This Day in History

October 19


202BC  Battle of Zama results in a decisive Roman victory over Carthagian forces led by Hannibal—ends Second Punic War   2218
439      Vandals led by Genseric capture Carthage   1578
1216      John, King of England, dies, age 49, 16 months after signing the Magna Carta   801
1453      French reoccupy Bordeaux bringing the Hundred Years' War to a close   564
1469      Isabella of Castile marries Fernand of Aragon leading to the uniting of Spain   548
1512      Martin Luther is awarded a Doctor of Theology degree   505
1723      English portrait painter Godfrey Kneller dies in Londona, age 77   294
1745      Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift dies, age 77   272
1774      Peggy Stewart is burned for contravening the boycott on tea imports—the "Annapolis Tea Party"   243
1781      British Lord Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown   236
1789      John Jay is sworn in as the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court   228
1805      French forces under Napolean capture the entire Austrian army at the conclusion of the Battle of Ulm   212
1810      French dancer and balletmaster, creator of modern ballet, Jean-Georges Noverre dies, age 83   207
1814      American playwright, historian, and political author Mercy Otis Warren dies, age 86   203
1875      English scientist Charles Wheatstone dies in Paris, age 73   142
1910      Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, astrophysicist, born   107
1933      Germany withdraws from the League of Nations   84
1937      New Zealand-British physicist and Nobel laureate Ernest Rutherford dies in Cambridge, England, age 66   80
1941      first commercial wind turbine (1.25 MW) is connected to the electrical grid—Grandpa's Knob in Castleton, Vermont   76
1942      J. Robert Oppenheimer appointed to direct the research for the Manhattan Project   75
1943      Streptomycin is isolated by researchers at Rutgers University   74
1945      American artist Newell Convers Wyeth dies in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, age 62   72
1950      American lyrical poet,playwright, and Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry Edna St. Vincent Millay dies, age 58   67
1950      People's Republic of China joins the Korean War, sending troops across the Yalu river border to fight United Nations forces   67
1959      first discothèque—the Scotch-Club in Aachen had to replace the usual band with a record player   58
1967      Mariner 5 makes her closest approach to Venus   50
1987      Black Monday: Dow Jones Industrial Average closes down 508 points to 1738.74—22.61% is largest percentage crash in history   30
2001      Indonesian fishing boat from Sumatra to Christmas Island carrying over 400 asylum seekers sinks just south of Java, killing 353   16
2004      Canadian computer scientist Kenneth Eugene Iverson dies in Toronto, age 83   13
2005      last flight of a Titan launch vehicle (Titan IV) over 46 years after the maiden flight   12
2007      American mathematician and computer scientist Winifred "Tim" Alice Asprey dies in Poughkeepsie (town), New York, age 90   10
2007      Peggy Whitson takes up duties as first woman commander of the International Space Station   10
2013      German physicist Hilda Hänchen dies in Colonge, Germany, age 94   4
2014      comet Siding Spring passes within 87,000 miles of Mars—closest planetary-comet encounter ever recorded   3
2014      Payton Manning surpasses the NFL touchdown record of 508 set by Brett Farve   3
2016      ESA's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) inserted into orbit about Mars   1
2016      ESA's ExoMars Schaiparelli test lander encounters anomalies in the last minute and crashes on the surface of Mars   1

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

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