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 27 is the 331st day of the year (332nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 34 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1703, a freak storm over England, that had begun around November 14, peaks.
The unusual weather began on November 14 as strong winds from the Atlantic Ocean battered the south of Britain and Wales. Many homes and other buildings were damaged by the pounding winds, but the hurricane-like storm only began doing serious damage on November 26. With winds estimated at over 80 miles per hour, bricks were blown from some buildings and embedded in others. Wood beams, separated from buildings, flew through the air and killed hundreds across the south of the country. Towns such as Plymouth, Hull, Cowes, Portsmouth and Bristol were devastated.
However, the death toll really mounted when 300 Royal Navy ships anchored off the country’s southern coast-with 8,000 sailors on board-were lost. The Eddystone Lighthouse, built on a rock outcropping 14 miles from Plymouth, was felled by the storm. All of its residents, including its designer, Henry Winstanley, were killed. Huge waves on the Thames River sent water six feet higher than ever before recorded near London. More than 5,000 homes along the river were destroyed.
The current structure is the fourth lighthouse to be built on the site. The first and second were destroyed. The third, also known as Smeaton’s Tower, is the best known because of its influence on lighthouse design and its importance in the development of concrete for building. Its upper portions have been re-erected in Plymouth as a monument.
The first lighthouse on Eddystone Rocks (first picture above) was an octagonal wooden structure built by Henry Winstanley. Construction started in 1696 and the light was lit on 14 November 1698. During construction, a French privateer took Winstanley prisoner, causing Louis XIV to order his release with the words “France is at war with England, not with humanity”.
The lighthouse survived its first winter but was in need of repair, and was subsequently changed to a dodecagonal (12 sided) stone clad exterior on a timber framed construction with an Octagonal top section as can be clearly seen in the later drawings or paintings, one of which is to the left. This gives rise to the claims that there have been five lighthouses on Eddystone Rock. Winstanley’s tower lasted until the Great Storm of 1703 erased almost all trace on 27 November. Winstanley was on the lighthouse, completing additions to the structure. No trace was found of him.
176 – Emperor Marcus Aurelius grant his son Commodus the rank of Imperator and makes him Supreme Commander of the Roman legions.
1095 – Pope Urban II declares the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont.
1295 – The first elected representatives from Lancashire are called to Westminster by King Edward I to attend what later became known as “The Model Parliament”.
1703 – The first Eddystone Lighthouse is destroyed in the Great Storm of 1703.
1815 – Adoption of Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland.
1830 – St. Catherine Laboure experienced a vision of the Blessed Virgin standing on a globe, crushing a serpent with her feet, and emanating rays of light from her hands.
1839 – In Boston, Massachusetts, the American Statistical Association is founded.
1856 – The Coup of 1856 leads to Luxembourg’s unilateral adoption of a new, reactionary constitution.
1863 – American Civil War: Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and several of his men escape the Ohio Penitentiary and return safely to the South.
1868 – Indian Wars: Battle of Washita River – United States Army Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer leads an attack on Cheyenne living on reservation land.
1886 – German judge Emil Hartwich sustains fatal injuries in a duel, which would become the background for “Effi Briest”, a classic work of German literature.
1895 – At the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, Alfred Nobel signs his last will and testament, setting aside his estate to establish the Nobel Prize after he dies.
1901 – The U.S. Army War College is established.
1912 – Spain declares a protectorate over the north shore of Morocco.
1924 – In New York City, the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held.
1934 – Bank robber Baby Face Nelson dies in a shoot-out with the FBI.
1940 – In Romania, the ruling party Iron Guard arrests and executes over 60 of exiled King Carol II of Romania’s aides, including former minister Nicolae Iorga.
1940 – World War II: At the Battle of Cape Spartivento, the Royal Navy engages the Regia Marina in the Mediterranean Sea.
1942 – World War II: At Toulon, the French navy scuttles its ships and submarines to keep them out of Nazi hands.
1944 – World War II: An explosion at a Royal Air Force ammunition dump at Fauld, Staffordshire kills seventy people.
1954 – Alger Hiss is released from prison after serving 44 months for perjury.
1963 – The Convention on the Unification of Certain Points of Substantive Law on Patents for Invention is signed at Strasbourg.
1964 – Cold War: Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru appeals to the United States and the Soviet Union to end nuclear testing and to start nuclear disarmament, stating that such an action would “save humanity from the ultimate disaster”.
1965 – Vietnam War: The Pentagon tells U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson that if planned operations are to succeed, the number of American troops in Vietnam has to be increased from 120,000 to 400,000.
1971 – The Soviet space program’s Mars 2 orbiter releases a descent module. It malfunctions and crashes, but it is the first man-made object to reach the surface of Mars.
1973 – The Twenty-fifth Amendment: The United States Senate votes 92 to 3 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States (on December 6, the House confirmed him 387 to 35).
1975 – The Provisional IRA assassinates Ross McWhirter, after a press conference in which McWhirter had announced a reward for the capture of those responsible for multiple bombings and shootings across England.
1978 – In San Francisco, California, city mayor George Moscone and openly gay city supervisor Harvey Milk are assassinated by former supervisor Dan White.
1978 – The Kurdish party PKK was founded in the city of Riha (Urfa) in Turkey.
1983 – Avianca Flight 011, a Boeing 747 crashes near Madrid’s Barajas Airport, killing 181.
1984 – Under the Brussels Agreement signed between the governments of the United Kingdom and Spain, the former agreed to enter into discussions with Spain over Gibraltar, including sovereignty.
1989 – Avianca Flight 203, a Boeing 727, explodes in mid-air over Colombia, killing all 107 people on board and three people on the ground. The Medellín Cartel claimed responsibility for the attack.
1991 – The United Nations Security Council adopts Security Council Resolution 721, leading the way to the establishment of peacekeeping operations in Yugoslavia.
1992 – For the second time in a year, military forces try to overthrow president Carlos Andres Perez in Venezuela.
1997 – Twenty-five are killed in the second Souhane massacre in Algeria.
1999 – The left-wing Labour Party takes control of the New Zealand government with leader Helen Clark becoming the first elected female Prime Minister in New Zealand’s history.
2001 – A hydrogen atmosphere is discovered on the extrasolar planet Osiris by the Hubble Space Telescope, the first atmosphere detected on an extrasolar planet.
2004 – Pope John Paul II returns the relics of Saint John Chrysostom to the Eastern Orthodox Church.
2005 – The first partial human face transplant is completed in Amiens, France.
2006 – The Canadian House of Commons endorses Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s motion to declare Quebec a nation within a unified Canada.
* Christian Feast Day
o Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (Roman Catholic)
* Publications Day (Church of Scientology)