Today in History for Oct. 18:
On this date:
In 1534, Paul III was elected Pope. He reformed the Catholic Church and forbade the practice of selling church appointments and spiritual favours. However, he was unable to heal the rift of the Reformation.
In 1646, Rev. Isaac Jogues, 39, a Jesuit priest and founder of the Mohawk mission, was killed in Midland, Ont. He was considered a sorcerer by the Mohawks for spreading smallpox during an earlier peace mission. They killed him with a hatchet blow to the head. The Iroquois also blamed him for the drought and famine that followed his earlier visit. In 1930, Jogues and seven other martyrs of the Huron missions were canonized.
In 1685, King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes which had established the legal toleration of France’s Protestant population, the Hugenots. Thousands fled the country, greatly weakening the economy.
In 1748, France and Britain signed the “Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle,” under which Louisbourg, N.S., was returned to France in return for Madras, India.
In 1867, the United States completed the purchase of Alaska from Russia.
In 1892, the first long-distance telephone line between New York and Chicago was officially opened (it could only handle one call at a time).
In 1901, Nicholas Flood Davin, known as the voice of the Northwest in Parliament, committed suicide. He shot himself in a Winnipeg hotel room.
In 1919, Pierre Elliot Trudeau was born in Montreal. Well-educated and wealthy, he taught law in Montreal before entering Parliament as a Liberal MP in 1965. He became justice minister in 1967 and succeeded Lester B. Pearson as Liberal leader and prime minister the following year. Trudeau was Canada’s first prime minister born in the 20th century. His government’s legacy includes the 1969 Official Languages Act, and the 1982 patriation of the Constitution with the addition of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Trudeau remained in office until his 1984 retirement, except for a brief period when the Conservatives held power in 1979-80. He he died of cancer in Montreal on Sept. 28, 2000.
In 1929, the Privy Council of Britain, reversing a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, ruled that Canadian women were “persons” and could become senators. It called the exclusion of women from public office “a relic of days more barbarous than ours.” The decision led to the appointment of Cairine Wilson as the first woman member of the Upper House.
In 1931, American Thomas Edison — who patented more than 1,000 inventions, including the electric light bulb — died at age 84.
In 1940, the wartime Vichy government in France under the Nazis introduced anti-Semitic laws. The law stated that Jews were to be excluded from public service and positions of authority in industry and the media.
In 1951, Canada agreed to maintain an army and air force in Europe under NATO.
In 1957, the Montreal Herald closed after 146 years of publication.
In 1959, first pictures of the far side of the moon were shown from the Soviet satellite “Lunik III.”
In 1962, Dr. James D. Watson of the U.S. and Drs. Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins of Britain were named winners of the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for their work in determining the double-helix molecular structure of DNA.
In 1965, Abraham Okpik of Yellowknife became the first Inuk to be appointed to the Northwest Territories council.
In 1968, the first live telecast from a manned U.S. spacecraft was transmitted from Apollo 7.
In 1977, New York Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson tied Babe Ruth’s World Series record with three home runs — all first pitches in the 4th, 5th and 8th innings — in Game 6 versus Los Angeles. The host Yankees won the game 8-4 to take the series in six games.
In 1981, Andreas Papandreou, who taught economics at York University in Toronto in the early ’70s, was elected premier of Greece.
In 1989, East Germany’s hardline Communist leader Erich Honecker was forced out of office and replaced by Egon Krenz. Honecker had ruled for 18 years and steadfastly refused to allow reforms to occur in East Germany.
In 1991, the Republic of Azerbaijan formally claimed independence from the Soviet Union.
In 1991, the Soviet Union resumed full diplomatic relations with Israel — severed 24 years earlier after Israel’s military victory in the 1967 Mideast war.
In 2007, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan, ending eight years of self-imposed exile; a suicide bombing in a crowd welcoming her killed more than 140 people, but Bhutto escaped unhurt.
In 2008, the Canadian government decided to add bisphenol A to the country’s list of toxic substances, making Canada the first country to classify it as risky. Bisphenol A, the chemical building block for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, was widely used in almost all food cans sold in Canada.
In 2009, Jessica Watson, a 16-year-old Australian, steered her bright pink yacht out of Sydney Harbor to start her bid to become the youngest person to sail solo and unassisted around the world. (She succeeded, returning to Sydney Harbor in May 2010.)
In 2010, Russell Williams, former airbase commander of CFB Trenton before his arrest in February, pleaded guilty in a Belleville, Ont., court to two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Jessica Lloyd and Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, sexually assaulting and confining two others, and 82 fetish break and enters. Over the next several days, disturbing and graphic evidence was presented on how his sexual fetish of breaking into homes and photographing himself wearing stolen women’s lingerie escalated to sexual assault and murder.
In 2010, Naheed Nenshi, a 38-year-old business professor, was elected mayor of Calgary. He was believed to be the first Muslim mayor of a major Canadian city.
In 2010, nearly seven years after the RCMP raided the B.C. Legislature in their investigation of the $1-billion sale of BC Rail, the corruption trial of three former B.C. government aides ended when Dave Basi and Bobby Virk entered surprise guilty pleas to four counts linked to breach of trust and accepting rewards or benefits. Aneal Basi was accused of money laundering but charges against him were dropped.
In 2010, Quebec premier Jean Charest invoked closure to ram a new language law through the legislature. It would allow immigrant families to apply to send their kids to English public school — if they first spent three years in an expensive, unsubsidized English private school, and then met certain criteria.
In 2011, the federal government tabled its long-promised bill to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s 60-year monopoly on western wheat and barley sales. It would allow western farmers the same right to choose where to sell their grain as farmers elsewhere already have. (The bill passed a Commons vote on Nov. 28, by a 153-120 margin. The Senate gave it royal assent on Dec. 15 and it took effect on Aug. 1, 2012.)
In 2013, after four years of protracted negotiations, Canada and the European Union reached an agreement in principle on a new free-trade deal that proponents say could increase Canada’s gross domestic product by $12 billion and help create 80,000 jobs. (It came into effect on Sept. 21, 2017)
In 2017, the Quebec National Assembly passed a religious neutrality bill that will oblige citizens to uncover their faces while giving and receiving state services.
In 2017, Gilbert Rozon, a giant in the Quebec entertainment industry and founder of the Just For Laughs comedy festival, announced he was stepping down from various positions amid what he called “allegations involving him.” The next day, at least nine women came forward with sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations.
In 2018, Coalition Avenir Quebec leader Francois Legault promised to bring renewal and change to the province’s politics as he was sworn in as premier. Legault offered assurances that even though his party was handed a large majority in the Oct. 1 election, he would seek consensus for his reforms.
In 2019, Oracle C-E-O Mark Hurd died. The 62-year-old had been on medical leave, and the company did not disclose a cause of death. Hurd led two high-profile Silicon Valley companies — Oracle and computer maker Hewlett-Packard. He joined Oracle as co-president in 2010 a month after resigning from H-P after accusations of sexual harassment by a female contract worker and findings of inaccurate expense reports connected to outings with the contractor. HP’s stock price more than doubled during Hurd’s five-year stint as CEO, adding about $50 billion to the company’s market value.
(The Canadian Press)