#TodayInHistory – October 94 min read
October 9 – Some important events on this day.
768 👉🏼 Charlemagne and his brother Carloman I are crowned Kings of The Franks
1000 👉🏼 Leif Ericson discovers “Vinland” (possibly L’Anse aux Meadows, Canada) reputedly becoming first European to reach North America
1290 👉🏼 Last of 16,000 Jews expelled by King Edward I leave England
1446 👉🏼 The Hangul alphabet is published in Korea
1781 👉🏼 Americans under George Washington and the French under comte de Rochambeau begin bombardment of Yorktown, the last battle of American Revolutionary War.
When the British colonial forces were defeated at Yorktown after a month of battle, American independence was essentially guaranteed, and the guns fell silent as the Revolutionary War ended.
The British had been led by Charles Cornwallis, who was backed up by German auxiliary units from the states of Ansbach and Hesse-Kassel. The Americans, commanded by George Washington, were supported by the French. After severely damaging the surrounded British forces in Yorktown, in Virginia, Cornwallis asked for a surrender on October 17, and negotiations were completed on October 19. Cornwallis himself was not present for the surrender ceremony, citing ‘illness’, but he did sign the document.
With the surrender, some 7,000 British soldiers became prisoners, and American essentially became an independent state. Having lost the last significant battle on the American continent, the British and American governments began to negotiate a final settlement, which concluded with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Under this agreement Britain recognized the United States as an independent country.
1824 👉🏼 Slavery is abolished in Costa Rica
1831 👉🏼 Ioannis Kapodistrias, first Head of State of modern Greece, assassinated in Nafplion
1855 👉🏼 American inventor Isaac Singer patents sewing machine motor
1941 👉🏼 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt approves an atomic program that would become the Manhattan Project
1963 👉🏼 Vajont Dam disaster, landslide creates 50 million cubic metre wave killing around 2,000 in the Piave Valley in Northern Italy.
Vajont Dam disaster, landslide creates 50 million cubic metre wave killing around 2,000 in the Piave Valley in Northern Italy.
The Diga del Vajont dam was built in the Vaiont Gorge to supply hydroelectric power to Northern Italy. Located about 18 kilometers northeast of the city of Belluno, it rose about 267 meters above the Piave River below and was a full 23 meters wide at its base. The construction of the dam created a large reservoir, which held more than 8,500 cubic meters of water. While the dam was solidly constructed, its location was a poor choice: the Vaiont Gorge was in fact located in a section of the Alps known for instability. In 1963, the area experienced heavy rains so, at 10:41 p.m., the wet land could no longer hold and a massive landslide came crashing down from Mount Toc, causing a huge pile of dirt and rocks to plunge into the reservoir at about 112 km per hour. The impact of the debris caused an immense wave of water to rise as high as 90 meters above the level of the dam.
Workers living alongside the dam were killed instantly. The displaced water crashed over the dam and into the Piave River below. It stormed down the river and engulfed the town of Longarone and, within minutes the town had virtually vanished with nearly 2,000 people were dead. The tsunami-like wave then rushed down to San Martino, where it killed hundreds more.
In the aftermath of the disaster, Mario Pancini, the engineer of the dam project, was summoned to court to answer questions regarding what was known of the geology of the area prior to the dam’s construction. However, he killed himself before his scheduled appearance.
1967 👉🏼 Che Guevara is executed.
On this day, socialist revolutionary and guerilla leader Che Guevara, age 39, is killed by the Bolivian army. The U.S.-military-backed Bolivian forces captured him on October 8 while battling his band of guerillas in Bolivia and executed him the following day. His hands were cut off as proof of death and his body was buried in an unmarked grave. In 1997, Che Guevara’s remains were found and sent back to Cuba, where they were reburied in a ceremony attended by President Fidel Castro and thousands of Cubans.
1986 👉🏼 “Phantom of the Opera” premieres in London, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and starring Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman
2006 👉🏼 North Korea conducts its first nuclear test, with an estimated yield of between 0.4-2 kilotons