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This Day in History: November 3


1493 – Christopher Columbus first sights the island of Dominica in the Caribbean Sea.

1783 – The American Continental Army is disbanded.

1789 – The first District Court established by the Constitution opens in New York City.

1868 – John Willis Menard was the first African American elected to the United States Congress. Because of an electoral challenge, he was never seated.

1883 – American Old West: Self-described "Black Bart the poet" gets away with his last stagecoach robbery, but leaves a clue that eventually leads to his capture.

1903 – With the encouragement of the United States, Panama separates from Colombia.

1911 – Chevrolet officially enters the automobile market in competition with the Ford Model T.

1942 – World War II: The Koli Point action begins during the Guadalcanal Campaign and ends on November 12.

1943 – World War II: Five hundred aircraft of the U.S. 8th Air Force devastate Wilhelmshaven harbor in Germany.

1954 – The first Godzilla film is released and marks the first appearance of the character of the same name.

1957 – Sputnik program: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2. On board is the first animal to enter orbit, a dog named Laika.

1960 – The land that would become the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was established by an Act of Congress after a year-long legal battle that pitted local residents against Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials wishing to turn the Great Swamp into a major regional airport for jet aircraft.

1964 – Washington D.C. residents are able to vote in a presidential election for the first time.

1969 – Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon addresses the nation on television and radio, asking the "silent majority" to join him in solidarity on the Vietnam War effort and to support his policies.

1973 – Mariner program: NASA launches the Mariner 10 toward Mercury. On March 29, 1974, it becomes the first space probe to reach that planet.

1979 – Greensboro massacre: Five members of the Communist Workers Party are shot dead and seven are wounded by a group of Klansmen and neo-Nazis during a "Death to the Klan" rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, United States.

1986 – Iran–Contra affair: The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa reports that the United States has been secretly selling weapons to Iran in order to secure the release of seven American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon.

1997 – The United States of America imposes economic sanctions against Sudan in response to its human rights abuses of its own citizens and its material and political assistance to Islamic extremist groups across the Middle East and Eastern Africa.

2014 – One World Trade Center officially opens.


1656 – Georg Reutter, Austrian organist and composer (d. 1738)

1793 – Stephen F. Austin, American businessman and politician (d. 1836)

1794 – William Cullen Bryant, American poet and journalist (d. 1878)

1816 – Jubal Early, American general and lawyer (d. 1894)

1816 – Calvin Fairbank, American minister and activist (d. 1898)

1845 – Edward Douglass White, American lawyer, jurist, and politician, 9th Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1921)

1890 – Harry Stephen Keeler, American author (d. 1967)

1908 – Bronko Nagurski, Canadian-American football player, wrestler, and coach (d. 1990)

1918 – Bob Feller, American sailor, baseball player, and sportscaster (d. 2010)

1918 – Elizabeth P. Hoisington, American general (d. 2007)

1918 – Russell B. Long, American lieutenant, lawyer, and politician (d. 2003)

1933 – Michael Dukakis, American lawyer, academic, and politician, 65th Governor of Massachusetts

1960 – Karch Kiraly, American volleyball player, coach, and sportscaster


1926 – Annie Oakley, American target shooter (b. 1860)

1949 – Solomon R. Guggenheim, American art collector and philanthropist, founded the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (b. 1861)

1957 – Laika, Russian dog (b. 1954)

1998 – Bob Kane, American author and illustrator, co-created Batman (b. 1915)