November 5


1499: The first French dictionary and the first Breton dictionary, the Catholicon, was published in Tréguier, Brittany, France. This Breton-French-Latin dictionary was written in 1464 by Jehan Lagadeuc (age unknown).

1838: The Federal Republic of Central America began to disintegrate when Nicaragua separated from the Federation.
1925: British secret agent Sidney Reilly (born 1873 as Georgi Rosenblum), the first “super-spy” of the 20th century, was executed by the OGPU, the secret police of the Soviet Union. (Author Ian Fleming, 1908-1964, used Reilly as a model for his James Bond character.)

1940: President Franklin Roosevelt (1882-1945) was re-elected to a third term in office. (He remains the only president to serve more than two terms.)

2007: China’s first lunar satellite, Chang’e 1, went into orbit around the Moon. Google unveiled its Android mobile operating system.


November 6

2948 B.C.: Noah of Noah’s Ark fame was born.

1528: Shipwrecked Spanish conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (1488-1558) became the first known European to set foot in Texas.

1789: Pope Pius VI (1717-1799) appointed Father John Carroll (1735-1815) as the first Catholic bishop in the United States.

1861: Jefferson Davis (1807-1889) was elected president of the Confederate States of America. (Davis is widely regarded as being almost single-handedly responsible for the South’s ultimate defeat because of his political and military ineptness. He is also still regarded as a source of Southern pride. Go figure.)

1865: CSS Shenandoah became the last Confederate combat unit to surrender after circumnavigating the globe on a cruise, during which it sank or captured 37 unarmed merchant vessels.

1869: The first official intercollegiate football game took place in New Brunswick, N.J., when Rutgers College defeated Princeton University (then known as the College of New Jersey), 6-4.

2012: Tammy Baldwin (born 1962), a Democrat from Wisconsin, became the first openly gay politician elected to the United States Senate.


November 7

1492: The oldest meteorite with a known date of impact, the Ensisheim meteorite, slammed into a wheat field around 12 noon near the village of Ensisheim, Alsace, France.

1903: Born this day: actor Dean Jagger (White Christmas, Bad Day at Black Rock, died 1991), and actress Grace Stafford (voice of Woody Woodpecker, died 1992).

1916: Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973) of Missoula, Mont., became the first woman in the world elected to a major parliamentary body, the U.S. House of Representatives.

1918: Born this day: French Army Gen. Paul Aussaresses (died 2013), and evangelist Billy Graham.

1929: The Museum of Modern Art opened to the public in New York City.

1938: Born this day: R&B singer-songwriter Dee Clark (“Raindrops,” died 1990), and actor Barry Newman (Vanishing Point, Petrocelli, The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side).

1989: Douglas Wilder (born 1931) won the governor race in Virginia to become the first elected African American governor in the United States. David Dinkins (born 1927) became the first African American mayor of New York City.

1990: Mary Robinson (born 1944) became the first woman elected president of the Republic of Ireland.

1991: Basketball legend Magic Johnson (born 1959)  announced he was infected with HIV, and retired.

1994: WXYC, the student radio station of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, began streaming the world’s first internet radio broadcast.

2000: Hillary Rodham Clinton (born 1947) of New York was elected to the U.S. Senate, becoming the first former First Lady to win public office in the United States. (She still retains the honorary tile of First Lady.)

2002: Iran banned advertising of U.S. products.


November 8

1519: Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés (1485-1547) entered the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlán, and Aztec ruler Montezuma (1466-1520) welcomed him with a great celebration. (Big mistake.)

1630: An immense flock of passenger pigeons darkened the skies over Boston.

1793: The Louvre opened in Paris.

1837: Mary Lyon (1797-1849) founded Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, Mass. (It later became Mount Holyoke College.)

1847: Born this day: 6th President of France Jean Casimir-Perier (died 1907), and Irish author Bram Stoker (Dracula, died 1912).

1864: Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was elected to a second term.

1889: Montana was admitted to the United States as the 41st state.

1895: German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (1845-1923) became the first person to observe x-rays.

1898: An insurrection in Wilmington, N.C., became the only instance of a coup d’etat in U.S. history, when white Democratic insurgents overthrew the biracial, legitimately elected local government.

1917: In Moscow, Russia, the People’s Commissars conferred authority to Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924), Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), and Joseph Stalin (1878-1953).

1927: Born this day: jazz singer Chris Connor (“Pennies from Heaven,” “Wish You Were Here,” died 2009); English actor-singer Ken Dodd (Dr. Who, “Tears”); and pop singer Patti Page (“Tennessee Waltz,” “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window,” died 2013).

1931: Born this day: child actress Darla Hood (Our Gang, died 1979); and TV journalist Morley Safer (60 Minutes).

November 9

1620: Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower sighted land for the first time at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

1857: The Atlantic monthly magazine was first published in Boston, Massachusetts. (It soon achieved a national reputation as a high-quality review with a moderate worldview. It continues to this day.)

1960: John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) defeated Richard Nixon (1913-1994) in one of the closest presidential elections of the 20th century, and became the 35th president of the United States. (Kennedy won Illinois, and its electoral votes that swung the election in his favor, by about 6,000 votes delivered by the Chicago mob, which had connections to his father.)

1967: The first issue of Rolling Stone Magazine was published, in New York City.

1985: Garry Kasparov, 22, of the Soviet Union, became the youngest World Chess Champion by beating Anatoly Karpov, Ph.D., 34, also of the Soviet Union.

1989: East German authorities opened the Berlin Wall, allowing travel between East and West Germany for the first time since 1961. Revelers began tearing down the wall the next day. (This event led to the eventual reunification of East and West Germany, and the fall of communism in eastern Europe including Russia.)

1994: The synthetic chemical element Darmstadtium (atomic weight 110) was discovered by the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Darmstadt-Wixhausen, Germany.

1998: A U.S. federal judge ordered 37 brokerage houses to pay $1.03 billion to cheated NASDAQ investors to compensate for price-fixing. (This was the largest civil settlement in United States history to date.)

2009: A record high temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded in Manchester, N.H.




November 10


1775: The U.S. Marine Corps was founded at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia by Samuel Nicholas (1744-1790), considered to be the first Commandant of the Marine Corps.

1992: The General Synod of the Church of England voted to allow women to become priests.

2008: RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) set sail on her final voyage, to Dubai.

November 12

1439: Plymouth, England, became the first town incorporated by the English Parliament.


November 11


1945: Born this day: Rock guitarists Chris Dreja (The Yardbirds), and Vince Martell (Vanilla Fudge); and Daniel Ortega, president of Nicaragua (in office 1985-1990, 2007- ).

1951: Born this day: actor Bill Moseley (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2); U.S. savant Kim Peek (inspiration for Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man, died 2009); and  TV host Marc Summers, (Double Dare, Nickelodeon Family Double Dare).

1960: Born this day: actors Peter Parros (As The World Turns), and Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada, Julie & Julia, The Hunger Games).

1972: Born this day: actors Adam Beach (Walker, Texas Ranger, Joe Dirt), and Tyler Christopher (General Hospital).

1947: The Soviet Union completed development of the AK-47, the first assault rifle. Born this day: guitarist and songwriter Toy Caldwell (The Marshall Tucker Band, died 1993); and actor Joe Mantegna (Three Amigos,  The Godfather Part III).

1953: Born this day: actress Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under, American Horror Story); English drummer Andrew Ranken (The Pogues); and actress Tracy Scoggins (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Dynasty, The Colbys, Babylon 5).

1954: Born this day: Sun Microsystems founder Scott McNealy, and actor Chris Noth (Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Sex and the City).

1956: The U.S. Supreme Court declared Alabama laws requiring segregated buses illegal, ending the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Born this day: Ginger Alden (Elvis Presley’s last girlfriend; she found him dead), and actor Rex Linn (CSI: Miami).