This Day In History

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  • Benazir Bhutto elected leader of Pakistan

    In Pakistan, citizens vote in their first open election in more than a decade, choosing as prime minister the populist candidate Benazir Bhutto, daughter of former Pakistani leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. She was the first woman leader of a Muslim country in modern history. After General Mohammed ...
  • Oklahoma enters the Union

    Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory collectively enter the United States as Oklahoma, the 46th state. Oklahoma, with a name derived from the Choctaw Indian words okla, meaning “people,” and humma, meaning “red,” has a history of human occupation dating back 15,000 years. The first Europeans to ...
  • Hessians capture Fort Washington

    During the Revolutionary War, Lieutenant General Wilhelm von Knyphausen and a force of 3,000 Hessian mercenaries lay siege to Fort Washington on Long Island. Throughout the morning, Knyphausen met stiff resistance from the Patriot riflemen inside, but by the afternoon the Americans were ...
  • Riker Torpedo Racer sets the world speed record for electric cars

    On November 16, 1901, a spare, low-slung car called the “Torpedo Racer”—basically a square platform on bicycle wheels—breaks the world speed record for electric cars in Coney Island, New York. The car’s builder and pilot, an engineer named Andrew Riker, managed to coax his machine one mile down the ...
  • Goebbels publishes his screed of hate

    On this day in 1941, Joseph Goebbels publishes in the German magazine Das Reich that “The Jews wanted the war, and now they have it”—referring to the Nazi propaganda scheme to shift the blame for the world war onto European Jewry, thereby giving the Nazis a rationalization for the so-called Final ...
  • New Fatherland League launched in Germany

    On this day in 1914 in Germany, a small group of intellectuals led by the physician Georg Nicolai launch Bund Neues Vaterland, the New Fatherland League. One of the league’s most active supporters was Nicolai’s friend, the great physicist Albert Einstein. Together, Einstein and Nicolai had written ...
  • U.S. provides support to beleaguered Cambodians

    As the fighting gets closer to Phnom Penh, the United States steps up its air activities in support of the Cambodian government. U.S. helicopter gunships struck at North Vietnamese emplacements at Tuol Leap, 10 miles north of Phnom Penh.
  • Ky defends South Vietnamese operations in Cambodia

    South Vietnamese Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky, speaking at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, says Cambodia would be overrun by communist forces “within 24 hours” if South Vietnamese troops currently operating there are withdrawn. Ky described the Cambodian operation of the previous spring ...
  • Kennedy decides to increase military aid to Saigon

    President John F. Kennedy decides to increase military aid to South Vietnam without committing U.S. combat troops. Kennedy was concerned at the advances being made by the communist Viet Cong, but did not want to become involved in a land war in Vietnam. He hoped that the military aid would be ...
  • Notre Dame ends Oklahoma record winning streak

    On November 16, 1957, Notre Dame beats Oklahoma 7-0, ending the Sooners’ 47-game, 1,512-day college football winning streak. The game also marked the first time in more than 120 games that Oklahoma didn’t score a single point. Sooners fans were stunned. Some cried; some sat in the stadium for more ...