26 October 2002

Approximately 50 Chechen terrorists and 150 hostages die when Russian special forces troops storm a theater building in Moscow, which had been occupied by the terrorists during a musical performance three days before.

26 October 1520

Charles V is crowned as the Holy Roman Emperor.

 

Charles V 24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558 was ruler of both the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and the Spanish Empire from 1516, as well as of the lands of the former Duchy of Burgundy from 1506. He stepped down from these and other positions by a series of abdications between 1554 and 1556. Through inheritance, he brought together under his rule extensive territories in western, central, and southern Europe, and the Spanish viceroyalties in the Americas and Asia. As a result, his domains spanned nearly 4 million square kilometres, and were the first to be described as “the empire on which the sun never sets”.

Charles was the heir of three of Europe’s leading dynasties: Valois of Burgundy, Habsburg of Austria, and Trastámara of Spain. As heir of the House of Burgundy, he inherited areas in the Netherlands and around the eastern border of France. As a Habsburg, he inherited Austria and other lands in central Europe, and was also elected to succeed his grandfather, Maximilian I, as Holy Roman Emperor. As a grandson of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, from the Spanish House of Trastámara he inherited the Crown of Castile, which was developing a nascent empire in the Americas and Asia, and the Crown of Aragon, which included a Mediterranean empire extending to southern Italy. Charles was the first king to rule Castile and Aragon simultaneously in his own right, and as a result he is often referred to as the first king of Spain.The personal union under Charles of the Holy Roman Empire with the Spanish Empire was the closest Europe has come to a universal monarchy since the time of Charlemagne in the 9th century.

Because of widespread fears that his vast inheritance would lead to the realization of a universal monarchy and that he was trying to create a European hegemony, Charles was the object of hostility from many enemies. His reign was dominated by war, particularly by three major simultaneous prolonged conflicts: the Italian Wars with France, the struggle to halt the Turkish advance into Europe, and the conflict with the German princes resulting from the Protestant Reformation. The French wars, mainly fought in Italy, lasted for most of his reign. Enormously expensive, they led to the development of the first modern professional army in Europe, the Tercios.

26 October 1921

The Chicago Theatre opens.

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The Chicago Theatre, originally known as the Balaban and Katz Chicago Theatre, is a landmark theater located on North State Street in the Loop area of Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. Built in 1921, the Chicago Theatre was the flagship for the Balaban and Katz (B&K) group of theaters run by A. J. Balaban, his brother Barney Balaban and partner Sam Katz. Along with the other B&K theaters, from 1925 to 1945 the Chicago Theatre was a dominant movie theater enterprise. Currently, Madison Square Garden, Inc. owns and operates the Chicago Theatre as a performing arts venue for stage plays, magic shows, comedy, speeches, and popular music concerts.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places June 6, 1979, and was listed as a Chicago Landmark January 28, 1983. The distinctive Chicago Theatre marquee, “an unofficial emblem of the city”, appears frequently in film, television, artwork, and photography.

When it opened October 26, 1921, the 3,880 seat theater was promoted as the “Wonder Theatre of the World”. Capacity crowds packed the theater during its opening week for the First National Pictures feature The Sign on the Door starring Norma Talmadge. Other attractions included a 50-piece orchestra, famed organist Jesse Crawford at the 26-rank Wurlitzer theatre organ.

26 October 1861

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The Pony Express stop its operations.

The Pony Express was a mail service delivering messages, newspapers, mail, and small packages from St. Joseph, Missouri, across the Great Plains, over the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada to Sacramento, California, by horseback, using a series of relay stations.

In 1860, mail contractor Ben Holladay joined forces with the Russell, Majors, and Waddell freight company to create a mail-carrying operation that would be faster and more efficient than the stagecoaches. Holladay then put a call out for small, brave young men that could ride a horse well. He bought 500 of the fastest horses he could find and hired 80 daring riders.

The rides were dangerous, but the pay was good – $25 a week, or the equivalent of over $4,600 in wages today. These were the Pony Express riders. The men, usually younger than 18 years old, were expected to cover 75 miles a day in spite of inclement weather and Indian attacks. Picking up a rested horse at each stop, they rode non-stop, day and night, rain or shine.

This adventurous service came to an end just 18 months after that first ride. On October 24, 1861, the Western Union Telegraph Company completed the first transcontinental telegraph line in Salt Lake City. This accomplishment ushered in a new age of communications in the U.S. It also marked the end of the Pony Express two days later, on October 26.