Today in History

November 23
1248 The city of Seville, Spain, surrenders to Ferdinand III of Castile after a two-year siege.
1785 John Hancock is elected president of the Continental Congress for the second time.
1808 French and Poles defeat the Spanish at Battle of Tudela. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1863 Union forces win the Battle of Orchard Knob, Tennessee.
1863 The Battle of Chattanooga, one of the most decisive battles of the American Civil War, begins (also in Tennessee).
1903 Italian tenor Enrico Caruso makes his American debut in a Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi’s Rigoletto.
1904 Russo-German talks break down because of Russia’s insistence on consulting France.
1909 The Wright brothers form a million-dollar corporation for the commercial manufacture of their airplanes.
1921 President Warren G. Harding signs the Willis-Campbell Act, better known as the anti-beer bill. It forbids doctors to prescribe beer or liquor for medicinal purposes.
1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt recalls the American ambassador from Havana, Cuba, and urges stability in the island nation.
1934 The United States and Great Britain agree on a 5-5-3 naval ratio, with both countries allowed to build five million tons of naval ships while Japan can only build three. Japan will denounce the treaty.
1936 The United States abandons the American embassy in Madrid, Spain, which is engulfed by the civil war.
1941 U.S. troops move into Dutch Guiana to guard the bauxite mines.
1942 The film Casablanca premieres in New York City.
1943 U.S. Marines declare the island of Tarawa secure.
1945 Wartime meat and butter rationing ends in the United States.
1953 North Korea signs 10-year aid pact with Peking.
1968 Four men hijack Pan-Am Flight 281 , with 87 passengers, from Miami to Cuba.
1980 In Europe’s biggest earthquake since 1915, 3,000 people are killed in Italy.
1981 US Pres. Ronald Reagan signs a top-secret directive giving the CIA authority to recruit and support Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
1990 The first all-woman expedition to the South Pole sets off from Antarctica on the first part of a 70-day trip; the group includes 12 Russians, 3 Americans and 1 Japanese.
1992 The first Smartphone, IBM’s Simon, is introduced at COMDEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
2005 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is elected president of Liberia. She is the first woman to lead an African nation.
2006 In the second-deadliest day of sectarian violence in Iraq since the beginning of the 2003 war, 215 people are killed and nearly 260 injured by bombs in Sadr City.
2011 Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signs a deal to to transfer power to the vice president, in exchange for legal immunity; the agreement came after 11 months of protests.
Born on November 23
1804 Franklin Pierce, hero of the American war with Mexico and 14th president of the United States.
1878 Ernest King, commander-in-chief of the U.S. fleet; designed the United States’ winning strategy in World War II.
1887 Boris Karloff, film actor most famous for his role as the monster in the movie Frankenstein.
1888 Adolph Arthur “Harpo” Marx, American comedian, one of the Marx brothers.
1897 Willie “The Lion” Smith, jazz and ragtime pianist.
1923 Gloria Whelan, poet, author primarily known for children’s and young-adult fiction; her novel Homeless Bird won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2000.
1943  Andrew Goodman, civil rights activist; was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in 1964 near Philadelphia, Miss.
1961  John Schnatter, businessman; founded Papa John’s Pizza.
1980  Ishmael Beah, authored A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, a memoir of his time as a Sierra Leonean child solider in that country’s civil war.


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