On this day on 7th October

On this day in 1763 George III of Great Britain issues Proclamation of 1763, closing lands in North America north and west of Alleghenies to white settlement

Drawing of the Northumbrian
Drawing of the Northumbrian

On this day in 1886 Spain abolishes slavery in Cuba. By 1898 the Cubans were on the verge of defeating the Spanish when troops from the United States arrived to quell the revolt. The United States had originally tried to buy the island from Spain in 1853 for $130 million. After putting down the Cuban revolt, the United States was in a position to force Cuba to sell their sugar and tobacco to them instead of to Spain. As the Spanish had done previously, the United States forced the Cubans to sell raw materials for low prices. They also made sure that Cuba bought their manufactured goods, and by 1914 an estimated 74 per cent of all imports came from the United States. Much of Cuban industry was now owned by United States companies including the railways, telephones and tobacco plantations, as was two-thirds of all arable land. The United States also took control of Guantanamo Bay. As well as providing an important base for the US Navy, Guantanamo also had two airstrips and a Marine Garrison.

Buying a slave in Cuba (1837)
Buying a slave in Cuba (1837)

On this day in 1904 Isabella Bird died in Edinburgh. An explorer, writer, photographer and naturalist she was the author of An Englishwoman in America (1856), The Hawaiian Archipelago (1873), A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains (1879) Unbeaten Tracks in Japan (1880), The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither (1883), Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan (1891), Among the Tibetans (1894), Korea and her Neighbours (1898), Yangtze Valley and Beyond (1899), Chinese Pictures (1900) and Notes on Morocco (1901).

Isabella Bird
Isabella Bird

On this day in 1915 English nurse Edith Cavell sentenced to death along with 34 others by German court martial for running underground network to free Allied soldiers. Cavell was kept in solitary confinement for nine weeks, during which time she was tricked by the Germans into making a confession. Edith Cavell was tried by court-martial, and along with her Belgian accomplice, Philippe Baucq, was found guilty and sentenced to death. Cavell's execution by firing-squad on 12th October, 1915, received world-wide press coverage.

Edith Cavell
Edith Cavell

On this day in 1929 Ramsay MacDonald is first British Prime Minister to address US Congress.

John Lavery, Ramsay MacDonald (1931)
John Lavery, Ramsay MacDonald (1931)

On this day in 1935 Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Hess and Reinhard Heydrich inspect the concentration camp at Dachau.

Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler with his daughter, Gudrun Himmler and his Chief of Staff Karl Wolff.

On this day in 1938 Nazi Germany requires all Jewish passports or identity cards to be stamped with letter "J". The marking of their passports alienated the Jewish community and constituted an important part of the campaign of persecution. It led to Kristallnacht, a state-sponsored campaign of violence against the German Jewish population just one month later, and ended in the systematic murder of six million Jewish men, women and children.

Identification card issued to Marion Basfreund and stamped with a red J for Jude and the added middle name of "Sara."
Identification card issued to Marion Basfreund and stamped with
a red J for Jude and the added middle name of "Sara."

On this day in 1940 during the Blitz seven people were killed and thirty-three seriously injured at Trafalgar Square station when an explosion caused the concrete and steel casing over an escalator to collapse.

Bombing of Balham station (14th October, 1940)
Bombing of Balham station (14th October, 1940)

On this day in 1949 Wilhelm Pieck is elected president of the German Democratic Republic.

Wilhelm Pieck
Wilhelm Pieck

On this day in 1950 Walter Bedell Smith becomes Director General of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Walter Bedell Smith
Walter Bedell Smith

On this day in 1950 Walter Bedell Smith becomes Director General of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Lyndon B. Johnson and Bobby Baker
Bobby Baker and Lyndon B. Johnson

On this day in 1963 Bobby Baker resigns as Senate Democratic secretary. Although officially his only income was that of Secretary to the Majority in the Senate, he was clearly a very rich man. The journalist, G. R. Schreiber, asked: "How do you build a two million dollar fortune in eight years on a salary of less than $20,000? The answer is that Bobby found it easy because so many people were ready to help him."

Baker was investigated by Attorney General Robert Kennedy. He later recalled: The newspapers had a number of articles, The Washington Post particularly. I had always heard stories about Bobby Baker, about all his money and free use of money.... Our first involvement in it came, I suppose, in a conversation I had with Ben Bradlee... who had some information. I can't remember exactly what it was, but they printed it in Newsweek. He asked me if we would look into it, and I said we would look into it."

Robert Kennedy discovered Baker had links to Clint Murchison and several Mafia bosses. Evidence also emerged that Lyndon B. Johnson was also involved in political corruption. This included the award of a $7 billion contract for a fighter plane, the F-111, to General Dynamics, a company based in Texas. On 7th October, 1963, Bobby Baker was forced to resign his post. Soon afterwards, Fred Korth, the Navy Secretary, was also forced to resign because of the F-111 contract.

Despite the efforts of his lawyer, Edward Bennett Williams, in 1967 Baker was found guilty of seven counts of theft, fraud and income tax evasions. This included accepting large sums in "campaign donations" intended to buy influence with various senators, but had kept the money for himself. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison but served only sixteen months. Baker commented: "Russia wouldn’t have treated me the way this country has... But I have no great resentment. No, this is a great country. It’s done a lot for me. I like to think I have done a lot for it."