Saturday, December 4, 2010

On This Day in History: Happy Thanksgiving (again)

749 – Born and raised in the present-day capital of Syria, Saint John of Damascus died.  Having initially served as chief administrator to the Islamic head of state (caliph), John was ordained a priest in 735.  Regarded by Catholics as a Doctor of the Church, St. John was a defender of the Faith whose writings and hymns remain current over 1,200 years after his death.
1563 – The Council of Trent holds its final session.  Having convened nearly 18 years to the day earlier, largely in response to Martin Luther's 95 Theses, the council condemned what it defined as Protestant heresies and refined Church teachings in various areas, most of which remain topics of debate among the divisions of Christianity.
1619 – Although earlier gatherings are said to have taken place in Florida and even Texas, the first Thanksgiving is generally believed to have occurred when Captain John Woodlief led newly-arrived English colonists to a grassy slope along the James River in Virginia and instructed them to drop to their knees and pray in thanks for a safe arrival to the New World.
1674 – Father Jacques Marquette establishes a mission on the shores of Lake Michigan to minister to the Illiniwek tribe.  The mission would later grow to become Chicago, Illinois.
1791 – The first edition of The Observer, the world's first Sunday newspaper, is published.  Over 200 years later, the center-left periodical still enjoys a circulation of more than 450,000.
1881 – The first edition of the Los Angeles Times is published.  With a circulation that can top one million on Sunday, the Times is the second-largest metropolitan newspaper and the fourth-most widely distributed newspaper in the country.
1980 – Led Zeppelin officially disbands following the death of their irreplaceable drummer John Bonham.
1984 – Hezbollah militants hijack a Kuwait Airlines plane, killing four passengers.  (All in a days work for the terrorists...)
1991 – Terry Anderson, a journalist who spent seven years in captivity as a hostage in Beirut, is released.  He was the last and longest-held American hostage in Lebanon.

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