" One likes to be respected as highly as his neighbors are. "
L. Frank Baum

Back in the day


Whaling Ship Essex Rammed by Whale

In 1819, the whaling ship Essex left Massachusetts for the South Pacific to hunt sperm whales. On November 20, 1820, in an incident that would inspire Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, the Essex was rammed multiple times by a sperm whale and sank 2,000 miles (3,700 km) off the coast of South America. The crew took three small boats to a nearby island, but many soon set out again. Conditions in the boats worsened, and the sailors had to resort to cannibalism. How many survived?



The Bible Riots

The 1844 Bible Riots were a series of anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that resulted in several dozen deaths, many more injuries, and the destruction of two churches. At the time, scores of immigrants, particularly Irish Catholics, were settling in the city. Consequently, the nativist movement, which espouses a sociopolitical policy favoring the interests of established inhabitants over those of immigrants, saw rapid growth there. Who did grand juries blame for the riots?

Born on a day like today


Kenesaw Mountain Landis

Landis was a US federal judge and the first commissioner of professional baseball. Named for a Georgia mountain where his father had been wounded during the Civil War, he practiced law in Illinois before serving as a US district judge. In 1907, he presided over a famous case in which the Standard Oil Company was found guilty of granting unlawful freight rebates and fined $29 million, but his decision was later reversed. He was named baseball commissioner in 1920 in the aftermath of what scandal?

Last updated on Sunday, 20th November 2011

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