Today in History – October 26

1774 – The First Continental Congress of the U.S. adjourned in Philadelphia.

1825 – The Erie Canal opened in upstate New York. The 363-mile canal connected Lake Erie and the Hudson River at a cost of $7,602,000.

1854 – Charles William Post was born. He was the inventor of “Grape Nuts,” “Postum” and “Post Toasties.”

1858 – H.E. Smith patented the rotary-motion washing machine.

1881 – The “Gunfight at the OK Corral” took place in Tombstone, AZ. The fight was between Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and Doc Holiday and the Ike Clanton Gang.

1905 – Norway gained independence from Sweden.

1942 – The U.S. ship Hornet was sunk in the Battle of Santa Cruz during World War II.

1944 – During World War II, the Battle of Leyte Gulf ended. The battle was won by American forces and brought the end of the Pacific phase of World War II into sight.

1949 – U.S. President Harry Truman raised the minimum wage from 40 to 75 cents an hour.

1951 – Winston Churchill became the prime minister of Great Britain.

1955 – New York City’s “The Village Voice” was first published.

1957 – The Soviet Union announced that defense minister Marchal Georgi Zhukov had been relieved of his duties.

1958 – Pan American Airways flew its first Boeing 707 jetliner from New York City to Paris.

1962 – The Soviet Union made an offer to end the Cuban Missile Crisis by taking their missile bases out of Cuba if the U.S. agreed to not invade Cuba and would remove Jupiter missiles in Turkey.

1967 – The Shah of Iran crowned himself and his Queen after 26 years on the Peacock Throne.

1970 – “Doonesbury,” the comic strip by Gary Trudeau, premiered in 28 newspapers across the U.S.

1972 – U.S. National security adviser Henry Kissinger declared, “Peace is at hand” in Vietnam.

1975 – Anwar Sadat became the first Egyptian president to officially visit to the United States.

1977 – The experimental space shuttle Enterprise successfully landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

1979 – South Korean President Park Chung-hee was shot to death by Kim Jae-kyu, the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.

1980 – Israeli President Yitzhak Navon became the first Israeli head of state to visit Egypt.

1984 – “Baby Fae” was given the heart of baboon after being born with a severe heart defect. She lived for 21 days with the animal heart.

1985 – Approximately 110,000 people marched past the U.S. and Soviet embassies in London to pressure the two countries to end their arms race.

1988 – Roussel Uclaf, a French pharmaceutical company, announced it was halting the worldwide distribution of RU-486. The pill is used to induce abortions. The French government made the company reverse itself two days later.

1988 – Two whales were freed by Soviet and American icebreakers. The whales had been trapped for nearly 3 weeks in an Arctic ice pack.

1990 – The U.S. State Department issued a warning that terrorists could be planning an attack on a passenger ship or aircraft.

1990 – Wayne Gretzky became the first NHL player to reach 2,000 points.

1991 – Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry arrived at a federal correctional institution in Petersburg, VA, to begin serving a six-month sentence for cocaine possession.

1992 – General Motors Corp. Chairman Robert Stempel resigned after the company recorded its highest losses in history.

1992 – In Canada, voters rejected the Charlottetown accord, which was designed to unify the country.

1993 – Deborah Gore Dean was convicted of 12 felony counts of defrauding the U.S. government and lying to the U.S. Congress. Dean was a central figure in the Reagan-era HUD scandal.

1994 – Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and Prime Minister Abdel Salam Majali of Jordan signed a peace treaty.

1995 – Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins) scored his 500th National Hockey League (NHL) career goal against the New York Islanders in his 605th game. He became the second-fastest player to attain the plateau. Wayne Gretzky had reached 600 goals by his 575th NHL game.

1996 – Federal prosecutors cleared Richard Jewell as a suspect in the Olympic park bombing.

1998 – A French lab found a nerve agent on an Iraqi missile warhead.

2001 – It was announced that Fort Worth’s Lockheed Martin won a defense contract for $200 billion over 40 years. The contract, for the “joint strike fighter,” was the largest defense contract in history.

2002 – Russian authorities pumped a gas into a theater where separatist rebels held over 800 hostages. The gas killed 116 hostages and all 50 hostage-takers were killed by the gas or gunshot wounds.

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