On This Day … 19 November


  • 461 – Libius Severus is declared emperor of the Western Roman Empire. The real power is in the hands of the magister militum Ricimer.
  • 636 – The Rashidun Caliphate defeats the Sasanian Empire at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah in Iraq.
  • 1493 – Christopher Columbus goes ashore on an island called Borinquen he first saw the day before.
    • He names it San Juan Bautista (later renamed again Puerto Rico).
  • 1794 – The United States and the Kingdom of Great Britain sign Jay’s Treaty, which attempts to resolve some of the lingering problems left over from the American Revolutionary War.
  • 1802 – The Garinagu arrive at British Honduras (present-day Belize).
  • 1863 – American Civil War: US President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address at the dedication ceremony for the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
  • 1885 – Serbo-Bulgarian War: Bulgarian victory in the Battle of Slivnitsa solidifies the unification between the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia.
  • 1912 – First Balkan War: The Serbian Army captures Bitola, ending the five-century-long Ottoman rule of Macedonia.
  • 1941 – World War II: Battle between HMAS Sydney and HSK Kormoran.
    • The two ships sink each other off the coast of Western Australia, with the loss of 645 Australians and about 77 German seamen.
  • 1942 – World War II: Battle of Stalingrad: Soviet Union forces under General Georgy Zhukov launch the Operation Uranus counterattacks at Stalingrad, turning the tide of the battle in the USSR’s favor.
  • 1942 – Mutesa II is crowned the 35th and last Kabaka (king) of Buganda, prior to the restoration of the kingdom in 1993.
  • 1943 – Holocaust: Nazis liquidate Janowska concentration camp in Lemberg (Lviv), western Ukraine, murdering at least 6,000 Jews after a failed uprising and mass escape attempt.
  • 1944 – World War II: US President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces the sixth War Loan Drive, aimed at selling US$14 billion in war bonds to help pay for the war effort.
  • 1944 – World War II: Thirty members of the Luxembourgish resistance defend the town of Vianden against a larger Waffen-SS attack in the Battle of Vianden.
  • 1950 – US General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes Supreme Commander of NATO-Europe.
  • 1952 – Greek Field Marshal Alexander Papagos becomes the 152nd Prime Minister of Greece.
  • 1979 – Iran hostage crisis: Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini orders the release of 13 female and black American hostages being held at the US Embassy in Tehran.
  • 1985 – Cold War: In Geneva, US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev meet for the first time.
  • 1988 – Serbian communist representative and future Serbian and Yugoslav president Slobodan Milošević publicly declares that Serbia is under attack from Albanian separatists in Kosovo as well as internal treachery within Yugoslavia and a foreign conspiracy to destroy Serbia and Yugoslavia.
  • Day of Missile Forces and Artillery (Russia and Belarus).
  • Liberation Day (Mali).

People (Births)

  • 1752 – George Rogers Clark, American general (d. 1818).
  • 1805 – Ferdinand de Lesseps, French diplomat and engineer, developed the Suez Canal (d. 1894).
  • 1831 – James A. Garfield, American general, lawyer, and politician, 20th President of the United States (d. 1881).
  • 1894 – Américo Tomás, Portuguese admiral and politician, 14th President of Portugal (d. 1987).
  • 1897 – Quentin Roosevelt, American lieutenant and pilot (d. 1918).
  • 1906 – Franz Schädle, German SS officer (d. 1945).
  • 1939 – Tom Harkin, American commander, lawyer, and politician.
  • 1941 – Tommy Thompson, American captain and politician, 19th United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • 1954 – Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egyptian field marshal and politician, 6th President of Egypt.
  • 1961 – Pernille Svarre, Danish athlete.
  • 1966 – Gail Devers, American sprinter and hurdler.
  • 1977 – Kerri Strug, American gymnast and runner.
  • 1978 – Věra Pospíšilová-Cechlová, Czech discus thrower and shot putter.

People (Deaths)

  • 1577 – Matsunaga Hisahide, Japanese daimyō (b. 1510).
  • 1723 – Antoine Nompar de Caumont, French courtier and soldier (b. 1632).
  • 1773 – James FitzGerald, 1st Duke of Leinster, Irish soldier and politician (b. 1722).
  • 1798 – Wolfe Tone, Irish general (b. 1763).
  • 1850 – Richard Mentor Johnson, American colonel, lawyer, and politician, 9th Vice President of the United States (b. 1780).
  • 1868 – Ivane Andronikashvili, Georgian general (b. 1798).
  • 1967 – Charles J. Watters, American priest and soldier, Medal of Honour recipient (b. 1927).
  • 1975 – Roger D. Branigin, American colonel, lawyer, and politician, 42nd Governor of Indiana (b. 1902).
  • 1975 – Francisco Franco, Spanish general and dictator, Prime Minister of Spain (b. 1892).
  • 1990 – Sun Li-jen, Chinese general and politician (b. 1900).
  • 2013 – Dora Dougherty Strother, American pilot and academic (b. 1921).

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