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History Events on November 18

Old St. Peter's Basilica
The old St. Peter's Basilica is consecrated.


Push-button telephone
The first push-button telephone goes into service.


Maginulfo is elected the Antipope as Sylvester IV.


Time zone
American and Canadian railroads institute five standard continental time zones, ending the confusion of thousands of local times.


Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules 4-3 in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and gives the state legislature 180 days to change the law making Massachusetts the first state in the United States to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples.


Oman declares its independence from United Kingdom.


Council of Clermont
The Council of Clermont begins: called by Pope Urban II, it led to the First Crusade to the Holy Land.


Haakon VII of Norway
Prince Carl of Denmark becomes King Haakon VII of Norway.


The Visigoths, led by king Alaric I, cross the Alps and invade northern Italy.


Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus first sights the island now known as Puerto Rico.


Two United States warships are sent to Nicaragua after 500 revolutionaries (including two Americans) are executed by order of José Santos Zelaya.


World War II
World War II: German leader Adolf Hitler and Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano meet to discuss Benito Mussolini's disastrous Italian invasion of Greece.


Charles VIII of France
French King Charles VIII occupies Florence, Italy.


John F. Kennedy
United States President John F. Kennedy sends 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam.


Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony and 14 other women are arrested for voting illegally in the United States presidential election of 1872.


Ballantyne's fire
The Ballantyne's Department Store fire in Christchurch, New Zealand, kills 41; it is the worst fire disaster in the history of New Zealand.


Iraq disarmament crisis
Iraq disarmament crisis: United Nations weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix arrive in Iraq.


Christian IX of Denmark
King Christian IX of Denmark signs the November constitution that declares Schleswig to be part of Denmark. This is seen by the German Confederation as a violation of the London Protocol and leads to the German-Danish war of 1864.


Battle of Vukovar
After an 87-day siege, the Croatian city of Vukovar capitulates to the besieging Yugoslav People's Army and allied Serb paramilitary forces.


Latvia declares its independence from Russia.


King's Cross fire
King's Cross fire: In London, 31 people die in a fire at the city's busiest underground station, King's Cross St Pancras.


A seawall at the Zuiderzee dike in the Netherlands breaks, flooding 72 villages and killing about 10,000 people. This event will be known as St Elizabeth's flood.


North American Free Trade Agreement
In the United States, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is approved by the House of Representatives.


Debtors' prison
The rebuilt debtors' prison, at the Castellania in Valletta, receives the first prisoners.


Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Boniface VIII issues the Papal bull Unam sanctam, claiming spiritual supremacy for the papacy.


Action of 18 November 1809
In a naval action during the Napoleonic Wars, French frigates defeat British East Indiamen in the Bay of Bengal.


Tiryaki Hasan Pasha
Tiryaki Hasan Pasha, an Ottoman provincial governor, routs the Habsburg forces commanded by Ferdinand the Archduke of Austria during the Siege of Nagykanizsa.


In Jonestown, Guyana, Jim Jones led his Peoples Temple to a mass murder-suicide that claimed 918 lives in all, 909 of them in Jonestown itself, including over 270 children. Congressman Leo Ryan is murdered by members of the Peoples Temple hours earlier.


Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty
The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty is signed by the United States and Panama, giving the United States exclusive rights over the Panama Canal Zone.


Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Krasnoi ends in French defeat, but Marshal of France Michel Ney's leadership leads to him becoming known as "the bravest of the brave".


Battle of Berlin (RAF campaign)
World War II: Battle of Berlin: Four hundred and forty Royal Air Force planes bomb Berlin causing only light damage and killing 131. The RAF loses nine aircraft and 53 air crew.


1929 Grand Banks earthquake
Grand Banks earthquake: Off the south coast of Newfoundland in the Atlantic Ocean, a Richter magnitude 7.2 submarine earthquake, centered on the Grand Banks, breaks 12 submarine transatlantic telegraph cables and triggers a tsunami that destroys many south coast communities in the Burin Peninsula.


Richard Nixon
U.S. President Richard Nixon asks the U.S. Congress for $155 million in supplemental aid for the Cambodian government.


Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria
Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria becomes the 118th Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.


Aggie Bonfire
At Texas A&M University, the Aggie Bonfire collapses killing 12 students and injuring 27 others.


Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III excommunicates Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV.


Battle of Vertières
The Battle of Vertières, the last major battle of the Haitian Revolution, is fought, leading to the establishment of the Republic of Haiti, the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere.


1996 Channel Tunnel fire
A fire occurs on a train traveling through the Channel Tunnel from France to England causing several injuries and damaging approximately 500 metres (1,600 ft) of tunnel.


Local Government Act 2003
In the United Kingdom, the Local Government Act 2003, repealing Section 28, becomes effective.


Philip II of France
Phillip II becomes king of France.


Constitution of South Africa
In South Africa, 21 political parties approve a new constitution, expanding voting rights and ending white minority rule.


World War I
World War I: First Battle of the Somme: In France, British Expeditionary Force commander Douglas Haig calls off the battle which started on July 1, 1916.


NASA launches the MAVEN probe to Mars.


Pope Martin IV
Pope Martin IV excommunicates King Peter III of Aragon.


Mark Twain
Mark Twain's short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is published in the New York Saturday Press.


Minecraft is released.
Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon release Anglican Church envoys Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland.
War on Drugs: U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs a bill into law allowing the death penalty for drug traffickers.
The Iva Valley Shooting occurs after the coal miners of Enugu in Nigeria go on strike over withheld wages; 21 miners are shot dead and 51 are wounded by police under the supervision of the British colonial administration of Nigeria.
The Popular Socialist Youth is founded in Cuba.
Release of the animated short Steamboat Willie, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, featuring the third appearances of cartoon characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. This is considered by the Disney corporation to be Mickey's birthday.
Britain and the United States sign the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, which nullifies the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty and withdraws British objections to an American-controlled canal in Panama.
The Corsican Constitution is voted.
The future Frederick II (known as Frederick the Great), King of Prussia, is granted a royal pardon and released from confinement.
The new St Peter's Basilica is consecrated.