This Week in History

On Oct. 29, 1960, heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay won his first major professional fight against Tunny Hunsaker. Four years later, he defeated world champion Sonny Liston in a major upset to claim the title in 1964. Shortly afterwards, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali. (Ira Rosenberg/Wikimedia Commons)

This week in history, we will celebrate the anniversary of several events that helped shape the world we live in. Here is a quick rundown.

On Oct. 29, 1960, heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay won his first major professional fight against Tunny Hunsaker. Four years later, he defeated world champion Sonny Liston in a major upset to claim the title in 1964. Shortly afterwards, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Ali dominated the heavyweight division until 1966 when he refused to be drafted by the United States Military. Citing his religious beliefs and stance against the Vietnam War, Ali was arrested and found guilty of draft evasion and stripped of his boxing titles.

Ali successfully had all charges overturned before the Supreme Court in 1971 and began boxing again. He regained his title as heavyweight champion against undefeated George Foreman in 1974 in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire. Ali was known for his massive personality and signature trash talking, as well as his lightning fast hands and feet. Considered by many to be the greatest boxer of all time and the most important athlete of the 20th century, Ali passed away in June, 2016.

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 and still get into Heaven at the time of their death. Leaders of the church demanded Luther recant his statements, but he refused to do so and was excommunicated. This event marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation in Germany and resulted in a complete separation of the Church into two different ideologies that still exist today.

On the same day in 1941, Mount Rushmore National Monument was completed after 14 years of work in Keystone, South Dakota. It featured the faces of four of U.S.’s most important Presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the president at the time of construction, helped fund the program using federal grants during the Great Depression in hopes of providing work for young Americans and stimulating the economy. Today, Mount Rushmore draws over two million visitors annually.

On Nov. 1, 1512, The Sistine Chapel opened for the first time to the public in Vatican City within Rome, Italy. Master Michelangelo Buonarroti 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 outstretched arms of God and Adam with their hands touching.

Michelangelo's work is often seen as a result of his rivalry with fellow Renaissance master Raphael, who was commissioned to fresco the private rooms and library of the Pope himself. Michelangelo eventually returned to Rome in 1534 and lived there for the rest of his life. He was asked to paint several more spaces in the Vatican, including “The Last Judgement”above the altar in the main church space. One of his earliest works as a sculptor, “The Pieta,” also sits in the entrance way to St. Peter’s Basilica to this day.


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