Tuesday, October 19, 2010
1740 – Maria Theresa, age 23, ascends the throne of the Austrian Empire. Because she’s a woman, France, Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony refuse to accept her rule and launch the War of the Austrian Succession.
1803 – The United States Senate ratifies one of the biggest land deals in history, the Louisiana Purchase.
1874 – Charles Edward Ives is born at Danbury, Connecticut. He will become a well-known insurance executive and with the rise of the inheritance tax will be one of the founders of "estate planning." In his spare time he’ll write music which will become extremely famous long after he’s dead.
1910 – The Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast lays down the hull of the White Star Line’s RMS Olympic, sister ship to the RMS Titanic. It will be the only one of the three sister ships that doesn’t sink.
1973 – President Richard Nixon fires U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus after they refuse to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Hey, remember the days when a "special prosecutor" was a good thing?
1977 – Three members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd are killed when their chartered plane runs out of gas near Gillsburg, Mississippi. The cover of the band’s latest recording, which shows members engulfed in flames, is immediately pulled from the market in a rare show of good taste by the recording industry.