October 11 1634 CE – The Burchardi Flood Kills 15,000 in Northern Germany

October 11 1634 CE – The Burchardi Flood Kills 15,000 in Northern Germany4.2 (84%) 5 votes *Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons The waters of the North Sea can be vicious, particularly as Arctic winds sweep down with increasing frequency in fall and winter months. On October 11, 1634, a wicked storm moved in from the southwest, boosting waves over the dike system in North Frisia and Dithmarschen. Weakened over the course of several years, the levees soon ruptured, flooding areas well into mainland Germany, destroying dozens of miles of coastline and drowning 15,000 people. All along the northern edge of Germany and eastern coast of Denmark, life had been incredibly difficult […]

October 12 1871 CE – The First Criminal Tribes Act Takes Effect in India

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October 12 1871 CE – The First Criminal Tribes Act Takes Effect in India4 (80%) 1 vote The British colonial government in India, hoping to curb the perceived increase in crime associated with nomadic tribes in northern India, passed Act XXVII — later known as the first Criminal Tribes Act in a series. On October 12, 1871, the Governor-General of India officially instituted the policy, requiring men of the suspect groups to report to police a minimum of once per week. Opposition to British rule had taken on many forms, but through the 1850s a particular cult, the Thuggee, gained a reputation for mingling with traveling nomads and killing them […]

October 13 1773 CE – Charles Messier Discovers the Whirlpool Galaxy

October 13 1773 CE – Charles Messier Discovers the Whirlpool GalaxyRate this post *Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons Hunting through the night sky, French astronomer Charles Messier was frustrated on the evening of October 13, 1773. Desperate to find comets to track with his telescope, he had taken to compiling a list of other celestial objects to make sure he didn’t mistake them for the real thing — and on this particular night, he found the Whirlpool Galaxy, one of the most beautiful and famous of them all. Part of a two-galaxy system 23 million light years away, it has been a favorite for amateurs and professionals alike for more than […]

October 14 1947 CE – Chuck Yeager Pilots the Bell X-1 Beyond the Speed of Sound

October 14 1947 CE – Chuck Yeager Pilots the Bell X-1 Beyond the Speed of SoundRate this post *Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons Three years after development of the Bell X-1 began, test pilot Chuck Yeager strapped into the seat for a date with history. Dropped from the belly of a B-29 Superfortress on October 14, 1947, the rocket-powered X-1 became the first aircraft to break the sound barrier in level flight, reaching 807.2mph over the skies of Southern California before returning safely to earth. The idea to create a supersonic craft first came up during the latter stages of World War II. Two interested agencies, the United States Army Air […]

October 15 70 BCE – Roman Poet Virgil is Born

October 15 70 BCE – Roman Poet Virgil is BornRate this post *Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons In the north of Italy, far from the bustling capital of the Roman Empire, one of the greatest poets in classical history was born on October 15, 70 BCE. Coming to prominence during the reign of Octavian, Publius Vergilius Maro — commonly called Virgil — would go on to write Aeneid, an epic poem detailing the founding of Rome and masterpiece of Western literature. Very little is known of the young writer’s upbringing. During the era he was born, the region was a Gallic province — it did not become part of Roman Italy […]

October 16 1846 CE – William T.G. Morton Demonstrates Surgical Anesthesia

October 16 1846 CE – William T.G. Morton Demonstrates Surgical AnesthesiaRate this post *Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons Though a necessary part of surgical procedures of any kind today, the idea of anesthesia was considered somewhat of a hoax until October 16, 1846. That day, in an operating room at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, William T.G. Morton put a man under using ether in order for the patient to have a tumor removed. For Morton, the journey to acclaim had been a long and winding road. He began his career as a salesman before moving to Maryland to study dentistry in 1840. While there, he created a more efficient means […]

October 17 1973 CE – OPEC Proclaims an Oil Embargo Against the US for Aiding Israel

October 17 1973 CE – OPEC Proclaims an Oil Embargo Against the US for Aiding IsraelRate this post *Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), furious military supplies were being provided to Israel by the United States during the Yom Kippur War, took a remarkable step on October 17, 1973: instating an oil embargo against one of the largest consumers in the world. Sending shockwaves through the world economy, the decision has had a lasting effect on markets in every time zone. Seeds for the blockade were planted in the summer of 1971, when the American government opted to take the US Dollar off the […]

October 18 1931 CE – Inventor Thomas Edison Dies

October 18 1931 CE – Inventor Thomas Edison DiesRate this post *Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons In the quiet of his West Orange, New Jersey home, Thomas Edison — perhaps the world’s greatest inventor — died on October 18, 1931. Known as the “Wizard of Menlo Park,” many of his creations led to revolutions in the way the world lives, works and plays. With nearly 1,100 patents to his name in the United States alone, Edison turned his natural curiosity into a wildly successful idea factory. Born in Milan, Ohio in 1847, Edison spent much of his youth in Michigan. Prone to daydreaming and flights of fancy, especially after his hearing […]

October 19 1812 CE – Napoleon Retreats from Russia

October 19 1812 CE – Napoleon Retreats from RussiaRate this post *Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons Throughout Napoleon’s career as a general, he built a reputation for conceiving ambitious battle plans and somehow managing to pull them off, either through ingenious tactics or sheer force of will. All that came to an end on October 19, 1812. Unable to break through Russian resistance, the French Emperor turned his army to the west in hopes of retreating before winter snows trapped them, setting the stage for one of the most infamous defeats in military history. By 1812, the French Empire had far outgrown the borders that existed when Napoleon took the reins […]

October 20 1935 CE – The Long March Ends for the Red Army of the Chinese Communist Party

October 20 1935 CE – The Long March Ends for the Red Army of the Chinese Communist PartyRate this post *Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons After more than a year trudging into the hills avoiding Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Nationalist Party, Mao Zedong’s First Red Front Army reached Shaanxi on October 20, 1935, ending the Long March. Tired and ragged following an 8,000-mile journey, the Communist Party in China had found itself a new leader — one that would set the nation on a course that continues to this day. Mao and his contemporary, Zhu De, had quietly founded the Jiangxi-Fujian Soviet in 1930. Based in Ruijin in the southeast […]