What happened on this day in history: English philosopher John Locke dies in 1704, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is born in 1955, and more pivotal events from October 28.
1704: John Locke Dies
John Locke dies in Essex, England, at the age of 72. An English philosopher, Locke wrote about ideas like the social contract, religious toleration, and citizens’ right to “life, liberty, and estate.” A major figure in the Enlightenment, many of Locke’s ideas were influential to America’s Founding Fathers.
Locke famously believed that the mind is a blank slate (“tabula rasa”) at birth and that all knowledge can only come from experience and perception, a concept that later became known as empiricism.
1886: The Statue Of Liberty Is Dedicated
The Statue of Liberty is dedicated by President Grover Cleveland in New York Harbor. A gift from France, the statue was designed by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, while the internal iron support structure was engineered by Gustave Eiffel, who later designed and built the Eiffel Tower in 1889.
The dismantled statue had arrived in New York Harbor about a year earlier. Cleveland oversaw the installation of the Statue of Liberty’s final rivet and declared that the statue would “magnify France beyond the seas.”
1955: Bill Gates Is Born
William Henry “Bill” Gates is born in Seattle, Washington. A software engineer, Gates co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975. By the 1990s, the company had made Gates the world’s richest man, a position he would keep off and on until 2017. Today, he is estimated to have a net worth of over $100 billion.
Gates has given billions of dollars to his philanthropic organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which seeks to fight “poverty, disease, and inequity around the world.”
1965: Gertrude Baniszewski Is Arrested For The Murder Of Sylvia Likens
Gertrude Baniszweski is arrested for the murder of 16-year-old Sylvia Likens. Likens and her sister found herself in the care of Beniszweski after her parents left to work in the carnival business. Her family paid Beniszweski $20 a week to take care of the girls, but after one month’s payment came late, Beniszweski subjected Likens and her sister to brutal torture.
After three months of torture, Likens died from a brain hemorrhage, shock, and malnutrition. Police would eventually uncover the full extent of the torture and arrest several people for their involvement. The case of Sylvia Likens is one of the most brutal in United States history, and many question whether she was ever served justice.
1991: The Andrea Gail Sends Its Last Message Before The ‘Perfect Storm’
The Andrea Gail, a commercial fishing vessel based out of Massachusetts, transmits its last known communication. “She’s comin’ on, boys,” the ship’s captain, Frank W. “Billy” Tyne Jr., said of the oncoming storm, “and she’s comin’ on strong.”
Tyne Jr. and his five-member crew subsequently perished in the “perfect storm” that bore down on them. The event was later turned into a 1997 book and a 2000 film starring George Clooney as Tyne Jr., both entitled The Perfect Storm.