On Oct. 4, 1957, the Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit. The family comedy series "Leave It to Beaver" premiered on CBS.
On this date:
In 1777, Gen. George Washington's troops launched an assault on the British at Germantown, Pa., resulting in heavy American casualties.
In 1822, the 19th president of the United States, Rutherford Hayes, was born in Delaware, Ohio.
In 1861, during the Civil War, the United States Navy authorized construction of the first ironclad ship, the USS Monitor.
In 1887, the International Herald Tribune had its beginnings as the Paris Herald, a European edition of the New York Herald.
In 1931, the comic strip "Dick Tracy," created by Chester Gould, made its debut.
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 1960, an Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L-188A Electra crashed on takeoff from Boston's Logan International Airport, killing all but 10 of the 72 people on board.
In 1970, rock singer Janis Joplin, 27, was found dead in her Hollywood hotel room.
In 1976, agriculture secretary Earl Butz resigned in the wake of a controversy over a joke he'd made about blacks.
In 1980, fire broke out aboard the Dutch cruise vessel Prinsendam in the Gulf of Alaska, forcing the 520 people aboard to abandon ship; no deaths or serious injury resulted. (The ship capsized and sank a week later.)
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.
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