Highlight in History

On Oct. 12, 1492 (according to the Old Style calendar), Christopher Columbus arrived with his expedition in the present-day Bahamas.

On this date

In 1810, the German festival Oktoberfest was first held in Munich to celebrate the wedding of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

In 1870, General Robert E. Lee died in Lexington, Va., at age 63.

In 1915, English nurse Edith Cavell was executed by the Germans in occupied Belgium during World War I.

In 1918, the Cloquet Fire erupted in Minnesota, claiming some 450 lives.

In 1933, bank robber John Dillinger escaped from a jail in Allen County, Ohio, with the help of his gang, who killed the sheriff.

In 1960, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev disrupted a U.N. General Assembly session, supposedly by pounding his desk with his shoe (although there’s some question about whether the shoe-pounding actually occurred).

In 1960, Japanese Socialist Party leader Inejiro Asanuma was stabbed to death during a televised debate in Tokyo by an ultranationalist student, Otoya Yamaguchi, who hanged himself in jail.

In 1968, the Summer Games of the 19th Olympiad officially opened in Mexico City. Equatorial Guinea became independent of Spain.

In 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher escaped an attempt on her life when an Irish Republican Army bomb exploded at a hotel in Brighton, England, killing five people.

In 2002, a bomb blamed on Islamic militants destroyed a nightclub on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.

Ten years ago

Seventeen sailors were killed in a suicide bomb attack on the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen. Chinese writer Gao Xingjian won the Nobel literature prize.

Five years ago

China launched its second manned space flight, during which two astronauts orbited Earth for five days. Syria’s interior minister, Brig. Gen. Ghazi Kenaan, died in his Damascus office of what authorities said was suicide. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced he would not participate in Germany’s new coalition government, ending seven years in power.

One year ago

A suicide car bombing near a market in northwestern Pakistan killed 41. Addressing the Northern Ireland Assembly, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged rival leaders of the power-sharing government to keep making their coalition work for the sake of lasting peace. Americans Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson won the Nobel economics prize.

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