#TodayInHistory – October 83 min read
October 8 – Some important events on this day.
314 👉🏼 Battle at Cibalae: Roman emperor in the west Constantine beats emperor in the east Licinius
1480 👉🏼 Great standing on the Ugra river, standoff between forces of Akhmat Khan, Khan of the Great Horde, and Ivan III Grand Prince of all Rus, Tataro-Mongols retreat, leads to disintegration of the Horde.
1600 👉🏼 San Marino adopts constitution
1604 👉🏼 Supernova “Kepler’s nova” first sighted
1856 👉🏼 The Second Opium War or second Anglo-Chinese War: begins with the Arrow Incident on the Pearl River
1871 👉🏼 Forest fire destroys Peshtigo, Wisconsin, killing between 1,200 and 2,500 people, making it the deadliest wildfire in recorded history.
1871 👉🏼 Great Chicago Fire begins.
On this day, flames spark in the Chicago barn of Patrick and Catherine O’Leary, igniting a two-day blaze that kills between 200 and 300 people, destroys 17,450 buildings, leaves 100,000 homeless and causes an estimated $200 million (in 1871 dollars; $3 billion in 2007 dollars) in damages.
According to the legend, a cow kicked over a lantern in the O’Leary barn and started the fire, but other theories hold that humans or even a comet may have been responsible for the event that left a great part of the Windy City, including its business district, in ruins. Dry weather and an abundance of wooden buildings, streets and sidewalks made Chicago vulnerable to fire: the city averaged two fires per day in 1870, and there were 20 fires throughout Chicago the week before the Great Fire of 1871.
Despite the fire’s devastation, much of Chicago’s physical infrastructure, including its water, sewage and transportation systems, remained intact. Reconstruction efforts began quickly and spurred great economic development and population growth, as architects laid the foundation for a modern city featuring the world’s first skyscrapers.
In 1997, the Chicago City Council exonerated Mrs. O’Leary and her cow. She turned into a recluse after the fire, and died in 1895.
1915 👉🏼 Battle of Loos on WWI Western Front ends, German forces contain British attack (85,000 casualties)
1917 👉🏼 Leon Trotsky named chairman of the Petrograd Soviet as Bolsheviks gain control
1918 👉🏼 American soldier Alvin York single-handedly attacks German gun nest, killing at least 25 and capturing 132 Germans.
In October 1918, during World War I, Alvin York was one of many thousands of American soldiers fighting on the French front. On this day, Cpl. York and a number of others were sent to infiltrate a German machine gun position.
After sneaking in, they captured a large group of enemy soldiers. While contending with their prisoners, German machine gun fire killed 6 Americans, putting the newly promoted York in charge.
York himself attacked the machine gun position. With exceptional marksmanship he killed at least 25 enemy soldiers himself in the battle, including shooting dead six Germans with a pistol who rushed at him with bayonets after his rifle ran out of ammo. The German officer in charge of the position tried to kill him but ran out of ammunition himself, offering then to surrender his unit.
York returned to post with 132 prisoners. His actions made him an instant hero, and earned him an immediate promotion. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.
1945 👉🏼 Microwave oven patented
1971 👉🏼 John Lennon releases his megahit single “Imagine”
2001 👉🏼 US President George W. Bush announces the establishment of the Office of Homeland Security
2004 👉🏼 Kenyan Wangari Maathai is the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace”