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This Day in History: November 24th

Dutch discovery of Tasmania.

The Dutch navigator Abel Tasman first sighted Tasmania on November 24, 1642, and named the island Anthoonij van Diemenslandt after his patron, the Governor of the Dutch East Indies. The British then simplified the name to Van Diemen’s Land. A French expedition commanded by Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne arrived on the island in 1772. Captain James Cook discovered the island in 1777, and countless other European mariners made landfalls, giving rise to a colourful array of topographical feature names. 

Anna Sewell published her only novel, Black Beauty.

Anna Sewell’s work Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions, the Autobiography of a Horse, was published on November 24, 1877. It was written during her latter years, when she was bedridden and very ill. The work became an instant best-seller, despite Sewell’s death five months later, although she had lived long enough to see her only novel become a hit. Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time, having sold fifty million copies.

It promotes animal welfare while simultaneously teaching how to treat people with love, sympathy, and respect. The novel was ranked 58th in the BBC’s “Big Read” poll in 2003. It is regarded as a forerunner of the pony book.

For those who find books boring, check out this movie.

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was published.

On the Origin of Species (or, more precisely, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life), written by Charles Darwin and published on November 24, 1859, is regarded as the cornerstone of evolutionary biology. Darwin’s work popularised the scientific hypothesis that populations develop over generations through natural selection. The book offered evidence that life’s variety emerged through common ancestry via a branching pattern of evolution. Darwin incorporated information from the Beagle expedition in the 1830s as well as his own conclusions through research, conversation, and experiments.

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