1226: Francis of Assisi, the Italian Catholic friar and preacher who would be canonized as a saint in 1228, dies between the age of 43 and 45 in Assisi, Marche, Papal States. He is particularly known for founding the Franciscan Order and for setting up the first known Christmas nativity scene.
1789: President George Washington proclaims the first nation-wide Thanksgiving celebration in America, marking Nov. 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God."
1849: Edgar Allan Poe is found delirious in a gutter in Baltimore, Md., under mysterious circumstances. It is the last time he is seen in public before his Oct. 7 death.
1863: The last Thursday in November is declared as Thanksgiving Day by President Abraham Lincoln. The fourth Thursday of November remained the annual day of Thanksgiving from 1863 until 1939.
1867: Elias Howe, the American inventor who invented a commercially successful sewing machine, dies at age 48 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
1900: Author Thomas Wolfe, one of the most important writers in modern American literature, is born in Asheville, N.C. He is best known for the novels "Look Homeward, Angel," "You Can't Go Home Again" and "The Party at Jack's," and was counted as an influence on writers such as Jack Kerouac, Ray Bradbury and Philip Roth.
1913: President Woodrow Wilson signs the Revenue Act of 1913 into law, establishing the federal income tax. The incomes of couples exceeding $4,000, as well as those of single persons earning $3,000 or more, were subject to a 1 percent federal tax.
1919: Cincinnati Reds pitcher and Havana, Cuba, native Adolfo Luque becomes the first Latin player to appear in a World Series.
1920: The NFL (then the American Pro Football Association) plays its first games between members of the league. The inaugural season of the APFA actually kicked off Sept. 26, 1920, with APFA member Rock Island Independents defeating a team from outside the league, the St. Paul Ideals, 48-0. The following week featured seven games, including the first two matchups of APFA members. The Dayton Triangles defeated the Columbus Panhandles and the Rock Island Independents defeated the Muncie Flyers.
1922: Rebecca L. Felton becomes the first female to hold the office of U.S. senator, after being appointed by Georgia Gov. Thomas W. Hardwick to fill a vacancy created by the death of Sen. Thomas E. Watson. Despite former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Walter F. George winning the seat in a special election, George allowed Felton to be sworn in on Nov. 21, 1922, and serve one day before he officially took office, making her the shortest serving senator in U.S. history. At 87 years old, 9 months and 22 days, she was also the oldest freshman senator to enter the Senate.
1925: Author and political activist Gore Vidal ("Lincoln," "The City and the Pillar," "Myra Breckenridge") is born in West Point, N.Y.
1932: Iraq is admitted into the League of Nations, leading Britain to terminate their mandate over the nation. Britain had ruled Iraq since taking it from Turkey during World War I. Despite granting Iraq its independence, the British retained military bases and transit rights for their forces.
1938: Rockabilly singer and guitarist Eddie Cochran, the rock 'n' roll pioneer whose hit songs included "Summertime Blues," "C'mon Everybody" and "Somethin' Else," is born in Albert Lea, Minn.
1941: Singer-songwriter Chubby Checker, best known for his cover of "The Twist" and the ensuing dance craze in the 1960s, is born under the birth name Ernest Evans in Spring Gulley, S.C.
1942: The first man-made object reaches space with the successful launch of a V-2/A4-rocket from Test Stand VII at Peenemünde, Germany.
1944: Roy Horn (left), known for his long-running Las Vegas magic show with Siegfried Fischbacher (right) involving white tigers and lions, is born in Nordenham, Lower Saxony, Germany.
1949: WERD, the first black-owned radio station in the United States, opens in Atlanta, Ga. The station, headquartered in the same building as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, would play a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement.
1949: Singer-songwriter and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, best known as a member of the band Fleetwood Mac, is born in Palo Alto, Calif.
1951: Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants hits a game-winning three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca to give the Giants the National League pennant after being down more than 13 games in the standings in mid-August. The home run would come to be known as the "Shot Heard 'Round the World." The moment was immortalized by Giants play-by-play announcer Russ Hodges's excited multiple repetitions: "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"
1951: Hall of Fame baseball player Dave Winfield, who had 3,110 hits and 465 home runs over his 22-year career and won a World Series title with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992, is born in St. Paul, Minn.
1952: The United Kingdom tests an atomic bomb dubbed "Hurricane" in the lagoon between the Montebello Islands, Western Australia, becoming the third country in the world to test such a weapon. To test the effects of a ship-smuggled bomb, Hurricane was exploded inside the hull of the HMS Plym, 1,450-ton frigate anchored in 40 feet of water about 400 yards off shore. The explosion, 9 feet below the water line, left a saucer-shaped crater on the seabed 20-feet deep and 1,000-feet across.
1954: Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Dennis Eckersley, who became the first of only two pitchers in major-league history to have both a 20-win season and a 50-save season in a career, is born in Oakland, Calif. Eckersley saved 390 games in his career, won the American League's Cy Young Award and MVP in 1992, and helped the Oakland Athletics to a World Series championship in 1989.
1954: The Rev. Al Sharpton, an American Baptist minister, civil rights activist and television/radio talk show host, is born in Brooklyn, N.Y.
1954: Blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, who would help ignite the blues revival of the 1980s with his band Double Trouble before dying in a 1990 helicopter crash, is born in Dallas, Texas.
1954: The TV sitcom "Father Knows Best," starring Robert Young and Jane Wyatt, makes its debut. The show would last for six seasons before ending on May 23, 1960.
1955: The children's television series "Captain Kangaroo," starring Bob Keeshan as the title character, premieres. The show would air weekday mornings for nearly 30 years before ending on Dec. 8, 1984.
1955: The variety TV show "The Mickey Mouse Club" debuts. The series, created by Walt Disney and featuring a cast of child performers known as the "mousketeers," would be revived, reformatted and reimagined after its initial run from 1955 to 1959, first in 1977 for syndication, and again, from 1989 to 1995 on the Disney Channel.
1957: California State Superior Court Judge Clayton W. Horn dismisses a pornography charge brought against the publisher of Allen Ginsberg's poetry collection "Howl and Other Poems." In his decision, Horn declared the poem "Howl," which contains many references to illicit drugs and sexual practices, was not obscene because it carried "redeeming social importance," thus setting an important legal precedent regarding First Amendment issues.
1959: Golfer Fred Couples, a former World No. 1 who won the 1992 Masters Tournament and has been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, is born in Seattle, Wash.
1959: Actor Jack Wagner, best known for his roles on the soap operas "General Hospital," "Santa Barbara," "The Bold and the Beautiful" (pictured) and "Melrose Place," is born Peter John Wagner II in Washington, Mo. Wagner has also recorded five albums and topped the Billboard charts with the 1985 ballad "All I Need," which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and hit No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
1960: "The Andy Griffith Show," starring Andy Griffith as the widowed sheriff of the fictional small community of Mayberry, N.C., premieres. The sitcom, which also featured Don Knotts as the inept, but well-meaning deputy Barney Fife, Frances Bavier as Aunt Bee and Ron Howard as Andy's son Opie, would run for eight seasons and become one of the most acclaimed TV series of all time.
1961: "The Dick Van Dyke Show," a sitcom starring Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, makes its television debut. The show, which showed the work and home life of Dyke's Rob Petrie, the head writer of a comedy/variety show, would run for five seasons, winning 15 Emmys over that time.
1962: The Sigma 7 spacecraft is launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., with astronaut Wally Schirra aboard, for a six-orbit, nine-hour flight as part of NASA's Mercury program. The mission, America's fifth manned space mission, set a new record for the longest U.S. manned orbital flight, although it was well behind the several-day record set by the Soviet Vostok 3 earlier in the year.
1962: Musician Tommy Lee, best known as the drummer for the hard rock band Mötley Crüe, is born in Athens, Greece.
1964: Actor Clive Owen, best known for movies such as "Closer," "Sin City" and "Children of Men," is born in Coventry, West Midlands, England. Owen won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in 2004's "Closer."
1967: Singer-songwriter and folk musician Woody Guthrie, whose best known song is "This Land is Your Land," dies from complications of Huntington's disease, a progressive genetic neurological disorder, at the age of 55. Such songwriters as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger and Joe Strummer have acknowledged Guthrie as a major influence.
1969: Musician Gwen Stefani, best known as the lead singer of rock band No Doubt and for her solo work, is born in Fullerton, Calif.
1973: Actress Neve Campbell, best known as Sidney Prescott in the "Scream" horror movie franchise and as Julia Salinger in the television series "Party of Five," is born in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
1974: The Cleveland Indians name designated hitter Frank Robinson as player-manager, making him the first black manager in the major leagues. The future Hall of Famer would go on to also manage the San Francisco Giants (where he was the first black manager in the National League), the Baltimore Orioles and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals.
1976: Future Hall of Famer Hank Aaron singles in his last at-bat for the Milwaukee Brewers and drives in his 2,297th run, an MLB record that stands to this day. Aaron retired with a career .305 average, 755 home runs and 3,771 hits. His career home run record would stand until 2007.
1976: Actor Seann William Scott, best known for movies such as "American Pie," "Role Models" and "Dude, Where's My Car?," is born in Cottage Grove, Minn.
1978: Actress Shannyn Sossamon, best known for movies such as "A Knight's Tale," "40 Days and 40 Nights" and "The Rules of Attraction," is born in Honolulu, Hawaii.
1984: Singer Ashlee Simpson (left), the younger sister of Jessica Simpson who rose to prominence in 2004 with the success of her No. 1 debut album "Autobiography," is born in Waco, Texas.
1980: The movie "The Elephant Man," starring John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft and directed by David Lynch, premieres in New York City. The drama, based on the true story of Joseph Merrick (called John Merrick in the film), a severely deformed man in 19th century London, would be nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor for Hurt.
1985: The space shuttle Atlantis makes its maiden flight, carrying a payload for the U.S. Department of Defense.
1988: The space shuttle Discovery lands safely at Edwards Air Force Base after its four-day mission. It was the first American shuttle mission since the Challenger disaster.
1990: The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) ceases to exist and its territory becomes part of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). East and West Berlin are also reunited into one city. The day is now celebrated as German Unity Day.
1992: Appearing as a musical guest on "Saturday Night Live," Sinead O'Connor tears a picture of Pope John Paul II while singing an a cappella version of Bob Marley's "War," intended as a protest over the sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.
1993: A U.S. Army mission to seize two high-echelon lieutenants of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid's organization in Mogadishu, Somalia, goes wrong when Somali militia and armed civilian fighters down two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters (similar to the one pictured) over the city. The subsequent rescue operation to secure and recover the crews of both helicopters turned into an overnight standoff in the city. The heavy fighting, which would later become known as the Battle of Mogadishu and be portrayed in the film "Black Hawk Down," would leave 18 American soldiers dead and as many as 1,000 Somalis dead.
1995: O.J. Simpson is acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. The jury had actually arrived at the verdict the previous afternoon, after only four hours of deliberation following an eight-month trial, but Judge Lance Ito postponed the announcement until the following morning.
1996: The day after David Lee Roth released an open letter apologizing to the media and the fans, stating that he was an unwitting participant in a Van Halen publicity stunt after recording a couple of songs for a greatest hits package and making an MTV Video Music Awards appearance (pictured), the rest of the band issues their own statement, saying they never suggested to Roth he was guaranteed to be the band's next lead singer following the June 1996 departure of Sammy Hagar, who had replaced Roth in 1985. This marked the second time Roth would be dismissed from the band.
1997: The Carolina Hurricanes play their first regular season home game in Greensboro, N.C., after relocating from Hartford, Conn., and changing their name from the Hartford Whalers. The team would play for two seasons in Greensboro while waiting for the new Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena in Raleigh, N.C., to be finished.
1997: Former NHL great Gordie Howe, 69, makes a return to the ice, playing one shift for the International Hockey League's Detroit Vipers. In doing so, he became the only player in hockey history to compete in six different decades at the professional level, having played in the NHL, WHA and IHL from the 1940s to 1990s.
1998: Actor Roddy McDowall, best known for his roles as Cornelius and Caesar in the "Planet of the Apes" film series and as a child actor in movies such as "How Green Was My Valley," "My Friend Flicka" and "Lassie Come Home," dies of lung cancer at the age of 70 in Los Angeles.
1999: Japanese businessman Akio Morita, who co-founded Sony along with Masaru Ibuka in 1946, dies of pneumonia at age 78 in Tokyo, Japan.
2000: Mark David Chapman is denied parole by the New York State Board of Parole. In 1981, Chapman received a sentence of 20 years to life in prison for the Dec. 8, 1980, murder of John Lennon. Since this first hearing, he has been entitled to a parole hearing once every two years. He has been denied parole seven times by a three-member board since then, most recently in August 2012.
2003: During a show at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy is bitten on the neck by a 7-year-old male tiger named Montecore. Horn suffered severe blood loss and would remain in critical condition for several weeks thereafter. The attack would prompt The Mirage to close the show and Montecore was put into quarantine for 10 days in order to ensure he was not rabid, and was then returned to his habitat at The Mirage. In February 2009, the Siegfried & Roy staged a final appearance with Montecore during a benefit performance. The pair officially retired from show business in April 2010.
2004: Actress Janet Leigh, best known for her role as Marion Crane in "Psycho" as well as for her roles in other films such as "The Manchurian Candidate," "Safari," "Touch of Evil" and "Bye Bye Birdie," dies after suffering a heart attack at age 77 in Los Angeles.
2008: President George W. Bush signs the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 into law within hours of its congressional enactment. The law, enacted in response to the subprime mortgage crisis, created the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program to purchase failing bank assets, especially mortgage-backed securities, and supply cash directly to banks.