On This Day … 19 October


  • 202 BC – Second Punic War: At the Battle of Zama, Roman legions under Scipio Africanus defeat Hannibal Barca, leader of the army defending Carthage.
  • 439 – The Vandals, led by King Gaiseric, take Carthage in North Africa.
  • 1216 – King John of England dies at Newark-on-Trent and is succeeded by his nine-year-old son Henry.
  • 1453 – Hundred Years’ War: Three months after the Battle of Castillon, England loses its last possessions in southern France.
  • 1466 – The Thirteen Years’ War between Poland and the Teutonic Order ends with the Second Treaty of Thorn.
  • 1469 – Ferdinand II of Aragon marries Isabella I of Castile, a marriage that paves the way to the unification of Aragon and Castile into a single country, Spain.
  • 1579 – James VI of Scotland is celebrated as an adult ruler by a festival in Edinburgh.
  • 1596 – The Spanish ship San Felipe runs aground on the coast of Japan and its cargo is confiscated by local authorities.
  • 1649 – New Ross town in Ireland surrenders to Oliver Cromwell.
  • 1781 – American Revolutionary War: The siege of Yorktown comes to an end.
  • 1805 – War of the Third Coalition: Austrian General Mack surrenders his army to Napoleon at the Battle of Ulm.
  • 1812 – The French invasion of Russia fails when Napoleon begins his retreat from Moscow.
  • 1813 – War of the Sixth Coalition: Napoleon is forced to retreat from Germany after the Battle of Leipzig.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: The Battle of Cedar Creek ends the last Confederate threat to Washington, DC.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Confederate agents based in Canada rob three banks in Saint Albans, Vermont.
  • 1866 – In accordance with the Treaty of Vienna, Austria cedes Veneto and Mantua to France, which immediately awards them to Italy in exchange for the earlier Italian acquiescence to the French annexation of Savoy and Nice.
  • 1912 – Italo-Turkish War: Italy takes possession of what is now Libya from the Ottoman Empire.
  • 1914 – First World War: The First Battle of Ypres begins.
  • 1921 – The Portuguese Prime Minister and several officials are murdered in the Bloody Night coup.
  • 1935 – The League of Nations places economic sanctions on Italy for its invasion of Ethiopia.
  • 1943 – The cargo vessel Sinfra is attacked by Allied aircraft at Crete and sunk. 2,098 Italian prisoners of war drown with it.
  • 1943 – Streptomycin, the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis, is isolated by researchers at Rutgers University.
  • 1944 – United States forces land in the Philippines.
  • 1944 – A coup is launched against Juan Federico Ponce Vaides, beginning the ten-year Guatemalan Revolution.
  • 1950 – China defeats the Tibetan Army at Chambo.
  • 1950 – Korean War: The Battle of Pyongyang ends in a United Nations victory. Hours later, the Chinese Army begins crossing the border into Korea.
  • 1950 – Iran becomes the first country to accept technical assistance from the United States under the Point Four Programme.
  • 1956 – The Soviet Union and Japan sign a Joint Declaration, officially ending the state of war between the two countries that had existed since August 1945.
  • 1960 – The United States imposes a near-total trade embargo against Cuba.
  • 1974 – Niue becomes a self-governing colony of New Zealand.
    • Constitution Day, in honour of the country’s independence (self-governing in free association with New Zealand) in 1974.
  • 1987 – The United States Navy conducts Operation Nimble Archer, an attack on two Iranian oil platforms in the Persian Gulf.
  • 1988 – The British government imposes a broadcasting ban on television and radio interviews with members of Sinn Féin and eleven Irish republican and Ulster loyalist paramilitary groups.
  • 2005 – Saddam Hussein goes on trial in Baghdad for crimes against humanity.

People (Births)

  • 1610 – James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde, English-Irish general, academic, and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (d. 1688).
  • 1718 – Victor-François, 2nd duc de Broglie, French general and politician, French Secretary of State for War (d. 1804).
  • 1895 – Frank Durbin, American soldier (d. 1999).
  • 1901 – Arleigh Burke, American admiral (d. 1996).
  • 1916 – Minoru Yasui, American soldier, lawyer, and activist (d. 1986).
  • 1917 – William Joel Blass, American soldier, lawyer, and politician (d. 2012).
  • 1925 – Czesław Kiszczak, Polish general and politician, 11th Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Poland (d. 2015).
  • 1925 – Emilio Eduardo Massera, Argentinian admiral (d. 2010).
  • 1933 – Anthony Skingsley, English air marshal (d. 2019).
  • 1934 – Yakubu Gowon, Nigerian general and politician, 3rd Head of State of Nigeria.

People (Deaths)

  • 1432 – John de Mowbray, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, English politician, Earl Marshal of England (b. 1392).
  • 1796 – Michel de Beaupuy, French general (b. 1755).
  • 1813 – Józef Poniatowski, Polish general (b. 1763).
  • 1916 – Ioannis Frangoudis, Greek general and target shooter (b. 1863).
  • 1945 – Plutarco Elías Calles, Mexican general and politician, 40th President of Mexico (b. 1877).
  • 1964 – Sergey Biryuzov, Marshal of the Soviet Union (b. 1904).
  • 1964 – Christopher Vane, 10th Baron Barnard, English soldier and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Durham (b. 1888).
  • 1970 – Lázaro Cárdenas, Mexican general and politician, 44th President of Mexico (b. 1895).
  • 1986 – Samora Machel, Mozambican commander and politician, 1st President of Mozambique (b. 1933).
  • 1999 – James C. Murray, American soldier, lawyer, and politician (b. 1917).
  • 2012 – Wissam al-Hassan, Lebanese general (b. 1965).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.