November’s History

In Latin, the word novem means nine. November was indeed the ninth month of the year before Julius Caesar added in January and February to the calendar. The Anglo-Saxons called it Blōtmōnaþ, which means Sacrifice Month, because this was the month for sacrificing cattle to the gods. Source

In 1605, a man named Guy Fawkes, along with several other co-conspirators, developed a plot to kill King James of England by blowing up the Parliament house in order to reinstall Catholicism in the monarchy. On November 5th, the plot was foiled, and Guy Fawkes was found hiding in a room below the Parliament house with barrels of gunpowder, and was arrested and eventually executed. Every November 5th in England is celebrated with large bonfires and festivities, to commemorate when the king was not murdered. Source

In 1621, the first Thanksgiving celebration was held in New Plymouth. It was held as a feast from a successful harvest, a sign that the Pilgrims could survive in the new world. According to the commonly accepted records, there were fifty Pilgrims in attendance, all that had survived from the Mayflower, and 90 Native Americans from the Wampanoag tribe. This was a time of peace between settlers and Native Americans, a peace that would not last. Now, the Thanksgiving holiday and feast is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Source

In 1718, the famous pirate Blackbeard of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, otherwise known as Edward Teach, was killed. He had been actively pirating for about two years, which, for a pirate, was considered a successful career. Blackbeard was killed on Ocracoke Island off the coast of North Carolina, by British Lieutenant Robert Maynard and his crew via being shot five times and cut with swords about twenty times. Between ten and twelve of Blackbeard’s men were also killed in the battle, along with between eight and eleven soldiers. Source

In 1863, the Gettysburg Address was delivered by Abraham Lincoln. This took place during the Civil War, on the 19th of November. A speaker preceding Lincoln spoke for two hours, while Lincoln himself only spoke for around two minutes. However, Lincoln’s speech dedicating the area to soldiers who died in the civil war and bringing up the values of the Declaration of Independence has become one of the most influential in American history. Source

In 1918, the first Veterans Day was celebrated on November 11th, the day that World War I was officially ended with the Armistice with Germany being put into place. Later, in 1938, it became a legally recognized holiday to honor everyone who has served in the American military. Officially, Veterans Day is spelled without an apostrophe because it is not their day, but rather a day to celebrate veterans. Source

In 1922, the tomb of Egyptian King Tutankhamun, or King Tut, was discovered by Howard Carter, a British archaeologist. This was the result of years of systematic searching through Egypt, after discovering King Tut existed, but not being able to find him. On November 4th, Howard Carter and his men found steps into the tomb in the Valley of Kings, located in Luxor, Egypt. King Tut became king in 1333 B.C., when he was nine or ten. He ruled for ten years, before dying young but honored. Source  Source

In 1938, Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, happened across Germany. This was when the Nazis retaliated against the assassination of a German official by a Jewish teenager. Beginning the night of November 9th, and lasting the next couple of days, Nazis destroyed Jewish businesses, places of worship, hospitals, homes, cemeteries, and schools. They killed dozens of Jewish people, and arrested and sent over 30,000 to concentration camps. Source

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding a motorcade through downtown Dallas, Texas. He was hit twice from a nearby building. Fifteen doctors worked to save him, but he died shortly after the attack. Governor John Connally was also hit, but survived. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and found guilty for the assassination, but was also shot before he could go to jail. Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president the same day. Source

In 1978, 918 people died in a mass suicide, the largest in history. They were members of a cult called “The Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ”, led by Reverend Jim Jones and focusing on Christianity, communism, and racial equality. It started in Indianapolis, Indiana, but eventually moved to the country Guyana, in South America. On November 19th, after the cult had faced investigations for abuse of members, Jones ordered every cult member in attendance to drink cyanide. Those who refused were injected by force, leading to 918 people’s deaths. Source

In 1989, the Berlin Wall, a symbol of a divided Germany, was torn down. The wall had been up for 28 years, separating Western Germany from Eastern Germany, which had been taken over by Joseph Stalin. This wall became the literal Iron Curtain, marking the divide between communism and capitalism in Europe. While it was up, over 5,000 people attempted to cross it, 200 people losing their lives in the process. On November 9th, after weeks of protests and civil disobedience, Eastern Germany decided to lift the ban on crossing the wall, resulting in it being torn down over the course of three years. Source