1400: Geoffrey Chaucer, best known today for "The Canterbury Tales" and widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages, is believed to have died at the age of either 56 or 57. Although his tomb is engraved with the Oct. 25 date, the exact date of his death, along with the cause, remains unknown, as the tomb was engraved 100 years after his death. Upon his death, Chaucer became the first poet to be buried in Westminster Abbey.
1415: The army of Henry V of England defeats the numerically superior French army at the Battle of Agincourt in northern France. The battle is the centerpiece of William Shakespeare's play "Henry V," which introduced the famous "St. Crispin's Day Speech" with Henry urging his "band of brothers" to stand together in the forthcoming fight.
1806: Maj. Gen. Henry Knox, a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army who also served as the first U.S. secretary of war, dies at the age of 56 in Thomaston, Mass. Three days earlier he had swallowed a chicken bone, which lodged in throat and became infected. Two forts, one in Kentucky and another in Maine, and Knox Hall at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, home of the U.S. Army Field Artillery School, were named after him.
1825: Composer Johann Strauss II, who composed more than 500 waltzes, polkas, quadrilles and other types of dance music, and is best known for his waltz "The Blue Danube," is born near Vienna, Austria.
1838: Composer Georges Alexandre-Cesar-Leopold Bizet, best remembered for his opera "Carmen," is born in Paris.
1854: The English army suffers heavy losses against Russia in the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. The battle inspired Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "Charge of the Light Brigade."
1864: Automobile manufacturing pioneer John Francis Dodge is born in Niles, Mich. Dodge would go on to become the co-founder of Dodge Brothers Company, which was formed in 1900 to supply parts and assemblies for Detroit's growing auto industry and began making its own complete vehicles in 1915.
1881: Painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso, widely hailed as one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century and the creator, with Georges Braque, of Cubism, is born in Málaga, Spain.
1888: Pioneering aviator and explorer Richard Byrd, who would claim that his expeditions had been the first to reach the North Pole and the South Pole by air, is born in Winchester, Va. While there is some doubt about his North Pole claim, his South Pole claim is generally supported by a consensus of those who have examined the evidence.
1912: Comedian and country singer Minnie Pearl, who appeared at the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years and on the television show "Hee Haw," is born under the birth name Sarah Ophelia Colley in Centerville, Tenn.
1921: Bat Masterson, a figure of the American Old West known as a buffalo hunter, U.S. marshal and Army scout, gambler, frontier lawman and journalist, dies of a heart attack at age 67 in New York City.
1923: Baseball player Bobby Thomson, best known for the "Shot Heard 'Round the World," his game-winning three-run home run to give the New York Giants the National League pennant in 1951, is born in Glasgow, Scotland.
1928: Actress Marion Ross, best known for her role as Marion Cunningham on the television series "Happy Days," is born in Watertown, Minn.
1931: The George Washington Bridge spanning the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey opens to public traffic.
1940: Benjamin O. Davis Sr. is named the first black general in the United States Army.
1940: College basketball coach Bobby Knight, who won 902 NCAA Division I men's college basketball games, third all-time to Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim, is born in Massillon, Ohio. He is most well known as the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers from 1971 to 2000. He also coached at Texas Tech and at West Point.
1941: Singer Helen Reddy, often referred to as the "Queen of '70s Pop," is born in Melbourne, Australia. She enjoyed international success during her career, especially in the United States, where she placed 15 singles in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, with three of those songs reaching No. 1, including her signature hit "I Am Woman."
1944: The USS Tang under Richard O'Kane, the top American submarine captain of World War II, is sunk by the ship's own malfunctioning torpedo, which curves around and strikes the ship. A total of 74 men were killed and nine survivors, including O'Kane, were picked up the next morning by a Japanese destroyer. The nine captives would be placed in prison camps until the end of the war.
1955: The first domestic microwave oven is sold by Tappan Stove Company at a price of $1,300. The oven, a 220-volt wall-unit the size of a conventional oven, had two cooking speeds (500 or 800 watts), stainless steel exterior, glass shelf, top browning element and a recipe card drawer.
1957: Voice actress Nancy Cartwright, best known for her long-running role as Bart Simpson on the animated TV series "The Simpsons," is born in Dayton, Ohio.
1962: During the Cuban Missile Crisis, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson shows photos at the U.N. proving Soviet missiles are installed in Cuba.
1962: John Steinbeck, the author of novels such as "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Of Mice and Men," wins the Nobel Prize in Literature for his "realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humor and keen social perception."
1962: Nelson Mandela is sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of leading workers to strike in 1961 and leaving South Africa illegally. The following year Mandela and 15 other African National Congress leaders were charged with 221 acts of sabotage designed to "ferment violent revolution." All but one would be found guilty and sentenced to life in prison in June 1964.
1964: The Rolling Stones make their first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show," performing "Time is on My Side" and the Chuck Berry classic "Around & Around." The crowd went wild for the band and the show drew great ratings, but Sullivan was at first reluctant to invite the band back, upset at how worked up the crowd had become and the band's unkempt and shaggy looks. Ultimately, the band would appear on the show five more times through 1969.
1968: Led Zeppelin makes its performance debut at the University of Surrey in England.
1969: The album "Ummagumma" is released by Pink Floyd. The first disc of the double album featured a live album with part of their normal set list of the time, while the second record contained solo compositions by each member of the band recorded as their fourth studio album.
1971: Baseball pitcher Pedro Martínez, an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, and 2004 World Series champion, is born in Manoguayabo, Dominican Republic.
1973: The Yom Kippur War, a 20-day war fought between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria, ends with a ceasefire, three days after a United Nations-brokered ceasefire fell apart. The war began on Oct. 6 when Egyptian and Syrian forces crossed ceasefire lines to enter the Israeli-held Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights respectively, which had been captured and occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War.
1978: The horror movie "Halloween," starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis, in her film debut, and directed, produced and scored by John Carpenter, premieres in Kansas City, Mo. The film would prove to be the first installment in what would become the "Halloween" franchise, now totaling 10 movies featuring the masked murderer Michael Myers.
1983: In what's codenamed Operation Urgent Fury, the United States and its Caribbean allies invade Grenada, six days after Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and several of his supporters were executed in a military coup. The invasion resulted in U.S. victory and the restoration of constitutional government in the Caribbean island nation.
1984: Pop singer Katy Perry, best known for songs such as "I Kissed a Girl," "California Gurls," "Teenage Dream" and "Firework," is born under the birth name Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson in Santa Barbara, Calif.
1985: Singer Ciara is born under the birth name Ciara Princess Harris in Austin, Texas. Since making her debut in 2004, the R&B singer sold more than seven million albums worldwide and attained eight Billboard Hot 100 top-10 singles, including the No. 1 hit "Goodies" off her debut studio album of the same name.
1986: The New York Mets win Game 6 of the World Series in the 10th inning when a routine ground ball goes through Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner's legs. The Red Sox would lose Game 7 two days later as well and Buckner would soon become the scapegoat for frustrated Boston fans.
1992: Country singer-songwriter Roger Miller, an 11-time Grammy winner best known for songs such as "King of the Road" and "Dang Me," dies of lung and throat cancer at the age of 56 in Los Angeles.
1993: Actor Vincent Price, well known for his distinctive voice and his roles in horror movies such as "The Fly," "House of Usher," "The Masque of the Red Death," "Theatre of Blood" and "The Abominable Dr. Phibes," dies of lung cancer at the age of 82 in Los Angeles.
1994: Susan Smith of Union, S.C., reports to police that a black carjacker had driven off with her two sons. Nine days later, she would confess to letting her 1990 Mazda Protegé roll into a nearby lake, drowning her children inside. Smith would be convicted and sentenced to life in prison in July 1995.
1994: The Madonna album "Bedtime Stories" is released. The singer's sixth studio album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and produced four singles, including "Secret" and "Take a Bow."
1995: Tennis player Bobby Riggs, who was the world's top professional player in 1946-47 and gained more fame for his 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" tennis matches against top female players Margaret Court and Billie Jean King, dies of prostate cancer at the age of 77 in Encinitas, Calif.
1999: Professional golfer Payne Stewart and five others are killed when their Learjet crashes in South Dakota. National Transportation Safety Board investigators would later conclude that the plane suffered a loss of cabin pressure and that all on board died of hypoxia hours before it crashed. Stewart, 42, won 11 PGA Tour events, including three major championships, in his career. He's seen here after winning the 1999 U.S. Open Championship on June 20, 1999.
2001: Microsoft releases the Windows XP operating system worldwide for retail sale.
2002: Irish actor Richard Harris, perhaps best known for his role as King Arthur in the 1967 film "Camelot" (pictured) and for playing Albus Dumbledore in the first two films in the "Harry Potter" series, dies of Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of 72 in London, England. His other films included "The Sporting Life" and "The Field," both of which earned him Oscar nominations, "Gladiator," "Unforgiven" and "Cry, the Beloved Country."
2002: U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone, a Democrat from Minnesota, dies in an airplane crash in northern Minnesota along with seven others, including his wife, Sheila, and their daughter, Marcia. Wellstone's death came just 11 days before the 2002 U.S. Senate election in which he was running for a third term. The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party selected former Vice President Walter Mondale to compete with Norm Coleman in the general election, with Coleman winning election.
2003: The Cedar Fire, the second-largest fire in California history, starts south of Ramona, Calif., in central San Diego County. The fire would kill 15 people, consume 250,000 acres and destroy 2,200 homes around San Diego before being contained on Nov. 3, 2003. The Cedar Fire was one of 15 wildfires throughout Southern California in October 2003, which became known as the "Fire Siege of 2003."
2003: Florida State's Bobby Bowden passes Penn State coach Joe Paterno to become the winningest coach in major college football history with his 339th victory as the Seminoles beat Wake Forest 48-24. Bowden would finish his career in 2009 with 389 career wins, but Florida State was later forced to vacate 12 wins from the 2006 and 2007 seasons in relation to an academic scandal, dropping him to No. 2 behind Paterno with 377 wins. However, NCAA sanctions as a result of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal caused all of Paterno's wins from 1998 to 2011 to be vacated, lowering his total to 298 and leaving Bowden back on top of the list.
2009: A pair of suicide car bombings devastate the heart of Iraq's capital, Baghdad, killing 155 people and injuring at least 721 more.
2010: In Indonesia, an earthquake triggers a tsunami off western Sumatra that kills more than 460 people and destroys homes, mosques and other buildings.
2010: Mount Merapi in Central Java, Indonesia, begins over a month of eruptions. Despite more than 350,000 people being evacuated from the affected area, 353 people would be killed during the eruptions, many as a result of pyroclastic flows, fast-moving currents of superheated gas and rock.
2010: Sony takes its original cassette Walkman off the market. The portable audio cassette player, which made its debut in Japan on July 1, 1979, and came to America in June 1980, revolutionalized music listening habits by allowing people to carry music with them and listen to music through lightweight headphones. Sony sold some 200 million iterations of the cassette Walkman over the product line's 30-year career.
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Matthew Todd Miller, a 24-year-old from California, has been convicted of "acts hostile" to North Korea and sentenced to six years of hard labor. Learn more about the three Americans currently being detained in North Korea.