This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
October 29 is the 302nd day of the year (303rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 63 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni” makes its debut in Prague at the Estates Theater. It is an opera in two acts with the music by Mozart and with an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is about a “young, arrogant, sexually prolific nobleman who abuses and outrages everyone else in the cast, until he encounters something he cannot kill, beat up, dodge, or outwit.” The opera is sometimes characterized as comic because it combines comedy, drama and the supernatural. It is among the top 20 operas performed in North America.
539 BC – Cyrus the Great entered the city of Babylon and detained Nabonidus.
437 – Valentinian III, Western Roman Emperor, marries Licinia Eudoxia, daughter of his cousin Theodosius II, Eastern Roman Emperor in Constantinople unifying the two branches of the House of Theodosius
969 – Byzantine troops occupy Antioch Syria
1268 – Conradin, the last legitimate male heir of the Hohenstaufen dynasty of Kings of Germany and Holy Roman Emperors, is executed along with his companion Frederick I, Margrave of Baden by Charles I of Sicily, a political rival and ally to the hostile Roman Catholic church.
1390 – First trial for witchcraft in Paris leading to the death of three people.
1422 – Charles VII of France becomes king in succession to his father Charles VI of France
1467 – Battle of Brustem: Charles the Bold defeats Liege
1618 – English adventurer, writer, and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for allegedly conspiring against James I of England.
1658 – Action of 29 October 1658 (Naval battle)
1665 – Battle of Ambuila, where Portuguese forces defeated the forces of the Kingdom of Kongo and decapitated king Antonio I of Kongo, also called Nvita a Nkanga.
1675 – Leibniz makes the first use of the long s as a symbol of the integral in calculus.
1787 – Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni receives its first performance in Prague.
1792 – Mount Hood (Oregon) is named after the British naval officer Alexander Arthur Hood by Lt. William E. Broughton who spotted the mountain near the mouth of the Willamette River.
1859 – Spain declares war on Morocco.
1863 – Eighteen countries meeting in Geneva agree to form the International Red Cross.
1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Wauhatchie – forces under Union General Ulysses S. Grant ward off a Confederate attack led by General James Longstreet. Union forces thus open a supply line into Chattanooga, Tennessee.
1886 – The first ticker-tape parade takes place in New York City when office workers spontaneously throw ticker tape into the streets as the Statue of Liberty is dedicated.
1901 – In Amherst, Massachusetts nurse Jane Toppan is arrested for murdering the Davis family of Boston with an overdose of morphine.
1901 – Capital punishment: Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of US President William McKinley, is executed by electrocution.
1918 – The German High Seas Fleet is incapacitated when sailors mutiny on the night of the 29th-30th, an action which would trigger the German revolution.
1921 – The Link River Dam, a part of the Klamath Reclamation Project, is completed.
1921 – Second trial of Sacco and Vanzetti in USA.
1921 – The Harvard University football team loses to Centre College, ending a 25 game winning streak. This is considered one of the biggest upsets in college football.
1922 – The King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III, appoints Benito Mussolini as Prime Minister.
1923 – Turkey becomes a republic following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.
1929 – The New York Stock Exchange crashes in what will be called the Crash of ’29 or “Black Tuesday”, ending the Great Bull Market of the 1920s and beginning the Great Depression.
1941 – Holocaust: In the Kaunas Ghetto over 10,000 Jews are shot by German occupiers at the Ninth Fort, a massacre known as the “Great Action”.
1942 – Holocaust: In the United Kingdom, leading clergymen and political figures hold a public meeting to register outrage over Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews.
1944 – The city of Breda in the Netherlands is liberated by 1st Polish Armoured Division.
1945 – Getulio Vargas, president of Brazil, resigns.
1948 – Safsaf massacre
1953 – BCPA Flight 304 DC-6 crashes near San Francisco, California. Pianist William Kapell is among the 19 killed.
1955 – The Soviet battleship Novorossiisk strikes a World War II mine in the harbor at Sevastopol.
1956 – Suez Crisis begins: Israeli forces invade the Sinai Peninsula and push Egyptian forces back toward the Suez Canal.
1956 – Tangier Protocol is signed: The international city Tangier is reintegrated into Morocco.
1957 – Israel’s prime minister David Ben Gurion and five of his ministers are injured when a hand grenade is tossed into Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.
1960 – In Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius Clay (who later takes the name Muhammad Ali) wins his first professional fight.
1961 – Syria exits from the United Arab Republic.
1964 – Tanganyika and Zanzibar unite to form the Republic of Tanzania.
1964 – A collection of irreplaceable gems, including the 565 carat (113 g) Star of India, is stolen by a group of thieves (among them is “Murph the surf”) from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
1966 – National Organization For Women is founded.
1967 – London criminal Jack McVitie is murdered by the Kray twins, leading to their eventual imprisonment and downfall.
1967 – Montreal’s World Fair, Expo 67, closes with over 50 million visitors.
1969 – The first-ever computer-to-computer link is established on ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet.
1980 – Demonstration flight of a secretly modified C-130 for an Iran hostage crisis rescue attempt ends in crash landing at Eglin Air Force Base’s Duke Field, Florida leading to cancellation of Operation Credible Sport.
1980 – Mark David Chapman, John Lennon’s murderer, leaves for New York from his home in Hawaii.
1983 – Over 500,000 people demonstrate against cruise missiles in The Hague, Netherlands.
1985 – Major General Samuel K. Doe is announced the winner of the first multi-party election in Liberia.
1986 – British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opens the last stretch of the M25 motorway.
1991 – The American Galileo spacecraft makes its closest approach to 951 Gaspra, becoming the first probe to visit an asteroid.
1994 – Francisco Martin Duran fires over two dozen shots at the White House (Duran is later convicted of trying to kill US President Bill Clinton).
1998 – Apartheid: In South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presents its report, which condemns both sides for committing atrocities.
1998 – Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off on STS-95 with 77-year old John Glenn on board, making him the oldest person to go into space.
1998 – ATSC HDTV broadcasting in the United States is inaugurated with the launch of STS-95 space shuttle mission.
1998 – While en route from Adana to Ankara, a Turkish Airlines flight with a crew of 6 and 33 passengers is hijacked by a Kurdish militant who orders the pilot to fly to Switzerland. The plane instead lands in Ankara after the pilot tricked the hijacker into thinking that he is landing in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia to refuel.
1998 – Hurricane Mitch, the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history, makes landfall in Honduras.
1998 – The Gothenburg nightclub fire in Sweden claims 63 lives and injures 200.
1999 – A large cyclone devastates Orissa, India.
2002 – Ho Chi Minh City ITC Inferno, a fire destroys a luxurious department store where 1500 people shopping. Over 60 people died and over 100 are missing. It is the deadliest disaster in Vietnam during peacetime.
2004 – The Arabic news network Al Jazeera broadcasts an excerpt from a video of Osama bin Laden in which the terrorist leader first admits direct responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks and references the 2004 U.S. presidential election.
2004 – In Rome, European heads of state sign the Treaty and Final Act establishing the first European Constitution.
2005 – 29 October 2005 Delhi bombings kill more than 60.
2008 – Delta Air Lines merges with Northwest Airlines, creating the world’s largest airline and reducing the number of US legacy carriers to 5.