Nov. 17 (UPI) -- On this date in history:
In 1800, the U.S. Congress convened at the Capitol in Washington for the first time.
In 1869, the Suez Canal in Egypt was opened, linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
In 1871, the National Rifle Association was founded by a journalist and a lawyer with a mission to improve its member's marksmanship skills through the organization of rifle clubs across the country.
In 1903, the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party splits into two factions: The Bolsheviks (Russian for "majority"), led by Vladimir Lenin, and the Mensheviks (Russian for "minority"), led by Julius Martov. The Bolsheviks would eventually morph into the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
In 1969, NBC angered football fans across the United States when it pre-empted the final minute of an Oakland Raiders-New York Jets game to air children's movie Heidi. Viewers jammed the phone lines at telephone companies, the network and local police to vent their frustrations.
In 1969, strategic arms limitation talks (SALT I) began between the United States and the Soviet Union in Helsinki, Finland.
In 1989, Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution began following the put down of a student demonstration by riot police. A larger uprising against the country's communist government succeeds on Dec. 29, ending 41 years of Communist rule.
In 1993, by a vote of 234-200, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution to establish the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
In 2008, the movie that launched a global teenage vampire romance phenomenon, Twilight, premiered in Los Angeles.