Year
1897
Month Day
July 25

Jack London sails for the Klondike

Jack London leaves for the Klondike to join the gold rush, where he will write his first successful stories.

London was born in San Francisco in 1876. His father, an astrologer named Chaney, abandoned the family, and his mother, a spiritualist and music teacher, remarried. Jack assumed his stepfather’s last name, London.

From an early age, London struggled to make a living, working in a cannery and as a sailor, oyster pirate, and fish patroller. During the national economic crisis of 1893, he joined a march of unemployed workers. He was jailed for vagrancy for a month, during which time he decided to go to college. The 17-year-old London completed a high school equivalency course and enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley, where he read voraciously for a year. However, he dropped out to join the 1897 gold rush.

While in the Klondike, London began submitting stories to magazines. In 1900, his first collection of stories, The Son of the Wolf, was published. Three years later, his story The Call of the Wild made him famous around the country. London continued to write stories of adventure amid the harsh natural elements. During his 17-year career, he wrote 50 fiction and nonfiction books. He settled in northern California about 1911, having already written most of his best work. London, a heavy drinker, died in 1916.

READ MORE: The Last Great Gold Rush 

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

The first railroad accident

The first recorded railroad accident in U.S. history occurs when four people are thrown off a vacant car on the Granite Railway near Quincy, Massachusetts. The victims had been invited to view the process of transporting large and weighty loads of stone when a cable on a vacant ...read more

Ships collide off Nantucket

At 11:10 p.m., 45 miles south of Nantucket Island, the Italian ocean liner Andrea Doria and the Swedish ocean liner Stockholm collide in a heavy Atlantic fog. Fifty-one passengers and crew were killed in the collision, which ripped a great hole in the broad side of the Italian ...read more

U.S. forces invade Puerto Rico

During the Spanish-American War, U.S. forces launch their invasion of Puerto Rico, the 108-mile-long, 40-mile-wide island that was one of Spain’s two principal possessions in the Caribbean. With little resistance and only seven deaths, U.S. troops under General Nelson A. Miles ...read more

Benito Mussolini falls from power

On July 25, 1943, Benito Mussolini, fascist dictator of Italy, is voted out of power by his own Grand Council and arrested upon leaving a meeting with King Vittorio Emanuele, who tells Il Duce that the war is lost. Mussolini responded to it all with an uncharacteristic meekness. ...read more

Dancer and spy Mata Hari sentenced to die

In Paris, France, on July 25, 1917, the exotic dancer Mata Hari is sentenced to death by a French court for spying on Germany’s behalf during World War I. Since 1903, Margueretha Gertruida Zelle, born in a small town in northern Holland and formerly married to a captain in the ...read more

Opening of the XXV Olympiad in Barcelona

On July 25, 1992, the opening ceremonies of the Games of the XXV Olympiad are held in Barcelona, Spain. The Barcelona Olympics were the first ever in which professional athletes were allowed to participate, and the first Games since 1972 in which every member nation of the ...read more

The Nixon Doctrine is announced

President Richard Nixon announces that henceforth the United States will expect its Asian allies to tend to their own military defense. The Nixon Doctrine, as the president’s statement came to be known, clearly indicated his determination to “Vietnamize” the Vietnam War. When ...read more