Year
1975

Juan Carlos assumes power in Spain

Prince Juan Carlos becomes Spain’s acting head of state after General Francisco Franco, the dictator of Spain since 1936, concedes that he is too ill too govern. The 83-year-old dictator had been suffering serious health problems for nearly a year. Three weeks after Juan Carlos assumed power, Franco died of a heart attack. Two days later, on November 22, Juan Carlos was crowned king.

Juan Carlos’ grandfather was Alfonso XIII, the last ruling monarch of Spain, who was forced into exile in 1931 after Spain was declared a republic. Born in Italy in 1938, Juan Carlos returned to Spain in 1955 under the invitation of Franco and received a military education. In 1969, Franco designated Juan Carlos his successor. Despite having pledged loyalty to Franco’s authoritarian regime, King Juan Carlos immediately began a transition to democracy after Franco’s death in 1975.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Queen of American high society dies

Caroline Schermerhorn Astor, wife of William Waldorf Astor, the wealthy newspaper proprietor, dies at the age of 78. Even before her union with William Astor—the grandson of the American fur magnate John Jacob Astor—Caroline Schermerhorn was prime American aristocracy: She was ...read more

Quebec separatists narrowly defeated

By a bare majority of 50.6 percent to 49.4 percent, citizens of the province of Quebec vote to remain within the federation of Canada. The referendum asked Quebec’s citizens, the majority of whom are French-speakers, to vote whether their province should begin the process that ...read more

Marines repel attack near Da Nang.

Just miles from Da Nang, U.S. Marines repel an intense attack by successive waves of Viet Cong troops and kill 56 guerrillas. A search of the dead uncovered a sketch of Marine positions written on the body of a 13-year-old Vietnamese boy who had been selling drinks to the Marines ...read more

Muhammad Ali wins the Rumble in the Jungle

On October 30, 1974, 32-year-old Muhammad Ali becomes the heavyweight champion of the world for the second time when he knocks out 25-year-old champ George Foreman in the eighth round of the “Rumble in the Jungle,” a match in Kinshasa, Zaire. Seven years before, Ali had lost his ...read more

John Adams is born

On this day in 1735, John Adams, the son of a farmer and a descendant of Plymouth Rock pilgrims, is born in Braintree, Massachusetts. He enrolled in Harvard University at16 and went on to teach school and study law before becoming America’s second president. Adams did not fight ...read more

Perfect storm hits North Atlantic

On this day in 1991, the so-called “perfect storm” hits the North Atlantic producing remarkably large waves along the New England and Canadian coasts. Over the next several days, the storm spread its fury over the ocean off the coast of Canada. The fishing boat Andrea Gail and ...read more

Oakland, California, enacts anti-drug law

Oakland, California, enacts a law against opium, morphine, and cocaine. The new regulations allowed only doctors to prescribe these drugs, which, until then, had been legal for cures or pain relief. Reflecting a general trend at the time, Oakland was only one of the jurisdictions ...read more

Eisenhower approves NSC 162/2

On October 30, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally approves National Security Council Paper No. 162/2 (NSC 162/2). The top secret document made clear that America’s nuclear arsenal must be maintained and expanded to meet the communist threat. It also made clear the ...read more

Ormsby MacKnight Mitchell dies

On this day in 1862, Union General Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel, commander of the Department of the South, diesin Beaufort, South Carolina. Born in Kentucky in 1809 or 1810, Mitchel grew up in Lebanon, Ohio. He attended West Point, where he excelled in mathematics,and graduated in ...read more

Ottoman Empire signs treaty with Allies

On October 30, 1918, aboard the British battleship Agamemnon, anchored in the port of Mudros on the Aegean island of Lemnos, representatives of Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire sign an armistice treaty marking the end of Ottoman participation in the First World War. Though ...read more

FDR approves Lend-Lease aid to the USSR

On this day in 1941, President Roosevelt, determined to keep the United States out of the war while helping those allies already mired in it, approves $1 billion in Lend-Lease loans to the Soviet Union. The terms: no interest and repayment did not have to start until five years ...read more