This Day in History… October 12, 1492

U.S. #118 – Picturing Columbus’ landing, this image is based on John Vanderlyn’s painting that hangs in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol. View and read about the original painting here.

Christopher Columbus Makes Landfall

After more than two months at sea, Christopher Columbus reached what he believed was East Asia on October 12, 1492.

Born in 1451 and having spent much of his adult life at sea, Christopher Columbus was determined to find a western water route to China, India, and Asia’s gold and spice islands. After the King of Portugal refused to fund his “Enterprise to the Indies,” Columbus met with the king and queen of Spain. They refused him at least two times before they finally agreed to fund this trip.

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This Day in History… October 11, 1884

U.S. #2105 – Eleanor was initially depressed by the prospect of becoming First Lady, as the role largely revolved around hosting guests. She resolved to do much more.

Birth of Eleanor Roosevelt

On October 11, 1884, America’s longest-serving First Lady was born.

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt chose at an early age to be addressed by her middle name. Though born into a very wealthy family, she lost both her parents when she was young. Eleanor was popular, a good student, fluent in French, and taught dance and calisthenics. Eleanor married Franklin Roosevelt on March 17, 1905, with her uncle, President Theodore Roosevelt, giving her away.

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This Day in History… October 10, 1845

U.S. #794 – Did you know Jimmy Carter is the only Naval Academy graduate to ever be elected President?

U.S. Naval Academy Opened

Decades after America’s first ships took to the oceans to defend its interests, the U.S. Naval Academy was opened on October 10, 1845.

The Continental Navy was founded during the American Revolutionary War to battle the Royal Navy at sea. And in 1783, Revolutionary naval hero John Paul Jones first proposed that America establish a school to train midshipmen. But after the war ended, the navy was demobilized to save money.

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This Day in History… October 9, 1940

Item #M9067 – In addition to being a musical pioneer, Lennon was an avid artist and writer. This stamp pictures his famous self portrait.

Birth of Music Legend John Lennon

On October 9, 1940, one of the world’s most celebrated songwriters and performers was born – John Lennon.

Lennon was born in Liverpool, England during a German bombing raid in World War II. John had a tough childhood, and his mother was killed in a car accident when he was 17. Lennon founded a band called “The Quarrymen” that same year. Paul McCartney and George Harrison soon joined.

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This Day in History… October 8, 1918

U.S. #3395 – Alvin York was one America’s most decorated soldiers of the war, earning the Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Cross, among others.

Alvin York’s WWI Heroics

On October 8, 1918, Alvin York became an American hero after single-handedly defeating a German machine gun battalion.

York was an expert marksman from his time spent hunting food for his family. In 1911, he declared himself a pacifist and would later return his draft papers when the U.S. entered World War I. After receiving a second draft notice, he reported for duty and was convinced by his commander that the Bible supported the service.

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This Day in History… October 7, 1765

British proof of American tax stamp. It includes the phrase, Honi soit qui mal y pense, meaning “May he be shamed who thinks badly of it” a British motto.

British proof of American tax stamp – It includes the phrase, Honi soit qui mal y pense, which is a British motto meaning “May he be shamed who thinks badly of it.”

Stamp Act Congress Meets to Protest Unfair Taxation

In response to Parliament’s Stamp Act of 1765, American colonists assembled in New York City on October 7 to organize a unified protest.

Since the end of the French and Indian War, the British Parliament had been looking for new ways to increase its revenues from overseas colonies. Among the steps they took was the passage of the Stamp Act of 1765, which placed direct taxation on the colonies for the first time. Under this act, all types of printed material required a stamp showing that a tax had been paid. Items requiring these stamps included newspapers, books, court documents, land deeds, almanacs, and playing cards.

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