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This Day in History: October 7


1542 – Explorer Cabrillo discovers Santa Catalina Island off of the California coast.

1763 – King George III of the United Kingdom issues the Royal Proclamation of 1763, closing aboriginal lands in North America north and west of Alleghenies to white settlements.

1776 – Crown Prince Paul of Russia marries Sophie Marie Dorothea of Württemberg.

1777 – American Revolutionary War: The Americans defeat the British in the Second Battle of Saratoga, also known as the Battle of Bemis Heights.

1780 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Kings Mountain: American Patriot militia defeat Loyalist irregulars led by British major Patrick Ferguson in South Carolina.

1826 – The Granite Railway begins operations as the first chartered railway in the U.S.

1864 – American Civil War: Bahia incident: USS Wachusett illegally captures the CSS Florida Confederate raider while in port in Bahia, Brazil in violation of Brazilian neutrality.

1868 – Cornell University holds opening day ceremonies; initial student enrollment is 412, the highest at any American university to that date.

1916 – Georgia Tech defeats Cumberland University 222–0 in the most lopsided college football game in American history.

1940 – World War II: The McCollum memo proposes bringing the United States into the war in Europe by provoking the Japanese to attack the United States.

1942 – World War II: The October Matanikau action on Guadalcanal begins as United States Marine Corps forces attack Imperial Japanese Army units along the Matanikau River.

1944 – World War II: During an uprising at Birkenau concentration camp, Jewish prisoners burn down the crematoria.

1955 – American poet Allen Ginsberg performs his poem Howl for the first time at the Six Gallery in San Francisco.

1958 – The U.S. manned space-flight project is renamed Project Mercury.

1963 – John F. Kennedy signs the ratification of the Partial Test Ban Treaty.

1988 – An Inupiat hunter discovers three gray whales trapped under the ice in Barrow, Alaska, US; The situation becomes a multinational effort to free the whales.

1993 – The flood of '93 ends at St. Louis, Missouri, 103 days after it began, as the Mississippi River falls below flood stage.

1996 – The Fox News Channel begins broadcasting.

1998 – Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, is found tied to a fence after being savagely beaten by two young adults in Laramie, Wyoming.

2003 – The governor of California, Gray Davis, is recalled in favor of Arnold Schwarzenegger.


1728 – Caesar Rodney, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 4th Governor of Delaware (d. 1784)

1746 – William Billings, American composer and educator (d. 1800)

1821 – Richard H. Anderson, American general (d. 1879)

1832 – Charles Crozat Converse, American lawyer and composer (d. 1918)

1849 – James Whitcomb Riley, American poet and author (d. 1916)

1888 – Henry A. Wallace, American lawyer and politician, 33rd Vice President of the United States (d. 1965)

1897 – Elijah Muhammad, American religious leader (d. 1975)

1918 – Harry V. Jaffa, American historian, philosopher, and academic (d. 2015)

1940 – Bruce Vento, American educator and politician (d. 2000)

1942 – Joy Behar, American talk show host, comedian and television personality

1951 – John Mellencamp, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor

1955 – Yo-Yo Ma, French-American cellist and educator (Silk Road Project)

1967 – Toni Braxton, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress (The Braxtons)


1772 – John Woolman, American preacher and activist (b. 1720)

1792 – George Mason, American lawyer and politician (b. 1725)

1849 – Edgar Allan Poe, American author, poet, and critic (b. 1809)

1894 – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., American physician, author, and poet (b. 1809)

1925 – Christy Mathewson, American baseball player and manager (b. 1880)

1956 – Clarence Birdseye, American businessman, founded Birds Eye (b. 1886)

1991 – Leo Durocher, American baseball player and manager (b. 1905)