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This Day in History: October 28


1492 – Christopher Columbus discovered Cuba on his first voyage to the New World.

1538 – The first university in the New World (in present-day Dominican Republic), the Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino, is established.

1636 – A vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony establishes the first college in what would become the United States, today known as Harvard University.

1775 – American Revolutionary War: A British proclamation forbids residents from leaving Boston.

1776 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of White Plains: British Army forces arrive at White Plains, attack and capture Chatterton Hill from the Americans.

1864 – American Civil War: The Battle of Fair Oaks & Darbytown Road (also known as the Second Battle of Fair Oaks) ends: Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant withdraw from Fair Oaks, Virginia, after failing to breach the Confederate defenses around Richmond, Virginia.

1886 – In New York Harbor, President Grover Cleveland dedicates the Statue of Liberty. The first ticker tape parade takes place in New York City when office workers spontaneously throw ticker tape into the streets as the statue is dedicated.

1919 – The U.S. Congress passes the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson's veto, paving the way for Prohibition to begin the following January.

1929 – Black Monday, a day in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, which also saw major stock market upheaval.

1942 – The Alaska Highway (Alcan Highway) is completed through Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska.

1956 – Elvis Presley receives a polio vaccination on national TV. This single event is credited with raising immunization levels in the United States from 0.6% to over 80% in just six months.

1962 – End of Cuban Missile Crisis: Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev orders the removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba.

1964 – Vietnam War: U.S. officials deny any involvement in bombing North Vietnam.

1965 – Construction on the Gateway Arch is completed.

2005 – Plame affair: Lewis Libby, Vice-president Dick Cheney's chief of staff, is indicted in the Valerie Plame case. Libby resigns later that day.

2009 – NASA successfully launches the Ares I-X mission, the only rocket launch for its later-cancelled Constellation program.


1897 – Edith Head, American costume designer (d. 1981)

1914 – Jonas Salk, American biologist and physician (d. 1995)

1917 – Jack Soo, American actor and singer (d. 1979)

1926 – Bowie Kuhn, American lawyer and businessman (d. 2007)

1929 – Virginia Held, American philosopher, author, and academic

1936 – Charlie Daniels, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

1951 – Ronnie and Donnie Galyon, American conjoined twins

1955 – Bill Gates, American businessman and philanthropist, co-founded Microsoft


1818 – Abigail Adams, American wife of John Adams, 2nd First Lady of the United States (b. 1744)

2006 – Red Auerbach, American basketball player and coach (b. 1917)

2007 – Porter Wagoner, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1927)