On This Day: Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution begins

About 1,000 Czech students march through central Prague on November 17, 1999, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution, which ended decades of communist rule. File Photo by Sean Gallup/UPI

Nov. 17 (UPI) — On this date in history:

In 1558, the Elizabethan Age begins when Britain’s Queen Elizabeth I ascended to the throne upon her half-sister Queen Mary’s death.

In 1800, the U.S. Congress convened at the Capitol in Washington for the first time.

In 1869, the Suez Canal in Egypt was opened, linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

In 1871, the National Rifle Association was founded by a journalist and a lawyer with a mission to improve its member’s marksmanship skills through the organization of rifle clubs across the country.

In 1903, the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party splits into two factions: The Bolsheviks (Russian for “majority”), led by Vladimir Lenin, and the Mensheviks (Russian for “minority”), led by Julius Martov. The Bolsheviks would eventually morph into the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

In 1968, NBC angered football fans across the United States when it pre-empted the final minute of an Oakland Raiders-New York Jets game to air children’s movie Heidi. Viewers jammed the phone lines at telephone companies, the network and local police to vent their frustrations.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon uttered the infamous words, “I am not a crook,” in response to reporters’ questions about the Watergate scandal.

In 1989, Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution began following the put down of a student demonstration by riot police. A larger uprising against the country’s communist government succeeded on Dec. 29, ending 41 years of Communist rule.

In 1993, by a vote of 234-200, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution to establish the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved marketing of silicone gel-filled breast implants, ending a 14-year moratorium on them.

In 2018, a U.S. search team found a missing Argentine naval submarine a year after it vanished with 44 crew members aboard.


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