#TodayInHistory – November 154 min read
November 15 – Some important events on this day.
1315 👉🏼 Battle of Morgarten: Swiss beat duke Leopold I of Austria
1492 👉🏼 Christopher Columbus notes 1st recorded reference to tobacco
1884 👉🏼 European Colonization and trade in Africa is officially regulated at the international Berlin Conference, formalizing European powers “Scramble for Africa”
1904 👉🏼 King C. Gillette patents the Gillette razor blade
1948 Mackenzie King retires after 22 years as Prime Minister of Canada
1969 👉🏼 An estimated 2 million people take part in the Vietnam War Moratorium Demonstration across the United States
1777 👉🏼 Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States, is approved by the Continental Congress.
After the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the thirteen rebellious colonies met and debated how best to run their wartime government and preserve their independence and sovereignty. The result of a year and a half of debate, the new Continental Congress created the Articles of Confederation on this day, and the states ratified the document on March 1, 1781.
The constitution formed a very limited government with marginal powers, to conduct the American Revolutionary War, diplomacy and settle territorial issues. In 1786 a rebellion in Massachusetts over government taxation led to a widespread view that the Articles needed to be replaced and the government reformed. As more states and their representatives met to discuss issues related to governance and interstate commerce, this eventually turned into the Constitutional Convention.
In 1789, eight years after the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution of the United States came into force, replacing government under the Articles with a federal government headed by a President, with a Congress and judicial system also officially formed.
1869 👉🏼 Free postal delivery formally inaugurated
1916 👉🏼 Canadian pilot William George Barker flying over Ancre River, spots concentration of German troops massing for counter-attack on Beaumont Hamel, sends emergency Zone Call to break up German infantry apart. Barker later receives Military Cross.
1918 👉🏼 the five-day period starting November 15, 1918, 72 of 80 inhabitants of Breving Mission, Alaska, were killed by Spanish flu.
Brevig Mission is a tiny ocean-side settlement in Alaska which, in 1918, had 80 adult inhabitants. During the five-day period starting November 15, 1918, 72 of them were killed by the flu pandemic then raging across the world.
The number of deaths in the village shows the ferocity and extensive reach of this epidemic but, above all, this fact is signicant because the victims were buried (and preserved) in permafrost conditions and thus scientists were able, years later, to study the virus in detail.
It is estimated that 40 million people died in the First World War between 1914 and 1918 and just in that final year of the war the great pandemic took hold. It was to cause possibly 50 million fatalities, even though some estimates claiming a global death toll as high as 100 million.
In any case, no pandemic before or since has resulted in deaths on such a scale.
Three more pandemics would occur before Coronavirus would send the world spinning in 2020: in the 1957 H2N2 pandemic “Asian flu” causing 1.1 million deaths worldwide, in the 1968 H3N2 pandemic “Hong Kong flu” with 1 million deaths and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic “swine flu” with up to 575,000 deaths.
1969 👉🏼 An estimated 2 million people take part in the Vietnam War Moratorium demonstration across the United States.
It was the largest-ever demonstration in US history at that time, with an estimated 2 million talking part around the country. Protests were mostly peaceful, protesters wore black armbands as a mark of both their opposition to the war and also to commemorate the 45,000 US soldiers killed in the conflict so far.
Protests entered on the capital Washington D.C. where 500,000 demonstrators gathered to demand President Richard Nixon bring the war to a close. The day was significant for the participation of middle class and middle aged demonstrators, an indication of just how unpopular the war had become in America.
1979 👉🏼 In Parliament Sir Anthony Blunt, art advisor to the Queen, exposed as 4th man in Soviet spy ring. He was then stripped of his knighthood and fellowship of Trinity College, Cambridge
2013 👉🏼 Sony launches the Playstation Four, selling one million units on the first day
2017 👉🏼 Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “Salvator Mundi” sells for $450.3 million at auction in New York, world record price for any artwork