1. The District of Columbia was established on October 24, 1800, as the new capital of the United States. The city was carved out of land donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia, and it was named after Christopher Columbus.
2. On October 24, 1930, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History opened its doors for the first time. The museum is home to over 145 million specimens and artifacts, including the Hope Diamond and the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.
3. The Washington Monument, one of the most iconic landmarks in the District of Columbia, was completed on October 24, 1884. It stands 555 feet tall and is made of approximately 36,000 blocks of marble and granite.
4. On October 24, 1962, President John F. Kennedy addressed the nation during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He announced that Soviet missiles had been discovered in Cuba and demanded their removal, putting the two superpowers on the brink of nuclear war.
5. The District of Columbia celebrates Emancipation Day on April 16 each year, but the actual day when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation was October 24, 1862. The proclamation declared that all enslaved people in the Confederate states "shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."
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