October 8th has been notorious for groundbreaking discovery, death, democracy, and rebellion. Read on to uncover the gory details of Che Guevara’s capture and gruesome death, how the raucous, trouble-making Sex Pistols were signed and dropped by record label EMI, and how pacemakers changed the world – all on the same day!
Notable Events That Have Occurred on October 8th
1769: James Cook discovers New Zealand
James Cook hailed from Yorkshire, England and entered the Royal Navy as a seaman in 1955. By 1768 he reached the position of lieutenant and took charge of the 368-ton ship, HMS Endeavour. That year, Cook was sent on a secret mission to study the phenomena of Venus eclipsing the sun. He was also commanded to search for an expansive, elusive landmass (now Australia) that explorers had spoken of but the existence of which had never been proved.
In April 1769, a crew of 94 men anchored in Tahiti to observe the passage of Venus. A Tahitian chief called Tupaia was interested in exploring with the group. He and his son joined the crew and the tribesman helped Cook and his men to navigate the local waters and communicate with the indigenous people. On October 8th they landed on the shore of what is now known as Poverty Bay, New Zealand.
1958: World’s First Pacemaker is Invented
While temporary cardiac pacing had been experimented with and showed great results for patients in the United States, the world’s first definitive pacemaker was not implanted until the 8th of October 1958 by Rune Elmqvist and Åke Senning. The initial piece of equipment only lasted for three hours but was replaced the next morning. While another 22 further operations were required, the patient who received the treatment lived until 2001.
1967: Che Guevara is Captured in Bolivia
Che Guevara was an Argentinian physician and Marxist who was instrumental in the communist revolution that saw FIdel Castro elected to power in Cuba. His aim was to spread the revolution across all of Latin America and Africa. While on a mission to start an uprising in Bolivia on October 8th in 1967, Guevara was captured by American trained soldiers in a schoolhouse. He had successfully lived in secrecy for over two years and was one of the world’s most wanted men at the time.
A Cuban American spy posing as a Bolivian military officer found Guevara with his hands and feet bound and covered in dirt. The U.S. government called for him to be brought to them alive to face trial and interrogation. The Bolivian government, however, believed a trial would give him and his beliefs a platform and he was executed at the age of 39.
1971: John Lennon Releases His Classic Track, Imagine
John Lennon formed half of the most prolific and successful songwriting duos the world has ever seen. As a member of the Beatles, Lennon helped to shape pop music as we know it today and the band brought on the age of fan worship and superstardom. No other band or artist has reached the dizzying sales figures for albums nor topped their 20 number one singles.
Relations between Lennon and the rest of the band soured after the recording of Let it Be (1970) and he left to pursue political activism and a solo career. After four albums recorded with his wife and collaborator, Yoko Ono, he released Imagine in 1971. George Harrison and Klaus Voorman played on the album and it is widely regarded as his finest piece of work. It reached number one in North American and the United Kingdom that year.
1976: The Sex Pistols Sign for EMI
In September of 1976, The Sex Pistols played a now-infamous gig at the Nag’s Head in High Wycombe, England. The punk scene in the United Kingdom was on the brink of an explosion in popularity and EMI saw the band as the next big thing. This was somewhat surprising due to the punk ethos of the band, but on October 8th they were signed on a two-year contract for $50,000.
2004: Wangari Maathai is the First African Woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize
Wangari Maathai was born in Kenya in 1940 and sadly died in 2011. She was a pioneer for female empowerment in Africa and was the first woman from East and Central Africa to obtain a doctorate (biology). She was also the first female professor in Kenya and played a key role in the fight for democracy. In the late 1970s, she started a grass-roots movement to counteract the effects of deforestation and saw tree-planting as a method of mobilizing and empowering women.
Celebrity Birthdays on October 8th
1943: R. L. Stine
Robert Lawrence Stine is the bestselling author of the chilling Goosebumps and Fear Street series of novels for young people.
1948: Johnny Ramone
Born John Cummings, he bought his first guitar with the wages from his construction job in 1974. He and the other two members of The Ramones changed their surnames an embarked upon a mission to bring a fresh, punk sound to the airwaves.
1985: Bruno Mars
The kooky pop sensation has won multiple Grammy and MTV awards throughout his career and is a success across the whole world. He began performing age four as an Elvis Presley impersonator with his parent’s band. He is renowned for his funky songs and jokey persona, characterized by a hilarious social media presence.
Famous Deaths on October 8th
1869: Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pierce was the 14th president of the United States and was in power for one term. He died of liver cirrhosis.
1967: Clement Attlee
Clement Attlee was leader of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom from 1935-1955, he was the prime minister for six years and oversaw the foundation of the National Health Service.