November 20


1820: An 80-ton sperm whale attacked and sank the Essex, a whaling ship from Nantucket, Mass., 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America. (The 1851 novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, 1819-1891, was inspired in part by this story).

1945: The Nuremberg Trials against 24 Nazi war criminals began at the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg.

1947: Princess Elizabeth (born 1926) married Lt. Philip Mountbatten (born 1921), who became the Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in London.

1962: The Cuban missile crisis ended when the Soviet Union agreed to remove its missiles from Cuba, and President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) ended the quarantine of the Caribbean nation.

1980: Lake Peigneur, a 1,125-acre lake in Louisiana, drained into an underlying salt deposit after a misplaced Texaco oil probe drilled into the Diamond Crystal Salt Mine, causing water to flow down into the mine, eroding and expanding the edges of the hole. The resulting whirlpool sucked the drilling platform, several barges, houses and trees thousands of feet down to the bottom of the dissolving salt deposit. No humans died but three dogs were reported killed.

1985: Microsoft Windows 1.0 was released.

November 21

1877: Thomas Edison (1847-1931) unveiled his newest invention, the phonograph, a machine that could record and play sound.

1905: The scientific paper, Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?, by Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was published in the journal Annalen der Physik. This paper revealed the relationship between energy and mass, and led to the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc².

1942: Warner Bros. cartoon character “Tweety Bird” appeared for the first time in U.S. movie theaters.

the global internet.

1986: National Security Council member Col. Oliver North (born 1943) began shredding documents implicating him in the sale of weapons to Iran and channeling the proceeds to help fund the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

2014: Serena Early and Leslie Burgess of Missoula, Mont., became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Montana.


November 22


1718: British pirate Edward Teach (born 1680, best known as “Blackbeard”) was killed in battle off the coast of North Carolina, by a boarding party led by Royal Navy Lt. Robert Maynard (1684-1751).

1954: The Humane Society of the United States was founded in Washington, DC.

1963: In Dallas, Texas, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and Texas Gov. John Connally was seriously wounded. Suspect Lee Harvey Oswald was captured later that day and charged with the murder of the president and Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit.

1986: Mike Tyson defeated Trevor Berbick (1954-2006) to become youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history at age 20 years, four months and two days.

1988: The first prototype B-2 Spirit stealth bomber was unveiled by the U.S. Air Force in Palmdale, Calif.

1995: Toy Story by Pixar Animation Studios was released by Walt Disney Pictures as the first feature-length film created with only computer-generated imagery.

November 23


534 BC: Thespis of Icaria became the first person ever to appear onstage as an actor portraying a character in a play, instead of speaking as himself.

1889: The first jukebox that played phonograph records went into operation at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco.

1924: Astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) wrote in a newspaper article that the Milky Way is only one of many such galaxies in the universe.

1936: Life was first published as a photo magazine and enjoyed instant success.

1992: The first Smartphone, IBM Simon, was introduced at a computer expo in Las Vegas, Nevada.

2001: The first international treaty addressing internet crime, known as the Convention on Cybercrime, was signed in Budapest, Hungary.

November 24


1248: A mass on the north side of Mont Granier in France collapsed, in one of the largest historical rock-slope failures known in Europe. Five villages were destroyed and hundreds of people killed during the late-night collapse.

1835: The Texas Provincial Government authorized the creation of a horse-mounted police force called the Texas Rangers (now the Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety).

1859: Charles Darwin (1809-1882) published On the Origin of Species, the anniversary of which some call “Evolution Day.”

1863: Thanksgiving was celebrated for the first time as a national holiday.

1932: The FBI Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (better known as the FBI Crime Lab) officially opened in Washington, D.C.

1944: The first U.S. bombing raid from the east against the Japanese capital of Tokyo during World War II was carried out by 88 American aircraft.

1963: The first live, televised murder in history occurred when Jack Ruby (1911-1967) gunned down Lee Harvey Oswald, 24, the suspected killer of President Kennedy, in the basement of Dallas police department headquarters.

November 25


1783: The last defeated British troops left New York City, three months after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolutionary War.

1922: The first door to King Tut’s tomb was opened by Howard Carter and George Herbert.

1952: Agatha Christie’s murder-mystery play The Mousetrap opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London. It became the longest continuously-running play in history.

1984: Thirty-six famous musicians gathered in a Notting Hill studio and recorded Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia.

2009: Freak rainstorms and floods swamped the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, a country with no year-round rivers. The torrent occurred during the Hajj pilgrimage and swept away 3,000 cars, killed 122 people and left 350 others missing.

2016: Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz died in Havana, Cuba at age 90.


November 26

1863: President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed November 26 as a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated annually on the final Thursday of November. (Since 1941, it has been on the fourth Thursday.)

1942: The classic movie Casablanca premiered in Hollywood, Calif.

1970: In Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe (Caribbean Sea), 1½ inches of rain fell in one minute, the heaviest rainfall ever recorded.

2004: The last Po’ouli (Black-faced honeycreeper, Melamprosops phaeosoma) died of Avian malaria in the Maui Bird Conservation Center in Olinda, Hawaii, making the species extinct.

2006: Mexican singer Valentín Elizalde was murdered in an ambush in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, at age 27.