History – November
November 1st – All Hallows Day, also known as All Saints Day among Roman Catholics, commemorating those who have no special feast day.
November 1, 1700 – Charles II of Spain died and was succeeded by Philip V, resulting in the War of Spanish Succession.
November 1, 1776 – Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded in California. Each year, the swallows of Capistrano leave their nests there around St. John’s Day (October 23rd) and return the following year near St. Joseph’s Day (March 19th).
November 1, 1848 – The first medical school for women opened in Boston. The Boston Female Medical School was founded by Samuel Gregory with just twelve students. In 1874, the school merged with the Boston University School of Medicine, becoming one of the first co-ed medical schools.
November 1, 1936 – The Rome-Berlin Axis was proclaimed by Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini following a visit to Berlin by Italian Foreign Secretary Ciano.
November 1, 1950 – President Harry S. Truman was the target of an unsuccessful assassination attempt by two members of a Puerto Rican nationalist movement.
November 1, 1963 – South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu were killed in a military coup.
November 1, 1993 – The European Union came into existence as a result of the Maastricht Treaty.
November 1, 1995 – The first all-race local government elections took place in South Africa, marking the end of the apartheid system.
1721 – Peter I was proclaimed Emperor of all the Russia.
1930 – Haile Selassie was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia.
1947 – The first and only flight of Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” flying boat occurred in Long Beach Harbor, California. It flew about a mile at an altitude of 70 feet. Costing $25 million, the 200-ton plywood eight-engine Hercules was the world’s largest airplane, designed, built and flown by Hughes. It later became a tourist attraction alongside the Queen Mary ship at Long Beach and has since been moved to Oregon.
1962 – During the Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy announced on TV, “the Soviet bases in Cuba are being dismantled, their missiles and related equipment being crated, and the fixed installations at these sites are being destroyed.”
Birthday – American frontiersman Daniel Boone (1734-1820) was born in Berks County, near Reading, Pennsylvania.
Birthday – James K. Polk (1795-1849) the 11th U.S. President was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He served from March 4, 1845 to March 3, 1849. He declined to be a candidate for a second term, saying he was “exceedingly relieved” at the completion of his presidency.
1534 – King Henry VIII became Supreme Head of the Church of England following the passage of the Act of Supremacy by Parliament.
1839 – The first Opium War between China and Britain began after British frigates blew up several Chinese junks.
1903 – Panama declared itself independent of Colombia following a revolt engineered by the U.S.
1918 – Part of the German fleet mutinied at Kiel in the closing days of World War I.
1948 – Dewey Defeats Truman banner headline appeared on the front page of the Chicago Tribune newspaper. Harry Truman actually defeated Republican candidate Thomas E. Dewey for the presidency.
1957 – Soviet Russia launched the world’s first inhabited space capsule, Sputnik II, which carried a dog named Laika.
1983 – White South Africans voted to allow Indians and “Coloreds” (persons of mixed race) limited power in the government, but continued to exclude blacks.
1922 – King Tut’s tomb was discovered at Luxor, Egypt, by British archaeologist Howard Carter after several years of searching. The child-King Tutankhamen became pharaoh at age nine and died around 1352 B.C. at age 19. The tomb was found mostly intact, containing numerous priceless items now exhibited in Egypt’s National Museum in Cairo.
November 4, 1842 – Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd in Springfield, Illinois.
1862 – Richard Gatling patented his first rapid-fire machine-gun which used revolving barrels rotating around a central mechanism to load, fire, and extract the cartridges.
1890 – The first electrified underground railway system was officially opened in London.
1942 – During World War II, British troops led by Bernard Montgomery defeated the Germans under Erwin Rommel at El Alamein after a twelve-day battle.
1956 – Soviet Russian troops moved in to crush an uprising in Hungary.
1979 – About 500 young Iranian militants stormed the U.S. Embassy in Teheran, Iran, and took 90 hostages, including 52 Americans that they held captive for 444 days.
1995 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated as he left a peace rally in Tel Aviv.
Birthday – American humorist Will Rogers (1879-1935) was born in Oologah, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). “All I know is what I read in the newspapers,” he once joked. He was killed in an airplane crash with aviator Wiley Post near Point Barrow, Alaska.
Birthday – Famed TV journalist Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) was born in St. Joseph, Missouri. He was a leading correspondent for United Press International during World War II. From 1962 to 1981, he was the anchorman of the CBS Evening News and was widely regarded as America’s most trusted journalist.
5th – Remembered as Guy Fawkes Day in Britain, for the anniversary of the failed “Gunpowder Plot” to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I in 1605.
1733 – The first issue of the New York Weekly Journal was published by John Peter Zenger, a colonial American printer and journalist. A year later, he was arrested on charges of libeling New York’s royal governor.
1911 – Aviator C.P. Snow completed the first transcontinental flight across America, landing at Pasadena, California. He had taken off from Sheepshead Bay, New York, on September 17th and flew a distance of 3,417 miles.
1429 – Henry VI was crowned King of England at age eight. He had acceded to the throne at the age of nine months following the death of Charles VI.
1860 – Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th U.S. President and the first Republican. He received 180 of 303 possible electoral votes and 40 percent of the popular vote.
1917 – During World War I, the Third Battle of Ypres concluded after five months as Canadian and Australian troops took Passchendaele. Their advance, measuring five miles, cost at least 240,000 soldiers.
1962 – The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning South Africa for its apartheid policies and recommended economic sanctions.
Birthday – American conductor John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) was born in Washington, D.C. Best known for his rousing marches including The Stars and Stripes Forever, Semper Fidelis, and El Capitan.
Birthday – Polish composer, pianist and patriot, Ignace Paderewski (1860-1941) was born in Kurylowka, Podolia, Poland.
Birthday – Inventor of the game of basketball, James Naismith (1861-1939) was born in Almonte, Ontario, Canada.
1659 – The Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed, ending the Franco-Spanish war of 1648-59.
1811 – General William H. Harrison led 1,000 Americans in battle, defeating the Shawnee Indians at the Battle of Tippecanoe Creek near Lafayette, Indiana.
1837 – A pro-slavery mob attacked and killed American abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy at his printing works in Alton, Illinois.
1885 – Canada’s first transcontinental railway, the Canadian Pacific, was completed in British Columbia.
1917 – Russian Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government of Alexander Kerensky in Petrograd. The Council of People’s Commissars was then established as the new government of Russia, with Nikolai Lenin as chairman, Leon Trotsky as foreign commissar and Josef Stalin as commissar of nationalities. This event was celebrated each year in the former USSR with parades, massive military displays and public appearances by top Soviet leaders.
1944 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented fourth term, defeating Thomas E. Dewey. Roosevelt died less than a year later on April 12, 1945.
1962 – Richard Nixon told news reporters in Los Angeles “…just think how much you’re going to be missing. You won’t have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.” Nixon’s statement came the day after he lost the election for California governor to incumbent Edmund G. Brown. In 1968, Nixon re-entered politics and won the presidency, defeating Hubert H. Humphrey. Re-elected in 1972, he resigned in 1974 during impeachment proceedings resulting from the Watergate scandal.
1967 – Carl Stokes became the first African American mayor in the U.S., elected mayor of Cleveland, Ohio.
1989 – The East German government resigned after pro-democracy protests.
1989 – L. Douglas Wilder became the first African American governor in U.S. history, elected governor of Virginia.
1990 – Mary Robinson became Ireland’s first female president.
Birthday – Polish chemist Marie Curie (1867-1934) was born in Warsaw, Poland. In 1903, she and her husband received the Nobel Prize for physics for their discovery of the element Radium.
Birthday – Christian evangelist Billy Graham was born near Charlotte, North Carolina, November 7, 1918. After his conversion at a revival meeting at age 16, he embarked on a career of preaching and has become known worldwide.
1519 – Cortes conquered Mexico. After landing on the Yucatan Peninsula in April, Cortes and his troops had marched into the interior of Mexico to the Aztec capital and captured Aztec Emperor Montezuma.
1895 – X-rays (electromagnetic rays) were discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen at the University of Wuerzburg in Germany.
1923 – Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch took place in the Buergerbraukeller in Munich. Hitler, Goering and armed Nazis attempted, but ultimately failed, to forcibly seize power and overthrow democracy in Germany.
1939 – An assassination attempt on Hitler failed at the Buerger braukeller in Munich. A bomb exploded soon after Hitler had exited following a speech commemorating the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Seven others were killed.
1942 – Operation Torch, the Allied landings in North Africa, began as 400,000 soldiers under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower landed at Morocco and Algeria.
Birthday – Astronomer and mathematician Edmund Halley (1656-1742) was born in London. He sighted the Great Comet of 1682 (now named Halley’s Comet) and foretold its reappearance in 1758. Halley’s Comet appears once each generation with the average time between appearances being 76 years. It is expected to be visible again in 2061.
Birthday – Dracula author Bram Stoker (1847-1912) was born in Dublin, Ireland.
Birthday – Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949) was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Her romantic novel about the American Civil War sold over 10 million copies, was translated into 30 languages, and was made into one of the most popular movies of all time. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1937 for the novel, her only book. She died after being struck by an automobile in Atlanta.
Birthday – Pioneering heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard (1922-2001) was born in Beaufort West, Cape of Good Hope Province, South Africa. He headed the surgical team that achieved the first-ever human heart transplant in 1967.
1872 – The Great Boston Fire started in a dry-goods warehouse then spread rapidly in windy weather, destroying nearly 800 buildings. Damage was estimated at more than $75 million. The fire’s bright red glare could be seen in the sky for nearly 100 miles.
1918 – German Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated his throne in the closing days of World War I and fled to Holland. In Germany, Philip Scheidemann, a Socialist leader, then proclaimed a democratic Republic and became its first Chancellor.
1938 – Kristallnacht (the night of broken glass) occurred in Germany as Nazi mobs burned synagogues and vandalized Jewish shops and homes.
1965 – At 5:16 p.m., the Great Blackout of the Northeast began as a tripped circuit breaker at a power plant on the Niagara River caused a chain reaction sending power surges knocking out interconnected power companies down the East Coast. The blackout affected over 30 million persons, one-sixth of the entire U.S. population. Electricity also failed in Ontario and Quebec.
November 9, 1989 – The Berlin Wall was opened up after standing for 28 years as a symbol of the Cold War. The 27.9 mile wall had been constructed in 1961.
Birthday – Architect Stanford White (1853-1906) was born in New York City. He designed New York’s old Madison Square Garden, the Washington Arch, and the Players, Century and Metropolitan Clubs. White was shot to death on the roof of the Madison Square Garden by an acquaintance on June 25, 1906.
Birthday – Spiro Agnew (1918-1996) was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He served as Richard Nixon’s vice-president from 1969-73. He resigned amid charges of income tax evasion on kickbacks received while he was governor of Maryland and after he became vice-president. As Nixon’s vice-president, Agnew was known as an outspoken critic of the counter-culture and anti-war movements of the late 1960s and early 70s.
1775 – The U.S. Marine Corps was established as part of the U.S. Navy. It became a separate unit on July 11, 1789.
1871 – Explorer Henry M. Stanley found missionary David Livingstone at Ujiji, Africa. Stanley began his search the previous March for Livingstone who had been missing for two years. Upon locating him, he simply asked, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”
1928 – Hirohito was crowned Emperor of Japan. He was Imperial Japan’s Emperor during World War II. Following Japan’s defeat, he was allowed to stay and remained Emperor until his death in 1989.
1942 – Following the British victory at El Alamein in North Africa during World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill stated, “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Birthday – Reformation founder Martin Luther (1483-1546) was born in Eisleben, Saxony. In 1517, Luther tacked his 95 Theses on the door of Wittenberg’s castle church asserting the Bible should be the sole authority of the church, and calling for reformation of the Roman Catholic Church.
Birthday – Actor Richard Burton (1925-1984) was born in Pontrhydyfen, South Wales (as Richard Jenkins). The son of a coal miner, he came to be regarded as one of the greatest acting talents of his day, although he never received an Oscar and was never knighted. He led a tempestuous personal life, highlighted by twice marrying actress Elizabeth Taylor. He died at age 58 of a cerebral hemorrhage.
11th – Celebrated in the U.S. as Veterans Day (formerly called Armistice Day) with parades and military memorial ceremonies.
1918 – At 5 a.m., in Marshal Foch’s railway car in the Forest of Compiegne, the Armistice between the Allied and Central Powers was signed, silencing the guns of World War I effective at 11 a.m. – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. In many places in Europe, a moment of silence in memory of the millions of fallen soldiers is still observed.
1938 – Irving Berlin’s God Bless America was first performed. He had written the song especially for radio entertainer Kate Smith who sang it during her regular radio broadcast. It soon became a patriotic favorite of Americans and was one of Smith’s most requested songs.
1972 – The U.S. turned over its military base at Long Binh to the South Vietnamese, symbolizing the end of direct American military participation in the Vietnam War.
1973 – Egypt and Israel signed a cease-fire agreement sponsored by the U.S.
1987 – In Russia, Boris Yeltsin was removed as Moscow Communist Party chief for criticizing the slow pace of Soviet reform.
1992 – The Church of England voted to allow women to become priests.
Birthday – Abigail Adams (1744-1818) was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts. She was the wife of John Adams, the 2nd U.S. President.
Birthday – Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) was born in Moscow. Best known for The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment and The Idiot.
Birthday – World War II General George S. Patton (1885-1945) was born in San Gabriel, California. In 1942, he led the Allied task force that landed at Casablanca in North Africa. He commanded the U.S. 7th Army during the invasion of Sicily, then received worldwide attention and an official reprimand for slapping a hospitalized soldier suffering from battle fatigue. After D-Day, he led the U.S. 3rd Army across France and into Germany. He died at Heidelberg, Germany on December 21, 1945, of injuries from an automobile accident.
November 12, 1867 – A major eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy began, lasting several months.
November 12, 1923 – Adolf Hitler was arrested in Germany after the failed Beer Hall Putsch.
November 12, 1942 – During World War II in North Africa, The city of Tobruk was captured by the British Eighth Army under General Bernard Montgomery.
November 12, 1948 – Japanese General Hideki Tojo and six others were sentenced to death by an Allied war crimes tribunal.
November 12, 1974 – The U.N. General Assembly suspended South Africa over its policy of apartheid.
November 12, 1982 – In Russia, Yuri Andropov was elected First Secretary of the Soviet Communist party following the death of Leonid Brezhnev.
Birthday – French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) was born in Paris. Best known for his statues St. John the Baptist Preaching, Eve, The Age of Bronze and The Thinker.
Birthday – American suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) was born in Johnstown, New York. During the first Women’s Rights Convention at Senecca Falls in 1848, she stated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal.”
Birthday – Grace Kelly (1929-1982) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was an award-winning actress who left Hollywood in 1956 to marry Prince Rainier, becoming Princess Grace of Monaco. She died of injuries from an automobile accident, September 12, 1982.
November 13, 1927 – The Holland Tunnel was opened to traffic. The tunnel runs under the Hudson River between New York City and Jersey City and was the first underwater tunnel built in the U.S. It is comprised of two tubes, each large enough for two lanes of traffic.
November 13, 1942 – The five Sullivan Brothers from Waterloo, Iowa, were lost in the sinking of the cruiser USS Juneau by a Japanese torpedo off Guadalcanal during World War II in the Pacific. Following their deaths, the U.S. Navy changed regulations to prohibit close relatives from serving on the same ship.
November 13, 1945 – General Charles De Gaulle was appointed president of the French provisional government.
November 13, 1956 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation on public buses was unconstitutional.
November 13, 1973 – A state of emergency was declared in Britain after power workers and coal miners began work slowdowns.
November 13, 1995 – Israel began pulling its troops out of the West Bank city of Jenin, ending 28 years of occupation.
Birthday – American jurist Louis Brandeis (1856-1941) was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He served as an associate justice of U.S. Supreme Court from 1916 to 1939.
Birthday – Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Best known for Treasure Island, Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
November 14, 1666 – The first experimental blood transfusion took place in Britain, utilizing two dogs.
1995 – The U.S. government instituted a partial shutdown, closing national parks and museums while most government offices operated with skeleton crews.
1969 – Apollo 12 blasted off for the moon from Cape Kennedy, FL
1851 – Herman Melville’s novel “Moby Dick” was first published in the U.S.
November 14, 1770 – Scottish explorer James Bruce discovered the source of the Blue Nile on Lake Tana in northwest Ethiopia.
November 14, 1889 – Newspaper reporter Nellie Bly set out from New York to beat the record of Jules Verne’s imaginary hero Phileas Fogg, who traveled around the world in 80 days. Bly (pen name for Elizabeth Cochrane) returned 72 days later to a tumultuous welcome in New York.
November 14, 1994 – The first paying passengers traveled on the new rail service through the Channel Tunnel linking England and France.
Birthday – Steamboat developer Robert Fulton (1765-1815) was born in rural Pennsylvania.
Birthday – French painter Claude Monet (1840-1926) was born in Paris. He pioneered the impressionist style in his landscapes including the Haystacks, Poplars, and Rouen Cathedral series.
Birthday – Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) was born in Allahabad, India. He spent over 20 years working with Mahatma Gandhi to free India from British rule. Following independence in 1947, Nehru became India’s first prime minister, serving until his death in 1964.
Birthday – American composer Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was born in Brooklyn, New York. He created a quintessential American music style in his ballets, film scores, and orchestral works including Fanfare for the Common Man, Rodeo, and Appalachian Spring for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. His film score for The Heiress won an Oscar.
November 15 Return to Top of Page
November 15, 1777 – The Articles of Confederation were adopted by Continental Congress.
November 15, 1864 – During the American Civil War, Union troops under General William T. Sherman burned Atlanta.
November 15, 1881 – The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada was formed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Five years later the organization was renamed the American Federation of Labor (AFL).
November 15, 1889 – Brazil became a republic.
November 15, 1943 – During the Holocaust, Heinrich Himmler ordered Gypsies and part-Gypsies to be sent to concentration camps. The number of Gypsies killed by Nazis is estimated up to 500,000.
November 15, 1969 – The largest antiwar rally in U.S. History occurred as 250,000 persons gathered in Washington, D.C., to protest the Vietnam War.
November 15, 1980 – Pope John Paul II visited West Germany, the first papal visit to Germany in 200 years.
Birthday – American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. She painted desert landscapes and flower studies and was the subject of more than 500 photographs taken by her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz.
Birthday – German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (1891-1944) was born at Heidenheim, in Wurttemberg, Germany. During World War II, he led the 7th Panzer Division to victory in the Battle of France. His early victories in North Africa earned him the nickname, “Desert Fox.” However, in 1943, he was defeated at El Alamein by the British under General Montgomery. Rommel was implicated in the July 1944 failed assassination of Hitler. He was then forced to commit suicide and died at age 52 on October 14, 1944, near Ulm, Germany.
November 16, 1918 – Hungary was proclaimed an independent republic following the break up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
November 16, 1933 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the U.S. and Soviet Russia had resumed diplomatic relations, suspended since 1919.
November 16, 1989 – South African President F.W. de Klerk announced the abandonment of the Separate Amenities Act, thus opening the country’s beaches to all races.
November 16, 1995 – The United Nations charged Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, and his military commander, Ratko Mladic, with genocide.
November 17, 1558 – Queen Elizabeth I ascended the throne of England at the age of 25, reigning until 1603 when she was 69. Under her leadership, England became a world power, defeating the Spanish Armada, and witnessed a golden age of literature featuring works by William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser and others.
November 17, 1734 – New York Weekly Journal publisher John Peter Zenger was arrested and charged with libeling the colonial governor of New York. In his trial, held in August of 1735, truth was successfully used as a defense against libel, an important early step toward freedom of the press in America.
November 17, 1800 – The U.S. Congress met for the first time in the new capital at Washington, D.C. President John Adams then became the first occupant of the Executive Mansion, later renamed the White House.
November 17, 1869 – The Suez Canal was formally opened after more than 10 years of construction.
November 17, 1954 – General Gamal Abdel Nasser became Egyptian head of state after forcing out General Mohammed Naguib.
November 17, 1989 – Thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Prague demanding an end to Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. Riot police and army paratroopers then moved in to crush the revolt.
November 17, 1993 – The United Nations opened its first war crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials following World War II. Judges from 11 nations were sworn in to examine recent mass murders in Yugoslavia characterized as ethnic cleansing.
November 17, 1993 – NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 234 to 200.
Birthday – German mathematician August Mobius (1790-1868) was born in Schulpforte, Germany. He worked in the area of analytic geometry and was a pioneer in topology, the study of geometric figures that remain constant even when twisted or distorted.
Birthday – British General Bernard L. Montgomery (1887-1976) was born in St. Mark’s Vicarage, Kennington Oval, London. He led the British Eighth Army to a major victory over the Germans at El Alamein in North Africa in 1943. He then led the Eighth Army in the Sicilian and Italian campaigns and commanded all ground forces during D-Day.
November 18, 1477 – William Caxton printed the first book in the English language, The Dictes and Sayengis of the Phylosophers.
November 18, 1883 – A Connecticut school teacher, Charles F. Dowd, proposed a uniform time zone plan for the U.S. consisting of four zones.
November 18, 1916 – During World War I, Allied General Douglas Haig called off the First Battle of the Somme after five months. The Allies had advanced 125 square miles at a cost of 420,000 British and 195,000 French soldiers. German losses were over 650,000 men.
November 18, 1993 – South Africa adopted a new constitution after more than 300 years of white majority rule. The constitution provided basic civil rights to blacks and was approved by representatives of the ruling party, as well as members of 20 other political parties.
Birthday – German composer Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) was born in Eutin, Germany. He founded the German romantic style of music. Best known for his operas including Der Freischutz.
Birthday – Photography inventor Louis Daguerre (1789-1851) was born in Cormeilles, near Paris. In 1839, at a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences, he announced his daguerreotype process, the first practical photographic process that produced lasting pictures.
Birthday – British author Sir William Gilbert (1836-1911) was born in London. He wrote the verses for the famed Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas which poked fun at the British establishment. Among their operas; H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe, The Mikado and The Yeoman of the Guard. He died in May 1911, suffering a heart attack while attempting to save a woman from drowning.
Birthday – Polish pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) was born in Kurylowka in southwestern Russia. He achieved world fame for his interpretations of Schubert and Chopin. After World War I, he served briefly as the first premier of the Republic of Poland.
November 19, 1493 – Puerto Rico was discovered by Columbus during his second voyage to the New World.
November 19, 1703 – The “Man in the Iron Mask,” a prisoner of Louis XIV in the Bastille prison in Paris, died. The prisoner may have been Count Matthioli, who had double-crossed Louis XIV, or may have even been the brother of Louis XIV. His true identity has been the cause of much intrigue, and was celebrated in literary works such as Alexandre Dumas’ The Viscount Bragelonne.
November 19, 1863 – President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address during ceremonies dedicating 17 acres of the Gettysburg Battlefield as a National Cemetery. Famed orator Edward Everett of Massachusetts preceded Lincoln and spoke for two hours. Lincoln then delivered his address in less than two minutes. Although many in attendance were at first unimpressed, Lincoln’s words have come to symbolize the definition of democracy itself.
November 19, 1868 – New Jersey suffragists attempted to vote in the presidential election to test the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which states, “no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” 172 suffragists, including four African American women, were turned away. Instead they cast their votes in a women’s ballot box overseen by 84-year-old Quaker Margaret Pryer.
November 19, 1939 – Construction of the first presidential library began as President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone next to his home in Hyde Park, New York. Roosevelt donated the land, but public donations funded the library building which was dedicated on June 30, 1941.
November 19, 1942 – The Russian Army began a massive counter-offensive against the Germans at Stalingrad during World War II.
November 19, 1969 – The first news reports emerged that American troops in Vietnam had massacred civilians in My Lai Village back in March of 1968.
November 19, 1977 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to visit Israel.
November 19, 1978 – The biggest mass suicide in history occurred as Reverend Jim Jones led over 900 followers to their deaths at Jonestown, Guyana. Members of his “Peoples Temple” religious cult were ordered to drink a cyanide-laced fruit drink. Those who refused were forcibly injected. Precipitating the tragedy a day earlier, California Congressman Leo J. Ryan, along with four associates and several reporters, had been shot to death during an ambush at a nearby airstrip. They were attempting to return home after investigating the cult’s remote jungle location. Jones and his mistress killed themselves after watching his entire membership die. Only a few cult members managed to escape.
November 19-20, 1990 – The Cold War came to an end during a summit in Paris as leaders of NATO and the Warsaw Pact signed a Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe, vastly reducing their military arsenals.
November 19, 1996 – Pope John Paul II and Cuban leader Fidel Castro held their historic first meeting in the Vatican.
November 19, 1998 – The U.S. House of Representatives began an impeachment inquiry of President Bill Clinton, only the third presidential impeachment inquiry in U.S. History – the other two being of President Andrew Johnson in 1868 and President Richard Nixon in 1974.
Birthday – Charles I, King of Scotland and England (1600-1649) was born. He ruled from 1625-49. He maintained the Divine Right of Kings to rule and opposed Parliament’s challenges to his authoritarian style. This resulted in civil war and his eventual execution, followed by the establishment of a Commonwealth with Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector.
Birthday – James A. Garfield (1831-1881) the 20th U.S. President was born in Orange, Ohio. He served from March 4 to September 19, 1881. He was shot by a disgruntled office-seeker while walking into the railway station in Washington, D.C., on the morning of July 2nd, 1881. Garfield survived until September 19, 1881, when he succumbed to blood poisoning.
Birthday – Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) was born in Allahabad, India. She served from 1966-75 and later from 1980 to 1984, when she was assassinated by her own bodyguards as she walked to her office. Her only surviving son, Rajiv, became the next prime minister. In 1991, he was assassinated while campaigning for re-election.
Birthday – Baseball player Roy Campanella (1921-1993) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was one of the first African American major league players and was one of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ “Boys of Summer.” His career ended when an automobile accident left him paralyzed in 1958. He then became an inspirational spokesman for the paralyzed.
November 20 Return to Top of Page
November 20, 1789 – New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
November 20, 1910 – Francisco Madero launched the social revolution in Mexico, exposing Mexico’s political dictatorship and called for honest elections. Dubbed the “Apostle of Democracy,” he was elected president in 1911, but was hampered by a lack of practical political experience. He was ousted by a military revolt in 1913, and was then assassinated while in police custody.
November 20, 1917 – The first use of tanks in battle occurred at Cambrai, France, during World War I. Over 300 tanks commanded by British General Sir Douglas Haig went into battle against the Germans.
November 20, 1943 – The Battle of Tarawa began in the Pacific War as American troops attacked the Japanese on the heavily fortified Gilbert Islands. It took eight days for the 5th Amphibious Corps, 2nd Marine Division and the 27th Infantry Division to take Tarawa and the Makin Islands. Over 1,000 Americans were killed with 2,311 wounded. The Japanese lost 4,700 men.
November 20, 1945 – The Nuremberg War Crime Trials began in which 24 former leaders of Nazi Germany were charged with conspiracy to wage wars of aggression, crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
November 20, 1947 – England’s Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten. Elizabeth was the first child of King George VI and became Queen Elizabeth II upon the death of her father in 1952.
November 20, 1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis concluded as President John F. Kennedy announced he had lifted the U.S. Naval blockade of Cuba stating, “the evidence to date indicates that all known offensive missile sites in Cuba have been dismantled.”
November 20, 1980 – In China, Jiang Qing, the widow of Mao Zedong, went on trial with nine others on charges of treason.
November 20, 1992 – Fire erupted inside Queen Elizabeth’s residence at Windsor Castle causing extensive damage.
Birthday – Swedish author Selma Lagerlof (1858-1940) was born in Varmland Province. She was a member of the Swedish Academy and in 1909 became the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for literature.
Birthday – American astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) was born in Marshfield, Missouri. He pioneered the concept of an expanding universe. The Hubble Space Telescope was named in his honor. It was deployed from the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990, allowing astronomers to see farther into space than they had ever seen from telescopes on Earth.
Birthday – Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was the younger brother of President John F. Kennedy and served as his attorney general. Following the assassination of President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy became a U.S. Senator from New York. In 1968, he sought the Democratic nomination for president and appeared headed for victory, but was shot and killed by an assassin in Los Angeles, just after winning the California primary.
November 21, 1783 – The first free balloon flight took place in Paris as Jean Francois Pilatre de Rozier and Marquis Francois Laurent d’Arlandes ascended in a Montgolfier hot air balloon. Their flight lasted about 25 minutes and carried them nearly six miles at a height of about 300 feet over Paris. Benjamin Franklin was one of the spectators.
November 21, 1920 – The IRA (Irish Republican Army) shot and killed 14 British soldiers in Dublin in what became known as “Bloody Sunday.”
November 21, 1992 – The Anglican Church of Australia voted to allow women to become priests. The largest of the dioceses voted against the bill, however, it still received the required two-thirds approval.
Birthday – French author and philosopher Voltaire (1694-1778) was born in Paris (as Francois-Marie Arouet). He was an advocate of human rights who published the landmark Philosophical Letters in 1734. Other writings include; Zadig, The Century of Louis XIV, The Russian Empire under Peter the Great, The Philosophical Dictionary, and Essay on Morals.
November 22, 1497 – Portuguese navigator Vasco Da Gama, leading a fleet of four ships, became the first to sail round the Cape of Good Hope, while searching for a sea route to India.
November 22, 1718 – Blackbeard the pirate (Edward Teach) was killed off the coast of North Carolina after a long and prosperous career. Lt. Govenor Alexander Spotswood of Virginia had sent two sloops to put an end to him. The sailors encountered Blackbeard and Lt. Robert Maynard killed him in the fight that followed.
November 22, 1935 – Trans-Pacific airmail service began as the China Clipper, a Pan American flying boat, took off from San Francisco, reaching the Philippines 59 hours later. The following year, commercial passenger service began.
November 22, 1943 – The Cairo Conference occurred as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek, met to discuss the war in the Pacific against Japan.
November 22, 1963 – At 12:30 p.m., on Elm Street in downtown Dallas, President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade slowly approached a triple underpass. Shots rang out. The President was struck in the back, then in the head. He was rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital where fifteen doctors tried to save him. At 1 p.m., John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was pronounced dead. On board Air Force One, at 2:38 p.m., Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President.
November 22, 1975 – Juan Carlos was sworn in as King of Spain, following the death of General Franscisco Franco who had ruled as dictator since 1939.
November 22, 1990 – British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announced she would resign after 11 years in office, the longest term of any British Prime Minister in the 20th century.
Birthday – Charles De Gaulle (1890-1970) was born in Lille, France. He led the Free French against the Nazis during World War II and later became President of France, serving from 1958-69.
Birthday – Barnstorming aviator Wiley Post (1898-1935) was born in Grand Plain, Texas. He was a self-taught pilot who became an international celebrity in the 1930s and co-authored Around the World in Eight Days. In 1935, Post and his friend Will Rogers began a flight to the Orient, however, the plane crashed near Point Barrow, Alaska, killing both of them.
Birthday – British composer Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was born in Lowestoft, Suffolk, England. Best known for his operas including Peter Grimes and his choral works A Ceremony of Carols and War Requiem.
November 23, 1890 – Ten-year-old Princess Wilhelmina became Queen of the Netherlands upon the death of her father William III. Her mother Queen Emma acted as Regent until 1898.
Birthday – Franklin Pierce (1804-1869) the 14th U.S. President was born in Hillsboro, New Hampshire. He served from March 4, 1853 to March 3, 1857. He was not re-nominated by the Democratic Party for a second term.
Birthday – Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid (1859-1881) was born in New York City (probably as Henry McCarty, better known as William H. Bonney). He was a ruthless killer who escaped from jail and a sentence of hanging at age 21. He was recaptured at Stinking Springs, New Mexico, but escaped again. At Fort Sumner, on the night of July 14, 1881, he reportedly asked, “Who’s there?” only to be shot twice through the heart by Sheriff Pat Garrett.
Birthday – Horror film actor Boris Karloff (1887-1969) was born in London (as William Henry Pratt). Best known for appearing in the title role in Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein.
1859 – Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was first published, theorizing that all the living creatures descended from a common ancestor.
1863 – The Battle of Chattanooga took place during the American Civil War as General Ulysses Grant’s soldiers scaled heavily fortified Lookout Mountain and overran Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s army.
1874 – Joseph Glidden patented his invention of barbed wire.
1969 – The U.S. Army announced that Lt. William L. Calley had been charged with premeditated murder in the massacre of civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai in March of 1968. Calley was ordered to stand trial by court martial and was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison. However, his sentence was later commuted to three years of house arrest by President Richard Nixon.
1989 – In Czechoslovakia, mass demonstrations resulted in the resignation of the entire presidium and secretariat of the Czechoslovak Communist Party.
1992 – The U.S. military departed the Philippines after nearly a century of military presence. In 1991, the Philippine Senate had voted to reject a renewal of the lease for the American military base.
1998 – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II opened a new session of Parliament by announcing a bill to do away with the centuries-old right of aristocrats to sit in the House of Lords, thereby taking membership and voting rights away from 759 Dukes, Earls and other hereditary nobles with titles dating as far back as the Middle Ages.
Birthday – Zachary Taylor (1784-1850) the 12th U.S. President was born in Orange County, Virginia. Nicknamed “old rough and ready,” he won the presidency as a result of his heroics in the Mexican War of 1846-48. He served as President from March 4, 1849 to July 9, 1850, when he died in the White House after becoming ill.
Birthday – American composer Scott Joplin (1868-1917) was born in Texarkana, Texas. Best known for his piano rags including Maple Leaf Rag and The Entertainer.
Birthday – German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein (1887-1973) was born in Berlin. His plan for the German invasion of France in 1940 involved staging a surprise attack through the Ardennes Forest, and was a stunning success. He went on to achieve several important victories over the Russians in the East, but was dismissed by Hitler in 1944 following a series of arguments over military strategy.
Birthday – Motivational lecturer Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) was born in Maryville, Missouri. Best known for his 1936 book How to Win Friends and Influence People which sold millions of copies and was translated into 29 languages.
1783 – At the end of the Revolutionary War, the last British troops left New York City.
1936 – Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, an agreement to collaborate in opposing the spread of Communism.
1963 – Three days after his assassination, John F. Kennedy was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
1974 – Britain outlawed the IRA (Irish Republican Army) following the deaths of 21 persons in a pub bombing in Birmingham.
1992 – The parliament in Czechoslovakia voted to divide the country into separate Czech and Slovak republics.
1995 – By a margin of less than one percent, Ireland voted to legalize divorce, the closest vote in the nation’s history.
Birthday – American financier Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was born in Dunfermline, Scotland. He emigrated to America, made his fortune in steel, then became a major philanthropist. Among his gifts; over 2,500 libraries, Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Foundation, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He once wrote, “The man who dies rich dies disgraced.”
Birthday – American temperance leader Carry Nation (1846-1911) was born in Garrard County, Kentucky. She was famed as a hatchet-wielding smasher of saloons.
Birthday – Pope John XXIII (1881-1963) was born in Sotte il Monte, Italy (as Angelo Roncalli). He became the 261st Pope of the Roman Catholic Church in 1958 and served until his death in June of 1963. During his reign, he convened the Second Vatican Council which modernized the mass and increased openness to other religions and denominations.
Birthday – Chilean military leader Augusto Pinochet (1915-2006) was born in Valparaiso, Chile. He overthrew President Salvador Allende in 1973 and remained in power until he lost the elections in 1990.
1703 – A “Great Storm” lasting two days struck southern England, flooding the Thames and Severn Rivers, killing at least 8,000 persons.
1789 – The first American holiday occurred, proclaimed by President George Washington to be Thanksgiving Day, a day of prayer and public thanksgiving in gratitude for the successful establishment of the new American republic.
1832 – The first horse-drawn streetcar carried passengers in New York City along Fourth Avenue between Prince Street and 14th Street.
1922 – In Egypt, Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon first went inside the tomb of King Tutankhamen.
1940 – During the Holocaust, Nazis began walling off the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw, sealing in 400,000 inhabitants while denying them adequate food, sanitation and housing.
1979 – After an absence of 21 years, the International Olympic Committee voted to re-admit China
1992 – British Prime Minister John Major announced Queen Elizabeth II had agreed to pay taxes on her personal income.
1998 – In Dublin, Tony Blair became the first British Prime Minister to appear before the Irish Parliament, which had been created 80 years earlier in defiance of the British government.
Birthday – Harvard College founder John Harvard (1607-1638) was born in London.
Birthday – American physician and women’s rights leader, Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919) was born in Oswego, New York. She was the first female surgeon in U.S. Army, serving during the Civil War. She was captured and spent four months in a Confederate prison. In 1865, she became the first and only woman ever to receive the Medal of Honor.
1701 – Anders Celsius (1701-1744) was born in Sweden. He invented the centigrade (Celsius) temperature scale commonly used in Europe.
Birthday – Wild West lawman Bat Masterson (1853-1921) was born in Henryville, Quebec. He was also a gambler, saloonkeeper, and later became a news writer in New York.
Birthday – Israeli statesman Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952) was born near Pinsk, Byelorussia. He helped bring about the British government’s Balfour Declaration, which called for the establishment of a national home for Jews in Palestine.
Birthday – Czech leader Alexander Dubcek (1921-1992) was born in Uhrocev, Slovakia. In 1968, as first secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, he attempted to achieve “socialism with a human face” and loosen Soviet Russia’s control of his country. This resulted in a military invasion by the Russians.
1520 – Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan passed through the strait (of Magellan) located at the southern tip of South America, thus crossing from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pacific.
November 28, 1821 – Panama declared itself independent from Spain and joined the fledgling nation of Gran Colombia.
November 28, 1905 – Irish political party Sinn Fein was founded in Dublin by Arthur Griffith.
1919 – Lady Nancy Astor was elected as the first female in the British House of Commons.
1934 – FBI agents killed bank robber George “Baby Face” Nelson near Barrington, Illinois.
1942 – Fire erupted inside the Coconut Grove nightclub in Boston killing nearly 500 persons who had become trapped inside.
1943 – The Teheran Conference began, attended by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin. Among the major topics discussed, a second front in Western Europe, resulting in D-Day, the seaborne invasion of Normandy in northern France on June 6, 1944.
Birthday – British artist and poet William Blake (1757-1827) was born in London. Best known for Songs of Innocence examining life through the eyes of children and Songs of Experience exploring adult viewpoints of the world.
Birthday – British cleric John Bunyan (1628-1688) was born in Elstow, Bedfordshire. He wrote A Pilgrim’s Progress, a religious allegory of the human soul.
Birthday – German socialist Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) was born in Barmen, Wuppertal, Germany. He was an associate of Karl Marx and edited the second and third volumes of Marx’s Das Kapital.
1864 – U.S. Army troops led by Colonel John Chivington attacked and killed at least 400 Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians at Sand Creek, Colorado after they had already surrendered.
1890 – The first Imperial Diet was opened in Japan, consisting of a House of Peers and a House of Representatives.
1929 – American explorer Richard Byrd and Bernt Balchen completed the first airplane flight to the South Pole.
1947 – Palestine was partitioned into Jewish and Arab land by the U.N. General Assembly, resulting in the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel the following year.
1989 – Forty-one years of Communist rule came to an end in Czechoslovakia following a twelve day revolution sparked by the beating of protesters. The Czech parliament voted unanimously to repeal constitutional clauses granting the Communist Party sole power. This brought a wave of reform headed by playwright Vaclav Havel, who later became president in the first free elections since World War II.
Birthday – Little Women author Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Birthday – Nellie Tayloe Ross (1876-1977) was born in St. Joseph, Missouri. She became America’s first female governor, finishing her husband’s term as governor of Wyoming after his death. She was elected governor in 1924, but lost the 1927 election. She also served as vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee and was named director of the U.S. Mint by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.
Birthday – Hollywood director Busby Berkeley (1895-1976) was born in Los Angeles (as William Berkeley Enos). After serving in World War I as an entertainment officer, he changed his name and began his show business career. Best known for lavish musicals including Forty-Second Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, Babes in Arms, Strike Up the Band, and Girl Crazy.
Birthday – British author C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) was born in Belfast, Ireland (as Clive Staples Lewis). He wrote books on Christian teachings including The Pilgrim’s Regress, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, and The Screwtape Letters.
1700 – The Battle of Narva occurred as eight thousand Swedish troops under King Charles XII invaded Norway, defeating a force of 50,000 Russians.
November 30, 1782 – A provisional peace treaty was signed between Great Britain and the United States heralding the end of America’s War of Independence. The final treaty was signed in Paris on September 3, 1783. It declared the U.S. “…to be free, sovereign and independent states…” and that the British Crown “…relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof.”
1939 – Finland was invaded by more than 20 Russian divisions in the Winter War.
1995 – Bill Clinton became the first American president to visit Northern Ireland.
Source: on this day, history place