This Day in History – October 4th

October 4th
the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite

Today is Thursday, Oct. 4, the 277th day of 2018. There are 88 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On October 4th, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit. The184-lb metal sphere streaked through Earth’s low orbit at 18,000-mph sending shockwaves through the geopolitical landscape, as the USSR’s launch of its ‘Sputnik’ satellite made the Soviet Union the first nation to send a manmade object into orbit, beating the US by three months.

On this date:

In 1535, the first English Bible was printed under threats of heresy. Working amid the sociopolitical chaos of the 16th-century English Reformation, Myles Coverdale helped translate and print the world’s first bible written in English. This was utter heresy to some, and Coverdale did most of his work from the relative safety of Antwerp, Belgium.

In 1777, Gen. George Washington’s troops launched an assault on the British at Germantown, Pennsylvania, resulting in heavy American casualties.

In 1883, the first passengers departed from Paris on an eastbound luxury train the Orient Express, with stops in Munich, Vienna, and Budapest before reaching the Danube, where connections took them to the cusp of Eurasia, Constantinople. The route varied over the years, but it became associated with foreign intrigue and exotic destinations.

In 1927, Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers began the monumental task of carving four 60-foot presidential heads out of the granite of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The job took more than a decade, and the finished sculpture attracts millions of yearly visitors.

In 1940, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini conferred at Brenner Pass in the Alps.

In 1959, the Soviet Union launched Luna 3, a space probe which transmitted images of the far side of the moon.

In 1990, for the first time in nearly six decades, German lawmakers met in the Reichstag for the first meeting of reunified Germany’s parliament.

In 1991, 26 nations, including the United States, signed the Madrid Protocol, which imposed a 50-year ban on oil exploration and mining in Antarctica.

In 1992, singer Sinead O’Connor ripped up a picture of the pope during an after-midnight appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” NBC’s switchboard in New York was flooded with calls, most of them criticizing O’Connor’s actions.

In 2002, “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh received a 20-year sentence after a sobbing plea for forgiveness before a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia. In a federal court in Boston, a laughing Richard Reid pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives in his shoes (the British citizen was later sentenced to life in prison).

Thought for Today: “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” — Seneca the Younger, Roman statesman and philosopher (3 B.C.-A.D 65).