This Week in History: November 24-30

Featured Article, History, This Week in History
on November 25, 2013

This week in history, celebrate Thanksgiving D.B. Cooper style. After jumping out of a plane, you can buy a nice turkey with $200,000 in ransom money. Want to know where D.B. Cooper went and if he is going to show up at your Thanksgiving meal? Read on.

November 24:
‘On the Origin of Species’ Published
The ideas of life’s beginnings began to evolve on this day in 1859 with the publication of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species.” The book’s initial run of 1,250 copies sold out on the first day. Subsequent printings also sold quickly. Darwin argued for the development of species through natural selection after traveling the world, particularly spending time studying finches in the Galapagos Islands. His ideas form the basis of modern biology and are a topic of much controversy. Darwin was competing to publish his ideas first, as fellow British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace had also independently developed ideas of natural selection.

D.B. Cooper Hijacking
On November 24, 1971, a man listed as D.B. Cooper hijacked a Boeing 727, demanding $200,000 in $20 bills and four parachutes. The crew landed at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport where Cooper procured the money and let the other passengers go. The mysterious man then ordered the crew to set off toward Mexico, but he never made it there. Somewhere over the Washington state forests, D.B. Cooper strapped the money to his body and jumped out of the plane. He has never been found, nor is there any indication as to whom he may have been. Some of the ransom money appeared along the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington, in 1980.

November 25:
Andrew Carnegie Birthday
One of America’s most famous industrialists and philanthropists was born on this day in 1835 in Scotland. Rising up from humble immigrant roots, Carnegie became a steel magnate and amassed a large fortune. He is known for funding public libraries and for his philanthropic work with the Carnegie Foundation. His is a true American success story.

November 26:
‘Casablanca’ Premiere
Hoping to capitalize on the recent Allied invasion of Northern Africa, “Casablanca” premiered on this day in 1942 in New York. It had widespread release in January of 1943. The film stars Humphrey Bogart as a man torn between his love for a woman, Ingrid Bergman, and whether or not he should help her husband escape from Morocco to fight Nazis. The music, characters and lines like, “Here’s looking at you, kid” have helped establish “Casablanca” as one of the greatest films of all time.

November 27:
First Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
The holiday season doesn’t start until Santa Claus makes his way down 34th Street at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which was first held on this day in 1924. The parade, one of the nation’s oldest Thanksgiving parades, features floats, balloons, marching bands and other musical entertainment. The event is now broadcast on NBC with an annual audience of 44 million viewers.

November 28:
Royal Society Established
One of the world’s most famous scientific communities was formed on this day in 1660 following a lecture by astronomer and architect Christopher Wren. Wren, Robert Boyle and other English scientists met and discussed what would now be called science in clandestine meetings. The group grew and eventually gained royal approval for existence. The group has been publishing since 1662 and continues to experiment and make advancements in all areas of science.

November 29:
First Army-Navy Game
The rivalry began on this day in 1890 with the inaugural Army-Navy football game. Navy won the first game with a score of 24-0. The U.S. armed forces branches have met each other on the field of play 113 times since that date. The game attracts large crowds and is usually hosted in professional stadiums. Both the winner’s and loser’s alma mater is played at the end of the game, as a sign of solidarity.

November 30:
Mark Twain Birthday
Born on this date in 1835, Samuel Langhorne Clemens is better known as Mark Twain, one of America’s best writers and humorists. Twain is most famous for “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and its sequel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Twain tried his hand at mining and working on a river, but was successful as a journalist and writer, having his writing read around the world during his lifetime. Twain’s wit earned him praise and a few enemies. Twain died in 1910. He willed that his autobiography be released 100 years after his death; the first volume was released in 2010.