Today in History

November 18
1477 William Caxton publishes the first dated book printed in England. It is a translation from the French of The Dictes and Sayings of the Philosopers by Earl Rivers.
1626 St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome is officially dedicated.
1861 The first provisional meeting of the Confederate Congress is held in Richmond, Virginia.
1865 Mark Twain’s first story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is published in the New York Saturday Press.
1901 The second Hay-Pauncefote Treaty is signed. The United States is given extensive rights by Britain for building and operating a canal through Central America.
1905 The Norwegian Parliament elects Prince Charles of Denmark to be the next King of Norway. Prince Charles takes the name Haakon VII.
1906 Anarchists bomb St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
1912 Cholera breaks out in Constantinople, in the Ottoman Empire.
1921 New York City considers varying work hours to avoid long traffic jams.
1928 Mickey mouse makes his film debut in Steamboat Willie, the first animated talking picture.
1936 The main span of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is joined.
1939 The Irish Republican Army explodes three bombs in Piccadilly Circus.
1943 The RAF bombs Berlin, using 440 aircraft and losing nine of those and 53 air crew members; damage to the German capital is light, with 131 dead.
1949 The U.S. Air Force grounds B-29s after two crashes and 23 deaths in three days.
1950 The Bureau of Mines discloses its first production of oil from coal in practical amounts.
1968 Soviets recover the Zond 6 spacecraft after a flight around the moon.
1978 Peoples Temple cult leader Jim Jones leads his followers to a mass murder-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, hours after cult members killed Congressman Leo J. Ryan of California.
1983 Argentina announces its ability to produce enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.
1984 The Soviet Union helps deliver American wheat during the Ethiopian famine.
1991 The Croatian city of Vukovar surrenders to the Yugoslav People’s Army and allied Serb paramilitary forces after an 87-day siege.
1993 Twenty-one political parties approve a new constitution for South Africa that expands voter rights and ends the rule of the country’s white minority.
2002 UN weapons inspectors under Hans Blix arrive in Iraq.
2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules the state’s ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional; the legislature fails to act within the mandated 180 days, and on May 17, 2004, Massachusetts becomes the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Born on November 18
1789 Louis Jacques Daguerre, French painter, physicist and photography pioneer.
1810 Asa Gray, botanist (Gray’s Manual).
1836 William S. Gilbert, English playwright and humorist, one half of Gilbert & Sullivan.
1870 Dorthea Dix, pseudonym for Elizabeth Gilman, who wrote syndicated advice.
1874 Clarence Day, American writer (Life with Father).
1899 Eugene Ormandy, orchestra conductor.
1900 Dr. Howard Thurman, theologian and the first African-American to hold a full-time position at Boston University.
1901 George Horatio Gallup, American journalist and statistician.
1909 Johnny Mercer, songwriter.
1923 Alan Shepard, first American astronaut in space.
1939 Margaret Atwood, Canadian writer (The Edible Woman, The Handmaid’s Tale).
1950 Graham Parker, lead singer of the British rock band Graham Parker and the Rumour.
1950 Alan Moore, writer best known for his ground-breaking work in comic books / graphic novels (Watchmen, V for Vendetta).
1956 Warren Moon, quarterback in Canadian and US pro football teams; his numerous passing records include most passing yardage in pro football (surpassed by Damon Allen, Sept. 4, 2006).
1974 Chloe Sevigny, American actress, model and fashion designer noted for her eclectic fashion sense.

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