This Day In History : November 9

1967 United States

The 1st unmanned Saturn V rocket launched on its first successful test flight into Earth orbit

The first unmanned test flight of the Saturn V rocket, known as Apollo 4, took place on November 9, 1967. It was a critical mission to validate the performance and capabilities of the Saturn V launch vehicle, which NASA intended to use for lunar missions under the Apollo program. Apollo 4 successfully demonstrated the rocket's structural integrity, engine performance, and overall systems compatibility with the Apollo spacecraft.

Also on This Day in History November 9

Discover what happened on November 9 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, November 9
  • 1934 Carl Sagan

    American scientist, astronomer and author (Broca's Brain, Cosmos, Contact) known for his research on extraterrestrial life

  • 1906 Arthur Rudolph

    German rocket engineer

  • 1871 Florence Rena Sabin

    American Scientist who was the first woman to graduate from Johns Hopkins and the first lifetime woman member of the National Academy of Sciences

  • 1801 Gail Borden

    American manufacturer and inventor of condensed milk

  • 1885 Theodor Kaluza

    German mathematician and physicist (Kaluza–Klein theory)

Deaths on This Day, November 9
  • 2011 H. Gobind Khorana

    Indian-American biochemist (Nobel 1968)

  • 1938 Edward Murray East

    American botanist and geneticist who developed hybrid corn

  • 1880 Edwin Drake

    American businessman who drilled 1st productive US oil well

  • 2002 William Schutz

    American psychologist

  • 1970 Charles de Gaulle

    French army general and President of France (1958-69)


The Great Boston Fire of 1872

The Great Boston Fire of 1872 occurred from November 9 to 10 in Boston, Massachusetts, starting in a warehouse on Summer Street. Strong winds and densely packed wooden buildings allowed the fire to spread rapidly, destroying 65 acres and 776 buildings, and causing around $73.5 million in damages (about $1.5 billion today). The fire had a profound impact on the city's infrastructure and economy, prompting changes in building codes and firefighting methods.

Cambodia gains their independence from France

On November 9, 1953, Cambodia peacefully gained independence from France, ending nearly a century of colonial rule. King Norodom Sihanouk played a key role in negotiating the independence. Despite the initial peaceful transition, Cambodia later faced significant challenges including political instability and conflict.

The biggest electricity grid failure in U.S. history caused a 13-hour blackout in northeast America and parts of Canada

The largest electricity grid failure in U.S. history occurred on November 9, 1965, causing a widespread blackout across the northeast United States and parts of Canada. The outage lasted approximately 13 hours and affected millions of people, highlighting vulnerabilities in the electrical infrastructure and leading to improvements in grid reliability and emergency response protocols.

Napoleon Bonaparte pulls off a coup and becomes the dictator of France

Napoleon Bonaparte's rise to power began with the coup d'état on 18 Brumaire (November 9, 1799) in the French Revolutionary calendar. He and his supporters overthrew the existing government, establishing the Consulate and ending the chaotic period of the French Revolution. As First Consul, Napoleon consolidated authority, enacted reforms, and later declared himself Emperor in 1804.
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