing of the ghetto, is estimated to be at least 300,000

In 1944, Wally Walrus, Woody Woodpecker’s first steady foil, was debuted at the The Beach Nut, a Walter Lantz’s cartoon.

In 1945, The Food and Agriculture Organization is founded in Quebec City, Canada.

In 1946, Nuremberg Trials: Execution of the convicted Nazi leaders of the Main Trial.

In 1949, Nikolaos Zachariadis, leader of the Communist Party of Greece, announces a “temporary cease-fire”, effectively ending the Greek Civil War.

In 1949, The diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic are established.

In 1951, The first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, is assassinated in Rawalpindi.

In 1962, The Cuban missile crisis between the United States, Cuba, and the Soviet Union begins when US President John F. Kennedy is shown photographs of missile sites in Cuba.

In 1964, China detonates its first nuclear weapon.

In 1964, Soviet leaders Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin are inaugurated as General Secretary of the CPSU and Premier, respectively and the collective leadership is established.

In 1968, United States athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos are kicked off the US team for participating in the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute.

In 1968, Kingston, Jamaica is rocked by the Rodney Riots, inspired by the barring of Walter Rodney from the country.

In 1970, In response to the October Crisis terrorist kidnapping, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau of Canada invokes the War Measures Act.

In 1973, Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1975, The Balibo Five, a group of Australian television journalists based in the town of Balibo in the then Portuguese Timor (now East Timor), are killed by Indonesian troops.

In 1975, Rahima Banu, a two-year old girl from the village of Kuralia in Bangladesh, is the last known person to be infected with naturally occurring smallpox.

In 1975, The Australian Coalition opposition parties using their senate majority, vote to defer the decision to grant supply of funds for the Whitlam Government’s annual budget, sparking the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis.

In 1978, Karol Wojtyla is elected Pope John Paul II after the October 1978 Papal conclave, the first non-Italian pontiff since 1523.

In 1978, Wanda Rutkiewicz is the first Pole and the first European woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

In 1984, The Bill debuted on ITV, eventually becoming the longest-running police procedural in British television history.

In 1984, Desmond Tutu is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1986, Reinhold Messner becomes the first person to summit all 14 Eight-thousanders.

In 1991, Luby’s shooting: George Hennard runs amok in Killeen, Texas, killing 23 and wounding 20 in Luby’s Cafeteria.

In 1993, Anti-Nazism riot breaks out in Welling in Kent, after police stop protesters approaching the British National Party headquarters.

In 1995, The Million Man March occurs in Washington, D.C.

ISkye Road Bridge.JPGn 1995, The Skye Bridge is opened. The Skye Bridge is a road bridge over Loch Alsh, Scotland, connecting the Isle of Skye to the island of Eilean Bàn. The name is also used for the whole Skye Crossing, which further connects Eilean Bàn to the mainland across the Carrich Viaduct.[1] The crossing forms part of the A87. Traditionally, the usual route from the mainland to Skye was the shortest crossing, with a length of around 500 metres (1,640 ft), across the sound between the villages of Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland and Kyleakin on the island’s east coast. A ferry service operated from around 1600, run by private operators and latterly by Caledonian MacBrayne.

In 1996, 84 people are killed and more than 180 injured as 47,000 football fans attempt to squeeze into the 36,000-seat Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City.

In 1998, Former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet is arrested in London on a warrant from Spain requesting his extradition on murder charges.

In 2002, Bibliotheca Alexandrina in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, a commemoration of the Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity, is officially inaugurated.

In 2006, Hawaii earthquake: A magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocks Hawaii, causing property damage, injuries, landslides, power outages, and the closure of Honolulu International Airport.

In 2012, The extrasolar planet Alpha Centauri Bb is discovered.

In 2013, Lao Airlines Flight 301 crashes on approach to Pakse International Airport in Laos, killing 49 people.

In 2013,  Ed Lauter, American actor (b. 1938) dies of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, having been diagnosed five months earlier in May. Edward Matthew Lauter Jr. was an American actor and stand-up comedian. He appeared in more than 200 films and TV series episodes in a career that spanned over 40 years. Among Lauter’s most prominent film roles were The Longest Yard (a.k.a. The Mean Machine) (1974), King Kong (1976), Magic (1978), Death Hunt (1981), Timerider (1982) Death Wish 3 (1985), My Blue Heaven (1990), The Rocketeer (1991),Seraphim Falls (2006) and The Artist (2011).

In 2014, Belgrade Military Parade.

In 2015, The Federal Communications Commission recently gave $428 million to AT&T to bring high-speed Internet to rural areas, but, according to Arstechnica.com, AT&T took the money under protest, for something known as Connect America. That FCC program uses revenue from phone bill surcharges to pay for rural Internet. The report suggested AT&T relented after FCC officials allowed the company to buy DirectTV in exchange.

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