On This Day … 27 October


  • 312 – Constantine is said to have received his famous Vision of the Cross.
  • 939 – Æthelstan, the first king of all England, dies and is succeeded by his half-brother, Edmund I.
  • 1275 – Traditional founding of the city of Amsterdam.
  • 1524 – French troops lay siege to Pavia in the Italian Campaign of 1524-1525.
  • 1644 – Second Battle of Newbury in the English Civil War.
  • 1682 – Philadelphia is founded in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • 1775 – King George III expands on his Proclamation of Rebellion in the Thirteen Colonies in his speech from the throne at the opening of Parliament.
  • 1795 – The United States and Spain sign the Treaty of Madrid, which establishes the boundaries between Spanish colonies and the US
  • 1806 – The French Army enters Berlin, following the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt.
  • 1810 – United States annexes the former Spanish colony of West Florida.
  • 1838 – Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs issues the Extermination Order, which orders all Mormons to leave the state or be killed.
  • 1870 – Franco-Prussian War: Marshal Bazaine surrenders to Prussian forces at the conclusion of the Siege of Metz along with 140,000 French soldiers.
  • 1914 – First World War: The new British battleship HMS Audacious is sunk by a minefield laid by the armed German merchant-cruiser Berlin.
  • 1916 – Negus Mikael, marching on the Ethiopian capital in support of his son Emperor Iyasu V, is defeated by Fitawrari abte Giyorgis, securing the throne for Empress Zewditu I.
  • 1922 – A referendum in Rhodesia rejects the country’s annexation to the South African Union.
  • 1924 – The Uzbek SSR is founded in the Soviet Union.
  • 1930 – Ratifications exchanged in London for the first London Naval Treaty go into effect immediately, further limiting the expensive naval arms race among its five signatories.
  • 1936 – Mrs Wallis Simpson obtains her divorce, which would eventually allow her to marry King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, thus forcing his abdication from the throne.
  • 1944 – World War II: German forces capture Banská Bystrica during Slovak National Uprising thus bringing it to an end.
  • 1954 – Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. becomes the first African-American general in the United States Air Force.
  • 1958 – Iskander Mirza, the first President of Pakistan, is deposed by General Ayub Khan, who had been appointed the enforcer of martial law by Mirza 20 days earlier.
  • 1962 – Major Rudolf Anderson of the United States Air Force becomes the only direct human casualty of the Cuban Missile Crisis when his U-2 reconnaissance airplane is shot down over Cuba by a Soviet-supplied surface-to-air missile.
  • 1962 – By refusing to agree to the firing of a nuclear torpedo at a US warship, Vasily Arkhipov averts nuclear war.
  • 1962 – An aircraft carrying Enrico Mattei, post-war Italian administrator, crashes in mysterious circumstances.
  • 1967 – Catholic priest Philip Berrigan and others of the ‘Baltimore Four’ protest the Vietnam War by pouring blood on Selective Service records.
  • 1971 – The Democratic Republic of the Congo is renamed Zaire.
  • 1979 – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines gains its independence from the United Kingdom.
    • Independence Day (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), celebrates the independence of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from United Kingdom in 1979.
  • 1981 – Cold War: The Soviet submarine S-363 runs aground on the east coast of Sweden.
  • 1988 – Cold War: Ronald Reagan suspends construction of the new US Embassy in Moscow due to Soviet listening devices in the building structure.
  • 1991 – Turkmenistan achieves independence from the Soviet Union.
  • 1992 – United States Navy radioman Allen R. Schindler, Jr. is murdered by shipmate Terry M. Helvey for being gay, precipitating debate about gays in the military that results in the United States’ “Don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy.
  • 2014 – Britain withdraws from Afghanistan at the end of Operation Herrick, after 12 years four months and seven days.
  • 2019 – Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi kills himself and three children by detonating a suicide vest during the US military Barisha raid in northwestern Syria.
  • Navy Day (United States) (unofficial, official date is 13 October).

People (Births)

  • 1661 – Fyodor Apraksin, Russian admiral (d. 1728).
  • 1806 – Juan Seguín, American colonel, judge, and politician, 101st Mayor of San Antonio (d. 1890).
  • 1858 – Theodore Roosevelt, American colonel and politician, 26th President of the United States, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1919).
  • 1890 – Toshinari Shōji, Japanese general (d. 1974).
  • 1894 – Oliver Leese, English-Welsh general (d. 1978).
  • 1925 – Warren Christopher, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 63rd United States Secretary of State (d. 2011).
  • 1926 – Henri Fertet, French Resistance fighter (d. 1943).
  • 1929 – Maurice Robert Johnston, English general and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire.
  • 1946 – Steven R. Nagel, American colonel, engineer, and astronaut (d. 2014).

People (Deaths)

  • 939 – Æthelstan, English king (b. 894).
  • 1812 – Isaac Brock, British army officer and administrator, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada (b. 1769).
  • 1880 – Thrasyvoulos Zaimis, Greek soldier and politician, 48th Prime Minister of Greece (b. 1822).
  • 1917 – Arthur Rhys-Davids, English lieutenant and pilot (b. 1897).
  • 1926 – Warren Wood, American golfer and soldier (b. 1887).
  • 1944 – Judith Auer, German World War II resistance fighter (b. 1905).
  • 1962 – Rudolf Anderson, American soldier and pilot (b. 1927).
  • 1980 – Judy LaMarsh, Canadian soldier, lawyer, and politician, 42nd Secretary of State for Canada (b. 1924).
  • 1990 – Elliott Roosevelt, American general and author (b. 1910).
  • 2012 – Rodney S. Quinn, American colonel, pilot, and politician, 44th Secretary of State of Maine (b. 1923).
  • 2013 – Michael Wilkes, English general and politician, Lieutenant Governor of Jersey (b. 1940).
  • 2014 – Starke Taylor, American soldier and politician, mayor of Dallas (b. 1922).
  • 2019 – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL); suicide (b. 1971).

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