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Last Week in History (Oct. 29th)

23rd of October

Lightning round of history – ON THIS DAY IN…

42BCE: Mark Antony & Octavian defeat Brutus army; in the aftermath the latter commits suicide.

1911: Airplanes were first used in war during the Italo-Turkish War.
1915: Approximately 33,000 women march on Fifth Avenue (Manhattan) for women’s suffrage.

1917: Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known as Lenin, calls for the October Revolution at a meeting of the Bolshevik Central Committee. They would rise in Petrograd two days later.

1958: The Smurfs appear for the first time in a story serialised in Spirou magazine.

2012: The world’s first teletext service, BBC’s Ceefax, ceases broadcast after 38 years.

Holiday: Mole Day (International, unofficial)


24th of October

On this day in 1975 the women in Iceland went on strike for the day to “demonstrate the indispensable work of women for Iceland’s economy and society,” as well as to protest “wage discrepancy and unfair employment practices.” Approximately 90% of Iceland’s women went on strike that day, including both paid jobs and housework. As a result, telephone services did not run, newspapers were not printed, schools were closed, flights were cancelled, banks stayed shut and factories did not open. Five years later Iceland elected the world’s first democratically elected female president, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir. Every 10 years, on the anniversary of the strike, women leave work early in Iceland to commemorate the event.

Holiday: United Nations Day (International)


25th of October

In the year 1415 a lightly armoured English army, led by King Henry V, defeated the heavily armoured cavalry of the French under Constable Charles d’Albret at the Battle of Agincourt. The English longbow played a key role in the battle, as archers made up around 80% of the English army. The French king, Charles VI, did not lead his army himself as he was suffering from “severe psychotic illnesses with moderate mental incapacitation.” This battle would form the centrepiece of the play Henry V by William Shakespeare.

Holiday: Customs Officer’s Day (Russia)


26th of October

Former Olympic Gold medalist and World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali returns to the boxing ring for the first time in three years in 1970, fighting Irish-American boxer Jerry Quarry in Atlanta GA. Ali had been denied a boxing license following his refusal to serve in the US armed forces during the Vietnam War. Ali won the fight after three rounds when Quarry was cut.

Holiday: Intersex Awareness Day (International)


27th of October

In 1992, United States Navy radioman Allen R. Schindler, Jr. was murdered by his shipmate, Terry M. Helvey, and an accomplice for being gay in a public toilet in Sasebo, Nagasaki (Japan). The murder is noted for being particularly brutal, with medical examiners comparing it to “what might be sustained in a high-speed car crash or a low-speed aircraft accident.” His mother could only identify his body by the tattoos on his arms. This event is frequently cited as a key event that led up to the controversial “Don’t ask, don’t tell” bill.

Holiday: Navy Day (United States, unofficial)