October 23rd in History

Santos-Dumont and the 14 Bis

On This Day in History

  • Mark Anthony and Octavian defeat Brutus at the Second Battle of Philippi (42 BCE)
  • The Auld Alliance of Scotland and France against England is signed (1295 CE)
  • The first National Women’s Rights Convention begins in Worcester, Massachusetts (1850 CE)
  • Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus in Washington, DC, for military-related cases (1861 CE)
  • Alberto Santos-Dumont takes off in the first heavier-than-air flight in Europe (1906 CE)
  • An Italian pilot takes off from Libya in the first use of aircraft in war (1911 CE)
  • Over 25,000 women march in New York to demand voting rights (1915 CE)
  • The first North American transcontinental air service begins between New York and Los Angeles (1929 CE)
  • World War II: The Second Battle of El Alamein, pitting Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery wins a decisive victory over Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, begins (1942 CE)
  • World War II: The Battle for Henderson Field begins on Guadalcanal (1942 CE)
  • World War II: The largest naval battle in history, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, begins (1944 CE)
  • The United States General Assembly convenes for the first time (1946 CE)
  • The Hungarian Revolution begins, only to fail 18 days later (1956 CE)
  • The Smurfs appear for the first time in Peyo’s Johan and Peewit story La flute à six schtroumpfs (1958 CE)
  • Gary Gabelich sets a land speed record in the rocket-powered automobile Blue Flame (1970 CE)
  • The Yom Kippur War ends (1973 CE)
  • Truck bombs hit the US Marine and French Army barracks in Beirut, killing 241 Americans and 58 French military personnel (1983 CE)


  • Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Roman general (64 BCE)
  • Emmanuel de Grouchy, Marquis de Grouchy, French general with a great last name (1766 CE)
  • Pierre Larousse, French lexicographer (1817 CE)
  • Adlai Stevenson I, 23rd US Vice President (1835 CE)
  • John Heisman, football player and trophy namesake (1869 CE)
  • Una O’Connor, actress (1880 CE)
  • Gummo Marx, performer and theatrical agent (1892 CE)
  • Harvey Penick, golfer (1904 CE)
  • Hayden Rorke, actor, I Dream of Jeannie psychologist (1910 CE)
  • James Daly, actor (1918 CE)
  • Bob Montana, created Archie (1920 CE)
  • Johnny Carson, talk show host (1925 CE)
  • Jim Dunning, baseball player and congressman (1931 CE)
  • Diana Dors, actress (1931 CE)
  • Chi-Chi Rodríguez, golfer (1935 CE)
  • Pelé, footballer (1940)
  • Michael Crichton, author (1942 CE)
  • 李安 (Ang Lee), director (1954 CE)
  • Dwight Yoakum, country singer-songwriter (1956 CE)
  • Nancy Grace, journalist (1959 CE)
  • Sam Raimi, director (1959)
  • “Weird Al” Yankovic, singer-songwriter and parodist (1959 CE)
  • Doug Flutie, football player (1962 CE)
  • Augusten Burroughs, author (1965 CE)
  • Al Leiter, baseball player (1965 CE)
  • Brooke Theiss, actress (1969 CE)
  • Grant Imahara, MythBuster engineer (1970 CE)
  • Ryan Reynolds, actor (1976 CE)
  • Meghan McCain, journalist (1984 CE)


  • Marcus Junius Brutus, “Et tu, Brute” assassin of Julius Caesar (42 BCE)
  • John of Capistrano, saint (1456 CE)
  • Chulalongkorn the Great, Siamese monarch (1910 CE)
  • John Dunlop, tire maker (1921 CE)
  • Zane Grey, Western author (1939 CE)
  • Al Jolson, singer (1950 CE)
  • Christian Dior, fashion designer (1957 CE)
  • Maybelle Carter, guitarist (1978 CE)
  • Jessica Savitch, journalist (1983 CE)
  • Oskar Werner, actor (1984 CE)
  • Robert Lansing, actor (1994 CE)
  • Adolph Green, lyricist, Comden partner (2002 CE)
  • Robert Merrill, baritone (2004 CE)


  • Chulalongkorn Day (Thailand)
  • Day of the Macedonian Revolutionary Struggle (Republic of Macedonia)
  • iPod Day (commemorating the day the iPod first went on sale)
  • Mole Day (commemorating Avogadro’s Number, chemists)
  • National Boston Cream Pie Day (US)
  • National Day (Hungary)
  • Swallows Depart from San Juan Capistrano Day (Mission of San Juan Capistrano, California)
  • TV Talk Show Host Day (in honor of Johnny Carson’s birthday)

Photo: Alberto Santos-Dumont flying his heavier-than-aircraft 14 Bis in the first heavier-than-air flight in Europe, October 23, 1906

October 23 is the 296th day of the year (297th in leap years). There are 69 days remaining until the end of the year.