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Archive: On This Day.

1978: The Jonestown mass suicide took place, leaving 914 dead: The first reports out of Guyana on November 18, 1978, were that Congressman Leo J Ryan and four other members of his party were shot and killed as they attempted to board a plane at Port Kaituma airstrip. Within hours, came the shocking announcement that 408 American citizens had committed suicide at a communal village they had built in the jungle in Northwest Guyana. The congressman had been there to inspect the camp. The community had come to be known as 'Jonestown.' The dead were all members of a group known as 'The People's Temple' which was led by the crazy American Reverend Jim Jones. A total of 914 of the 1100 people believed to have been at 'Jonestown' at the time had died in the mass suicide, as they were persuaded by Jones to drink a cyanide-laced drink. No convincing explanation for the mass deaths has really been offered. But there was evidence some cult members were shot and others forced to drink poison while most willingly participated in what Jones said was an act of 'revolutionary suicide.' Also on This Day: 1477: The first dated book inEngland, William Caxton's The Dictes or Sayings of the Philosophes was published; 1626: St Peter's in Rome was consecrated; 1922: Death of French author Marcel Proust; 1963: The push button phone was introduced; 1987: A fire at London's King's Cross underground station killed 31.
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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 18, 2002
Words:242
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