This Week In History: 10/19 – 10/25

Sunday, October 19th: Pomp and Circumstance Premiers

On October 19th, 1901, the first movement of the Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches premiered in Liverpool. Composed by Sir Edward Elgar, this first movement, commonly known as “Pomp and Circumstance” has become the stereotypical music for high school and collegiate commencements. The first college commencement it was played for was Yale University’s graduating class of 1905.

Monday, October 20th: US Senate Ratifies the Louisiana Purchase

The US Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase on October 20th, 1803. The purchase entailed the US purchasing 828,000 square miles of land from France for, in today’s money, $236 million-one of the greatest bargains in history. Getting the senate to approve the purchase was huge because President Thomas Jefferson had initiated the whole plan without congressional oversight, which led to great political debates; the senate’s ratification removed any question about the validity of the purchase.

Tuesday, October 21st: Guggenheim Museum Opens in New York City

On October 21st, 1959 the Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright opened its doors to large crowds for the very first time. The museum exhibits Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art. The building is a work of art in itself, although it received marked criticism from the beginning. In 2013, nearly 1.2 million people visited the museum, marking its importance both as a building and as an art museum.

Wednesday, October 22nd: Princeton University Receives a Royal Charter

On October 22nd, 1740, Princeton received its charter to conduct classes and grant degrees, making it the fourth oldest collegiate institution in the United States although there is some debate between Princeton and UPenn. Originally called the College of New Jersey, when the university moved to the town of Princeton, it adopted the name of the town as its own.

Thursday, October 23rd: Battle of Leyte Gulf

From the 23rd to the 26th of October 1944 the largest naval battle of World War II, and possibly the largest naval battle in history occurred. The battle occurred after the United States’ invasion of the islands of Leyte. In response, the Imperial Japanese navy mobilized nearly all of its remaining naval vessels, including 9 battleships and 14 heavy cruisers, to repel the invasion. The Japanese were repelled by the US and Australian Navy, who inflicted over 12,500 deaths and sank 3 battleships. After this battle, the Japanese fleets never appeared in such strength again.

Friday, October 24th: “Black Thursday” Stock Market Crash

On October 24th, 1929, also known as Black Thursday, the US stock market lost 11% at the opening bell of trading. Traders were able to stop the slide temporarily, but the market sank again on Monday, slipping 13% and another 12% on Tuesday. Thus began the Wall Street Crash of 1929, signaling the beginning of the Great Depression.

Saturday, October 25th: Birth of Pablo Picasso

On October 25th, 1881 Pablo Ruiz y Picasso was born. One of the all-time great painters, sculptors, ceramists, among other artistic endeavors, he is credited with cofounding the Cubism movement and co-inventing the collage. He created many amazing works of art, including the Guernica, depicting the bombing of the city of Guernica Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Picasso died on April 8th, 1973 while he and his wife Jacqueline were entertaining friends for dinner.