#TodayInHistory – November 184 min read
November 18 – Some important events on this day.
326 👉🏼 Old St. Peter’s Basilica consecrated in Rome (stood 4th – 16th century), later replaced by current Basilica
1421 👉🏼 Southern sea floods 72 villages, killing estimated 10,000 in Netherlands
1477 👉🏼 First English dated printed book “Dictes & Sayengis of the Phylosophers” by William Caxton
1626 👉🏼 St. Peter’s Basilica is consecrated, replacing an earlier basilica on the same site and becoming the world’s largest Christian basilica.
Regarded as one of the greatest Renaissance and Baroque buildings St Peter’s replacing an earlier basilica, was begun under Pope Julius II in 1506 and completed in 1615 under Paul V. It stood as the largest church in the world until 1989. Today it stands in the shape of a Latin cross with the dome at the crossing over the high altar and the shrine to St Peter the Apostle. It is a significant site of pilgrimage and the burial place for many popes.
A number of architects contributed to its design, including Donato Bramante, Raphael and Michelangelo, who was appointed chief architect in 1546 and served until his death in 1564. Carlo Maderno was responsible for its final Latin Cross design and the building’s facade. Gian Lorenzo Bernini was commissioned to create the Basilica’s monumental piazza.
The interior of the basilica includes many famous works of art such as Michelangelo’s Pietà, Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Baldachin structure over the altar and his tomb to Pope Urban VIII.
1902 👉🏼 Brooklyn toymaker Morris Michton names the teddy bear after US President Teddy Roosevelt
1913 👉🏼 Lincoln Deachey becomes the first American pilot to perform an aircraft loop-the-loop in his Curtiss aeroplane near San Diego
1916 👉🏼 British General Douglas Haig finally calls off the 1st Battle of the Somme in World War I after more than 1 million soldiers had been killed or wounded
1918 👉🏼 Latvia declares independence from Russia
1928 👉🏼 Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie” released, first Mickey Mouse sound cartoon
1956 👉🏼 Morocco gains independence
1978 👉🏼 In Jonestown, Guyana, 918 members of the Peoples Temple are murdered or commit suicide under the leadership of cult leader Jim Jones.
On this day, Peoples Temple founder Jim Jones leads hundreds of his followers in a mass murder-suicide at their agricultural commune in a remote part of the South American nation of Guyana. Many of his followers willingly ingested a poison-laced punch while others were forced to do so at gunpoint. The final death toll at Jonestown was 909, and a third of those who perished were children.
Jim Jones was a charismatic churchman who established the so called Peoples Temple, a Christian sect, in Indianapolis in the 1950s. He preached against racism, and his integrated congregation attracted many African Americans. In 1965, he moved the group to Northern California, settling in Ukiah and after 1971 in San Francisco. In the 1970s, his church was accused by the media of financial fraud, physical abuse of its members and mistreatment of children. In response to the mounting criticism, the increasingly paranoid Jones invited his congregation to move with him to Guyana, where he promised they would build a socialist utopia. Three years earlier, a small group of his followers had traveled to the tiny nation to set up what would become Jonestown on a tract of jungle.
However, Jonestown did not turn out to be the paradise their leader had promised. Temple members worked long days in the fields and were subjected to harsh punishments if they questioned Jones’ authority. Their passports were confiscated, their letters home censored and members were encouraged to inform on one another and forced to attend lengthy, late-night meetings. Jones, by then in declining mental health and addicted to drugs, was convinced the U.S. government and others were out to destroy him and so he required Temple members to participate in mock suicide drills in the middle of the night.
1993 👉🏼 Black and white leaders in South Africa approve new democratic constitution
2015 👉🏼 “Kangaroo Dundee” wildlife TV series premieres featuring Brolga and Roger the ripped Kangaroo on BBC Two.
Roger the Kangaroo was famous for his ripped physique and physical prowess. Rescued as a small joey after his mother was run over by a car near Alice Springs, Australia. A local man Chris Barnes then built a sanctuary for him and a few of his wives. An online clip of Roger crushing a tin bucket like a paper cup went viral in 2015 and brought him worldwide fame.