History: October 16, 2018


Marie Antoinette’s life comes to a head.

The wife of deposed King Louis XVI is executed at the guillotine.

On her way to the chopping block, she reportedly stepped on the executioner’s foot, and apologized, saying, “Pardon me sir, I meant not to do it.”


While running for Congress, Abraham Lincoln publicly speaks out against slavery.

The speech decried the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which left the decision to slavery to the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska.

In effect, the act also repealed the Missouri Compromise, which outlawed slavery in new settlements west of Louisiana.

Lincoln was a staunch abolitionist — and a Republican. He was also very opposed to civil war, advocating for policies that confined slavery to the South, where he believed it would eventually die out.

He would of course become president in 1860.


The day after Herman Goering commits suicide, 10 remaining Nazi officials are hanged for their crimes with the Reich.

They had been languishing for 10 weeks following guilty convictions from the War Crimes Tribunal.

Seven more were given prison sentences, like those who renounced allegiance to Hitler. Three more were acquitted.


Chevy debuts the El Camino, a car-truck hybrid with a pickup build on an Impala body.

It was in response to the Ford Ranchero, which had dominated the odd-shaped car market for 2 years. Such automobiles were popular among farmers in Europe, but it never caught on stateside.

The model only lasted for two years.  In 1964, Chevy introduced a new design, making it one of the iconic muscle cars of the 1960s and ’70s.

In 1987, its production was permanently ended.


History: October 15


The first combat submarine sinks.

The Hunley was developed by Horace Lawson Hunley for the Confederates. It was 40 feet long and crewed by 8 — one sailor steered and the other 7 turned a giant crank that churned the propeller.

After successful tests off the coast of Alabama, it was shipped by rail to South Carolina. On its first launch, a mechanical function caused a leak in the hatch, and it sank.

The second time out, Hunley himself was on board for a public demonstration to restore confidence.

He and the crew submerged, and never came back up.

By February, it was raised again, and put back into commission.


The first US Draft Card is publicly burned.

A law had recently outlawed their destruction, in response to increasingly outlandish war protests.

David Miller was a Catholic pacifist, who drew a tremendous crowd of protesters when he burned his card in New York City.

He was arrested and found guilty, and spent 2 years in prison.


Inventor Thomas Edison sets up the Edison Electric Light Company in New York.

He had financing from the likes of the Morgans and Vanderbilts, the tycoon families of the time.

By 1880, Edison would patent an electricity distribution system and set up the first private power plant in 1882.

The Edison Electric Light Company would become part of General Electric in 1892.


Nazi brass Herman Goering takes his own life with a cyanide tablet.

He held a variety of titles, as is typical in despotic regimes:

President of the Reichstag

Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe

Head of the Gestapo

Prime Minister of Prussia

Chief Forester of the Reich

Chief Liquidator of Sequestered Estates

Supreme Head of the National Weather Bureau

He was also designated to be Hitler’s successor.

Goering was largely responsible for instituting the despicable ethnic cleansing policies instituted throughout the Nazi empire.


Wayne Gretzky breaks the NHL record for career goals scored, with 1,850.

The previous record was with Gordie Howe.

When Gretzky retired 10 years later, he would hold records for most career goals, 894; career assists, 1,963; and career points, 2,857.

History: October 12


Christopher Columbus arrives in the New World.

He believed he had reached the shores of East Asia, when in reality he was on a Bahamian island. Columbus claimed the land for Ferdinand and Isabella, the monarchs of Spain. He was eager to discover and collect the gold and spice that the Far East promise – obviously to no avail.

Ultimately Columbus would lead 4 trips to the Americas, and charting the Gulf of Mexico, South and Central America, and many Caribbean islands – but without ever stepping foot in the United States.


The Crown Prince of Bavaria marries Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, and locals celebrated the union with drinking and horse races.

The spectacle turned into an annual gala – we know it now as Oktoberfest. With time, it turned into a days-long event, beginning in late September nad ending the first Sunday in October.

Over 1 million gallons of beer are drank every year at the fest.


The Philadelphia Athletics pound 10 runs in the 8th inning of game 4 of the World Series against the Cubs.

They had been trailing 0-2 until then. In a “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment, 10,000 copies of the Springfield Daily News had already been printed deploring the A’s terrible gameplay before the 7th inning had even ended.

The A’s would eventually win the series in game 5 – their first in 16 years.


Ticked off at the Philippine delegation to the United Nations, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev bangs his shoe against a table in a meting of the countries.

The Philippines accused the Soviet Union of hypocrisy for decrying colonialism in southeast Asia while occupying East Berlin.

Khrushchev grew furious, and in a fit of rage pulled off his sneaker and did the deed.

It took quite some work to restore order: the General Assembly President pounded his gavel so forcefully that it broke.


USSR spaceship Voskhod 1 blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The mission would mark a two feats for manned space travel:

-FIRST with a crew of more than 1 person – in fact there were 3.

-FIRST to not have the crew wear spacesuits

The mission ended 2 days later. It was another blow to the dawdling American space program, a dynamic that would not shift until the US landed on the moon just before the end of the decade.


Terrorists attack the USS Cole while refueling in Yemen.

A rubber dinghy filled with explosives charged the ship, blowing a gaping hole in the hull and killing 17 sailors. 38 more were wounded.

It was assumed to be the handiwork of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

An investigation ensued – but there was no clear connection to the terrorist kingpin.


The UN grants Internet Inventor Al Gore with the Nobel Peace Prize for … making a movie about global warming.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change credited the flick with kickstarting the global “green” movement.

Al also won an Oscar for Best Documentary.

History: October 11, 2018


Before being vilified as a traitor, Benedict Arnold was a keen Patriot general; on this date he defended Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in New York from a British fleet.

Though the Continentals would eventually lose the fight, Arnold’s forces gave ground troops enough time to mount strong defenses around New York. The British advance into the city would not be attempted again until the following year.

Arnold was also a hero of the capture of Fort Ticonderoga the year before. In 1780, angry that he had not received enough credit for his military victories, he took a bribe from British brass and surrendered American intelligence.


Pope John XXIII gathers the Second Vatican Council.

The gathering of bishops was to consider ways to modernize the Church in an advancing society.  It also aimed to bring together disparate Christian churches, particularly the Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and Protestants.

Though Pope John died the next year, his successor, Paul VI, continued the Council.


Apollo 7 launches into orbit.

It’s the first manned Apollo mission. On board are Wally Schirra, Don Eisele, and Walter Cunningham.

The mission lasted 11 days. The crew was the first to broadcast live on TV from orbit.


Arkansas lawyers Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham get married in Little Rock. There aren’t too many details on the wedding – and the rest is history.


The first episode of NBC’s Saturday Night premiers.

It stars Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Garrett Morris, Jane Curtin, and Laraine Newman.

At the time it competed with an ABC show called Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell, but NBC bought the naming rights in 1977.

It has since become the longest-running and highest-rated show in late-night TV. The show has always been broadcast from studio 8H of the GE Building (now Kabletown) in New York.


Peanut farmer Jimmy Carter is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The former one-term president had worked extensively to undermine American policy between Israel and other Arab countries.

History: October 10, 2018


Frankish leader Charles Martel stops an invasion of Moors into Europe. The decisive battle ended years of invasions from Islamic powers in the Iberian Peninsula.

Martel’s victory continued his family’s line, the Carolingians. The most famous of the royal line was Charlemagne, who vastly expanded Frankish influence across present-day Europe.


A hurricane in the West Indies kills more than 20,000 people, making it the deadliest hurricane ever recorded.

Obviously it hit before our modern naming system was implemented, so it’s just known as the Great Hurricane of 1780.

French and British navies protecting assets in the region were decimated as well.

The next deadliest storm recorded was Hurricane Mitch, in 1998, which killed an estimated 18,000.


The US Naval Academy begins its first session.

The institution, in Annapolis, Maryland, started with 50 midshipment and 7 instructors. For the next five years, it was known simply as the Naval School, and taught navigation, chemistry, English, and French, among other topics.

When it became the official US Naval Academy in 1950, a four-year curriculum was instituted. During summers, students would train on real vessels. That system is still in use today.


George Armstrong Custer’s funeral is held at West Point.

He was killed in battle a year earlier in the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Custer had graduated from the military academy in 1861, ranking last in his class.


The Milwaukee Braves win their first World Series in 43 years – their last win was as the Boston Braves.

Against historic manager Casey Stengel and power-hitters Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle, the Braves took all 7 games to win, ultimately shutting out the Yankees 5-0 in New York.


Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns on the same day he pleads no contest to a charge of federal income tax evasion.

His plea was part of a deal that dropped political corruption charges.

President Nixon resigned less than a year later, on August 9th, 1974.


Construction on the longest cable-stayed bride in the world begins.

It would eventually span across the River Tarn in France. The tallest support beam on the bridge is higher than the Eiffel Tower.

The bridge spans 1.5 miles. It replaced a long, winding 62 mile route that took more than 4 hours to drive across.

History: October 9, 2018


The Hoover Dam opens for business, sending electricity to Los Angeles, across 266 miles of power lines.

It was at first allied Boulder Dam, but later renamed in honor of President Herbert Hoover by Franklin Roosevelt.

While it was useful in supplying electricity, it was also an effective way to manage fresh water in the arid American southwest.


Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin begin a conference in Moscow to discuss the beginning of the end of World War II.

Churchill negotiated Stalin’s support against Japan following Germany’s seemingly inevitable surrender.

Following the conference, much of the post-war Soviet bloc map was drawn. Yugoslavia was cut in half, East and West. Romania went to the Reds while Greece would remain in control of free European powers.

Unfortunately, no treaties were signed and the deals were not officially documented — as became evident at the dawn of the Cold War.


A landslide in Italy causes a dam to overflow, killing 2,000.

The hydroelectric dam powered the small city of Belluno. It was structurally sound, but located in an inopportune place. Following heavy rains, the wet terrain surrounding the dam finally gave way, as well as the water it was holding back.

The architect would kill himself from grief.


One day after capturing leftist terrorist Che Guevara, the Bolivian Army executes him.

Five shots to the leg, one to the right shoulder, one to the arm, one in the chest, and one in the throat.

He was 39 years old when he was killed.

History: October 8, 2018


The Great Chicago fire begins when a cow in a barn kicks over a lantern, setting the whole building on fire and causing a blaze that would kill nearly 300 people, raze 17,450 buildings, and leave 100,000 homeless.

At the end of the day, there was $200 million in damages. That’s $3 billion in damages in today’s dollars.

Recent dry weather, wooden building infrastructure, and even streets and sidewalks planked in wood caused the fire to spread so quickly.


A series of fires kill between 1500 and 2500 people near Peshtigo, Wisconsin.

A firestorm wreaked havoc across Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan after strong winds caused smaller fires to spread very quickly.

The same storms instigated the Great Chicago Fire, which because of its notoriety as a larger city has left tragedy in Peshtigo forgotten.

By some accounts, the firestorm generated a tornado so powerful that rail cars were picked up into the air. Those who survived stayed wet in the Peshtigo River.


The first coast-to-coast air race is held between California and New York.

63 planes participated, with some leaving from California and the others from New York. The race was round-trip.

The winner flew a Havilland-4 with a Liberty motor. He had the fastest total elapsed time, including rest stops, breaks and refueling, finishing the race in just over 3 days. However, he was fourth in flight time, at 24 hours, 59 minutes, and 49 seconds.


Che Guevara meets his end.

The communist terrorist was wounded and captured in a skirmish with the Bolivian army. He would be executed the next day.

Guevara had been fomenting revolution in South American countries, plus Cuba. He was instrumental in installing Castro as the head there, and even served in the administration.


The Nobel Prize for literature goes to Alexandr Solzhenitsyn.

He was a Soviet dissident who boldly criticized the communist regime, and spent 8 years toiling and suffering in the gulag for it.

Following Stalin’s death, he was freed, but sent to exile in Siberia. That’s when his most prolific works were written.

He was later expelled to the United States, where he was also critical of what he deemed to be Western materialism.


The Department of Homeland Security opens for business, with former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge at the helm.

It was designed to coordinate and aggregate intelligence information between various federal agencies.

It was responsible for producing the 5-color advisory chart, that was swiftly mocked by the media and others.

Today it is allocated nearly $100 billion annually.

History: October 5


Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia founds Concepción, Chile.

It was close to the border of Spanish-controlled territory and the lands of the Mapuche.

The town functioned as a military settlement for brass in the Spanish army occupying South America. Four years later, natives overran the village and destroyed it. But the Spaniards were unfazed, and built it again in 1555.


This date is the first of ten that are … well, lost, in Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain.

Those countries switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar effective the day after October 4th. But in order to get on the same page as other countries already using the Gregorian calendar, the date following October 4th 1582 would be October 15th.### 

FA Spofford and Matthew G Raffington receive a patent for a “water velocipede.”

It was a rudimentary paddleboat. The invention was one of many similar vessels patented around that time as upperclass folks looked for new activities on the water.


Harry Truman addresses the nation from the White House – he’s the first to do so.

In the speech, he implores Americans to conserve use of grain to aid Europe, which was rebuilding from six years of war.

People were asked to give up meat on Tuesdays and poultry on Thursdays. The initiative did not last long, as the Marshall Plan was quickly successful in rebuilding Europe.

In 1948, Truman became the first president to broadcast a paid political ad on TV.


The New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in game six of the World Series, marking their fifth consecutive championship.

It was the fourth time in 11 years that the Yankees beat the Dodgers to win all the marbles.

Two years later, the Dodgers would get their first MLB championship – against the Yankees.


The first James Bond movie is released in the UK.

The flick pitted James Bond against Dr. Julius No, an evil villain with an underground base, plotting to thwart an American space launch.

Sean Connery starred as the tuxedoed superspy.### 

The first film with an NC-17 rating hits theaters.

Henry & June stars Uma Thurman, Fred Ward, and Maria de Medeiros. It contained lady-on-lady action, which caused the adult rating. It also got an Oscar nomination for cinematography.

NC-17 replaced the X rating, which had come too associated with pornography

History: October 4, 2018


German Chancellor Max von Baden sends a telegram to President Wilson requesting an armistice to end hostilities in World War I.

Wilson responded by refusing to negotiating with a military dictatorship, even though von Baden and the Kaiser had made such a promise. Diplomatic finagling continued throughout the month as Germany’s military position deteriorated.

German General Paul von Hindenburg reignited armistice negotiations in early November; major hostilities would end November 11.


Soviet scientists successfully launch Sputnik I, scaring Americans into accelerating their space program. Most importantly, putting the first probe into space gave the USSR an edge in the mounting arms race.

Almost 4 months later the US responded in kind, launching the Explorer I probe, and kicking off the space race


Pope Paul VI visits the United States. He’s the first reigning pope to make it across the pond to America.

He only spent one day stateside, confined exclusively to New York City, where he visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral and met with President Johnson at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

His Holiness also addressed the General Assembly at the UN, said Mass at Yankee Stadium, and visited the Vatican Exhibit at the World’s Fair.

All in less than 14 hours. An estimated 1 million spectators turned up to see the Pope in person; another 100 million watched on TV.


Rocker Janis Joplin overdoses on heroin in an L.A. hotel room and dies. Joplin was working on her album Pearl, which would be the best seller of her career.


History: October 3, 2018


An early-morning clash between Patriot and British troops at Germantown, Pennsylvania leave hundreds of troops on each side dead.

The Americans were undertrained and under-rationed, and probably not ready for a fight against professional warriors. A thick fog separated the four columns that General Washington had sent toward the British forces. Though the Americans were forced to retreat, both sides suffered hundreds of casualties.

The battle was one of only a few before Washington hunkered his troops down for a cold winter at Valley Forge.


Napoleon Bonaparte is tasked with protecting the National Convention from an approaching counter-revolutionary mob.

At Tuileries (TOO-ee-Larry) Palace, anti-monarchists were designing their new government, having successfully executed King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette in the preceding years. But loyalists to the French Crown were still in discontent, and amassed to lay siege to the new government.

Bonaparte rallied artillery around the compound to disperse the incoming riot. The cannon operators used grapeshot, a lethal pouch of small pellets that dispersed upon firing, unlike a cannonball which fired in one single shot.

The impact was clear: an estimated 1,400 royalists were killed, and hundreds more ran off. This was one of Napoleon’s first strategic and dynamic military victories that would eventually contribute to his empire.


Mystery writer and poet Edgar Allen Poe is found wandering the streets of Baltimore, delirious, under unknown circumstances.

A man noticed that Poe was in need of help, and took him to a local hospital. The macabre poet reportedly yelled the name “Reynolds!” repeatedly, but no one is sure who Reynolds was.

Poe died 4 days later. Fittingly mysterious, there are no surviving copies of his medical records.


President Lincoln makes Thanksgiving an official federal holiday, but it would not be celebrated until November 26th of that year.

The declaration came in a speech to Union troops near Gettysburg. The proclamation said that the fourth Thursday of every November would be a national holiday for giving thanks.

In 1939, President Roosevelt meekly tried to boost the economy during the depression by allowing some more time for food buying and shopping before Christmas, moving the holiday back a week. But 2 years later, Congress moved Thanksgiving permanently back to the fourth Thursday of the month.


Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage is published as a book for the first time. It was the first novel to depict the Civil War from the perspective of an average soldier. Previously, it appeared as a serialized story in the Philadelphia Press in December of the previous year and ran only 18,000 words.

The complete novel tallied 55,000 words. Comparatively, the first Harry Potter book contains roughly 77,000.

Since The Red Badge of Courage’s initial run, it has never gone out of print.


New York Giants 3rd Baseman Bobby Thomson nails a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Brooklyn Dodgers for the National League pennant.

At the beginning of the inning, the Giants were trailing 4-1. Many of the fans were already packing up and leaving the stadium.

Then Al Dark scored a run, bringing the score to 4-2, with runners on second and third bases.

Thomson’s homer propelled the Giants to victory – and a trip to the World Series, which they would lose to the Yankees.


A jury acquits OJ Simpson of murdering his wife and her friend, Ron Goldman.

The verdict culminated an exhaustive 252-day trial. The prosecution amassed a “mountain of evidence” against Simpson; the defense called “racism” and pulled apart technicalities in the forensic evidence presented.

In February 1997, Simpson was found liable in a civil trial, and was ordered to award $33.5 million to the victims’ families. But Simpson was broke from the first trial; the Brown and Goldman families haven’t actually received much of anything.

History: October 2, 2018

Benedict Arnold’s accomplice British Major John Andre is hanged by Continental Army troops.
Arnold was responsible for surrendering the fort at West Point, New York to British forces. Andre was found carrying letters and papers detailing the inner workings of the fort, as well as an agreement to pay Arnold £20,000 for his treason.
Andre was allowed to write several letters before his execution. One was to George Washington, in which he asked for a gentlemanly execution by firing squad, not for a reprieve.
Washington so admired the bravery, he tried to negotiate a prisoner switch, so that the Continentals could kill Arnold.
After several days, he ordered Andre executed — by hanging.

Charles Darwin returns from the HMS Beagle, ending his journey that would inspire publication of “the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection.”
He wouldn’t publish the work until 1859, however.

Woodrow Wilson suffers a stroke in the White House, leaving him largely unable to serve.
He remained in office, however, with his wife, powerful legislators and aides doing most of the work.
Wilson had been lobbying the American people for support to get Congress to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and admit the U.S. to the League of Nations. The tour of the country nearly killed him from exhaustion. Toward the end of the train tour, he collapsed, and upon returning to DC, suffered the stroke.
He would be awarded the Nobel Prize that year.

Guinea declares its independence from France, making it one of the first open allies with the Soviets in Africa.
More than half its diamond and gold exports would go to communist holdings while it received millions in aide from the Reds.
Guinean leader Sekou Toure was also a sympathizer to Mao in China. He was known for pitting American and Soviet powers against each other, squeezing relief and aide out of both countries.
Military juntas and dictators have largely ruled Guinea since Toure’s death in 1984.

Thurgood Marshall is sworn in as the first black justice of the Supreme Court.
Marshall had been the leading lawyer for the NAACP and helped build the national legal cases against institutional segregation.
He was also responsible for successfully arguing Brown v. Board of Education, after which the Supreme Court ruled racial segregation illegal per the 14th amendment.
Marshall retired in 1991 and died in 1993.

History: October 1


The first Ford Model T rolls out of the car factory in Detroit.

Over the next 19 years, Ford Motor Company would produce 15 million making it the second longest run of the same model after the Volkswagen Beetle.

The Model T made automobiles accessible to the masses. During much of its production, it was the only model car that Ford produced, making workers and engineers very efficient at producing them.

Toward the end of its run, Ford began developing more varied models, focusing on style and design, not just functionality.


Rebel leader Mao Zedong declares China a communist state, and makes himself the head of the country.

Initially the U.S. government did not recognize the Communist State. Meanwhile, the U.S. supported the remnants of the Free Republic of China on the island of Taiwan.

It wasn’t until 1979 that China was officially recognized as a legitimate nation by the State Department.


Roger Maris breaks Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record — depending on who you ask.

Maris had been neck-and-neck with teammate Mickey Mantle in the 1961 season, but Mantle suffered a hip injury a few weeks earlier after hitting 54 home runs.

On the last game of the regular season, Maris hit his 61st on is second at-bat of the day.

But the commissioner of baseball would not certify the record. In order to beat Babe Ruth’s record officially, Maris would have had to hit more than 60 in fewer than the 154 games Ruth played.

The commissioner, Ford Frick, had been a friend of Ruth’s, and had personal interest in protecting the record.

In 1991, an MLB committee voted to give the record fully to Maris. That record was broken again in ’98 by both Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Today Barry Bonds holds the record, with 73.


Johnny Carson hosts The Tonight Show for the first time as the regular host.

Despite being one of the biggest names in American entertainment, Carson largely stayed out of the public eye. His run as host would last almost 30 years. His last show aired on May 22, 1992.


Astronomers announce the discovery of the furthest known galaxy eve discovered.

It’s estimated to be 15 trillion lightyears away, a remnant of the birth of the universe.

The only way to detect its existence was through high-powered telescopes measuring changes in very dim visible light.### 

History: September 28, 2018

Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo of Portugal leads an expedition to the shores of San Diego Bay — making it the first recorded European encounter with the West Coast.
He went on to explore much of present-day California’s coast. But in a freak accident on one of his landings, Cabrillo broke his leg, and fell very ill. He died four months later.
Today there’s a national monument where he’s believed to have landed.

Samuel Huntington is elected to succeed John Jay as the president of the Continental Congress
He was one of the more soft-spoken of the Revolutionaries, but vocal in opposition to British hegemony. His background in law made him a smart voice in the fight for independence.
He actively lobbied the colonies to support the war effort with supplies, troops, and money. Under his watch, the Continental Congress passed the Articles of Confederation. By some markers, some consider him the first president of the United States, but without the constitutional title.
Huntington would later become governor of Connecticut.

Nearly 20,000 Continental soldiers lay siege to Yorktown, Virginia, with the help of the French.
British General Cornwallis was there with 9,000 troops, defending his last headquarters of the Revolutionary War.
It took three weeks of constant artillery attacks to smoke out the remaining redcoats. Cornwallis issued surrender on October 17th, but was not gentlemanly enough to show up for the ceremony: he said he had a bad cold, and sent his Number Two to carry his sword to give to Washington.
The United States were officially recognized as a free nation after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, on September 3rd, 1783.

William Usherwood of England captures the first photo of a comet. He snapped a picture of Donati’s comet, whose two gas tails made a spectacular sight in the evening sky.
An American also tried to get a picture, but it didn’t turn out nearly as well.
The next recorded shot of a comet wasn’t captured until 1881.

The First General Conference on Weights and Measures meets to standardize the way we weigh and measure things.
Its first mission was to define the kilogram and the meter — which it did.
Today, a meter is defined as the distance light travels in a vaccuum in 1/299,792,458th of a second.

Ted Williams plays in his last game for the season. He gets a hit on 6 of his 8 at-bats, boosting his batting average to .406. He’s the last professional ballplayer to retire with a batting average above .400.
Exactly 19 years later, in 1960, Williams makes his last career trip to the plate, and hits a home run, for a career total of 521.

French voters approve a brand new constitution — the country’s fifth since its bloody revolution in the late 18th-century.
It came on he heels of the final collapse of the French Empire, particularly its holdings in Algiers. It replaced the parliamentary system with a president who appointed a Prime Minister.
It’s what they’re using today, though with some changes here and there.

History: September 27, 2018


John Jay is appointed by the Continental Congress to be the minister to Spain.

His mission was to rally the Spanish behind the cause of the American Revolution, and to get Spain to acknowledge his new country’s independence.

Though Spain never offered wholesale military support, the country did give America loans and occasional war provisions.

The Spanish government did not want to encourage revolution among its holdings in the Americas.


Wild Bill Hickok shoots his second ruffian since starting as Sheriff in Hays City, Kansas, five weeks earlier.

His lack of restraint was certainly effective, but troubled the city’s government.

The good people of Hays City stripped Hickok of his deputization, and he moved West, where he did serve again as a successful law enforcer.


Captain Mel Apt pilots the Bell X-2 rocket plane, making him the first many to exceed Mach 3. The plane eventually reached 2,094 miles per hour.

When Apt attempted a banking turn, the jet spiraled out of control.

Apt fired his ejection chair, but never made it out.

The Air Force retired the X-2. It was replaced by the X-15 three years later.


Nikita Khrushchev ends his two week trip to the United States, which was riddled with confusion and embarrassment.

Among the blunders were his verbal sparring match with a Twentieth Century Fox executive while visiting Hollywood. He was also denied access to Disneyland due to concerns over his safety.

Vice President Nixon took the premier to the airport, where a military band played America’s and the Soviet Union’s anthems.


The defense in the O.J. Simpson murder trial makes its closing arguments.

Lead defense attorney Johnnie Cochran poked holes in the prosecution’s case, and pleaded that the jury would treat Simpson with dignity.

On October 3rd, the jury found Simpson not guilty or murdering Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman.


NASA loses communication with the Mars Pathfinder probe.

The mission was only expected to last between a week and a month, but lasted 3 months.

Pathfinder sent more than 16,500 pictures back to Earth and made millions of measurements of the Red Planet’s atmosphere.

Pathfinder’s on-board computer included only 512 kilobytes of RAM and 176 Kilobytes of flash memory storage — that’s less than a typical music file on your phone.