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This Week in History: November 20 to 26

November 20, 2020

November 20th:  

On this day in 2001, TV news anchor, political correspondent and host George Stephanopoulos married actress Alexandra Wentworth at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan. In 2001, Stephanopoulos appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, where he still serves as a political commentator, along with his fiance Alexandra at the time, and announced their engagement. It is said that he proposed after only three months of dating. Stephanopoulos’ father, Very Reverend Robert Stephanopoulos, is a Dean Emeritus at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York and presided over the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony that united Stephanopoulos and Wentworth. 

November 23rd:  

On this day in 1996 Irene Skliva of Greece was crowned the 46th Miss World at the Miss World Pageant. Before gaining this title, earlier in the same year she had won the title of Miss Hellas at the Miss Star Hellas pageant. As an 18-year-old woman at the time, she could not believe it was real: “I had the feeling it was just another rehearsal… In one rehearsal, they used me as the mock winner.” The 1996 Pageant was held in Bangalore, India. For two months leading up to the event, the Pageant was dogged by protesters who claimed that it was demeaning to women and undermined India’s 5,000-year-old cultural heritage. Several protesters died after setting themselves on fire to protest the contest. After completing her Miss World duties, Skliva returned to Greece where she pursued a career in television and modeling. She appeared on the covers of many Greek magazines – including Diva and LipStick. The beauty queen also participated in some of the world’s biggest fashion shows in Athens, Milan, and Munich. 

November 25th:  

On this day in 1826, the Greek frigate Hellas arrived in Nafplio to become the first flagship of the Revolutionary Hellenic Navy. In 1825, during the latter part of the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire, representatives of the Greek government in London negotiated with an American shipyard in New York City for the construction of two frigates to be named Hope (later renamed Hellas) and Liberator. Ultimately, the Greek government defaulted on their payments and one of the ships – the Liberator – was sold and the proceeds were used to pay for the other ship to be delivered to Greece. The ship was ultimately burned 5 years later by the Greek Admiral Andreas Miaoulis when the government of Ioannis Capodistrias ordered her to be turned over to the Russian Navy. Capodistrias was assassinated a few months later. 

November 26th:  

On this day in 1955, a conflict emergency crisis – later named the Cyprus Emergency – was proclaimed in Cyprus. The National Organization of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA), a Greek Cypriot nationalist guerilla organization, began an armed campaign in support of the end of the British colonial rule and the unification of Cyprus and Greece (Enosis). Cyprus had been governed by Britain since 1878. Britain annexed the island when Turkey entered World War I on the side of Germany, and it became and remained a Crown Colony until 1959. Opposition to Enosis from Turkish Cypriots led to the formation of the Turkish Resistance Organization (TMT) in support of the partition of Cyprus. The Cyprus Emergency ended four years later in 1959 with the signature of the London-Zurich Agreements, establishing the Republic of Cyprus as a non-partitioned independent state separate from Greece. 

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