History: October 19

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October 19

1216 Death: King John, after indulging on peaches and ale (cider) while at Swineshead Abbey in Lincolnshire. He was known as Lackland for losing so much territory to France.

1745 Death: Jonathan Swift, Irish author and satirist, who wrote Gulliver's Travels.

1812 War of 1812: Napoleon begins his retreat from Moscow. Fewer than 20,000 of Napoleon's 500,000-man invasion force eventually stagger back across the Russian frontier.

1860 The first company to manufacture internal combustion engines is formed in Florence, Italy.

1869 The famous Prussian-born mining engineer, Adolph Sutro, begins work on one of the most ambitious western engineering projects of the day: a four-mile-long tunnel through the solid rock of the Comstock Lode mining district. One of the richest silver deposits in the world, the Comstock Lode had been discovered by prospectors in 1859, and it quickly became the focus of the most intensive mining activity in the West. But as miners sank shafts ever deeper into the rock in search of more silver and gold, they began to encounter large amounts of water that had to be pumped to the surface at great expense.

If only some means could be found to drain the water horizontally, the mining companies would save a fortune. Adolph Sutro's tunnel is intended to do just that. Sutro, who had already demonstrated his technical brilliance by inventing a new way to extract silver from waste rock, propose to blast a large horizontal tunnel right through the rock of the neighboring Mount Davidson and straight into the heart of the Comstock mine. Mine water would thus drain through the tunnel without need for expensive pumps, and the mining companies would also be able to use the tunnel to move men and ore in and out of the mine, greatly reducing transportation costs. While all involved agreed that technically Sutro's tunnel would be a boon to the Comstock, progress on the project is continually slowed down by resistance from some of the major mining interests who fear that Sutro will use his tunnel to take control of the entire lode. Only after securing European capital is Sutro able to complete the $5-million project in 1878. Every bit as successful as promised, the Sutro tunnel drains some two million gallons of water from the mines per year and greatly reduces transportation costs. Unfortunately, by 1878, the richer sections of the Comstock Lode had been tapped out, and the mine had begun to steadily decline in profitability. Sutro, though, succeeds in selling his tunnel in 1879 at a fantastic profit. He moves to San Francisco where he becomes one of the city's largest landowners as well as the city's mayor from 1894 to 1896. (Bradley)

1933 Germany pledges to protect all foreigners.

1933 Zionism: German Zionists and assimilationists clash for control of the Berlin Kehilla (Jewish Community Council).

1935 Volkishness: The Institute for the History of the New Germany opens.

1935 The League of Nations imposes sanctions on Italy for invading Abyssinia (Ethiopia).

1939 The Kristallnacht "Atonement fee" for Jews is increased to 1.25 billion RM and has to be paid by November 15, 1939. (Persecution)

1939 WW2: Hitler incorporates western Poland into the German Reich.

1939 Diary of Leon Gladun: The French are near [...] the German government is fleeing to Poland to Krakow--so states the radio.

1941 WW2: Stalin announces that he will remain in Moscow, even though most of the Soviet government has already fled, promising to defend the Russian capital with every possible effort.

1943 Holocaust: Lublin SS-und Poliseifuehrer Odilo Globocnik (above) announces the end of Aktion Reinhard and dissolution of the camps. Most SS personnel involved in Aktion Reinhard are transferred to the Adriatic coastal operation zone to fight the partisans and select and deport the Jews of that area. (Days)

1944 WW2: Alfred Naujocks deserts to the Americans and at Nuremberg the following year gives a number of sworn affidavits. In one he gives his account of the "faked incident" at Gleiwitz on the evening of August 31, 1939, which Hitler had used to justify his attack on Poland. (Shirer I) (See November 20, 1945)

1944 Diary of Leon Gladun: Change position near the village of Galleata not too far from Sta Sofia. Our battery position is very interesting: high on a mountain overlooking the entire valley. The view is spectacular. All the regiments and batteries are below us. During the shooting one could well observe the firing of individual batteries. The Germans concentrated their fire on the town several times--for us it was just a spectacle observed from high up. During the night several shells fell near us but there was no damage. Our battery is separated from the next by over 100 meters. We fired a relatively large amount from this position. There were several offensives planned which we partially fulfilled. We had a spectacular overview of the whole valley during the artillery exchanges. At times the barrages went off like machine-gun fire: flashes, smoke, noise exploding in series all over the valley and slopes!

1945 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: Indictments are issued against the major war figures. (Maser II)

1970 British Petroleum announces the first major discovery of oil under the British sector of the North Sea.

1987 The markets are enjoying a record-setting bull run, seemingly unbothered by occasional cocaine scandals or the arrest of Ivan Boesky. However, on October 19, panic selling sends the Dow into an unprecedented 508-point freefall. After a day of frantic action, the markets had shed 23 percent of their total value. The staggering loss sends analysts scurrying to find a smoking gun, and they find several. Along with the usual suspects, inflation and rising interest rates, the announcement of a surprisingly steep trade deficit and news of an American attack against Iran are both blamed for Wall Street's woes. Some industry insiders look even closer to home, speculating that the market's computerized trading system played a role in sparking the crash. The computers, however, refuse to comment on the incident. (Bradley)

2000 The Dalai Lama begins a three day visit to Northern Ireland to head a peace conference; the first time he'd visited Belfast, oddly enough.

2001 It is announced that a 'serious error' had been made by researchers who wasted five years testing the wrong animal brains for BSE.   

2001 US ground forces battle in Afghanistan, opening a new phase of the war on terrorism after nearly two weeks of fierce air strikes, a defense official declares.

2001 President Bush meets with Chinese President Zemin and Asian Pacific leaders in Shanghai.

2001 The anthrax strains surfacing with terrifying impact in Florida, New York and Washington are all similar, says homeland security chief Tom Ridge. " We obviously are preparing for more..."


2001 A second New Jersey mail carrier is confirmed to have skin anthrax.



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