This Day in History - November 18

November 18

1626 – St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome is officially dedicated

1776 – In honor of Lieutenant General Wilhelm von Knyphausen, British Commander in Chief General William Howe renames Fort Washington to Fort Knyphausen

1789 – French painter, physicist, and photographer, Louis Jacques Daguerre is born

1810 – Botanist, Asa Gray is born

1836 – English playwright and humorist, William S. Gilbert is born

1861 – The first provisional meeting of the Confederate Congress is held in Richmond, Virginia

1863 – President Abraham Lincoln boards a train for Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to deliver a speech at the dedication of a cemetery for soldiers killed during the battle there earlier in the year. His Gettysburg speech becomes one of the most famous speeches in American history

1865 – Mark Twain’s first story is published in the New York Saturday Press – “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”

1870 – Syndicated advice columnists Elizabeth Gilman, who went under the pseudonym of Dorthea Dix, is born

1874 – American writer, Clarence Day is born

1883 – At exactly noon, American and Canadian railroads begin using four continental time zones to end the confusion of dealing with thousands of local times, creating the first time zones

1886 – Former President, Chester Alan Arthur dies from complications with Bright’s Disease, a kidney disease

1899 – Orchestra conductor, Eugene Ormandy is born

1900 – Theologian and first black to hold a full-time position at Boston University, Dr. Howard Thurman is born

1901 – American journalist and statistician, George Horatio Gallup is born

1901 – The second Hay-Pauncefote Treaty is signed, giving the US rights by Britain for building and operating a canal through Central America

1905 – Prince Charles of Denmark is elected to be King of Norway and he takes the name Haakon VII

1906 – St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is bombed by anarchists

1909 – Songwriter, Johnny Mercer is born

1912 – Cholera breaks out in Constantinople, in the Ottoman Empire

1916 – Douglas Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force in World War I, calls off the Battle of the Somme in France

1921 – New York City considers varying work hours to avoid long traffic jams

1922 – French writer, Marcel Proust dies

1923 – First American astronaut in space, Alan Shepard is born

1923 – American politician, Ted Stevens is born

1928 – The first animated talking picture is released, featuring Mickey Mouse in his film debut in Steamboat Willie

1933 – American painter, director, and photographer, Bruce Conner is born

1936 – The main span of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is joined

1939 – The IRA or Irish Republican Army explodes a series of bombs in Piccadilly Circus

1939 – Canadian writer, Margaret Atwood is born

1940 – An angry Adolf Hitler meets with Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano over Mussolini’s disastrous invasion of Greece, primarily because Mussolini led his ally to believe the invasion wouldn’t occur

1943 – RAF bombs Berlin, killing 131 although RAF lost 53 aircrew members and nine of its 440 aircraft

1949 – The US Air Force grounds B-29’s after two were involved in crashes that led to 23 deaths in three days

1950 – The Bureau of Mines discloses its first production of oil from coal in practical amounts

1950 – Singer, Graham Parker is born

1953 – Writer, Alan Moore is born

1956 – Quarterback in Canadian and US pro football teams, Warren Moon is born

1962 – Danish Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Niels Bohr dies

1964 – In the largest air assault of the war thus far, 116 U.S. and South Vietnamese aircraft fly 1,100 South Vietnamese troops into Binh Duong and Tay Ninh Provinces to attack what is believed to be a major communist stronghold

1966 – Sandy Koufax, the ace pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, retires from baseball

1968 – Soviets recover the Zond 6 spacecraft after a flight around the moon

1969 – Sixty South Vietnamese men are killed or wounded when their troops clash with communist forces in the Mekong Delta

1970 – President Nixon asks Congress for supplemental funds for the Cambodian government of Premier Lon Nol

1974 – American actress, model, and fashion designer, Chloe Sevigny is born

1978 – Peoples Temple cult leader Jim Jones leads his followers to a mass murder-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, just hours after a cult member killed Congressman Leo J. Ryan of California. Some drank the poison-laced punch willingly, while others were forced into it at gunpoint. A third of those killed were children

1983 – Argentina announces it has the capability of producing enriched uranium for nuclear weapons

1984 – The Soviet Union helps deliver American wheat during an Ethiopian famine

1987 – After nearly a year of hearings into the Iran-Contra scandal, the joint Congressional investigating committee issues its final report

1987 – The worst fire in London’s underground rail system kills 30 commuters and injures many others

1987 – French cyclist, Jacques Anquetil dies

1991 – The Croatian city of Vukovar surrenders to Yugoslav People’s Army and allied Serb paramilitary forces after an 87-day siege

1991 – Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon, free Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite, and American educator Thomas Sutherland after four years of captivity

1993 – Twenty-one political parties approve a constitution for South Africa that expands voter rights and ends the rule of the country’s white minority

1996 – Tony Silva, a world-renowned expert and outspoken protector of exotic birds, is sentenced to seven years in prison without parole for leading an illegal parrot smuggling operation in which many birds died, shocking zoologists and animal lovers from around the globe

1998 – Alice McDermott beats out front-runner Tom Wolfe for the National Book Award with her novel Charming Billy

2002 – Hans Blix and his UN weapons inspectors arrive in Iraq

2003 – Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules the state’s ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional and the legislature fails to act within the mandated 180 day period and in May of 2004, Massachusetts becomes the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage

2006 – Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are married in a Church of Scientology ceremony at the 15th-century Odescalchi Castle in Lake Bracciano, Italy

Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.

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