#TodayInHistory – November 213 min read
November 21 – Some important events on this day.
164 BC 👉🏼 During Maccabbean revolt Judas Maccabaeus recaptures Jersusalem and rededicates the Second Temple, commemorated since as Jewish festival Hanukkah
1818 👉🏼 Russia’s Tsar Alexander I petitions for a Jewish state in Palestine
1837 👉🏼 Thomas Morris of Australia skips rope 22,806 times
1905 👉🏼 1st match ever played in the Australian National Tennis Championships
1906 👉🏼 China prohibits the opium trade
1916 👉🏼 Britannic, sister ship to the Titanic, sinks in Aegean Sea killing 30 people. More than 1,000 others were rescued.
1931 👉🏼 Horror film “Frankenstein” is released, starring Boris Karloff as the monster, directed by James Whale and based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”
1953 👉🏼 the Piltdown Man skull, which had been hailed as the missing link proving an evolutionary relationship between man and apes, was revealed as a hoax.
Charles Dawson, a solicitor who was also an amateur paleontologist, was excavating a gravel pit at Piltdown in southern England in 1912 when he found two skull fragments which were definitely human, and an ape-like jawbone.
Later that year, Arthur Woodward, keeper of the Department of Geology at the British Museum, enlisted by Dawson to help, put a reconstruction of the complete skull on display at a meeting of the Geological Society of London. He claimed that it came from a human who had probably lived about half a million years ago. Scientists accepted the claim and the species was officially recorded as Eoanthropus Dawson, or simply “Dawson’s Dawn Man.”
However, it was all untrue: some 40 years later, researchers at the British Museum carried out rigorous tests on the artifact and found that it was a fake. Though human, the upper skull was only about 50,000 years old, while the jawbone was less than 100 years old. Moreover, it had come from an orangutan and had been stained with a chemical to make it seem older.
The “Piltdown Man” has been described as one of the most damaging scientific hoaxes of all time because it set back for years the development of evolutionary theory. But if Dawson made no money out of the scam, why did he do it? There is speculation that others might have been involved but the likelihood is that he simply craved scientific fame and recognition.
1970 👉🏼 General Hafez al-Assad becomes Prime Minister of Syria following military coup
1971 👉🏼 Battle of Garibpur: Indian troops aided by the Mukti Bahini, Bengali guerrillas, defeat the army of Pakistan
1976 👉🏼 “Rocky” directed by John G. Avildsen and starring Sylvester Stallone premieres in New York (Best Picture 1977)
2017 👉🏼 Robert Mugabe’s resignation after 37 years in power is read out in Zimbabwe’s parliaments during impeachment proceedings