This Day in History

October 15


70BC  birth of the Roman poet Virgil near Mantua, Italy   2088
1066      Edgar II Ætheling is proclaimed king of England but never crowned—reigns for less than two months   953
1529      Seige of Vienna is lifted as Suleiman led Ottoman forces retreat—maximum extent of the Ottoman expansion in Central Europe   490
1564      Flemish anatomist Andreas Vesalius dies, age 49   455
1582      Gregorian Calendar first adopted on Friday, previous day was Thursday, October 4   437
1608      Italian physicist and mathematician Evangelista Torricelli born   411
1715      English mathematician Humphry Ditton dies, age 40   304
1783      first manned flight Étienne Montgolfier in a tethered balloon at Faubourg Saint-Antoine   236
1815      Napoleon Bonaparte begins his exile on St. Helena   204
1817      Swiss traveller, geographer, orientalist, and rediscover of Petra and Abu Simbel Johann Ludwig Burckhardt dies in Cairo, age 32   202
1844      German philosopher, cultural critic, and poet Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche born in Prussia   175
1878      Thomas Edison founds the Edison Electric Light Company   141
1880      dedication of the completed Colonge Cathederal—under construction for 632 years   139
1917      Margaretha Geertruida Zelle (Mata Hari) is executed by a French firing squad for espionage, age 41   102
1928      airship, Graf Zeppelin completes its first trans-Atlantic flight, landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey   91
1929      German science fiction silent film "Frau im Mond" (Woman in the Moon) premieres at the UFA-Palast am Zoo cinema in Berlin   90
1932      first flight of Air India (as Tata Airlines) from Karachi to Bombay   87
1939      LaGuardia Airport is dedicated as the New York Municipal Airport   80
1940      President of Catalonia, Lluís Companys, is executed by the Spanish, age 58—only European president to have been executed   79
1950      first use of a commercially available pager—Telanserphone developed by Sherman C. Amsden   69
1951      I Love Lucy debuts on CBS television   68
1956      first manual documenting FORTRAN is published—first compiler delivered six months later   63
1959      Hungarian mathematician Lipót Fejér dies in Budapest, age 79   60
1964      American composer and songwriter Cole Albert Porter dies in Santa Monica, California, age 73   55
1965      German-born Israeli mathematician Abraham Halevi (Adolf) Fraenkel dies, age 74   54
1980      Soviet mathematician and hydrodynamicist Mikhail Alekseevich Lavrentyev dies in Moscow, age 79   39
1983      American film actor William Joseph Patrick "Pat" O'Brien dies in Santa Monica, California, age 83   36
1989      Wayne Gretsky becomes NHL all-time leading points scorer   30
1991      ultra-high-energy cosmic ray detected by the Fly's Eye Cosmic Ray Detector, estimated energy to be 3x108 TeV—"Oh-My-God" particle   28
1993      Apple II is removed from product line bringing era to a close after over 16 years   26
1997      Cassini-Huygens Saturn orbital and Titan lander mission launches from Cape Canaveral   22
1997      ThrustSSC driven by Andy Green becomes the first land supersonic record—763.935 mph (1227.986 km/h)   22
2000      German-American biochemist and Nobel laureate (1964) Konrad Emil Bloch dies, age 88   19
2003      China launches taikonaut Yang Liwei to low Earth orbit aboard Shenzhou 5—becomes third nation to launch manned orbital mission   16
2008      American comedienne, actress, singer, and businesswoman Edie Adams (born Edith Elizabeth Enke) dies in Los Angeles, age 81   11
2010      breakthrough completes the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland—at 57 km (34 mi) will be the longest rail tunnel in the world   9
2010      climber Eric Larson makes the first tweet from the summit of Mount Everest   9
2011      British actress and singer Elizabeth Mary "Betty" Driver dies in Manchester, age 91   8
2011      LEGOLAND Florida Resort opens in Winter Haven, Florida as Legoland Florida   8
2012      Greek-born British computer scientist Maria Petrou dies in Thessaloniki, Greece, age 59   7
2013      American jazz vocalist with a 49-year recording career Gloria Lynne (born Gloria Wilson) dies in New York City, age 83   6
2013      7.2 earthquake occurs in Bohol in the Philippines—222 killed, 976 others injured, and 14,500 structures destroyed   6
2014      Italian historian of philosophy Giovanni Reale dies in Luino, Italy, age 83   5
2017      Patriots Tom Brady sets the NFL record of 187 regular season wins for a starting quarterback   2
2017      actress Alyssa Milano suggests using the hashtag #MeToo to report sexual harassment or assault   2
2018      Microsoft co-founder Paul Gardner Allen dies in Seattle, age 65   1
2018      American kitchen supervisor for Campbell Soup Company and inventor of the green bean casserole in 1955 Dorcas Reilly dies, age 92   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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