This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
November 23 is the 327th day of the year (328th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 38 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1936, the first issue of the pictorial magazine Life is published.
Life actually had its start earlier in the 20th century as a different kind of magazine: a weekly humor publication, not unlike today’s The New Yorker in its use of tart cartoons, humorous pieces and cultural reporting. When the original Life folded during the Great Depression, the influential American publisher Henry Luce bought the name and re-launched the magazine as a picture-based periodical on this day in 1936. By this time, Luce had already enjoyed great success as the publisher of Time, a weekly news magazine.
In 1936 publisher Henry Luceaid $92,000 to the owners of Life magazine because he sought the name for Time Inc. Wanting only the old Life’s name in the sale, Time Inc. sold Life’s subscription list, features, and goodwill to Judge. Convinced that pictures could tell a story instead of just illustrating text, Luce launched Life on November 23, 1936. The third magazine published by Luce, after Time in 1923 and Fortune in 1930, Life gave birth to the photo magazine in the U.S., giving as much space and importance to pictures as to words. The first issue of Life, which sold for ten cents (approximately USD $1.48 in 2007, see Cost of Living Calculator) featured five pages of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s pictures.
When the first issue of Life magazine appeared on the newsstands, the U.S. was in the midst of the Great Depression and the world was headed toward war. Adolf Hitler was firmly in power in Germany. In Spain, General Francisco Franco’s rebel army was at the gates of Madrid; German Luftwaffe pilots and bomber crews, calling themselves the Condor Legion, were honing their skills as Franco’s air arm. Italy under Benito Mussolini annexed Ethiopia. Luce ignored tense world affairs when the new Life was unveiled: the first issue depicted the Fort Peck Dam in Montana photographed by Margaret Bourke-White.
534 BC – Thespis of Icaria becomes the first actor to portray a character onstage.
1227 – Polish Prince Leszek I the White is assassinated at an assembly of Piast dukes at Gasawa.
1248 – Conquest of Seville by the Christian troops under King Ferdinand III of Castile.
1499 – Pretender to the throne Perkin Warbeck is hanged for reportedly attempting to escape from the Tower of London. He had invaded England in 1497, claiming to be the lost son of King Edward IV of England.
1531 – The Second war of Kappel results in the dissolution of the Protestant alliance in Switzerland.
1644 – John Milton publishes Areopagitica, a pamphlet decrying censorship.
1808 – French and Poles defeat the Spanish at battle of Tudela
1844 – Independence of the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein from Denmark.
1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Chattanooga begins – Union forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant reinforce troops at Chattanooga, Tennessee and counter-attack Confederate troops.
1867 – The Manchester Martyrs are hanged in Manchester, England for killing a police officer while freeing two Irish nationalists from custody.
1876 – Corrupt Tammany Hall leader William Marcy Tweed (better known as Boss Tweed) is delivered to authorities in New York City after being captured in Spain.
1889 – The first jukebox goes into operation at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco.
1890 – King William III of the Netherlands dies without a male heir and a special law is passed to allow his daughter Princess Wilhelmina to become his heir.
1903 – Governor of Colorado James Peabody sends the state militia into the town of Cripple Creek to break up a miners’ strike.
1910 – Johan Alfred Ander becomes the last person in Sweden to be executed.
1914 – Mexican Revolution: The last of U.S. forces withdraw from Veracruz, occupied seven months earlier in response to the Tampico Affair.
1918 – Heber J. Grant succeeds Joseph F. Smith as the seventh president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
1934 – An Anglo-Ethiopian boundary commission in the Ogaden discovers an Italian garrison at Walwal, well within Ethiopian territory. This leads to the Abyssinia Crisis.
1936 – The first edition of Life is published.
1940 – World War II: Romania becomes a signatory of the Tripartite Pact, officially joining the Axis Powers.
1943 – World War II: The Deutsche Opernhaus on Bismarckstraße in the Berlin neighborhood of Charlottenburg is destroyed. It will eventually be rebuilt in 1961 and be called the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
1943 – World War II: Tarawa and Makin atolls fall to American forces.
1946 – French Navy fire in Hai Phong, Viet Nam, kills 6,000 civilians.
1955 – The Cocos Islands are transferred from the control of the United Kingdom to Australia.
1959 – General Charles de Gaulle, President of France, declares in a speech in Strasbourg his vision for a “Europe, “from the Atlantic to the Urals.”
1963 – The BBC broadcasts the first ever episode of Doctor Who (starring William Hartnell) which is the world’s longest running science fiction drama.
1971 – Representatives of the People’s Republic of China attend the United Nations, including the United Nations Security Council, for the first time.
1976 – Apneist Jacques Mayol is the first man to reach a depth of 100 m undersea without breathing equipment.
1979 – In Dublin, Ireland, Provisional Irish Republican Army member Thomas McMahon is sentenced to life in prison for the assassination of Lord Mountbatten.
1980 – A series of earthquakes in southern Italy kills approximately 4,800 people.
1981 – Iran-Contra Affair: Ronald Reagan signs the top secret National Security Decision Directive 17 (NSDD-17), giving the Central Intelligence Agency the authority to recruit and support Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
1985 – Gunmen hijack EgyptAir Flight 648 while en route from Athens to Cairo. When the plane lands in Malta, Egyptian commandos storm the hijacked jetliner, but 60 people die in the raid.
1990 – The first all woman expedition to the south pole (3 Americans, 1 Japanese and 12 Russians), sets off from Antarctica on the 1st leg of a 70 day, 1287 kilometre ski trek.
1996 – Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 is hijacked, then crashes into the Indian Ocean off the coast of Comoros after running out of fuel, killing 125.
2001 – Convention on Cybercrime is signed in Budapest, Hungary.
2003 – Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze resigns following weeks of mass protests over flawed elections.
2005 – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is elected president of Liberia and becomes the first woman to lead an African country.
2006 – A series of bombing kills at least 215 people and injured 257 others in Sadr City, making it the second deadliest sectarian attack since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003.
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 were no fatalities.
2009 – The Maguindanao massacre occurs in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, Mindanao, Philippines
* Christian Feast Day
o Alexander Nevsky (Repose, Russian Orthodox Church)
o Pope Clement I (Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, and the Lutheran Church)
o Buy Nothing Day (United States)
* Feast of Qawl (Speech) – First day of the 14th month of the Baha’i calendar. (Baha’i Faith)
* Labour Thanksgiving Day (Japan)
* Rudolf Maister Day (Slovenia)
* St George’s Day or Giorgoba (Georgia)