This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
November 12 is the 316th day of the year (317th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 49 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1775, Upon hearing of England’s rejection of the so-called Olive Branch Petition on this day in 1775, Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John:
The intelegance you will receive before this reaches you, will I should think make a plain path, tho a dangerous one for you. I could not join to day in the petitions of our worthy parson, for a reconciliation between our, no longer parent State, but tyrant State, and these Colonies. — Let us seperate, they are unworthy to be our Breathren. Let us renounce them and instead of suplications as formorly for their prosperity and happiness, Let us beseach the almighty to blast their counsels and bring to Nought all their devices.
The previous July, Congress had adopted the Olive Branch Petition, written by John Dickinson, which appealed directly to King George III and expressed hope for reconciliation between the colonies and Great Britain. Dickinson, who hoped desperately to avoid a final break with Britain, phrased colonial opposition to British policy as follows:
“Your Majesty’s Ministers, persevering in their measures, and proceeding to open hostilities for enforcing them, have compelled us to arm in our own defence, and have engaged us in a controversy so peculiarly abhorrent to the affections of your still faithful Colonists, that when we consider whom we must oppose in this contest, and if it continues, what may be the consequences, our own particular misfortunes are accounted by us only as parts of our distress.”
Abigail Adams’ response was a particularly articulate expression of many colonists’ thoughts: Patriots had hoped that Parliament had curtailed colonial rights without the king’s full knowledge, and that the petition would cause him to come to his subjects’ defense. When George III refused to read the petition, Patriots like Adams realized that Parliament was acting with royal knowledge and support. Americans’ patriotic rage was intensified with the January 1776 publication by English-born radical Thomas Paine of Common Sense, an influential pamphlet that attacked the monarchy, which Paine claimed had allowed “crowned ruffians” to “impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears.”
764 – Tibetan troops occupy Chang’an, the capital of the Chinese Tang Dynasty, for fifteen days.
1028 – Future Byzantine empress Zoe marries Romanus Argyrus according to the wishes of the dying Constantine VIII.
1439 – Plymouth, England, becomes the first town incorporated by the English Parliament.
1555 – The English Parliament re-establishes Catholicism.
1793 – Jean Sylvain Bailly, the first Mayor of Paris, is guillotined.
1847 – Sir James Young Simpson, a British physician, is the first to use chloroform as an anaesthetic.
1892 – William “Pudge” Heffelfinger becomes the first professional American football player on record, participating in his first paid game for the Allegheny Athletic Association.
1893 – The treaty of the Durand Line is signed between present day Pakistan and Afghanistan – the Durand Line has gained international recognition as an international border between the two nations.
1905 – Norway holds a referendum in favor of monarchy over republic.
1912 – The frozen bodies of Robert Scott and his men are found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
1918 – Austria becomes a republic.
1920 – Italy and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes sign the Treaty of Rapallo.
1927 – Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in undisputed control of the Soviet Union.
1933 – Hugh Gray takes the first known photos of the Loch Ness Monster.
1936 – In California, the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge opens to traffic.
1938 – Hermann Goring proposes plans to make Madagascar the “Jewish homeland”, an idea that actually is first considered by 19th century journalist Theodor Herzl.
1941 – World War II: The Soviet cruiser Chervona Ukraina is destroyed during the Battle of Sevastopol.
1942 – World War II: The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal between Japanese and American forces begins near Guadalcanal. The battle lasts for three days.
1944 – World War II: The Royal Air Force launches 29 Avro Lancaster bombers in one of the most successful precision bombing attacks of war and sinks the German battleship Tirpitz, with 12,000 lb Tallboy bombs off Tromsø, Norway.
1948 – In Tokyo, an international war crimes tribunal sentences seven Japanese military and government officials, including General Hideki Tojo, to death for their roles in World War II.
1956 – Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia join the United Nations.
1958 – A team of rock climbers led by Warren Harding completes the first ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.
1968 – Equatorial Guinea joins the United Nations.
1968 – Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District argued before the Supreme Court.
1969 – Vietnam War: My Lai Massacre – Independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh breaks the My Lai story.
1970 – The Oregon Highway Division attempts to destroy a rotting beached Sperm whale with explosives, leading to the now infamous “exploding whale” incident.
1970 – The 1970 Bhola cyclone makes landfall on the coast of East Pakistan becoming the deadliest tropical cyclone in history.
1971 – Vietnam War: As part of Vietnamization, US President Richard M. Nixon sets February 1, 1972 as the deadline for the removal of another 45,000 American troops from Vietnam.
1975 – The Comoros joins the United Nations.
1978 – As Bishop of Rome Pope John Paul II takes possession of his Cathedral Church, the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
1979 – Iran hostage crisis: In response to the hostage situation in Tehran, US President Jimmy Carter orders a halt to all petroleum imports into the United States from Iran.
1980 – The NASA space probe Voyager I makes its closest approach to Saturn and takes the first images of its rings.
1981 – Space Shuttle program: Mission STS-2, utilizing the Space Shuttle Columbia, marks the first time a manned spacecraft is launched into space twice.
1982 – In the Soviet Union, Yuri Andropov becomes the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee, succeeding Leonid I. Brezhnev.
1982 – Lech Walesa, a Solidarity leader, is released from a Polish prison after eleven months.
1990 – Crown Prince Akihito is formally installed as Emperor Akihito of Japan, becoming the 125th Japanese monarch.
1990 – Tim Berners-Lee publishes a formal proposal for the World Wide Web.
1991 – Dili Massacre, Indonesian forces open fire on a crowd of student protesters in Dili, East Timor.
1993 – Decree of President of Kazakhstan “About introducing national currency of Republic of Kazakhstan” is issued.
1996 – A Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 and a Kazakh Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane collide in mid-air near New Delhi, killing 349. The deadliest mid-air collision to date.
1997 – Ramzi Yousef is found guilty of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
1998 – Vice President Al Gore signs the Kyoto Protocol.
1998 – Daimler-Benz completes a merger with Chrysler to form Daimler-Chrysler.
1999 – The Duzce earthquake strikes Turkey with a magnitude of 7.2 on the Richter scale.
2001 – In New York City, American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300 en route to the Dominican Republic, crashes minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 260 on board and five on the ground.
2001 – Attack on Afghanistan: Taliban forces abandon Kabul, Afghanistan, ahead of advancing Afghan Northern Alliance troops.
2003 – Iraq war: In Nasiriya, Iraq, at least 23 people, among them the first Italian casualties of the 2003 Iraq war, are killed in a suicide bomb attack on an Italian police base.
2003 – Shanghai Transrapid sets up a new world speed record (501 kilometres per hour (311 mph)) for commercial railway systems.
2006 – The region of South Ossetia holds a referendum on independence from Georgia.