Today In History….November 20

On this day in . . .

  1789, New Jersey becomes the first U.S. state to ratify the Bill of Rights 

  1820, an 80-ton whale attacks the Essex (a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts) 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America (Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby-Dick was in part inspired by this story) 

  1910, Francisco I. Madero issues the Plan de San Luis Potosi, denouncing President Porfirio Diaz, declaring himself president, and calling for a revolution to overthrow the government of Mexico, effectively starting the Mexican Revolution

  1917, Battle of Cambrai begins when British forces make early progress in an attack on German positions but are later pushed back. ALSO: Ukraine is declared a republic

  1929, the radio program “The Rise of the Goldbergs” debuted on the NBC Blue Network

  1940, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia join the Axis Powers

  1943, the Battle of Tarawa (Operation Galvanic) begins when United States Marines land on Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands and suffer heavy fire from Japanese shore guns and machine guns

  1945, trials against 24 Nazi war criminals, ym”sh, start at the Nuremberg Palace of Justice

  1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis ends when in response to the Soviet Union’s agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy stops the quarantine of the Caribbean nation

  1967, the census clock at the Commerce Department ticked past 200 million

  1968, eleven men comprising a Long Range Patrol team from F Company, 58th Infantry, 101st Airborne are surrounded and nearly wiped out by North Vietnamese army regulars from the 4th and 5th Regiment. The seven wounded survivors are rescued after several hours by an impromptu force made of other men from their unit

  1974, the United States Department of Justice files its final anti-trust suit against AT&T. This suit later leads to the break up of AT&T and its Bell System

  1975, Francisco Franco, Caudillo of Spain dies after 36 years in power. He died, symbolically, on the 39th anniversary of the death of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera

  1985, Microsoft Windows 1.0 is released

  1989, the start of the Velvet Revolution, when the number of protesters assembled in Prague, Czechoslovakia swells from 200,000 the day before to an estimated half-million

  1994, the Angolan government and UNITA rebels sign the Lusaka Protocol in Zambia, ending 19 years of civil war (localized fighting resumed the next year)

  1998, a court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declares accused terrorist Osama bin Laden “a man without a sin” in regard to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. ALSO: Forty-six states embraced a $206 billion settlement with cigarette makers over health costs for treating sick smokers. AND: President Clinton wrapped up a visit to Japan and flew to South Korea. ADDITIONALLY:  Israel turned over an additional 2 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians

  2001, in Washington, D.C., U.S. President George W. Bush dedicates the United States Department of Justice headquarters building as the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Building, honoring the late Robert F. Kennedy on what would have been his 76th birthday 

  2003, suicide bombers, practitioners of that “religion of peace”, blew up trucks in Istanbul, Turkey, at the British consulate and at a London-based bank, killing 32 people

  2007, scientists in Japan and the U.S. reported creating the equivalent of embryonic stem cells from ordinary skin cells

  2009, Hamid Karzai was sworn in to begin his second five-year term as president of Afghanistan, vowing his army would have full control of the country’s security by the time he leaves office

   2010, the Federal Drug Administration banned the U.S. sale of popular painkillers Darvon and Darvocet and other drugs containing the ingredient propoxyphene because of what the FDA said was new proof of heart-problem side effects 

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