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Monday, October 10, 2005

Today in History: October 10

732: Franks under Charles Martel defeat a larger invading Moorish force at the Battle of Tours.  Though it will take two generations to finally drive them across the Pyrenees, this marks the end of Muslim expansion into Western Europe.

Voc_logo 1659: Abel Janszoon Tasman, the Dutch East India Co. captain who was the first European to see Van Dieman’s Land (Tasmania) and New Zealand, and who did much to map New Holland (Australia) dies in comfort back in the Netherlands.  (Left, the Company logo; Wikipedia Commons.)

1872: New York lawyer William Seward, who as U.S. Secretary of State negotiated the controversial purchase of Alaska from Russia, dies at his home at Auburn, New York.

1924: The man usually regarded as the worst motion-picture director of all time, Ed (Plan 9 from Outer Space) Wood is born at Poughkeepsie, New York.

1971: The reassembled London Bridge opens at Lake Havasu City, Arizona, as the anchor of a mock-Tudor shopping mall that has become the state’s second-biggest tourist attraction.

1979: Japan’s Namco releases a new video game called Puck-Man.  It won’t become a success until it’s licensed by Midway Games for the U.S. market and the name is changed to Pac-Man, to avoid the chance that U.S. teenagers would vandalize the "P" in "Puck."

1985: Ed Wood’s idol, Orson Welles, dies at Hollywood, California, days after performing as the planet-eating Unicron in Transformers: The Movie.

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