November 18, 1307

William Tell is forced to shoot an apple off of his son’s head.  There are several different versions of this story, and there is a question about whether William Tell was really an real person.  There are similarities to other legends in Norse Mythology.  However, some researchers have noted real life matching details, so the authenticity is unclear.

November 18, 1493

During Christopher Columbus’s second voyage exploring the New World, Columbus lands onChristopher Columbus Puerto Rico and claims the island for Spain.  Under Spain’s rule for almost 400 years, the indigenous population is almost wiped out by disease.

November 18, 1883

Time zones are instituted in North America by the railroads.  Before this time, all clocks were set locally using the sun to determine Noon.  All train schedules would be printed in local times, so it was very confusing to travel from place to place.  The railroads then adopted a time standard, modifying a system used in Great Britain.  Most cities themselves adopted the times.  The United States Congress passed the Standard Time Act in 1918 and made everything uniform.

November 18, 1865

Mark Twain’s first major success, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, is published by the New York Saturday Press.  Mark Twain had worked as a reporter, but a friend asked him to write a story for a book.  He took too long to get the story to where he wanted it, so missed the publication of the book, so he submitted it to The Saturday Press. 

November 18, 1963

Although invented in 1941, the first push button telephone was not available until 1963.  First offered in Pennsylvania, it took a while before the phone replaced the rotary phone.

November 18, 1978

Jim Jones, founder and leader of the Peoples Temple, and his followers kill themselves and their children in Jonestown, Guyana.  A total of 909 people died, of which 303 were children.  The act was performed by drinking cyanide-laced grape flavored Flavor-Aid with a sedative.  There were allegations of abuses to children and other members of the community.  There were investigations taking place, and while on a fact finding mission, Congressman Ryan and four others were killed by members of Jones’ group.  Upon hearing this, the rest of the group thought that they would be attacked and killed, so they decided to do it first on their own terms, so they could move on to another planet and live happily together.

November 18, 1987President Ronald Reagan

The United States Congress issues their report on the Iran-Contra affair.  Their report stated that they were unsure whether President Reagan knew anything about the sale of weapons to Iran.  The Tower Commission Report stated that they felt that the President had not known of the sale.  Both reports stated that President Reagan should have had better oversight of his aides, and should have known what was happening.

November 18, 1993

The North American Free Trade Agreement is approved by the United States House of Representatives, by a vote of 234 to 200.  The agreement is meant to help facilitate trade and investment between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  There were proponents and critics of NAFTA, and the agreement has definitely helped Canada, but the benefits and harm that has been done to the United States and Mexico is disputed.