21 November 2017

Robert Mugabe formally resigns as President of Zimbabwe, after thirty-seven years in office.

Robert Mugabe (1924-2019) was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who played a significant role in the country’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule. He was born on February 21, 1924, in what was then Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Mugabe’s early political activism began in the 1960s when he joined the National Democratic Party and later the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).

The liberation war against white-minority rule in Rhodesia, led by various nationalist groups, including ZANU, resulted in the establishment of an independent Zimbabwe in 1980. Mugabe became the country’s first prime minister after the elections that year, and he later assumed the role of president in 1987 when the position was created.

During his early years as leader, Mugabe was praised for his efforts to reconcile the divided nation and for his policies aimed at education and healthcare. However, over time, his leadership became increasingly controversial. His government faced allegations of human rights abuses, electoral fraud, and economic mismanagement.

One of the most contentious aspects of Mugabe’s rule was the controversial land reform program that began in the early 2000s. The government initiated a program of land seizures, redistributing white-owned commercial farms to landless black Zimbabweans. While the move was intended to address historical injustices and socioeconomic imbalances, it resulted in a sharp decline in agricultural production and economic instability.

Mugabe’s leadership was marked by authoritarian tendencies, and his government faced criticism for suppressing political opposition and restricting press freedom. The economy deteriorated significantly, and Zimbabwe experienced hyperinflation, unemployment, and poverty.

In 2017, facing increasing pressure, including the threat of impeachment, Mugabe resigned from the presidency after nearly four decades in power. His departure marked the end of an era in Zimbabwean politics. Mugabe passed away on September 6, 2019, in Singapore, at the age of 95. His legacy remains complex, with opinions on his rule divided between those who see him as a liberation hero and others who criticize his later years in power.

20 November 1969

Occupation of Alcatraz: Native American activists seize control of Alcatraz Island until being ousted by the U.S. Government on June 11, 1971.

The Occupation of Alcatraz in 1971 was a significant event in Native American activism and the broader civil rights movement. On November 20, 1969, a group of Native American activists, calling themselves the Indians of All Tribes (IOAT), occupied the abandoned Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, which was the site of the notorious Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary.

The activists, led by individuals such as Richard Oakes, LaNada Means, and John Trudell, claimed that the occupation was a symbolic act to reclaim land that was rightfully theirs under the terms of the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868), which stated that surplus federal land would be returned to Native tribes. The Alcatraz Island had been declared surplus federal property in 1964.

The occupiers argued that the federal government should honor the treaty and turn the island into a center for Native American studies, cultural preservation, and community development. They believed that the unused federal land could be repurposed for the betterment of Native American communities.

The occupation garnered widespread attention and support, both from Native Americans across the country and from various activists sympathetic to their cause. The activists faced numerous challenges, including harsh weather conditions, lack of sanitation facilities, and legal actions taken by the federal government to remove them from the island.

Over time, the occupation brought attention to the broader issues faced by Native American communities, such as land rights, cultural preservation, and socioeconomic challenges. Although the occupation of Alcatraz ultimately ended in June 1971, it is often considered a pivotal moment in Native American activism, paving the way for future protests and movements advocating for indigenous rights and recognition.

19 November 1969

Association football player Pelé scores his 1,000th goal.

Pelé, whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is a retired Brazilian football (soccer) player widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He was born on October 23, 1940, in Três Corações, Brazil.

Pelé began his professional career at a young age, joining the Santos Football Club in Brazil in 1956. His remarkable skills and goal-scoring ability quickly gained attention, and he became a key player for both Santos and the Brazilian national team.

One of Pelé’s most notable achievements came in 1958 when, at the age of 17, he played a crucial role in leading Brazil to victory in the FIFA World Cup held in Sweden. Pelé scored a hat-trick in the semifinal against France and two more goals in the final against Sweden, helping Brazil win their first World Cup title. He remains the youngest player ever to score in a World Cup final.

Pelé went on to win two more World Cups with Brazil in 1962 and 1970. In the 1962 World Cup held in Chile, he suffered an injury in the second match and could not continue playing, but Brazil still went on to win the tournament. In the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, Pelé was a key figure in Brazil’s success, scoring four goals in total and helping his team secure their third World Cup title.

Throughout his career, Pelé scored over 1,000 professional goals and achieved numerous records. He played for Santos until 1974 when he joined the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League (NASL), contributing to the growth of football in the United States. Pelé retired from professional football in 1977.

Beyond his on-field success, Pelé has become a global ambassador for football and has been involved in various charitable and humanitarian efforts. His impact on the sport and his legacy as one of the greatest football players ever continue to be celebrated worldwide.

18 November 1905

Prince Carl of Denmark becomes King Haakon VII of Norway.

King Haakon VII of Norway, born Prince Carl of Denmark, was the first monarch of Norway following its declaration of independence from Sweden in 1905.

Birth and Early Life:
Haakon VII was born as Prince Christian Frederik Carl Georg Valdemar Axel on August 3, 1872, in Charlottenlund Palace, Denmark.
He was the second son of King Frederick VIII of Denmark and Princess Louise of Denmark.

Selection as Norwegian King:
In 1905, when Norway sought to dissolve the union with Sweden and become an independent kingdom, the Norwegian government offered the throne to Prince Carl of Denmark.
The Norwegian people voted in a referendum in favor of establishing a monarchy, and Prince Carl accepted the offer.

Name Change:
Upon his accession to the Norwegian throne on November 18, 1905, Prince Carl took the Norwegian name Haakon and became King Haakon VII.

Role During World War II:
King Haakon VII played a crucial symbolic role during the German occupation of Norway in World War II. When the Germans invaded Norway in 1940, the Norwegian government and royal family fled to London.
King Haakon became a symbol of Norwegian resistance, and his refusal to collaborate with the Nazi regime boosted the morale of the Norwegian people.

Return to Norway:
After the liberation of Norway in 1945, King Haakon returned to Oslo amid great celebrations. His return marked the restoration of the Norwegian monarchy and the continuity of the constitutional monarchy.

Constitutional Monarch:
Throughout his reign, King Haakon VII adhered to the constitutional principles of Norway, which limited the monarch’s powers. He respected the democratic institutions and played a largely ceremonial and symbolic role.

Death and Legacy:
King Haakon VII reigned until his death on September 21, 1957.
His son, Olav V, succeeded him as the King of Norway.
King Haakon VII is remembered for his role in Norway’s transition to independence, his steadfast resistance against the German occupation during World War II, and his contributions to the stability and continuity of the Norwegian monarchy.

17 November 1969

Cold War: Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States meet in Helsinki, Finland to begin SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.

The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) were a series of negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War with the aim of curbing the arms race between the two superpowers. The talks primarily focused on limiting the deployment of strategic nuclear weapons. There were two rounds of SALT negotiations: SALT I and SALT II.

SALT I (1969-1972):
The SALT I negotiations began in 1969, following a period of increased tension and nuclear arms buildup between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The talks resulted in two key agreements: the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
The ABM Treaty aimed to limit the number of anti-ballistic missile systems each country could deploy, with the goal of preventing a strategic imbalance that might undermine the principle of mutually assured destruction (MAD).
The Interim Agreement established certain limits on the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) that each side could deploy.

SALT II (1972-1979):
SALT II negotiations began in the mid-1970s, building on the foundation laid by SALT I. The talks aimed to set more comprehensive limits on various types of nuclear weapons.
However, SALT II was never ratified by the U.S. Senate due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. In response to the Soviet action, the United States suspended its participation in the SALT II negotiations.
Despite the lack of formal ratification, both the United States and the Soviet Union voluntarily adhered to the terms of the SALT II agreement until 1986.

The SALT agreements represented efforts by both superpowers to manage the nuclear arms race and reduce the risk of a catastrophic conflict. While they did not eliminate the nuclear arsenals of either country, they contributed to stability by placing limits on certain types of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. The SALT process marked a significant step in the broader effort to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons during the Cold War.

16 November 1855

David Livingstone becomes the first European to see the Victoria Falls in what is now Zambia-Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls, one of the most iconic and spectacular natural wonders in the world, is located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe in southern Africa. The falls are situated on the Zambezi River, which serves as the border between the two countries.

Name and Origin:
The indigenous Tonga people named the falls “Mosi-oa-Tunya,” which translates to “The Smoke That Thunders.” This name reflects the massive spray and mist that rise from the falls, visible from a considerable distance.

Victoria Falls is approximately 1,708 meters (5,604 feet) wide and 108 meters (354 feet) tall, making it one of the widest and highest waterfalls in the world.

The falls were formed as a result of the Zambezi River plunging over the edge of the basalt plateau in a series of gorges. The main falls are known as the Devil’s Cataract, Main Falls, Rainbow Falls, and Horseshoe Falls.

Zambezi River:
The Zambezi River, originating in Zambia, flows across six countries before reaching the Indian Ocean. It is the fourth-longest river in Africa.

Adventure Activities:
Victoria Falls is a popular destination for tourists seeking adventure. Activities include bungee jumping from the Victoria Falls Bridge, white-water rafting in the Zambezi River, and helicopter flights over the falls.

Wildlife and National Parks:
The surrounding area is home to diverse wildlife, and several national parks and wildlife reserves, such as Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe, provide opportunities for safaris and wildlife viewing.

The falls are easily accessible from both the Zambian town of Livingstone and the Zimbabwean town of Victoria Falls. Livingstone Airport in Zambia and Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe serve as major entry points.

UNESCO World Heritage Site:
In 1989, Victoria Falls was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its exceptional natural beauty and ecological significance.

Water Flow:
The volume of water flowing over Victoria Falls varies throughout the year. The peak flow typically occurs during the rainy season (November to April), while the lowest flow is during the dry season (September to December).

15 November 1943

15 November 1942 – World War II: The Battle of Guadalcanal ends in a decisive Allied victory.

The Battle of Guadalcanal was a pivotal campaign in the Pacific Theater of World War II, fought between the United States and its allies against the Empire of Japan. It took place from August 7, 1942, to February 9, 1943, on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.


Strategic Importance: Guadalcanal was strategically located, and its capture would provide the Allies with a base to launch further offensives against Japanese-held territory in the Pacific.
Allied Objectives: The Allies aimed to seize control of the airfield on Guadalcanal (later known as Henderson Field) to both deny its use to the Japanese and establish it as a base for Allied aircraft.

Course of the Battle:

Initial Assault (August 7, 1942): U.S. Marines landed on Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida Island, facing little initial opposition. The Marines quickly captured the airfield, which they renamed Henderson Field.
Japanese Counterattacks: The Japanese, recognizing the strategic importance of Guadalcanal, launched a series of counterattacks by air, sea, and land.
Naval Battles: The waters around Guadalcanal saw several naval engagements, including the Battle of Savo Island (August 9, 1942) and the Battle of Guadalcanal (November 12-15, 1942). These battles were characterized by fierce fighting and heavy losses on both sides.
Land Battles: The land campaign was marked by intense jungle warfare, with both sides suffering from harsh conditions, diseases, and supply challenges. The fighting on land continued for several months.


Allied Victory: The Allies, despite facing significant challenges, managed to hold onto Guadalcanal and Henderson Field.
Turning Point: The Battle of Guadalcanal is often considered a turning point in the Pacific War. It was the first significant land victory for the Allies against the Japanese, and it marked the beginning of a shift in momentum in favor of the Allies.


Strategic Shift: The Allies gained a critical foothold in the Solomon Islands, which facilitated subsequent offensives in the Pacific.
Casualties: Both sides suffered heavy casualties, both in terms of personnel and naval assets.

14 November 2008

The first G-20 economic summit opens in Washington, D.C.

The G-20, or Group of Twenty, is a forum for international economic cooperation and decision-making. It consists of 19 individual countries and the European Union. The member countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The G-20 was established in 1999 in response to the financial crises of the late 1990s. The forum provides a platform for member countries to discuss and coordinate on international economic policies. The G-20 meetings bring together leaders from these major economies to address issues such as global financial stability, sustainable development, climate change, trade, and other economic challenges.

The G-20 Economic Summit is an annual meeting of the leaders of the G-20 nations. The summit serves as a key forum for discussing and coordinating international economic policies, addressing global challenges, and fostering cooperation among member countries. The discussions at these summits cover a wide range of topics, including macroeconomic stability, trade and investment, innovation, employment, and other issues that impact the global economy. The G-20 leaders typically issue a joint communiqué at the end of the summit, outlining their shared goals and commitments.

The G-20 has become an important platform for global economic governance, reflecting the increasing interdependence of economies and the need for coordinated efforts to address global challenges.

13 November 1947

The Soviet Union completes development of the AK-47, one of the first proper assault rifles.

The AK-47, which stands for “Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947,” is a selective-fire, gas-operated assault rifle designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It was officially adopted by the Soviet Union in 1949 and has since become one of the most widely used and recognizable firearms in the world.

Design and Development:
Mikhail Kalashnikov designed the AK-47 in the late 1940s, and it was introduced into Soviet military service in 1949.
The rifle was designed to be reliable, easy to manufacture, and effective in a variety of combat conditions.
It has a distinctive curved magazine and is chambered for the 7.62x39mm cartridge.

Operating Mechanism:
The AK-47 operates on a gas piston system with a rotating bolt. Gas from the fired cartridge is redirected through a gas tube to operate the action.
This design contributes to the rifle’s reliability in adverse conditions, such as mud, sand, and water.

The AK-47 is known for its simple and rugged construction. It is often praised for its durability and ability to function in harsh environments.
The rifle’s components are often machined or stamped, making it relatively inexpensive to manufacture.

The original AK-47 fires the 7.62x39mm cartridge, which is an intermediate cartridge. It strikes a balance between the power of full-sized rifle cartridges and the lower recoil of pistol cartridges.

The AK-47 is capable of automatic or semi-automatic fire, depending on the model. Some versions also have a three-round burst mode.
The ability to fire in fully automatic mode has contributed to the rifle’s reputation for firepower.

Global Impact:
The AK-47 and its variants have been widely used by military forces, paramilitary groups, and insurgencies around the world.
It has become a symbol of revolutionary movements and is often associated with guerrilla warfare.

Numerous variants and derivatives of the AK-47 exist, produced by various countries and manufacturers. These include the AKM, AK-74, and others.

While praised for its reliability, the AK-47 is often criticized for its comparatively lower accuracy, especially in long-range engagements.

12 November 1954

Ellis Island ceases operations

Ellis Island is a small island located in New York Harbor, near the Statue of Liberty. It played a significant role in American history as the primary entry point for immigrants arriving in the United States from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.

Immigration Station: Ellis Island served as the main federal immigration station from 1892 to 1954. During this time, over 12 million immigrants passed through its facilities. The majority of these immigrants were coming from Europe, seeking better economic opportunities and escaping political or religious persecution.

Opening and Expansion: The first immigration station on Ellis Island opened on January 1, 1892, replacing the earlier Castle Garden Immigration Depot. The original wooden buildings were soon destroyed by fire, and a new, larger brick and limestone structure was completed in 1900.

Inspection Process: Upon arrival at Ellis Island, immigrants underwent a medical and legal inspection. Medical inspections were conducted to identify and quarantine those with contagious diseases, and legal inspections aimed to determine if individuals met the criteria for admission, such as having a job or a sponsor.

The Great Hall: The Great Hall was the main processing area on Ellis Island, where immigrants were processed and interviewed. It is a large, open room that has been restored and is now part of the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.

Immigration Act of 1924: The Immigration Act of 1924 significantly reduced the number of immigrants allowed into the United States and altered the demographic makeup of those who were admitted. The act imposed quotas based on national origin, favoring immigrants from northern and western Europe over those from southern and eastern Europe.

Closure: Ellis Island’s role as an immigration processing center declined in the 1920s and 1930s, and it eventually closed in 1954. The buildings fell into disrepair until the 1980s when efforts began to restore the island and open it to the public.

National Park Service: Ellis Island is now part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and is administered by the National Park Service. The museum on the island preserves and shares the history of immigration in the United States.