This day in history (Sunday, Oct. 23)

Staff Writer

1739 – War of Jenkins' Ear starts: British Prime Minister Robert Walpole, reluctantly declares war on Spain.
1812 – Claude François de Malet, a French general, begins a conspiracy to overthrow Napoleon Bonaparte, claiming that the Emperor died in Russia and that he is now the commandant of Paris.
1850 – The first National Women's Rights Convention begins in Worcester, Massachusetts, United States.
1861 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus in Washington, D.C., for all military-related cases.
1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Westport: Union forces under General Samuel R. Curtis defeat Confederate troops led by General Sterling Price at Westport, Missouri, near Kansas City.
1867 – Seventy-two Senators are summoned by Royal Proclamation to serve as the first members of the Canadian Senate.
1870 – Franco-Prussian War: The Siege of Metz concludes with a decisive Prussian victory.
1906 – Alberto Santos-Dumont flies an airplane in the first heavier-than-air flight in Europe at Champs de Bagatelle, Paris, France.
1911 – First use of aircraft in war: Italo-Turkish War: An Italian pilot takes off from Libya to observe Turkish army lines.
1912 – First Balkan War: The Battle of Kumanovo between the Serbian and Ottoman armies begins.
1915 – Women's suffrage: In New York City, 25,000–33,000 women march on Fifth Avenue to advocate their right to vote.
1917 – Lenin calls for the October Revolution.
1929 – Great Depression: After a steady decline in stock market prices since a peak in September, the New York Stock Exchange begins to show signs of panic.
1935 – Dutch Schultz, Abe Landau, Otto Berman, and Bernard "Lulu" Rosencrantz are fatally shot at a saloon in Newark, New Jersey in what will become known as The Chophouse Massacre.
1939 – The Japanese Mitsubishi G4M twin-engine "Betty" Bomber makes its maiden flight.
1941 – World War II: Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov takes command of Red Army operations to prevent the further advance into Russia of German forces and to prevent the Wehrmacht from capturing Moscow.
1942 – World War II: Second Battle of El Alamein: At El Alamein in northern Egypt, the British Eighth Army under Field Marshal Montgomery begins a critical offensive to expel the Axis armies from Egypt.
1942 – All 12 passengers and crewmen aboard an American Airlines DC-3 airliner are killed when it is struck by a U.S. Army Air Forces bomber near Palm Springs, California. Amongst the victims is award-winning composer and songwriter Ralph Rainger ("Thanks for the Memory", "Love in Bloom", "Blue Hawaii").
1942 – World War II: The Battle for Henderson Field begins during the Guadalcanal Campaign and ends on October 26.
1944 – World War II: Battle of Leyte Gulf: The largest naval battle in history begins in the Philippines.
1946 – The United Nations General Assembly convenes for the first time, at an auditorium in Flushing, Queens, New York City.
1955 – Prime Minister Ngô Đình Diệm defeats former emperor Bảo Đại in a referendum and founds the Republic of Vietnam.
1956 – Thousands of Hungarians protest against the government and Soviet occupation. (The Hungarian Revolution is crushed on November 4).
1958 – The Springhill Mine bump: An underground earthquake traps 174 miners in the No. 2 colliery at Springhill, Nova Scotia, the deepest coal mine in North America at the time. By November 1, rescuers from around the world had dug out 100 of the victims, marking the death toll at 74.
1958 – The Smurfs, a fictional race of blue dwarves, later popularized in a Hanna-Barbera animated cartoon series, appear for the first time in the story La flute à six schtroumpfs, a Johan and Peewit adventure by Peyo, which is serialized in the weekly Spirou magazine.
1965 – Vietnam War: The 1st Cavalry Division (United States) (Airmobile), in conjunction with South Vietnamese forces, launches a new operation seeking to destroy North Vietnamese forces in Pleiku in the II Corps Tactical Zone (the Central Highlands).
1970 – Gary Gabelich sets a land speed record in a rocket-powered automobile called the Blue Flame, fueled with natural gas.
1972 – Operation Linebacker, a US bombing campaign against North Vietnam in response to its Easter Offensive, ends after five months.
1973 – The Watergate scandal: US President Richard M. Nixon agrees to turn over subpoenaed audio tapes of his Oval Office conversations.
1983 – Lebanese Civil War: The U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut is hit by a truck bomb, killing 241 U.S. military personnel. A French army barracks in Lebanon is also hit that same morning, killing 58 troops.
1989 – The Hungarian Republic is officially declared by president Mátyás Szűrös, replacing the communist Hungarian People's Republic.
1993 – The Troubles: A Provisional IRA bomb prematurely detonates in the Shankill area of Belfast, killing the bomber and nine civilians.
1995 – Yolanda Saldívar is found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of popular Latin singer Selena. Three days later, Saldívar was sentenced to life in prison, eligible for parole in 2025
1998 – Israeli–Palestinian conflict: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat reach a "land for peace" agreement.
1998 – Swatch Internet Time, a measure of 1000 "beats" per day was inaugurated by the Swatch Group.
2002 – Moscow theater hostage crisis: Chechen terrorists seize the House of Culture theater in Moscow and take approximately 700 theater-goers hostage.
2004 – A powerful earthquake and its aftershocks hit Niigata Prefecture in northern Japan, killing 35 people, injuring 2,200, and leaving 85,000 homeless or evacuated.
2007 – A powerful cold front in the Bay of Campeche causes the Usumacinta jackup rig to collide with Kab 101, leading to the death and drowning of 22 people during rescue operations after evacuation of the rig.
2011 – A powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake strikes Van Province, Turkey, killing 582 people and injuring thousands.
2011 – The Libyan National Transition Council deems the Libyan Civil War over.
2012 – After 38 years, the world's first teletext service (BBC's Ceefax) ceases broadcast due to Northern Ireland completing the digital switchover.
2015 – The lowest sea-level pressure in the Western Hemisphere, and the highest reliably-measured non-tornadic sustained winds, are recorded in Hurricane Patricia, which strikes Mexico hours later, killing at least 13 and causing over $280 million in damages.

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