October 25th in History

This day in historyOctober 25 is the 298th day of the year (299th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 67 days remaining until the end of the year. 59 days of Christmas shopping left!



In 285 (or 286),  Execution of Saints Crispin and Crispinian during the reign of Diocletian, now the patron saints of leather workers, curriers, and shoemakers.

In 473, Emperor Leo I acclaims his grandson Leo II as Caesar of the Byzantine Empire.

In 1147, The Portuguese, under Afonso I, and Crusaders from England and Flanders conquer Lisbon after a four-month siege.

In 1147, Seljuk Turks completely annihilate German crusaders under Conrad III at the Battle of Dorylaeum.

Stepan Blois.jpgIn 1154, Stephen, King of England (b. 1096) fell ill with a stomach disorder and died on 25 October at the local priory, being buried at Faversham Abbey with his wife Matilda and son Eustace.

He often referred to as Stephen of Blois, was a grandson of William the Conqueror. He was King of England from 1135 to his death, and also the Count of Boulogne in right of his wife. Stephen’s reign was marked by the Anarchy, a civil war with his cousin and rival, the Empress Matilda. He was succeeded by Matilda’s son, Henry II, the first of the Angevin kings.

Stephen was born in the County of Blois in middle France; his father, Count Stephen-Henry, died while Stephen was still young, and he was brought up by his mother, Adela. Placed into the court of his uncle, Henry I, Stephen rose in prominence and was granted extensive lands. Stephen married Matilda of Boulogne, inheriting additional estates in Kent and Boulogne that made the couple one of the wealthiest in England. Stephen narrowly escaped drowning with Henry I’s son, William Adelin, in the sinking of the White Ship in 1120; William’s death left the succession of the English throne open to challenge. When Henry I died in 1135, Stephen quickly crossed the English Channel and with the help of his brother Henry of Blois, a powerful ecclesiastic, took the throne, arguing that the preservation of order across the kingdom took priority over his earlier oaths to support the claim of Henry I’s daughter, the Empress Matilda.

Geoffrey Chaucer (17th century).jpg

In 1154, Henry II of England becomes King of England.

In 1400,  Geoffrey Chaucer, English philosopher, poet, and author (b. 1343) dies of unknown causes on 25 October 1400, but there is no firm evidence for this date, as it comes from the engraving on his tomb, erected more than one hundred years after his death. There is some speculation—most recently in Terry Jones‘ book Who Murdered Chaucer? : A Medieval Mystery—that he was murdered by enemies of Richard II or even on the orders of his successor Henry IV, but the case is entirely circumstantial. Chaucer was buried in Westminster Abbey in London, as was his right owing to his status as a tenant of the Abbey’s close. In 1556, his remains were transferred to a more ornate tomb, making Chaucer the first writer interred in the area now known as Poets’ Corner.

He was known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to be buried in Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey.

While he achieved fame during his lifetime as an author, philosopher, alchemist and astronomer, composing a scientific treatise on the astrolabe for his ten-year-old son Lewis, Chaucer also maintained an active career in the civil service as a bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Among his many works, which include The Book of the Duchess, the House of Fame, the Legend of Good Women and Troilus and Criseyde, he is best known today for The Canterbury Tales.

Chaucer was a crucial figure in developing the legitimacy of the vernacular, Middle English, at a time when the dominant literary languages in England were French and Latin.

In 1415, The army of Henry V of England defeats the French at the Battle of Agincourt.

In 1616, Dutch sea-captain Dirk Hartog makes second recorded landfall by a European on Australian soil, at the later-named Dirk Hartog Island off the West Australian coast.

In 1747, British fleet under Admiral Sir Edward Hawke defeats the French at the second battle of Cape Finisterre.

In 1760, George III becomes King of Great Britain.

In 1812, War of 1812: The American frigate, USS United States, commanded by Stephen Decatur, captures the British frigate HMS Macedonian.

In 1828, The St Katharine Docks opened in London.

In 1854, The Battle of Balaklava during the Crimean War (Charge of the Light Brigade).

In 1854, Charge of the Light Brigade was a charge of British cavalry led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War.  Below is the famous poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson depicting the event

“The Charge of the Light Brigade” 

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldiers knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to the right of them,
Cannon to the left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

In 1861, The Toronto Stock Exchange is created.

In 1900, The United Kingdom annexes the Transvaal.

In 1917, Traditionally understood date of the October Revolution, involving the capture of the Winter Palace, Petrograd, Russia. The date refers to the Julian Calendar date, and corresponds with November 7 in the Gregorian calendar.

In 1920, After 74 days on Hunger Strike in Brixton Prison, England, the Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney died.

In 1924, The forged Zinoviev Letter is published in the Daily Mail, wrecking the British Labour Party‘s hopes of re-election.

In 1933, The Roosevelt gold buying policy was inaugurated today with the government paying $31.36 per ounce  27 cents higher than quotations on the London Gold Exchange.

In 1935, A major hurricane strikes Haiti leaving  more than 2,000 people dead and many thousands  homeless and hungry.

In 1938, The Archbishop of Dubuque, Francis J. L. Beckman, denounces swing music as “a degenerated musical system… turned loose to gnaw away at the moral fiber of young people”, warning that it leads down a “primrose path to hell“. His warning is widely ignored.

In 1940, Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. is named the first African American general in the United States Army.

In 1944, Heinrich Himmler orders a crackdown on the Edelweiss Pirates, a loosely organized youth culture in Nazi Germany that had assisted army deserters and others to hide from the Third Reich.

In 1944, The USS Tang under Richard O’Kane (the top American submarine captain of World War II) is sunk by the ship’s own malfunctioning torpedo.

In 1944, The Romanian Army liberates Carei, the last Romanian city under NaziHungarian occupation.

In 1944, Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history, takes place in and around the Philippines between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the U.S. Third and U.S. Seventh Fleets. Afterward is the first Kamikaze attack of World War 2.

In 1945, The Republic of China takes over administration of Taiwan following Japan’s surrender to the Allies.

In 1950, The Chinese Communists announced today that they have increased their army strength to more than 10 million men to free 3,000,000 Tibetans from Imperialist Aggression.

In 1962, Uganda joins the United Nations.

In 1962, Cuban missile crisis: Adlai Stevenson shows photos at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council proving that Soviet missiles are installed in Cuba.

In 1962, Nelson Mandela is sentenced to five years in prison.

In 1971, The United Nations seated the People’s Republic of China and expelled the Republic of China (see political status of Taiwan and China and the United Nations)

In 1977, Digital Equipment Corporation releases OpenVMS V1.0.

In 1980, Proceedings on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction conclude at The Hague.

In 1983, Operation Urgent Fury: The United States and its Caribbean allies invade Grenada, six days after Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and several of his supporters are executed in a coup d’état.

In 1991, History of Slovenia: Three months after the end of the Ten-Day War, the last soldier of the Yugoslav People’s Army leaves the territory of the Republic of Slovenia.

In 1995, A commuter train slams into a school bus in Fox River Grove, Illinois, killing seven students.

In 1997, After a brief civil war which has driven President Pascal Lissouba out of Brazzaville, Denis Sassou-Nguesso proclaims himself the President of the Republic of the Congo.

In 2004, Fidel Castro, Cuba‘s President, announces that transactions using the American Dollar will be banned.

In 2006, This comment by Harry Knutts made news today. “TennCare is taking the home Lawrence Henkel left his children. Our governor claims the right to take property from Lawrence Henkels’s children to pay for Ms. Henkels nursing home bills. This is not what the Godly signed up for. Tennesseans were tired of being taxed to pay for TennCare and blindly went along with Governor Phil Bredesen’s reform. His reform should have revoked coverage to every anchor baby born in Tennessee instead of stealing American citizens property and leaving the truly needy uninsured, disabled and dead. Benevolence is my Christian duty. I never want to be guilty of not taking care of the needy. My tax dollars are being wasted on dental hygiene for illegitimate children born of illegal aliens when these dollars should be buying a dying mans medication. I’m outraged. How does this inhumane being sleep at night? How could anyone vote for Phil Bredesen? He should be tried and convicted of murder, thievery, and treason.” While understand his anger, his Christian duty is not accomplished by subjugating it another authority like the city, county or state.

In 2006,  News 14 Carolina reported that the North Carolina State Archives would display a Constitutional amendment, signed by Abraham Lincoln, which would have preserved the institution of slavery forever.

In 2007,  A Canadian teenager has been given six years in prison for killing his pregnant girlfriend after she refused his request to have an abortion. The teenager was not charged in the death of the woman’s unborn child because Canada does not have a law similar to the U.S. that holds criminals accountable for their deaths.

In February 2007, the teenager killed 24-year-old Roxanne Fernando after she refused to have an abortion. He buried her in a snowbank in a remote area a few days later. The unnamed 17-year-old received the strongest penalty under law for juveniles.

He could have been tried in adult court, but pleaded guilty to the girl’s death in exchange for prosecutors not taking the case there. Had he been tried as an adult, he would have faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The six years in jail will be followed by a four year probation sentence, according to a CBC report. “The circumstances of this crime are extremely aggravating,” said Judge Marvin Garfinkel. “[The killer’s] conduct is completely inexplicable.”

Fernando’s family immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 2003 and said they had hoped for a “new and good life, and not the end of it.”

In 2009,  The 25 October 2009 Baghdad bombings kills 155 and wounds at least 721.

In 2017,  At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of ChinaXi Jinping assumes his second term as General Secretary (China’s paramount leader), and the political theory Xi Jinping Thought is written into the party’s constitution.

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