October 10, 1871 was the day that the Great Chicago Fire started; it’s also the day that world came together to sign the Outer Space Treaty in 1967.
October is the tenth month of the year, and October 10th is repetitive (10/10), giving a special element to the day. Keep reading for the most significant events surrounding October 10, including an airline explosion that hasn’t been solved to this day and the birth of a female reporter who would be the first to report on the outbreak of World War II.
1868 – Cuba Revolts for Independence Against Spain
On the early morning of October 10th, 1868, sugar mill owner Carlos Manuel de Cespedes issued his cry of revolt. This uprising is known as the “10th of October Manifesto” at La Demajahua and was the start of an all-out military rebellion against the Spanish rule in Cuba. Cespedes freed all of his slaves and asked them to join the revolution. The rebellion turned into the “Ten Years’ War” which was part of Cuba’s struggle against their Spanish invaders. This war resulted in a U.S. intervention that led Cuba to end the Spanish colonial presence. October 10 is now a national holiday in Cuba, called Gritto de Yaya, which means “Cry of Yara.”
1871 – The Great Chicago Fire
On October 10, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire finally burned out. The fire originally started on October 8, and after raging for a full day and a half, a light rain the evening of October 9 helped to extinguish the fire completely by the 10th. The fire was responsible for approximately 300 deaths and left more than 300,000 residents homeless. While the source of the fire has never been determined, it’s known the fire started in a neighborhood southwest of the city center.
1933 – United Airlines Boeing 247 Explosion
On October 10, 1933, the United Airlines Boeing 247 flight from Newark, New Jersey to Oakland, California, exploded mid-air. The airplane exploded near Chesterton, Indiana, and killed all passengers on board (three crew and four passengers). The blast was determined to be caused by an explosive device set off on the plane. Witnesses reported seeing the plane crash around 9:00 pm. The case remains unsolved to this day.
1967 – Outer Space Treaty is Ratified
The Outer Space Treaty was signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on January 27, 1967, and entered into force on October 10, 1967. The treaty forms the basis of international space law. Some of the main agreements of the treaty include the prohibition of nuclear weapons in space, limitations to the use of the Moon and all other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes only, and the establishment that no nation may claim sovereignty of outer space or any celestial body.
1970 – Fijian Independence
Fiji became an independent sovereign state on October 10, 1970. The country was granted its independence from Britain. Discussions surrounding complete independence for Fiji began in London in 1965. The British proposed the idea of introducing a new, responsible government so that they could bring the country to self-governance and, eventually, independence.
1982 – Pope John Paul II Canonizes Rev Maximilian
On October 10, 1982, Pope John Paul II canonized Rev Maximilian and made him a martyr of charity. Maximilian was heavily influenced by the Virgin Mary and became a priest as an adult. He is recognized for offering to take another man’s place in Auschwitz, where he eventually died.
2010 – The Country of Netherlands Antilles is Dissolved
The Netherland Antilles was an autonomous Carribean country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In 2009 it was agreed that the dissolution of the country would take place on October 10, 2010. After the dissolution, the “BES islands” of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba, became the Caribbean Netherlands. At the same time, the island of Curacao and Saint Maarten became constituent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
1731 – Henry Cavendish
Henry Cavendish was born on October 10, 1731, in Nice. He was an English scientist, philosopher, chemist, and physicist. He is known for the discovery of hydrogen which he called ‘flammable air’ in 1766 at the age of 35.
1830 – Isabella II, Queen of Spain
Isabella was born in Madrid on October 10, 1830. She was the eldest daughter of King Ferdinard VII of Spain. She was able to become Queen with the support of her army, at the age of 13. Shortly after, at the age of 16, she was made to marry her double-first cousin. Isabella had a total of nine children, but only five survived into adulthood. She was eventually exiled to France in 1868 after years of a tumultuous rule.
1911 – Clare Hollingworth
Born on October 10, 1911, Clare Hollingworth was a journalist and author, originally born in the United Kingdom. She is best known for being the first correspondent to report the start of World War II. In 1939, she was a reporter of The Daily Telegraph, and while traveling from Poland to Germany, she saw German forces massed on the Polish border. She was the first person to report the German invasion of Poland just three days later. Queen Elizabeth II appointed Hollingwood with a “services to journalism” award in 1982.
1954 – David Lee Roth
David Lee Roth was born in Indiana on October 10, 1954. He is best known for being the former and current lead singer of rock band Van Halen. David Lee Roth had a relatively successful solo career but rejoined Van Halen in 2006, after many decades apart. He has a vocal range of five octaves and three notes.
2004 – Christopher Reeve
Actor Christopher Reeve, who played Superman, died on October 10, 2004. After suffering from a spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic, he lobbied for people suffering from spinal cord injuries and for further stem cell research. He was just 52 years old, and although no formal autopsy was performed, his wife believes that he died of an adverse reaction to a new antibiotic medication he was taking.