26 November 1942

Casablanca, the movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, premieres in New York City.

“Casablanca” is a classic American romantic drama film that was released in 1942. It was directed by Michael Curtiz and produced by Hal B. Wallis. The screenplay was written by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, and Howard E. Koch, based on the play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s” by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison.

The film is set during World War II in the city of Casablanca, which is in unoccupied French Morocco. The story revolves around the character Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, who owns a popular nightclub and gambling den. His world is turned upside down when his former lover Ilsa Lund, played by Ingrid Bergman, walks into his club with her husband Victor Laszlo, a Czech resistance leader played by Paul Henreid.

The plot is filled with political intrigue, romance, and suspense as Rick is faced with difficult choices and moral dilemmas. The film explores themes of sacrifice, patriotism, and the impact of war on personal relationships. One of the most iconic aspects of the movie is its memorable quotes, such as “Here’s looking at you, kid” and “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

“Casablanca” is celebrated for its engaging storyline, memorable characters, and the chemistry between its lead actors. It became a critical and commercial success, winning three Academy Awards in 1944, including Best Picture, Best Director for Michael Curtiz, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Over the years, it has gained a reputation as one of the greatest films in the history of cinema and is often cited in discussions about classic Hollywood cinema. The enduring popularity of “Casablanca” has solidified its status as a cinematic masterpiece.

24 November 1974

Donald Johanson and Tom Gray discover the 40% complete Australopithecus afarensis skeleton, nicknamed “Lucy” (after The Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”), in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia’s Afar Depression.

The Australopithecus afarensis skeleton nicknamed “Lucy” is one of the most famous and significant fossil finds in the field of paleoanthropology. Lucy was discovered in 1974 by paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson and his team in the Afar region of Ethiopia, at a site called Hadar. The fossil is estimated to be about 3.2 million years old, dating back to the Pliocene epoch.

Here are some key features and information about the Lucy specimen:

Species Identification: Lucy belongs to the species Australopithecus afarensis, which is an extinct hominin species that is considered to be a close relative to the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees.

Age and Size: Lucy was an adult female, but her exact age at the time of death is not known. She stood about 3.5 feet (1.1 meters) tall and had a small brain, similar in size to that of a modern chimpanzee.

Bipedalism: One of the most important aspects of Lucy’s discovery is that her anatomy provided strong evidence for bipedalism, or walking on two legs. The structure of her knee and pelvis, in particular, suggested adaptations for upright walking, a key characteristic that distinguishes hominins from other primates.

Limbs and Hands: Lucy’s upper limbs had features indicative of both tree-climbing and terrestrial adaptation. Her curved fingers and long arms suggest some retention of climbing abilities, while her lower limbs, particularly the knee and pelvis, were adapted for bipedal locomotion.

Significance: Lucy’s discovery provided crucial insights into the early stages of human evolution. The evidence of bipedalism in a creature with an ape-sized brain challenged previous assumptions that a large brain was a prerequisite for walking upright. Lucy’s skeleton also played a significant role in shaping our understanding of the evolutionary transition from arboreal to terrestrial life in hominins.

The name “Lucy” was inspired by the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” which was playing at the excavation camp when the discovery was made. The find has since become an iconic symbol in the study of human evolution, and Lucy’s remains continue to contribute to our understanding of the evolutionary history of early hominins.

23 November 2007

MS Explorer, a cruise liner carrying 154 people, sinks in the Antarctic Ocean south of Argentina after hitting an iceberg near the South Shetland Islands. There are no fatalities and everyone was rescued.

The MS Explorer was not a typical cruise liner but rather a small expedition cruise ship. On November 23, 2007, the MS Explorer sank in the Antarctic Ocean. The vessel hit an iceberg near the South Shetland Islands, leading to its eventual sinking.

The ship was carrying 154 people, including passengers and crew, on a 19-day cruise to Antarctica. The collision with the iceberg caused a breach in the ship’s hull, leading to the flooding of the engine room. Despite efforts to contain the damage, the water ingress was too severe, and the decision was made to abandon ship.

Fortunately, there were no casualties, as all passengers and crew members were safely evacuated to lifeboats and later picked up by a passing cruise ship, the MV Nordnorge, and a nearby Antarctic research station. The crew and passengers endured extreme conditions in lifeboats and makeshift shelters before rescue.

The sinking of the MS Explorer highlights the challenges and risks associated with navigation in polar regions. It also underscores the importance of stringent safety measures and preparedness for extreme conditions when operating in such environments. The incident prompted discussions and reviews within the cruise industry regarding safety protocols for Antarctic and Arctic expeditions.

22 November 1963

U.S. President John F. Kennedy is assassinated and Texas Governor John Connally is seriously wounded by Lee Harvey Oswald.

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, remains a subject of much debate and speculation. The official investigation conducted by the Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in shooting Kennedy from a sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Depository. However, numerous conspiracy theories have emerged over the years, suggesting involvement of multiple individuals or groups.

Some conspiracy theories propose that there was a larger conspiracy involving the CIA, the Mafia, or other entities. Despite extensive investigations and various government inquiries, no conclusive evidence of a conspiracy has been found. The Warren Commission’s report, while widely accepted, has not dispelled all doubts and continues to be the subject of criticism and skepticism. The assassination of John F. Kennedy remains one of the most studied and debated events in modern history.

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.