Home Today's History Lesson TODAY’S HISTORY LESSON: NOV 18



1978 – Jonestown incident: In Guyana, Jim Jones leads his Peoples Temple cult in a mass murder-suicide that claims 918 lives in all, 909 of them at Jonestown itself, including over 270 children. Congressman Leo J. Ryan is assassinated by members of Peoples Temple shortly beforehand.  Mass suicide at Jonestown | November 18, 1978 | HISTORY


0326 – Old St. Peter’s Basilica consecrated in Rome (stood 4th – 16th century), later replaced by current Basilica

1095 – The Council of Clermont, called by Pope Urban II to discuss sending the First Crusade to the Holy Land, begins.

1307 – According to legend, William Tell shoots an apple off of his son’s head

1421 – A seawall at the Zuiderzee dike breaks, flooding 72 villages and killing about 10,000 people in the Netherlands.

1477 – William Caxton produced “Dictes or Sayengis of the Philosophres,” which was the first book to be printed in England.

1497 – Bartolomeu Dias discovers Cape of Good Hope

1626 – St. Peter’s Basilica is consecrated in Rome, replacing an earlier basilica on the same site and becoming the world’s largest Christian basilica

1686 – Charles Francois Felix operates on King Louis XIV of France’s anal fistula after practicing the surgery on several peasants.

1742 – Prussia and Great Britain sign an anti-French military covenant

1745 – Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army occupy Carlisle during its invasion of England

1803 – The Battle of Vertires, the last major battle of the Haitian Revolution, is fought, leading to the establishment of the Republic of Haiti, the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere.

1820 – Captain Nathaniel Palmer became the first American to sight the continent of Antarctica.

1865 – Samuel L. Clemens published “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” under the pen name “Mark Twain” in the New York “Saturday Press.”

1883 – American and Canadian railroads institute five standard continental time zones, ending the confusion of thousands of local times.

1903 – The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty is signed by the United States and Panama, giving the Americans exclusive rights over the Panama Canal Zone.

1909 – Two United States warships are sent to Nicaragua after 500 revolutionaries (including two Americans) are executed by order of Jos Santos Zelaya.

1916 – Douglas Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force in World War I, called off the Battle of the Somme in France. The offensive began on July 1, 1916.

1918 – Latvia declares its independence from Russia.

1926 – George Bernard Shaw refuses to accept the money for his Nobel Prize, saying, “I can forgive Alfred Nobel for inventing dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.”

1928 – The first successful sound-synchronized animated cartoon premiered in New York. It was Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie,” starring Mickey Mouse.

1930 – Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai, a Buddhist association later renamed Soka Gakkai, is founded by Japanese educators Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda.

1936 – Germany and Italy recognized the Spanish government of Francisco Franco.

1940 – New York City’s Mad Bomber places his first bomb at a Manhattan office building used by Consolidated Edison.

1941 – Benito Mussolini’s Italian forces leave Abyssinia/Ethiopia, forced out by Allied attacks

1942 – Holocaust: German SS carry out selection of Jewish ghetto in Lviv, western Ukraine, arresting 5.000 “”unproductive Jews””. All get deported to the Belzec death camp.

1950 – South Korean President Syngman Rhee forced to end mass executions

1951 – Chuck Connors (Los Angeles Angels) became the first player to oppose the major league draft. Connors later became the star of the television show “The Rifleman.”

1961 – US Ranger 2 launched to Moon; failed

1963 – Push button phones are used for the first time

1964 – J Edgar Hoover describes Martin Luther King as “most notorious liar”

1966 – U.S. Roman Catholic bishops did away with the rule against eating meat on Fridays.

1969 – Apollo 12 astronauts Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr. and Alan L. Bean landed on the lunar surface during the second manned mission to the moon.

1970 – American scientist Linus Pauling declares large doses of Vitamin C could ward off colds (never proven definitively)

1973 – Arab oil ministers cancel the scheduled 5 percent cut in production for EEC

1976 – The parliament of Spain approved a bill that established a democracy after 37 years of dictatorship.

1978 – Jonestown incident: In Guyana, Jim Jones leads his Peoples Temple cult in a mass murder-suicide that claims 918 lives in all, 909 of them at Jonestown itself, including over 270 children. Congressman Leo J. Ryan is assassinated by members of Peoples Temple shortly beforehand.

1982 – Duk Koo Kim dies unexpectedly from injuries sustained during a 14-round match against Ray Mancini in Las Vegas, Nevada, prompting reforms in the sport of boxing.

1983 – Argentina announced its ability to produce enriched uranium for use in nuclear weapons.

1985 – Joe Theismann (Washington Redskins) broke his leg after being hit by Lawrence Taylor (New York Giants). The injury ended Theismann’s 12 year National Football League (NFL) career.

1987 – The U.S. Congress issued the Iran-Contra Affair report. The report said that President Ronald Reagan bore “ultimate responsibility” for wrongdoing by his aides.

1988 – U.S. President Reagan signed major legislation provided the death penalty for drug traffickers who kill.

1991 – After the siege of Vukovar, the Croatian city of Vukovar capitulates to besieging Yugoslav People’s Army and allied Serb paramilitary forces.

1993 – The U.S. House of Representatives joined the U.S. Senate in approving legislation aimed at protecting abortion facilities, staff and patients.

1999 – In College Station, Texas, 12 are killed and 27 injured at Texas A&M University when a massive bonfire under construction collapses.

2003 – Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules the state’s ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional

2011 – Former Filipino President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is arrested and held at Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City under charges of electoral sabotage

2012 – Israeli Gaza rocket strikes kill 80 alleged terrorist targets

2015 – 2 female suicide bombers aged 18 and 11 blow themselves up in Kano, Nigeria, killing 15 and injuring over 100

2016 – Motoring TV series “The Grand Tour” premieres on Amazon Prime Video, starring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May

2018 – American missionary John Allen Chau killed on forbidden North Sentinel Island, Bay of Bengal by one of world’s most isolated tribe

2019 – Deforestation of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest worst since 2008, has lost 9,762 sq km (3,769 sq miles) of vegetation in 12 months according to country’s Space Agency

2020 – US COVID-19 death toll passes 250,000, recorded cases at 11.5 million, hospitalizations at 76,830 amid a country-wide surge

2021 – US judge exonerates Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Khalil Islam for the killing of Malcolm X in 1965, saying they were “wrongly convicted”, after 55 years

REFERENCE: history.net, onthisday.com, thepeopleshistory.com, timeanddate.com, scopesys.com, on-this-day.com

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