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What Happened on October 24?

  • The Black Thursday crash in the US stock market took place. (1929) The crash was followed the next week by Black Monday and Black Tuesday. This period was one of the major turning points in the stock market that ultimately led to the Great Depression in the United States. Called Black Friday in Europe due to the time difference, the crash affected most stock markets in Western nations as well. On this same day in 2008, another crash occurred — also called Black Friday — in which most of the world's stock markets experienced their largest drops in history, averaging drops of more than 10 percent.

  • The United Nations was established. (1945) Just two short months after World War II ended, the United Nations charter was ratified by 29 of the 50 countries that signed it in June that year.

  • US President Harry S. Truman officially declared the end of the war with Germany. (1951) Though the fighting of World War II had ended in 1945 — and most Americans believed the war had ended at that point — no peace treaty between the US and Germany had been signed. The treaty was largely in limbo because the fate of Berlin had not yet been decided.

  • US President Dwight D. Eisenhower publicly pledged US military support to South Vietnam. (1954) The decision ultimately led to the start of the Vietnam War a year later.

  • US President Abraham Lincoln received the first transcontinental message sent by telegraph in the US. (1861) This cutting-edge technology brought an end to the Pony Express.

  • The first person went over Niagara Falls in a barrel. (1901) A 63-year-old woman was the first to take the plunge encased in a barrel. Annie Edson Taylor, a school teacher, was not the first person to go over the falls, however — a man survived a jump down one of the falls in 1829. Annie survived her 20-minute journey in a pickle barrel with only minor bumps and bruises. Trekking over the falls is illegal in both Canada and the US.

  • The Thirty Years War came to an end, as did the Holy Roman Empire. (1648) With the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia, France was established as the superior power in the West; Spain lost control over the Netherlands, which gained its independence; and the Baltic was seized by Sweden. The state sovereignty principles that were established through the treaty led to today's nation-state systems.

  • The first photo of Earth from space was taken. (1946) The unmanned V-2 rocket, which had launched from New Mexico on this day, shot the photo using remote equipment attached to a black-and-white 35mm camera.

  • The US officially adopted the 40-hour work week. (1940) Though not totally uniform across all industries or even US states, the 40-hour week largely remains the norm.

  • The Concorde supersonic jet airplane made its final flight. (2003) The jet traveled between New York City and London, England, at twice the speed of sound. The Concorde had been in service since 1976 and finally retired due to low ticket sales and higher expense costs.

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