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This Day in History: November 26


1778 – In the Hawaiian Islands, Captain James Cook becomes the first European to visit Maui.

1784 – The Catholic Apostolic Prefecture of the United States established.

1789 – A national Thanksgiving Day is observed in the United States as proclaimed by President George Washington at the request of Congress.

1825 – At Union College in Schenectady, New York, a group of college students form the Kappa Alpha Society, the first college social fraternity.

1842 – The University of Notre Dame is founded.

1863 – United States President Abraham Lincoln proclaims November 26 as a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated annually on the final Thursday of November. (Since 1941, it has been on the fourth Thursday.)

1917 – The National Hockey League is formed, with the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs, and Toronto Arenas as its first teams.

1922 – The Toll of the Sea debuts as the first general release film to use two-tone Technicolor. (The Gulf Between was the first film to do so, but it was not widely distributed.)

1942 – Casablanca, the movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, premieres in New York City

1944 – World War II: A German V-2 rocket hits a Woolworth's shop in London, United Kingdom, killing 168 people.

1944 – World War II: Germany begins V-1 and V-2 attacks on Antwerp, Belgium.

1950 – Korean War: Troops from the People's Republic of China launch a massive counterattack in North Korea against South Korean and United Nations forces (Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River and Battle of Chosin Reservoir), ending any hopes of a quick end to the conflict.

1968 – Vietnam War: United States Air Force helicopter pilot James P. Fleming rescues an Army Special Forces unit pinned down by Viet Cong fire. He is later awarded the Medal of Honor.

1986 – Iran–Contra affair: U.S. President Ronald Reagan announces the members of what will become known as the Tower Commission.

1990 – The Delta II rocket makes its maiden flight.

2000 – George W. Bush is certified the winner of Florida's electoral votes by Katherine Harris, going on to win the United States presidential election, despite losing in the national popular vote.

2003 – Concorde makes its final flight, over Bristol, England.

2011 – NATO attack in Pakistan: NATO forces in Afghanistan attack a Pakistani checkpost in a friendly fire incident, killing 24 soldiers and wounding 13 others.

2011 – The Mars Science Laboratory launches to Mars with the Curiosity Rover.


1607 – John Harvard, English-American minister and philanthropist (d. 1638)

1609 – Henry Dunster, English-American clergyman and academic (d. 1659)

1792 – Sarah Moore Grimké, American author and activist (d. 1873)

1853 – Bat Masterson, American police officer and journalist (d. 1921)

1858 – Katharine Drexel, American nun and saint (d. 1955)

1876 – Willis Carrier, American engineer, invented air conditioning (d. 1950)

1895 – Bill W., American activist, co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous (d. 1971)

1902 – Maurice McDonald, American businessman, co-founded McDonald's (d. 1971)

1912 – Eric Sevareid, American journalist (d. 1992)

1922 – Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist, created Peanuts (d. 2000)

1924 – George Segal, American painter and sculptor (d. 2000)

1939 – Tina Turner, American-Swiss singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress (Ike & Tina Turner)

1983 – Chris Hughes, American publisher and businessman, co-founded Facebook


1883 – Sojourner Truth, American activist (b. 1797)

1926 – John Browning, American weapons designer, founded the Browning Arms Company (b. 1855)

1938 – Flora Call Disney, American mother of Walt Disney (b. 1968)

1956 – Tommy Dorsey, American trombonist, trumpet player, and composer (b. 1905)

2005 – Stan Berenstain, American author and illustrator, co-created the Berenstain Bears (b. 1923)