This day in history is one of tragedy and hope. In Pakistan, a girl was shot by a gunman for wanting an education, while in Afghanistan, democracy took a brave leap forward. The Hoover Dam became one of America’s biggest feats of engineering, and a new video-sharing service called YouTube blazed digital trails.
Here’s what happened on this action-packed day:
1888: Public Opening of the Washington Monument
Built as a tribute to George Washington for his role in the American Revolution, the Washington Monument is one of America’s most recognized landmarks. Construction on the 555-foot tall obelisk began in 1848, and it opened to the public on October 9, 1888. Today, more than 800,000 people visit the Washington Monument annually.
1936: Hoover Dam Begins Creating Power
The proverbial switch was flipped on one of the 20th century’s biggest infrastructure projects on October 9, 1936, as the Hoover Dam began generating hydroelectricity. Built during the Great Depression, the dam required a crew of 21,000 men and took almost five years to build. It was the largest concrete structure ever built at the time, and presented many challenges. During construction, 112 workers lost their lives. Hoover Dam creates 4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year for Arizona, Nevada and California.
2004: Afghanistan Holds First Presidential Elections
Afghanistan took a giant leap towards democracy as Hamid Karzai became the country’s first elected head of state. More than 10 million Afghans registered to vote on October 9, 2004, but the Taliban threatened attacks if they did not boycott the election. Tens of thousands of police, army and coalition troops patrolled the country to prevent possible violence. About 70% of registered voters cast ballots and Karzai was elected with 55.4% of the votes.
2006: Google Purchases YouTube
The first video ever uploaded to YouTube was called Me at the Zoo. What began as a video-sharing service between friends in April 2005 became the world’s fastest growing website less than a year later. The innovative start-up was barely 18 months old when Google purchased it for $1.65 billion on October 9, 2006. YouTube is now the second most visited site after Google.
2012: Assassination Attempt on Malala Yousafzai
Fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan on October 9, 2012. The teenager had been speaking out against an edict forbidding girls from receiving an education. She was shot while riding a bus home from school. After a lengthy recovery, Malala resumed her activism, fighting issues such as poverty, child marriage and gender discrimination. She now lives in the U.K. and is the world’s youngest Nobel Laureate.
1757: Charles X of France
Charles-Philippe of France was born in the Palace of Versailles during the reign of his grandfather. He became King of France in 1824. Extremely unpopular, he was later forced to abdicate the throne and live in exile.
1940: John Lennon
The legendary singer/songwriter made history as part of the Beatles and then as a solo musician. Nearly 50 years after its release, his song, Imagine, continues to have a lasting impact.
1969: Steve McQueen
Born in London, the famous director of 12 Years a Slave was the first black filmmaker to win an Academy Award for Best Picture (2013). TIME Magazine named him one of the Most Influential People in the World in 2014.
1967: Che Guevara
The Argentine-Cuban revolutionary believed in using guerrilla warfare in developing countries to establish socialist governments. After playing a major role in the Cuban Revolution, he went on to lead a guerrilla group in Bolivia. He was later captured by the Bolivian army and executed.