Today in History - Nov. 24

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Today in History - Nov. 24

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Today in History for Nov. 24:

On this date:

In 1639, astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks first observed the transit of Venus across the Sun.

In 1642, Dutch mariner Abel Tasman discovered Tasmania, a triangular-shaped island lying to the southeast of Australia.

In 1713, Father Junipero Serra, a Spanish missionary to western America, was born. From 1769, he established nine of the first 21 Franciscan missions founded along the Pacific coast, and baptized some 6,000 native Americans before his death in 1784.

In 1784, a mail route was established between Montreal and Quebec.

In 1807, Joseph Brant (1742-1807), chief of the Six Nations Indians, died at Burlington, Ont. He fought on the British side in the War of American independence and later led his tribe to Ontario's Grand River Valley. He was a Christian and translated Anglican services and scripture into Mohawk.

In 1837, Sir Francis Bond Head resigned as lieutenant governor of Upper Canada.

In 1838, Canadian Sulpician missionary Francois Blanchet first arrived in the Oregon Territory. A native of Quebec, he spent 45 years planting churches in the U.S. northwest, and is remembered today as the Apostle of Oregon.

In 1859, English naturalist Charles Darwin's "The Origin of the Species," which suggested humans evolved from apes, was published amid great controversy.

In 1864, French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born in Albi.

In 1892, Sir John Abbott, third Prime Minister of Canada and the first PM born in Canada, stepped down and was succeeded by Sir John S. D. Thompson.

In 1903, a patent for the automobile's electric starter was granted to Clyde Coleman.

In 1905, Edmonton obtained its first direct transcontinental railway service when the Canadian Northern Railway was completed.

In 1937, the Canadian Authors Association set up the Governor General's Literary Awards.

In 1944, during the Second World War, U.S. bombers based on Saipan attacked Tokyo in the first raid against the Japanese capital by land-based planes.

In 1947, John Steinbeck's novel "The Pearl" was first published.

In 1956, the first Canadian members of the UN peacekeeping force arrived in Egypt.

In 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of U.S. President John F. Kennedy two days before, was shot to death by nightclub owner Jack Ruby while being transferred between jails in Dallas.

In 1969, "Apollo 12" splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean.

In 1971, a hijacker called Dan Cooper -- who came to be known erroneously as "D.B. Cooper" -- parachuted from a Northwest Airlines 727 over Washington state with $200,000 in ransom -- his fate remains unknown.

In 1973, Australia granted the vote to Aborigines.

In 1973, William Richards Bennett, son of former B.C. premier W. A. C. Bennett, was elected B.C. Social Credit leader.

In 1976, an earthquake measuring 7.9 on Richter scale hit a wide area of eastern Turkey killing 5,300 people.

In 1980, Moretta (Molly) Reilly, the first woman in Canada to get an airline transport pilot's licence and member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, died in Edmonton at the age of 58. She joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942 as a photographer, and served until 1946. As a pilot with Peter Bawden Drilling Services in Calgary, she became the first to pilot a DC-3 in extensive periods of darkness, in extreme weather conditions, often without radio communication or navigation aids, in Canada's north.

In 1981, the Metric Commission of Canada announced the full conversion to the metric system in food stores across Canada. The changeover from Imperial units to metric was implemented simultaneously in 21 areas across Canada in January, 1982 and covered the rest of the country within two years.

In 1981, members of Parliament unanimously agreed to remove limits on sexual-equality guarantees in the new constitution. …