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What Happened on September 29?

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced its largest one-day drop in history. (2008) In the wake of the Washington Mutual and Lehman Brothers bankruptcies and the US House of Representatives voting down a $700 billion US Dollar financial rescue plan, the Dow dropped 777.68 points.

  • The Allied Forces broke through the German's Hindenburg Line. (1918) In a decisive moment in World War I, the German's defense line was broken during part of the Allies' Hundred Days Offensive. The war ended soon after on November 11th.

  • An accident resulted in a release of radioactive material at the Mayak nuclear plant in the Soviet Union. (1957) The Soviet government kept the contamination secret for 30 years. The accident exposed about 500,000 people to levels of radiation twenty times higher than the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

  • The Metropolitan Police of London was founded. (1829) Also called "Scotland Yard" and "The Met," the police force protects the Royal family and works in counter-terrorism in addition to policing London.

  • Italy and the US sign an armistice agreement during World War II. (1943) Italy had previously been allied with the Axis powers under dictator Benito Mussolini. When Mussolini was removed from power in July, Pietro Badoglio became the Prime Minister of Italy. He signed an armistice with US President Dwight D. Eisenhower — joining the Allied Forces — while aboard the HMS Nelson battleship off the coast of Malta.

  • NASA launched the Space Shuttle Discovery — the first manned flight after the Challenger disaster. (1988) This flight of Discovery also was the first mission since Apollo 11 to be staffed solely with veteran astronauts. The Challenger disaster happened on January 28, 1986, when the seven-member crew perished as the Shuttle broke up 73 seconds after launch.

  • The first American woman reached the summit of Mount Everest. (1988) Oregon resident Stacy Allison summited the highest point on Earth — 29,035 feet (about 8,850 meters). The first person ever to reach the Mount Everest summit was New Zealand native Edmund Hillary, who climbed the mountain in 1953.

  • John D. Rockefeller became the world's first billionaire. (1916) Rockefeller was an oil magnate from New York City and a generous philanthropist — he gave a great deal of his wealth to charities. He also started his own charitable foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, in 1913.

  • The first nuclear power station in the world was intentionally exploded in a controlled demolition. (2007) Queen Elizabeth II opened the station in 1956. It provided commercial electricity for 47 years before being closed in 2003 and later demolished on this day.

  • The cornerstone of the Washington National Cathedral was laid. (1907) The construction began ceremoniously before a crowd of more than 20,000 people, including US President Theodore Roosevelt. Construction on the Cathedral, which is the 6th largest in the world, took 83 years.

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