Almanac – October 15

1764 – Edward Gibbon observed a group of friars singing in the ruined Temple of Jupiter in Rome, which inspired him to begin work on The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

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1844 – Friedrich Nietzsche born.  German philosopher, poet, composer, cultural critic, and classical philologist. He appears in the following video – can you spot him ?

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1881 – P. G. Wodehouse born. English humorist, whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics, and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years and his many writings continue to be widely read.

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1888 – The “From Hell” letter sent to investigators of the Jack the Ripper murders. Postmarked on 15 October 1888, the letter was received by George Lusk, then head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, the following day.Though hundreds of letters claiming to be from the killer were posted at the time of the Ripper murders, many researchers argue that the “From Hell” letter is one of a handful of possibly authentic writings received from the murderer.

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1917 – Mata Hari died. Margaretha Geertruida “Margreet” Zelle, better known by the stage name Mata Hari, was a Dutch exotic dancer, courtesan, and accused spy who was executed by firing squad in France under charges of espionage for Germany during World War I. It’s quite possible that she was used as a scapegoat by the French military authority to obscure the failing of the French military operations at the front.

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1938 – Fela Kuti born. Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick.

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1965 – The Catholic Worker Movement staged an anti-Vietnam War rally in Manhattan including a public burning of a draft card; the first such act to result in arrest under a new amendment to the Selective Service Act.

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1966 – Black Panther Party was created by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.

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