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 2 is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 59 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1777, the USS Ranger, with a crew of 140 men under the command of John Paul Jones, leaves Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for the naval port at Brest, France, where it will stop before heading toward the Irish Sea to begin raids on British warships. This was the first mission of its kind during the Revolutionary War.
After departing Brest, Jones successfully executed raids on two forts in England’s Whitehaven Harbor, despite a disgruntled crew more interested in “gain than honor.” Jones then continued to his home territory of Kirkcudbright Bay, Scotland, where he intended to abduct the earl of Selkirk and then exchange him for American sailors held captive by Britain. Although he did not find the earl at home, Jones’ crew was able to steal all his silver, including his wife’s teapot, still containing her breakfast tea. From Scotland, Jones sailed across the Irish Sea to Carrickfergus, where the Ranger captured the HMS Drake after delivering fatal wounds to the British ship’s captain and lieutenant.
In September 1779, Jones fought one of the fiercest battles in naval history when he led the USS Bonhomme Richard frigate, named for Benjamin Franklin, in an engagement with the 50-gun British warship HMS Serapis. After the Bonhomme Richard was struck, it began taking on water and caught fire. When the British captain of the Serapis ordered Jones to surrender, he famously replied, “I have not yet begun to fight!” A few hours later, the captain and crew of the Serapis admitted defeat and Jones took command of the British ship.
John Paul Jones (July 6, 1747 – July 18, 1792) was the United States’ first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War. Although he made enemies among America’s political elites, his actions in British waters during the Revolution earned him an international reputation which persists to this day.
Captain Jones’s is interred at the US Naval Academy in a marble and bronze sarcophagus.
410 – The Peace of Bicetre between the Armagnac and Burgundian factions is signed.
1570 – A tidal wave in the North Sea devastates the coast from Holland to Jutland, killing more than 1,000 people.
1675 – A combined effort by the Plymouth, Rhode Island, Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut colonies attacks the Great Swamp Fort, owned by the Narragansetts during King Philip’s War.
1772 – American Revolutionary War: Samuel Adams and Joseph Warren form the first Committee of Correspondence.
1783 – In Rocky Hill, New Jersey, US General George Washington gives his “Farewell Address to the Army”.
1795 – The French Directory succeeds the French National Convention as the government of Revolutionary France.
1861 – American Civil War: Western Department Union General John C. Fremont is relieved of command and replaced by David Hunter.
1868 – Time zone: New Zealand officially adopts a standard time to be observed nationally
# 1882 – Oulu, Finland was decimated by the Great Oulu Fire of 1882
1889 – North and South Dakota are admitted as the 39th and 40th U.S. states.
1895 – The first gasoline-powered race in the United States. First prize: $2,000
1898 – Cheerleading is started at the University of Minnesota with Johnny Campbell leading the crowd in cheering on the football team.
1899 – The Boers begin their 118 day siege of British held Ladysmith during the Second Boer War.
1914 – Russia declares war on the Ottoman Empire.
1917 – The Balfour Declaration proclaims British support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” with the clear understanding “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities”.
1920 – In he United States, KDKA of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania starts broadcasting as the first commercial radio station. The first broadcast is the result of the U.S. presidential election, 1920.
1930 – Haile Selassie is crowned emperor of Ethiopia.
1936 – The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is established.
1936 – Italian dictator Benito Mussolini proclaims the Rome-Berlin Axis, establishing the alliance of the Axis Powers.
1936 – The British Broadcasting Corporation initiates the BBC Television Service, the world’s first regular, high-definition (then defined as at least 200 lines) service. Renamed BBC1 in 1964, the channel still runs to this day.
1947 – In California, designer Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Spruce Goose; the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.
1953 – The Constituent Assembly of Pakistan names the country The Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
1957 – The Levelland UFO Case in Levelland, Texas, generates national publicity, and remains one of the most impressive UFO cases in American history.
1959 – Quiz show scandals: Twenty One game show contestant Charles Van Doren admits to a Congressional committee that he had been given questions and answers in advance.
1959 – The first section of the M1 motorway, the first inter-urban motorway in the United Kingdom, is opened between the present junctions 5 and 18, along with the M10 motorway and M45 motorway
1960 – Penguin Books is found not guilty of obscenity in the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case
1963 – South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated following a military coup.
1964 – King Saud of Saudi Arabia is deposed by a family coup, and replaced by his half-brother King Faisal.
1965 – Norman Morrison, a 31-year-old Quaker, sets himself on fire in front of the river entrance to the Pentagon to protest the use of napalm in the Vietnam war.
1966 – The Cuban Adjustment Act enters force, allowing 123,000 Cubans the opportunity to apply for permanent residence in the United States.
1967 – Vietnam War: US President Lyndon B. Johnson and “The Wise Men” conclude that the American people should be given more optimistic reports on the progress of the war.
1973 – The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India forms a ‘United Front’ in the state of Tripura.
1974 – 78 die when the Time Go-Go Club in Seoul, South Korea burns down. Six of the victims jumped to their deaths from the seventh floor after a club official barred the doors after the fire started.
1983 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs a bill creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
1984 – Capital punishment: Velma Barfield becomes the first woman executed in the United States since 1962.
1988 – The Morris worm, the first internet-distributed computer worm to gain significant mainstream media attention, is launched from MIT.
1995 – Former South African defence minister General Magnus Malan and 10 other former senior military officers are arrested and charged with murdering 13 people in 1987, (all the accused are later acquitted).