08 October, 1871 -Great Chicago Fire began in Patrick

On this day in 1871, the Great Chicago Fire began in the barn of Patrick and Catherine O'Leary, and, by the time the blaze died out two days later, a large swath of the city had been devastated and some 300 people killed.

09 October, 2004 - First Afghan presidential elections

On this day in 2004, for the first time in Afghanistan's history, voters went to the polls to choose a president, selecting Hamid Karzai, who had served as the interim president after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.

10 October, 1845 - Founding of the U.S. Naval Academy

To improve the then-unsatisfactory methods of instructing midshipmen, George Bancroft—historian, educator, and secretary of the navy—founded the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on this day in 1845.

11 October, 1959 - Opening of the Second Vatican Council

The Second Vatican Council, announced by Pope John XXIII in 1959, opened this day in 1962, lasted for three years, and remains a symbol (controversial to some) of the church's readiness to adapt to modern life.

12 October, 1492 - New World sighted

The New World was “discovered” this day in 1492 when land (most likely San Salvador) was sighted in the Caribbean from the Pinta, one of the three ships that participated in Christopher Columbus's historic voyage.

13 October, 1792 - Cornerstone laid for the White House

The cornerstone for the White House, the official office and home of every U.S. president and first lady since 1800 (when John and Abigail Adams moved in near the end of his term), was laid this day in 1792.

14 October, 1066 - Battle of Hastings

At the Battle of Hastings, fought this day in 1066, King Harold II of England was defeated by the invading army of William, duke of Normandy, in the Norman Conquest, establishing Normans as rulers of England.