This Day In History, November 19th

What happened on this day in history: Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address in 1863, cult leader Charles Manson dies in 2017, and more.

1703: The “Man In The Iron Mask” Dies

Man In The Iron Mask

Wikimedia CommonsAn illustration of the Man in the Iron Mask in his cell.

An unidentified prisoner known only as the “Man in the Iron Mask” dies in the Bastille in Paris, France. Legend has it that the man wore a black velvet mask for the 34 years he was imprisoned, and no one ever saw his face.

Upon his arrest in 1669, the prisoner was placed in a special cell with double doors so no guards would see him while delivering food. His true identity remains a mystery to this day, though French philosopher Voltaire claimed that he was an illegitimate older brother of King Louis XIV.


1863: Abraham Lincoln Delivers The Gettysburg Address

Historical Photos

Matthew Brady/National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia CommonsOne of just two confirmed photos of Abraham Lincoln (identified by the red arrow) at Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863, about three hours before delivering his historic Gettysburg Address.

President Abraham Lincoln gives a two-minute speech during the dedication of the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania battlefield cemetery that’s now known as the Gettysburg Address. Even at just 272 words, the speech is one of the most recognizable in American history. Lincoln wrote the words to commemorate the more than 3,000 Union deaths during the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.


1961: Michael Rockefeller Vanishes

Michael Rockefeller

President and Fellows of Harvard University; Peabody Museum of Archeology and EthnologyMichael Rockefeller on his first trip to New Guinea in May 1960.

Michael Rockefeller, the great-grandson of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller, disappears off the coast of Dutch New Guinea. Two days prior, the dugout canoe he was in had overturned three miles from shore, and after drifting for hours, Rockefeller decided to swim for land. He told his companion, “I think I can make it” — and was never seen again. His body was never found, and he was declared legally dead in 1964.


2017: Charles Manson Dies

Old Charles Manson Mugshot

Wikimedia CommonsA prison photo of Manson, mere months before he died./span>

Cult leader Charles Manson dies while serving life in prison for the Manson Family murders. Though there’s no proof that Manson ever killed anyone himself, he was charged with first-degree murder for all seven of the Tate-LaBianca deaths. After 45 years in prison, he died from cardiac arrest from respiratory failure that was brought on by colon cancer at a Bakersfield, California hospital while still in custody.