Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1897

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.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Puerto Rico invaded

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

Mussolini falls from power

On this day in 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 ...read more

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

Nixon announces new doctrine

President Richard Nixon, at a briefing in Guam for the news media accompanying him on his trip to Asia, discusses at length the future role the United States should play in Asia and the Pacific region after the conclusion of the Vietnam War. Nixon said that while the United ...read more

Joint Chiefs propose air strikes

Following a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the deteriorating situation in Saigon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff draw up a memo proposing air strikes against North Vietnam. These missions were to be conducted in unmarked planes flown by South Vietnamese and Thai ...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

Concorde jet crashes

An Air France Concorde jet crashes upon takeoff in Paris on this day in 2000, killing everyone onboard as well as four people on the ground. The Concorde, the world’s fastest commercial jet, had enjoyed an exemplary safety record up to that point, with no crashes in the plane’s ...read more

Head of frontier bandit placed on display

Frontier bandit Joaquin Murieta’s head is placed on exhibit in the Northern Californian town of Stockton. Murieta, who was known as the “Terror of the Stanislaus,” had been disrupting the burgeoning gold trade and intimidating the public, along with his gang of thieves. The first ...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