Category Archives: This Day in History

December 8th: SpaceX Becomes the First Non-Government Entity to Launch a Spacecraft Into Orbit and Recover the Craft

This Day In History: December 8, 2010 On this day just one year ago, SpaceX became the first privately held entity to successfully launch a spacecraft into orbit and then subsequently recover it (they were also the first private company to launch something in orbit with a liquid-fueled vehicle around a year earlier when their Falcon 1 rocket put a […]

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December 5: Prohibition Officially Ends in the United States

This Day In History: December 5, 1933 On this day in history, 1933, Prohibition officially ended when Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment, originally proposed by Congress on February 20, 1933.  Once ratified, this constitutional amendment repealed the 18 Amendment.  The 18th Amendment, passed in 1919, banned the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in […]

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December 4th: The Mary Celeste is Found Completely Abandoned Yet Still Containing All Its Cargo, Plenty of Food and Water, and Still Under Sail. The Crew Were Never Seen Again

This Day In History: December 4, 1872 On this day in 1872, the crew of the British craft Dei Gratia spotted the Mary Celeste (originally named The Amazon before being purchased and rechristened) still under sail, but yawing slightly.  Upon closer inspection, they observed that no members of the crew were on deck.  After several hours of watching from a […]

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December 2nd: The First Man-Made Self Sustainable Nuclear Chain Reaction is Initiated

This Day In History: Dec 2, 1942 On this day in history, at 3:25 pm CST, 1942, as part of the Manhattan Project, famed physicist and Nobel Prize winner Enrico Fermi, the “father of the atomic bomb”, and his team successfully started the word’s first man-made self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction on a racquetball court under the west stands of Stagg […]

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December 1st: Rosa Parks is Arrested for Refusing to Give Up Her Seat on the Bus to a White Man

This Day In History: December 1, 1955 On this day in history in 1955, Rosa Parks’ simple act of refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama sparks the Montgomery Bus Boycott which in turn stimulates the Civil Rights Movement. It also vaulted Martin Luther King, Jr. into the national spotlight as […]

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November 30th: A Meteorite Hits a Woman Napping in Her Home, Making Her the First Known Human to Be Struck by an Extraterrestrial Object

This Day In History: November 30, 1954 On this date in history in 1954 a meteorite hit 31 year old Ann Elizabeth Hodges who was napping in the living room of her home at the time.  This made her the first known human being to be struck by an extraterrestrial object. Somewhat humorously, Hodges lived across the street from the […]

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November 28th: Former Scrap-Metal Dealer, Louis B. Mayer, Who Later Helped Form MGM, Opens His First Movie Theater

This Day In History: November 28, 1907: On this day in 1907, scrap-metal dealer Louis B. Mayer, who was struggling to make ends meet with his scrap-metal business, purchased an old 600 seat burlesque house in Massachusetts and re-opened it as a movie theater he named the “Orpheum”.  His first theater was such a success that within a few years, […]

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November 26th: The Second Triumvirate with Caesar Augustus, Marcus Lepidus, and Mark Antony is Formed, Marking the End of Rome as a Republic

This Day In History: November 26, 43 BC On this day in 43 BC, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, (also known as Caesar Augustus) the great nephew of Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus formed the political alliance that became known as the “Second Triumvirate”, which officially ended the days of Rome as a Republic.  Before their alliance, the […]

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November 24: A Man Calling Himself Dan Cooper Hijacks a Plane, Collects His Ransom, then Parachutes from it and is Never Heard from Again

This Day In History: November 24, 1971 An unidentified man referred to as D.B. Cooper hijacked a Boeing 727 airplane between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.   Cooper bought a one-way ticket on a Northwest Orient Airlines, Flight 305 to Seattle, Washington leaving Portland, Oregon at 2:50 p.m.  He brought with him aboard the plane a black suit-case supposedly containing a […]

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November 23: Thespis of Icaria Becomes the World’s First Actor

This Day In History: November 23, 534 BC November 23 marks the traditional date when the first ever human being to take the stage and portray someone else other than himself took place.  This person, according to various sources, most notably Aristotle, was a man named Thespis of Icaria. (which is also where we get the word “thespian”, meaning “actor”)  […]

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November 21: Two Frenchman Make the World’s First Untethered Manned Hot Air Balloon Flight

This Day In History: November 21, 1783 In Paris, France, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes made the first untethered manned flight in a Montgolfier hot air balloon.  After several practice runs to get the feel for how to work the balloon, de Rozier and d’Arlandes finally made their first untethered flight leaving at 2:00 p.m. from the […]

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November 20th: A 160,000 Pound Sperm Whale Destroys the Whaling Ship, Essex, an Event that Partly Inspired the Novel Moby Dick

This Date in History: November 20, 1820 On this date in 1820, an estimated 80 ton sperm whale attacked and destroyed the whaling ship, Essex, an event that partly inspired the novel Moby Dick.  Sailing around 2,000 miles west of South America, the crew of the Essex encountered a huge whale, which they claimed was around 85 feet long, though […]

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November 19th: Abraham Lincoln Delivers the Gettysburg Address

This Day In History: November 19, 1863 Abraham Lincoln was invited to the dedication ceremony of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, not as the primary speaker, but simply to follow famed orator and U.S. Senator Edward Everett.  Everett first gave a well received speech that lasted around two hours; Lincoln then got up and gave his now famous address which was […]

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November 18th: The U.S. and Canadian Railroads Institute a Five Standard Time Zone System that Eventually Becomes the Official Standard Time System

This Day In History: November 18, 1883 The U.S. and Canadian railroads instituted a five standard continental time zone system on November 18, 1883, “The Day of Two Noons”, marking the beginning of the end for thousands of local times that were used by cities across North America at that point. Just one year later, 85% of all cities in […]

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November 17: Earth’s First Successfull Landing of a Remote Controlled Roving Robot on Another Astronomical Object

This Day In History: November 17, 1970 The Soviet Union successfully landed a remote controlled roving robot on the moon, making it the first roving robot from Earth to land on another astronomical object.  The robot was the Lunokhod 1, designed by Alexander Kemurdjian.  It was  launched during the Soviet Luna program, which ran from 1959-1976.  More specifically, the Lunokhod […]

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November 16th: LSD is First Synthesized by Dr. Albert Hofmann

This Day In History: November 16th LSD, more technically known as Lysergic acid diethylamide was first synthesized on November 16th, 1938 by Swiss scientist Dr. Albert Hofmann.  Dr. Hofmann was working at the Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland researching ergot alkaloid derivatives for use in pharmaceuticals.  Ergot alkaloid’s are a type of ergoline alkaloid which is found in a certain type […]

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