This Week in History: Oct. 30 - Nov. 3

On Nov. 1, 1512, the Sistine Chapel opened for the first time to the public after Michelangelo Buonarroti finished painting the ceiling. (Briyyz/Flickr Creative Commons)

On Nov. 1, 1512, the Sistine Chapel opened for the first time to the public after Michelangelo Buonarroti finished painting the ceiling. (Briyyz/Flickr Creative Commons)

Over the coming days we will celebrate the anniversary of several important global events that greatly shaped the world we live in. Here is a quick rundown of this week in history.

On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther sent his 95 Theses to Archbishop Albert of Brandenburg enclosed with a letter detailing his concerns and problems with the teachings of the Catholic Church. According to legend he also nailed his writings to the doors of the church at the University of Wittenberg where he was a teacher of theology. His main complaints were over the sale of indulgences, where the buyer could atone for any sins they may have committed in their lifetime and still get into heaven at the time of their death. Leaders of the church demanded that Luther recant his statements, but he refused to do so and was excommunicated by the Catholic Church. This event would mark the beginning of the Protestant Reformation and resulted in a complete separation of the church into two different ideologies that still exist today.

On Nov. 1, 1512, the Sistine Chapel opened for the first time to the public after Michelangelo Buonarroti finished painting the ceiling. He was brought to Rome and commissioned to paint the chapel in 1508 by Pope Julius II. His most famous of the frescos, “The Creation of Adam,” depicts the the outstretched arms of God and Adam with their hands touching. He eventually returned to Rome in 1534 and lived there for the rest of his life. Michelangelo would be asked to paint several more spaces in the Vatican, including “The Last Judgement” above the altar in main church space.

On Nov. 2, 1962, President John F. Kennedy announced to the American public that the Russians would dismantle their missile sites in Cuba. This would mark the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis which had left the world on the edge of nuclear destruction after American forces discovered Russian missiles in Cuba and subsequently placed their own missiles in Turkey. President Kennedy declared an embargo be placed around Cuba and warned the Russians that America’s navy would open fire on any ship that attempted to break through. Russian Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev and Kennedy both worked tirelessly together to come to a peaceful resolution, and the Russians agreed to take down their missile sites if the Americans vowed not to invade Cuba. The Americans also had to promise to move their own missiles out of Turkey where they were threatening Russian territory. While this did prevent the world’s end by nuclear war, it did nothing to deter the arms race between the two superpowers to develop their missile technology and stockpile nuclear weapons.

On Nov. 3, 2014, The One World Trade Center officially opened after construction was completed in New York City. The massive project to rebuild the area and set up a memorial for the Twin Towers was finished a little more than 13 years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.


Seamus McKeever is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at seamus.mckeever@uconn.edu.