Today In History - Wednesday, November 25th


2009 Jeddah floods: Freak rains swamp the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, during an ongoing Hajj pilgrimage. 3,000 cars are swept away and 122 people perish in the torrents, with 350 others missing.

Cyclone Nisha strikes northern Sri Lanka, killing 15 people and displacing 90,000 others while dealing the region the highest rainfall in nine decades.

The first European Parliament election and a referendum on changing the voting system (called by the President and declared invalid because of insufficient turnout) are held in Romania.

Polish Minister of National Defence Radek Sikorski opens Warsaw Pact archives to historians. Maps of possible nuclear strikes against Western Europe, as well as the possible nuclear annihilation of 43 Polish cities and 2 million of its citizens by Soviet-controlled forces, are released.

The 2000 Baku earthquake, with a Richter magnitude of 7.0, leaves 26 people dead in Baku, Azerbaijan, and becomes the strongest earthquake in the region in 158 years.

The United Nations establishes the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to commemorate the murder of three Mirabal sisters for resistance against the Rafael Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic.

An ice storm strikes the central U.S., killing 26 people. A powerful windstorm affects Florida and winds gust over 90 mph, toppling trees and flipping trailers.

Sony founder Akio Morita announces he will be stepping down as CEO of the company.

The Czechoslovakia Federal Assembly votes to split the country into the Czech Republic and Slovakia from January 1, 1993.
The Federal Assembly of Czechoslovakia votes to split the country into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with effect from January 1, 1993.

German politician Rita Süssmuth becomes president of the Bundestag.

Typhoon Nina pummels the Philippines with category 5 winds of 165 mph and a surge that destroys entire villages. At least 1,036 deaths are attributed to the storm.

Iran Contra Affair: U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese announces that profits from covert weapons sales to Iran were illegally diverted to the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
The King Fahd Causeway is officially opened in the Persian Gulf.

Thirty-six top musicians gather in a Notting Hill studio and record Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" in order to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia.

The Minneapolis Thanksgiving Day Fire destroys an entire city block, including the Northwestern National Bank building and the recently closed Donaldson's Department Store.

Pope John Paul II appoints Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., is found guilty by the Philippine Military Commission No. 2 and is sentenced to death by firing squad.

Suriname gains independence from the Netherlands.

George Papadopoulos, head of the military Regime of the Colonels in Greece, is ousted in a hardliners' coup led by Brigadier General Dimitrios Ioannidis.

In Japan, author Yukio Mishima and one compatriot commit ritualistic suicide after an unsuccessful coup attempt.

President John F. Kennedy is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Mirabal sisters of the Dominican Republic are assassinated.

French Sudan gains autonomy as a self-governing member of the French Community.

The play began life as a short radio play broadcast on 30 May 1947 called Three Blind Mice in honour of Queen Mary, the consort of King George V. The play had its origins in the real-life case of the death of a boy, Dennis O'Neill, who died while in the foster care of a Shropshire farmer and his wife in 1945.

The play is based on a short story, itself based on the radio play, but Christie asked that the story not be published as long as it ran as a play in the West End of London. The short story has still not been published within the United Kingdom but it has appeared in the United States in the 1950 collection Three Blind Mice and Other Stories.

When she wrote the play, Christie gave the rights to her grandson Matthew Prichard as a birthday present. In the United Kingdom, only one production of the play in addition to the West End production can be performed annually, and under the contract terms of the play, no film adaptation can be produced until the West End production has been closed for at least six months.

The play had to be renamed at the insistence of Emile Littler who had produced a play called Three Blind Mice in the West End before the Second World War. The suggestion to call it The Mousetrap came from Christie's son-in-law, Anthony Hicks. In Shakespeare's play Hamlet, "The Mousetrap" is Hamlet's answer to Claudius's inquiry about the name of the play whose prologue and first scene the court has just observed (III, ii). The play is actually The Murder of Gonzago, but Hamlet answers metaphorically, since "the play's the thing" in which he intends to "catch the conscience of the king."

The play's longevity has ensured its popularity with tourists from around the world. In 1997, at the initiative of producer Stephen Waley-Cohen, the theatrical education charity Mousetrap Theatre Projects was launched, helping young people experience London's theatre.
Korean War: After 42 days of fighting, the Battle of Triangle Hill ends as American and South Korean units abandon their attempt to capture the "Iron Triangle".

The "Storm of the Century", a violent snowstorm, paralyzes the northeastern United States and the Appalachians, bringing winds up to 100 mph and sub-zero temperatures. Pickens, West Virginia, records 57 inches of snow. 323 people die as a result of the storm.
The People's Republic of China joins the Korean War, sending thousands of troops across the Yalu river border to fight United Nations forces.
The Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950, known at the time as the "Storm of the Century", strikes New England with hurricane force winds resulting in massive forest blow-downs and storm surge damage along the Northeast coast including New York City. This storm also brings blizzard conditions to the Appalachian Mountains and Ohio Valley, becoming one of the worst storms of all time. 353 people die in the event.

Red Scare: The "Hollywood Ten" are blacklisted by Hollywood movie studios.
New Zealand ratifies the Statute of Westminster and thus becomes independent of legislative control by the United Kingdom.

World War II: Statehood of Bosnia and Herzegovina is re-established at the State Anti-Fascist Council for the People's Liberation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

HMS Barham (04) was sunk by a German torpedo during World War II.


In Berlin, Germany and Japan sign the Anti-Comintern Pact, agreeing to consult on measures "to safeguard their common interests" in the case of an unprovoked attack by the Soviet Union against either nation. The pact is renewed on the same day five years later with additional signatories.

The deadliest November tornado outbreak in U.S. history strikes on Thanksgiving day. Twenty-seven twisters of great strength are reported in the Midwest, including the strongest November tornado, an estimated F4, that devastates Heber Springs, Arkansas. There are 51 deaths in Arkansas alone, 76 deaths and over 400 injuries in all.

Vojvodina, formerly Austro-Hungarian crown land, proclaims its secession from Austria-Hungary to join the Kingdom of Serbia.

World War I: German forces defeat Portuguese army of about 1200 at Negomano on the border of modern-day Mozambique and Tanzania.

Albert Einstein presents the field equations of general relativity to the Prussian Academy of Sciences.

Panama becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.

Prince Carl of Denmark arrives in Norway to become King Haakon VII of Norway.

American Indian Wars: In retaliation for the American defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, United States Army troops sack Chief Dull Knife's sleeping Cheyenne village at the headwaters of the Powder River.

The United States Greenback Party is established as a political party consisting primarily of farmers affected by the Panic of 1873.

Alfred Nobel patents dynamite.

American Civil War: A group of Confederate operatives calling themselves the Confederate Army of Manhattan starts fires in more than 20 locations in an unsuccessful attempt to burn down New York City.

American Civil War: Battle of Missionary Ridge - At Missionary Ridge in Tennessee, Union forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant break the Siege of Chattanooga by routing Confederate troops under General Braxton Bragg.

A cyclone slams India with high winds and a 40-foot storm surge, destroying the port city of Coringa (which has never been completely rebuilt). The storm wave sweeps inland, taking with it 20,000 ships and thousands of people. An estimated 300,000 deaths result from the disaster.

A massive undersea earthquake, estimated magnitude between 8.7-9.2 rocks Sumatra, producing a massive tsunami all along the Indonesian coasts. Sri Lanka, Thailand, and India were severely affected, with some parts of Sumatra recording Tsunami waves over 30 meters. It is believed that this great disaster killed thousands in a similar way a much more recent disaster, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, did. It was the last event comparable to the 2004 tsunami, occurring 171 years earlier.
A massive undersea earthquake, estimated magnitude between 8.7-9.2, rocks Sumatra, producing a massive tsunami all along the Indonesian coast.

The Greek frigate Hellas arrives in Nafplion to become the first flagship of the Hellenic Navy.

Partitions of Poland: Stanislaus August Poniatowski, the last king of independent Poland, is forced to abdicate and is exiled to Russia.

American Revolutionary War: The last British troops leave New York City three months after the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

An earthquake hits the Mediterranean destroying Beirut and Damascus and killing 30,000-40,000.

French and Indian War: British forces capture Fort Duquesne from French control. Later, Fort Pitt will be built nearby and grow into modern Pittsburgh.

King Ferdinand VI of Spain grants royal protection to the Beaterio de la Compañia de Jesus, now known as the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary.

The Great Storm of 1703, the greatest windstorm ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain, reaches its peak intensity which it maintains through November 27. Winds gust up to 120 mph, and 9,000 people die.

A deadly earthquake rocks Shemakha in the Caucasus, killing 80,000 people.

Battle of Solway Moss: The English army defeats the Scots.

The siege of Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, begins.

Elizabeth of York is crowned Queen of England.

A tsunami, caused by an earthquake in the Tyrrhenian Sea, devastates Naples (Italy) and the Maritime Republic of Amalfi, among other places.

Baldwin IV of Jerusalem and Raynald of Châtillon defeat Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard.

The White Ship sinks in the English Channel, drowning William Adelin, son and heir of Henry I of England.

Máel Coluim mac Cináeda, King of Scots, dies. Donnchad, the son of his daughter Bethóc and Crínán of Dunkeld, inherits the throne.
571 BC

Servius Tullius, king of Rome, celebrates a triumph for his victory over the Etruscans.