This Week In History 11.18-11.24

Nov. 18

On this date in the year 326, the ground for Old St. Peter’s Basilica was consecrated in Vatican City. This structure stood until the sixteenth century where the current St. Peter’s Basilica stands in the same spot today.

Basilica is a Latin term that is used to describe an open, Roman, public court building and it is usually located adjacent to the marketplace of a Roman town. Old St. Peter’s Basilica was built over the historical site that was known as the Circus of Nero and construction took place from 318 to 322, during the reign of Constantine I.

The structure was finally completed in 360 and the inside consisted of five aisles, a wide central nave, and two smaller aisles on each side, which were divided by 21 marble columns. Old St. Peter’s Basilica was over 350 feet long and it was built in the same shape of a Latin cross.

People would walk through the entrance, which was called the Garden of Paradise, to get inside the building. The entrance was added during the sixth century and it consisted of five doors that led to the body of the church.

Over the next twelve centuries, the basilica gained importance as a prominent place of worship and it became a major place of pilgrimage in Rome. During the time it stood however, the structure got attacked by the Saracens, who were attempting to capture Rome’s greatest valuables. By the fifteenth century, the church fell into decline before it completely collapsed by the sixteenth century.

Nov. 19

On this date in 1916, Samuel Goldwyn along with Edgar and Archibald Selwyn established an American motion picture production company that became known as Goldwyn Pictures. The idea for the companies name was thought up by the partners, who combined their last names together.

The headquarters were located in Fort Lee, New Jersey and the company became famous for its “Leo the Lion” trademark, which served as the logo for every introduction to a movie that was created by Goldwyn Pictures.

Goldwyn was ultimately forced out of the company by his partners and as a result, they brought in Lee Schubert, who was the head of the most dominant theatre operator in the United States. In 1924, Schubert decided to sell Goldwyn Pictures to Marcus Loew.

When Loew bought the company, he was already the owner of Metro Pictures and he was still attempting to build his chain by looking for a much steadier movie supply. As a result, he bought Louis B. Mayer pictures and he merged the three studios to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Corporation.

After Samuel Goldwyn got fired, he continued with his career in the movie making business by starting his own production company, which was known as Samuel Goldwyn Productions and it ran from 1923 until 1959.

Nov. 20

On this date in 2001, President George W. Bush re-named the United States Department of Justice building to being the Robert F. Kennedy Building. Bush decided to make the dedication on Kennedy’s behalf because that day would have been his 76th birthday.

Robert F. Kennedy was the younger brother of President John F. Kennedy. During his time as a politician, RFK served as the 64th United States Attorney General, where he served under his brother and Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 until 1964. Kennedy also became the senator of New York in 1965, a position he held until 1968.

On June 5, 1968, RFK addressed his supporters that he won the California primary as the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. Following the announcement, Kennedy was walking through a crowded kitchen in Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel when 24-year old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan opened fire.

Sirhan used a .22 caliber-revolver as his weapon of choice during the chaos that unfolded within the walls of the kitchen. Kennedy was assassinated after being hit three times and he died the very next morning.

The United States Department of Justice is located in Washington D.C. and the employees are responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws as well as the administration of justice. The department is led by the Attorney General, a position which is currently held by Eric Holder.

Nov. 21

On this date in 1902, the first professional football game ever to be played at night took place. In that game, the Philadelphia Football Athletics defeated the Kanaweola Athletic Club of by a score of 39-0.

The Philadelphia Athletics were a football team that existed for only one season. The team was coached by Blondy Wallace, owned by Ben Shibe, and Connie Mack was the general manager. Mack was also a professional baseball manager at the time for a team coincidentally known as the Philadelphia Athletics.

Meanwhile, the Kanaweola Athletic Club was a bicycling club located in the state of New York and they would soon become recognized for their football team because they hosted this night game.

The game took place at Dunn Field in Elmira, NY at 8:00 p.m. Lights were set up along the sidelines and searchlights were set up behind the goal posts as the Athletics defeated Kanaweola by a score of 39-0.

Nov. 22

On this date in 1958, the city of Denver was founded in the state of Colorado. When the city was founded, it was originally a mining town during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush in western Kansas Territory.

Denver is the state capital and it is located just east of the Rocky Mountains. The city is Colorado’s largest with an overall area of 154.9 square miles and it is the states’ second most populated with 634,265 people.

Perhaps the one thing that Denver is greatly known for is its nickname, which is “The Mile-High City”. The nickname proved to be a perfect fit because the official elevation is exactly one mile above sea level, making it one of the highest major cities in the country.

Four professional sports teams play within the city. The organizations include the Denver Broncos of the NFL, the Colorado Rockies of the MLB, the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, and the Denver Nuggets of the NBA.

Nov. 23

On this date in 1990, Roald Dahl passed away at the age of 74 in Oxford, England. The cause of his death was myelodysplastic syndrome, which is a blood disease that includes inadequate production of the blood cells.

Roald Dahl was born on Sept. 13, 1916 to Norwegian parents who wanted him to have the best education possible. Dahl’s parents sent him to a British boarding school after he attended a Cathedral School until he was eight years old. He took advantage of every opportunity that was given to him and he was able to become a very successful writer.

Before Dahl could start writing, he was called upon to serve his country in World War II, where he was a fighter pilot from 1939 until 1946. He became notable for writing books in many genres, particularly children’s books and stories about fantasy.

His most famous works include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and George’s Marvelous Medicine. Some of these stories were transformed into movies that people still watch today.

Following his death, Dahl was buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery at St. Paul’s Church in Buckinghamshire, England. His family members buried him with a variety of items which included snooker cues, burgundy wine, chocolates, HB pencils, and a power saw.

Six years after his death, the Buckingham County Museum honored Dahl with his very own children’s gallery. In 2002, the Oval Basin Plaza, which is one of Cardiff’s prominent landmarks, was renamed the “Roald Dahl Plass” and the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre was opened in 2005 to celebrate his accomplishments.

Nov. 24

On this date in 1859, Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, a piece of literature that discusses further proof of the Theory of Evolution. To this day, Nov. 24, 1859 is sometimes referred to as “Evolution Day”.

The book’s introduction focused on how Charles Darwin came up with a scientific theory, which talked about populations and how they have evolved generation after generation. A lot of subjects play into this particular topic and those include science, religion, and politics.

Darwin’s findings are based on different facts and inferences. For instance, he wrote that if all species survived to reproduce, the population would continue to grow and that all species struggle for survival on a regular basis.

The Theory of Evolution is still a prominent issue. People discuss how species evolved, how they survived, and where they have come from. Questions are asked because everybody has a different view about this theory, which is why The Origin of Species will always have its fair share of controversy.