Last Activity: December 19, 2012
Welcome to November, which takes its name from 9th month of the ancient Roman calendar. On this date in 1755, the Great Lisbon Earthquake occurred, which was followed by a tsunami and fires. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in history with the near-total destruction of Lisbon, Portugal. Geologists estimate the earthquake was close to a magnitude 9 on the Richter scale.
Drifting up towards obscure heavenly bodies, William Lassell discovered Ariel and Umbriel, two satellites of Uranus, on this day in 1851. Back down on Earth, Annie Edson Taylor celebrated her 63rd birthday by becoming the first person to survive a barrel ride over Niagara Falls (1901), and Los Angeles reached its 18th straight day of smog ('55).
On this date in 1844, the world was supposed to come to an end in conjunction with the return of Christ, according to the American preacher William Miller, leader of the 'Millerism' movement. 'Millerites' referred to the following day as the Great Disappointment. On October 22, 1836, Sam Houston was inaugurated as the first President of the Republic of Texas, an independent state that existed between 1836 and 1845 between Mexico and America.
On this day in 1977, just three days after the release of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Street Survivors," (the album cover depicts the band standing in flames), their vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, along with a back-up singer, road manager, pilot and co-pilot were killed when their chartered single engine plane crashed in the woods of Gillsburg, Mississippi.
On this day in 1989, the deadliest earthquake to hit the San Francisco area since 1906, struck at 5:04 pm with a 7.1 magnitude. The tremor hit just before the live TV broadcast of the World Series game at Candlestick Park, and the sportscasters took on the role of news anchors. In our obscure holiday department, say hello to Four Prunes Day.
Crunch. Crunch. What's that sound? Why it's just National Chocolate Covered Insects Day-- the sugar-coated bugs are considered a delicacy in Australia, Africa and Asia. On this date in 1947, Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound, piloting a rocket-powered X-plane to a speed of Mach 1.07
On this date in 1980, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Algeria, killing over 3,000 people and leaving a staggering 300,000 Algerians homeless. Oddly, the Algerian earthquake took place exactly 200 years after the Great Hurricane of 1780 took the lives of over 20,000 people in the Caribbean. Making 10/10 even more bizarre, weather-wise, on October 10th, 1986, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake would hit El Salvador, killing 1,500 people.
On this day in 1871, the Great Chicago Fire began that left four square miles of the city in ruin. Legend has it that the fire started when a cow kicked over a lantern in Mrs. O'Leary's barn, though other theories suggest arson, or even a comet was responsible. On October 8, 1604 astronomer Johannes Kepler and others were startled by the sudden appearance of a "new star" in the western sky. It later became known as Kepler's Supernova.
Known for his powerful tales of mystery and the macabre, author Edgar Allan Poe died on this day in 1849, at the age of 40. On October 7, 1977, ninety sets of Swedish identical twins disembarked from a cruise ship to go on a shopping trip in Felixstowe, England. The twins were taking part in studies by the Karolinska Instit. in Stockholm on the links between environment and behavior.