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On this day in history - November 18

What Happened On This Day – November 18

  • 1978 Mass suicides in Jonestown

    Over 900 people committed suicide at the behest of Jim Jones the founder and head of a group called Peoples Temple. Formed in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the mid-1050s, members of the group moved to Guyana in 1974 and set up a settlement outside Georgetown and called in Jonestown.

  • 1963 Push button phones are used for the first time

    Bell systems started replacing rotary dial phones by push button phone in the United States. Push button phones use keys or buttons to dial a number.

  • 1916 End of the Somme Offensive

    The battle was bought between German forces on one side and British and French forces on the other during the First World War. Thought to be one of the bloodiest battles of the 20th century - the conflict started on July 1, 1916, and was fought on the banks of the river Somme in France.

  • 1903 Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty signed between Panama and the US

    The treaty created the Panama Canal Zone and set up the terms for the construction of the Panama Canal. Until 1979, the Panama Canal Zone was a territory of the United States. The French began construction on the Panama Canal in 1881 but had to stop due to engineering problems. The US took over the construction in 1904 and finished building the canal in 1914.

  • 1883 Canadian and American railroads adopt time zones

    Prior to this, most cities had their own local time, making it difficult for railways to be on time and confusing passengers. To solve this problem, private railways decided to divide the continent into 4 distinct time zones - the lines of which are very close to the time zone lines today.

Illustration of stork, signifying birth

Births On This Day,
November 18

  • 1974 Chloë Sevigny

    American actress, fashion designer

  • 1953 Alan Moore

    English author, illustrator

  • 1939 Margaret Atwood

    Canadian poet, author, critic

  • 1933 Bruce Conner

    American painter, photographer, director

  • 1923 Ted Stevens

    American politician

Illustration of tombstone, signifying death

Deaths On This Day,
November 18

  • 1987 Jacques Anquetil

    French cyclist

  • 1978 Jim Jones

    American cult leader, founded the Peoples Temple

  • 1962 Niels Bohr

    Danish physicist, Nobel Prize laureate

  • 1922 Marcel Proust

    French writer

  • 1886 Chester A. Arthur

    American politician, 21st President of the United States