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Bolsheviks seize power in Russian Revolution

Vladimir Lenin seizes power from the Tsarist regime in a coup d'etat. Widespread starvation and catastrophic military failure in the First World War left Russia ripe for revolt. Tsar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate on 15th March 1917, and an ineffectual provincial government was established in his place. Contemptuous of what the revolution had accomplished thus far, Lenin returned from exile in Switzerland to spark his Bolshevik revolutionaries culminating in the coup of 7th November He led the Soviet Union until his death in 1924 and was succeeded by Joseph Stalin.

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French novelist Albert Camus is born

On this day, Albert Camus, future Nobel Prize winner, is born in Algiers to a working-class family. Camus was a good student and a dedicated athlete who won a scholarship to a prestigious French high school in Algiers. His sporting endeavors were ended at age 17 by an attack of tuberculosis. Instead of pursuing an athletic career, he took a degree at the University of Algiers. He intended to be... Read more >

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Soviet master spy is hanged by the Japanese

On this day in 1944, Richard Sorge, a half-Russian, half-German Soviet spy, who had used the cover of a German journalist to report on Germany and Japan for the Soviet Union, is hanged by his Japanese captors. Sorge fought in World War I in the German army, and then earned his doctorate in political science at the University of Hamburg. He joined Germany's Communist Party in 1919, traveling to ... Read more >

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Canada's transcontinental railway completed

At a remote spot called Craigellachie in the mountains of British Columbia, the last spike is driven into Canada's first transcontinental railway. In 1880, the Canadian government contracted the Canadian Pacific Railroad to construct the first all-Canadian line to the West Coast. During the next five years, the company laid 4,600 kilometers of single track, uniting various smaller lines across ... Read more >