November 4th In History

This day in historyNovember 4 is the 308th day of the year (309th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 57 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 1429Joan of Arc liberates Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier.

In 1501,  Catherine of Aragon (later Henry VIII’s first wife) meets Arthur Tudor, Henry VIII‘s older brother – they would later marry.

In 1576,  Eighty Years’ War: In Flanders, Spain captures Antwerp (after three days the city is nearly destroyed).

In 1605, the infamous Gunpowder Plot took place in which some Catholics, most famously Guy Fawkes,  plotted to blow up James I, the first of the Stuart kings of England.  The story is remembered each November 5th when ‘Guys’ are burned in a celebration known as “Bonfire Night”.

The story appears to be very simple.

Catholics in England had expected James to be more tolerant of them. In fact, he had proved to be the opposite and had ordered all Catholic priests to leave England. This so angered some Catholics that they decided to kill James and put his daughter Elizabeth on the throne ensuring that she was a Catholic. This led to a plot to kill not only the king of England, James, but also everyone sitting in the Houses of Parliament at the same time as James was there when he opened Parliament on November 5th, 1605.

Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators, having rented out a house right by the Houses of Parliament,  managed to get 36 barrels of gunpowder into a cellar of the House of Lords.

The other conspirators were:

Robert and Thomas Wintour,  Thomas Percy,  Christopher and John Wright,  Francis Tresham,  Everard Digby,  Ambrose Rookwood,  Thomas Bates,  Robert Keyes,  Hugh Owen,  John Grant and the man who is said to have organised the whole plot Robert Catesby.

The explosive expert, Guy Fawkes, had been left in the cellars to set off the fuse. He was only caught when a group of guards decided to check the cellars at the last moment.

Fawkes was arrested and sent to the Tower of London where he was tortured and eventually gave away the names of the fellow conspirators.

Sir William Wade, Lieutenant of the Tower, had orders to use whatever means of torture was required to get information from Fawkes. The order came from James.

Of those involved, some were shot as they were chased by the law such as Percy and Catesby. Others were captured, sent to the Tower and, after a brief trial, eventually hung, drawn and quartered, with Fawkes, in January 1606

What is odd?

We do know that James’ chief minister, Robert Cecil, the Earl of Salisbury, hated Catholics and saw them as a constant source of trouble. Cecil also feared that there was a chance that James would be lenient  with them during his reign and this he could not tolerate.

That James only expelled priests was not good enough for Cecil. He wanted to remove Catholicism from England as he saw it as a threat.

We know that James was terrified of a violent death; his childhood in Scotland had been fraught with danger including being kidnapped as a boy. What better way to get James to severely persecute the Catholics in England than to get him to believe that they had tried to kill him in this very violent manner?

The government had a monopoly on gunpowder in this country and it was stored in places like the Tower of London. How did the conspirators get hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder without drawing attention to themselves? Did they get help from the government?

How was the gunpowder moved across London from the Tower of London to Westminster (at least two miles distant) without anyone seeing it? The River Thames would not have been used as it could have lead to the gunpowder becoming damp and useless. Thirty six barrels would have been a sizeable quantity to move without causing suspicion.

Why were men who were known to be Catholics allowed to rent out a house so near to the Houses of Parliament? How did they move 36 barrels from that house to the cellar of the Houses of Parliament without anyone noticing along with hay, straw etc?

Why, for the first time in history, was there a search of Parliament’s cellars that conveniently found “John Johnson” (as Guy Fawkes called himself) before he lit the fuse? Read More

In 1677,  The future Mary II of England marries William, Prince of Orange. They would later jointly reign as William and Mary.

In 1737,  The Teatro di San Carlo is inaugurated.

In 1780,  Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui aka Tupac Amaru starts his Rebellion on Peru against Spain

In 1783,  W.A. Mozart‘s Symphony No. 36 is performed for the first time in Linz, Austria.

In 1791,  The Western Confederacy of American Indians wins a major victory over the United States in the Battle of the Wabash.

In 1798,  Beginning of the Russo-Ottoman siege of Corfu.

In 1839,  Newport Rising: the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in mainland Britain.

In 1847,  Sir James Young Simpson, a British physician, discovers the anaesthetic properties of chloroform.

In 1852,  Count Camillo Benso di Cavour becomes the prime minister of PiedmontSardinia, which soon expands to become Italy.

In 1861,  The University of Washington opens in Seattle, Washington as the Territorial University.


Nathan Bedford Forrest

In 1864,  American Civil War: Battle of JohnsonvilleConfederate troops bombard a Union supply base and destroy millions of dollars in material.

In 1890, City & South London Railway: London‘s first deep-level tube railway opens between King William Street and Stockwell.

In 1910,   The British non-rigid airship City of Cardiff, built by E.T. Willows, completes the first ever dirigible flight from England to France.

In 1918,  World War I: Austria-Hungary surrenders to Italy.

In 1921,  The Sturmabteilung or SA, whose members were known as “brownshirts”, physically assault Adolf Hitler‘s opposition after his speech in Munich.

In 1921,  Japanese Prime Minister Hara Takashi is assassinated in Tokyo.

In 1921,  The Italian unknown soldier is buried in the Altare della Patria (Fatherland Altar) in Rome.

In 1922,  In Egypt, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his men find the entrance to Pharaoh Tutankhamun‘s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

In 1924,  Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming is elected the first female governor in the United States.

In 1939,  World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the United States Customs Service to implement the Neutrality Act of 1939, allowing cash-and-carry purchases of weapons by belligerents.

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Erwin Rommel

In 1942,  World War II: Second Battle of El Alamein – Disobeying a direct order by Adolf Hitler, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel leads his forces on a five-month retreat.

In 1944,  World War II: Bitola Liberation Day

In 1952,  The United States government establishes the National Security Agency, or NSA.

In 1955,  After being destroyed in World War II, the rebuilt Vienna State Opera reopens with a performance of Beethoven‘s Fidelio.

In 1956,  Soviet troops enter Hungary to end the Hungarian revolution against the Soviet Union, that started on October 23. Thousands are killed, more are wounded, and nearly a quarter million leave the country.

In 1957, In an unusual chart anomaly, the top six Billboard singles on the pop and R&B charts are exactly the same: Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” sits at #1 on both charts, followed by “Wake Up Little Susie” by the Everly Brothers, “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke, “Silhouettes” by the Rays, “Be-Bop Baby” by Ricky Nelson, and “Honeycomb” by Jimmie Rodgers.

In 1960,  At the Kasakela Chimpanzee Community in Tanzania, Dr. Jane Goodall observes chimpanzees creating tools, the first-ever observation in non-human animals.

In 1961, Film “Misfits” premieres; final film appearance for both Clark Gable & Marilyn Monroe. Clark Gable was an American film actor noted for his performance as Rhett Butler in the 1939 film, “Gone with the Wind.”  Marilyn Monroe was an actress, singer, model, and showgirl who became an iconic sex symbol in the 1950s.  Both of these superstars co-starred in the film, “The Misfits.”  The movie was written by Monroe’s then-husband, Arthur Miller, and centered on a recently-divorced woman who spent time in the Western Nevada desert with an ex-cowboy and his friend.  It is said to be the most expensive black-and-white film made at that time, costing about $4 million.  The movie, although not a commercial success at the time, was distinguished for its script and solid performances.

In 1962,  In a test of the Nike-Hercules air defense missile, Shot Dominic-Tightrope is successfully detonated 69,000 feet above Johnston Island. It would also be the last atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States.

In 1966,  The Arno River flooded Florence, Italy, to a maximum depth of 6.7 m (22 ft), leaving thousands homeless and destroying millions of masterpieces of art and rare books.

In 1970,  Vietnam War: Vietnamization – The United States turns control of the Binh Thuy Air Base in the Mekong Delta over to South Vietnam.

In 1970,  Genie, a 13-year-old feral child is found in Los Angeles, California having been locked in her bedroom for most of her life.

In 1973,  The Netherlands experiences the first Car Free Sunday caused by the 1973 oil crisis. Highways are deserted and are used only by cyclists and roller skaters.

In 1979,  Iran hostage crisis: a mob of Iranians, mostly students, overruns the US embassy in Tehran and takes 90 hostages (53 of whom are American).

In 1980, An ailing Bob Marley is baptized a “Christian Rastafarian” at Kingston, Jamaica’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

In 1993,  A China Airlines Boeing 747 overruns Runway 13 at Hong Kong‘s Kai Tak International Airport while landing during a typhoon, injuring 22 people.

In 1994,  San Francisco: First conference that focuses exclusively on the subject of the commercial potential of the World Wide Web.

In 1995,  Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated by an extremist Orthodox Israeli.

In 2002,  Chinese authorities arrest cyber-dissident He Depu for signing a pro-democracy letter to the 16th Communist Party Congress.

In 2008,  Barack Obama becomes the first half white/half black to be elected President of the United States.

In  2010,  Aero Caribbean Flight 883 crashes into Guasimal, Sancti Spíritus. All 68 passengers and crew were killed.

In 2010,  Qantas Flight 32, an Airbus A380, suffers an uncontained engine failure over Indonesia shortly after taking off from Singapore, crippling the jet. The crew manage to safely return to Singapore, saving all 469 passengers and crew.

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Andy Rooney, photographed by Stephenson Brown.

In 2011,  Andy Rooney, American author, critic, journalist, and television personality (b. 1919) dies after developing postoperative complications from an undisclosed surgery, at the age of 92. He as an American radio and television writer who was best known for his weekly broadcast “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney,” a part of the CBS News program 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011. His final regular appearance on 60 Minutes aired on October 2, 2011. He died one month later, on November 4, 2011, at age 92.

Rooney was married to Marguerite “Margie” Rooney (née Howard) for 62 years, until she died of heart failure in 2004. He later wrote, “her name does not appear as often as it originally did [in my essays] because it hurts too much to write it.”They had four children Ellen, Emily, Martha and Brian. His daughter Emily Rooney is a TV talk show host and former ABC News producer who went on to host a nightly Boston-area public affairs program, Greater Boston, on WGBH. Emily’s identical twin, Martha Fishel, became Chief of the Public Services Division at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland; her son Justin works as the Pentagon producer for Fox News. His first daughter, Ellen Rooney, is a former film editor at ABC News and is now a travel and garden photographer based in London. His son, Brian Rooney, has been a correspondent for ABC since the 1980s.

In 1990, Rooney was suspended without pay for three months by then-CBS News President David Burke, because of the negative publicity around his saying that “too much alcohol, too much food, drugs, homosexual unions, cigarettes [are] all known to lead to premature death.” He wrote an explanatory letter to a gay organization after being ordered not to do so. After only four weeks without Rooney, 60 Minutes lost 20 percent of its audience. CBS management then decided that it was in the best interest of the network to have Rooney return immediately.

John D. Hawk, Medal of Honor recipient

In 2013,  John D. Hawk, American sergeant, Medal of Honor recipient (b. 1924) dies at the age of 89. He was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in World War II during the battle of the Falaise pocket.

In August 20, 1944, Hawk was serving in Europe as a sergeant in Company E, 359th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division. During a German counterattack on that day, near Chambois, France, he was wounded in the right thigh while taking cover behind a tree. A German shell had penetrated the tree trunk. (“French apple trees aren’t worth a darn,” he said in 1994.) Hawk continued to fight and, in order to direct the shots of friendly tank destroyers, he willingly exposed himself to intense enemy fire. For his actions during the battle, he was issued the Medal of Honor on July 13, 1945. The medal was formally presented to him by President Harry Truman.

Hawk recovered from his wounds and continued to serve in combat. He was wounded three more times before the end of the war, earning a total of four Purple Hearts.

In 1945, Hawk returned from the war and then attended the University of Washington, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biology. For more than thirty years he worked as a teacher and principal in the Central Kitsap School District.

In 2015,  A cargo plane crashes shortly after takeoff from Juba International Airport in Juba, South Sudan, killing 37 people.

In 2015,  A building collapses in the Pakistani city of Lahore resulting in at least 45 deaths, at least 100 injured.

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