History, Holidays & Observances – November 25

A look at some of the history and holidays on November 25

Holidays & Observances on November 25

Feast of Catherine of Alexandria, born a Princess in the 4th century, she was a scholar who converted to Christianity at age 14.  She converted hundreds of others to the faith over the next several years.  In her 18th year, the pagan Roman Emperor, Maximinus, began a persecution of Christians.  Catherine presented herself before the Emperor and upbraided him for worshiping false gods.  The Catholic Encyclopedia tells the rest of the legend:

Astounded at the young girl’s audacity, but incompetent to vie with her in point of learning the tyrant detained her in his palace and summoned numerous scholars whom he commanded to use all their skill in specious reasoning that thereby Catherine might be led to apostatize. But she emerged from the debate victorious. Several of her adversaries, conquered by her eloquence, declared themselves Christians and were at once put to death. Furious at being baffled, Maximinus had Catherine scourged and then imprisoned. Meanwhile the empress, eager to see so extraordinary a young woman, went with Porphyry, the head of the troops, to visit her in her dungeon, when they in turn yielded to Catherine’s exhortations, believed, were baptized, and immediately won the martyr’s crown. Soon afterwards the saint, who far from forsaking her Faith, effected so many conversions, was condemned to die on the wheel, but, at her touch, this instrument of torture was miraculously destroyed. The emperor, enraged beyond control, then had her beheaded and angels carried her body to Mount Sinai where later a church and monastery were built in her honour.

As the author notes, most of what we know about Catherine is based on fantastical texts that were written to impress an audience, not to recount facts.  As to her burial, the church and monastery built in her honor and housing her remains and relics is the famous St. Catherine’s Monastery, built circa 550 A.D. in the Sinai desert of Egypt, and since visited by Ms. BWR, though don’t ask to see her pictures.

St. Catherine of Alexandria became a major figure of worship in the medieval Church.  “Numberless chapels” were dedicated to her and “her statue was found in nearly all churches.”  Moreover, Joan of Arc claimed to have had a vision of Catherine who appeared to advise Joan in her mission to drive the English out of France during the Hundred Years War.  She came to be the patron saint of young maidens, female students, lawyers, and all who work with a wheel.

Major Events on November 25

571 BC – Servius Tullius, king of Rome, celebrates a triumph.

It was common throughout the history of ancient Rome for military leaders, upon their return form a successful battle or campaign, to celebrate “a triumph” — feasting and a parade through Rome.  On this date in 571 B.C., the Roman King Servius celebrated a triumph for his defeat of the neighboring Etruscans.

Before Rome became an empire, it was a Republic.  And before that, it was a monarchy struggling for its existence among powerful competitors in Italy.  During the monarchy, One of Rome’s most important Kings was Servius Tullius.  Militarily, he expanded Roman territory, defeating the Etruscans and Veii. In terms of administration, he built several temples and is credited with establishing Rome’s first coinage. Politically, he was a populist who expanded the voting franchise to plebs and instituted the “Servian Reforms” that gave the common man more of a say in governing the nation.  These reforms set the stage for the Roman Republic that sprang into existence within three decades after Servius Tullius was assassinated in 535 B.C. by his son-in-law, concluding a 44 year reign.

1758 – French and Indian War: British forces capture Fort Duquesne from the French control.

Britain and France had fought several wars over dominance in the New World between 1630 and 1750, with the results being inconclusive.  The French and Indian War was the final war in that conflict.  It began in 1754 when Major George Washington attacked a French patrol in the Ohio Valley.  It almost immediately became part of a larger world war – now called The Seven Years War —  between France and Britain fought over five continents and involving all but one of the major powers in the world at the time.  It went poorly for the British through 1757, but the brilliant strategic management of the war effort by The Great Commoner, newly minted Prime Minister, William Pitt, began to pay off in 1758 world wide.

One of the major areas over which France and Britain were competing was the Ohio Valley.  And perhaps the most strategically important spot in that area was the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, where they met to form the Ohio River.  Britain had begun to build a fort at that spot in 1754 when the French arrived in force and drove them off.  France then built their own fort at the site, calling it Fort Duquesne.  The French were able to defend the fort against several attacks over the next four years but were finally forced to abandon it on this date to a much larger British force known as the Forbes Expedition.    The Brits built a new fort on the site, which they called Fort Pitt.  Subsequently, a town grew up around the new fort.  We know it today as Pittsburgh.

The Forbes Expedition had several effects.  One, it marked the turning point of the French-Indian War.  France was now on the defensive, left to defend and counter-attack to try and maintain its positions in the New World.  And the British lost the major Indian Tribe, the Cherokee, as an ally due to some events surrounding the Expedition.  Within a year, a contingent of the Cherokee declared war on the British and the war opened up a new front in South Carolina.  The war there was known as the Anglo-Cherokee War.

Thr French and Indian War was the war that made American Independence possible.  By the time it concluded, it had wiped all significant French and Spanish competition from North America.  It turned British attention to the colonies, and then, after having won the war, Britain managed to lose the peace.

1947 – Red Scare: The “Hollywood Ten.”

Believe it or not, there was a time when progressives were dead set against “blacklisting.”

In the aftermath of World War II, it became apparent that the Soviet Union was not our friend, and that communists were infiltrating the government, the schools, and the entertainment industry.  The House Unamerican Activities Committee, where Richard Nixon rose to fame, held hearings:

In 1947, the committee held nine days of hearings into alleged communist propaganda and influence in the Hollywood motion picture industry. After conviction on contempt of Congress charges for refusal to answer some questions posed by committee members, “The Hollywood Ten” were blacklisted by the industry. Eventually, more than 300 artists – including directors, radio commentators, actors, and particularly screenwriters – were boycotted by the studios. . . .

At any rate, Hollywood, then not woke at the highest echelons, began a systemic blacklisting of the Hollywood Ten on this date in 1947.  Progressives were enraged . . . but only that it was their ox being gored.  They have no problem today with destroying the livelihood of anyone who does not toe the line of woke dogma.  Indeed, it now seems to be a favored pastime.    Have they no shame?

Notable Events on November 25

1491 – Spain completes the Reconquista.  The Christian army of Ferdinand and Isabella finishes the siege of Granada, and the last Islamic Moorish stronghold in Spain, ends with the Treaty of Granada.

1783 – American Revolutionary War: The last British troops leave New York City three months after the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

1926 – The deadliest November tornado outbreak in U.S. history kills 76 people and injures more than 400.  And here I didn’t know we had bad weather prior to the climate change scam.

1950 – The Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950 impacts 22 American states, killing 353 people, injuring over 160, and causing US$66.7 million in damages (1950 dollars).

1952 – Agatha Christie’s murder-mystery play The Mousetrap opens at the Ambassadors Theatre in London. It will become the longest continuously-running play in history.

1999 – Five-year-old Elian Gonzalez, is rescued by fishermen while floating in an inner tube off the Florida coast, his mother having drowned while trying to escape with him from Cuba for America.  Rumor has it that as the SWAT Team tore little Elian from the arms of his extended family in Florida, he was heard to be screaming “DACA!!! DACA!!!”  All joking aside, I didn’t understand then why Clinton was dead set on denying this child asylum in the U.S. and returning him to Castro’s hellhole in the Caribbean.  I still don’t today.

Born on November 25

1835 – Andrew Carnegie, an American immigrant from Scotland, he is a classic rags to riches story as he went from being a telegraph operator to being the wealthiest man in America.  He is well remembered for his business acumen and his large scale philanthropy.

Died on November 25

2016 – Fidel Castro, Communist leader of Cuba, an evil man who left his country a moral and economic ruin.  When he died, the richest Cuban citizen was . . . his international playboy son.  Wow.  Isn’t that amazing.  If only he and Hugo Chavez were still alive, they could all get together with Joe Biden and discuss how their children became wealthy profiting off of their politics.