This Week in History

November 24


1642: Abel Tasman (1603-1659) became the first European on record to discover Van Diemen’s Land (later renamed Tasmania), the island south of eastern Australia.

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.

1964: Born this day: actors Garret Dillahunt (No Country for Old Men, 12 Years a Slave); and Brad Sherwood (Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show).


November 25

1343: A tsunami, created by an earthquake in the Tyrrhenian Sea, devastated Naples, Italy.

1922: The first door to King Tut’s tomb was opened by Howard Carter and George Herbert. 1992: The Federal Assembly of Czechoslovakia voted to split the country into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as of Jan. 1, 1993.
November 26


1778: Captain James Cook (1728-1779) became the first known European to visit the Hawaiian islands.

1789: A national Thanksgiving Day was observed in the United States as recommended by President George Washington (1732-1799) and approved by Congress.

1842: The University of Notre Dame was founded near South Bend, Indiana.

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.)

1922: Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon became the first people to enter the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in over 3,000 years. Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

1939: Born this day: Singer-songwriter Tina Turner (Ike & Tina Turner).
1970: In Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe (Caribbean Sea), 1½ inches of rain fell in one minute, the heaviest rainfall ever recorded.

1973: Born this day: actor Peter Facinelli (Twilight series); and actress Kristin Bauer van Straten (Seinfeld).

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.


November 27

1895:, Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) signed his last will and testament in Paris, setting aside his estate to establish the Nobel Prize after his death.
1901: The U.S. Army War College was established in Carlisle, Pa.
1924: The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in New York City.
1942: Rock and roll guitarist Jimi Hendrix (died 1970) was born in Seattle. 1971: The Soviet space program’s Mars 2 orbiter malfunctioned and crashed, but still became the first man-made object to reach the surface of Mars.
2001: The Hubble Space Telescope discovered a hydrogen atmosphere on the extrasolar planet Osiris, the first atmosphere detected on an extrasolar planet.
2005: The first partial human face transplant was completed in Amiens, France.

November 28

1814: The Times in London was for the first time printed by automatic, steam powered presses built by the German inventors Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Friedrich Bauer, signaling the beginning of the availability of newspapers to a mass audience.
1859: American author Washington Irving (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle) died in Baltimore at age 76. 1895: The first American automobile race took place, from Chicago’s Jackson Park to Evanston, Ill., a distance of 54 miles. Frank Duryea (1869-1967) won in about 10 hours.

1925: The Grand Ole Opry made its radio debut in Nashville, Tenn., as WSM Barn Dance.

1962: Born this day: rock drummer Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam); actor Paul Dinello (Strangers with Candy,  The Colbert Report); and comedian Jon Stewart (The Daily Show).


November 29

1877: Thomas Edison (1847-1931) demonstrated his phonograph for the first time, in Menlo Park, N.J.

1929: U.S. Navy Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd (1885-1957) led the first expedition to fly over the South Pole.

1944: The first surgery to correct blue baby syndrome was performed by Alfred Blalock (1889-1964) and Vivien Theodore Thomas (1910-1985).
1976: Born this day: actress Anna Faris (Scary Movie, Lost in Translation); and actor Ehren McGhehey (Jackass movie series).


November 30


3340 BC: The earliest known record of a solar eclipse was carved on a stone in present-day Ireland.

1786: The Grand Duchy of Tuscany (in Italy) became the first modern state to abolish the death penalty.

1835: American author Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was born in Hannibal, Missouri.

1940: Lucille Ball married Desi Arnaz in Greenwich, Conn.

1954: A fragment of a meteorite crashed through a roof in Oak Grove, Ala., at 2:46 p.m. and hit Ann Elizabeth Hodges (1920-1972), who was taking a nap on her sofa. It became the only documented case in the United States of an extraterrestrial object injuring someone.

1982: Michael Jackson’s second solo album, Thriller, with producer Quincy Jones, was released worldwide and became the biggest-selling album worldwide, and still is to this day.

1998: Exxon and Mobil  merged in a $73.7 billion deal, creating ExxonMobil, the world’s largest company.