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|<<||Selected anniversaries for December||>>|
|An archive of historical anniversaries that appeared on the Main Page|
2019 day arrangement
- 1577 – Elizabeth I of England's principal secretary and spymaster Francis Walsingham was knighted.
- 1828 – Juan Lavalle (pictured), returning to Buenos Aires with troops that fought in the Cisplatine War, deposed the provincial governor Manuel Dorrego, reigniting the Argentine Civil Wars.
- 1919 - Lady Astor becomes the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.
- 1948 – In "one of Australia's most profound mysteries", the body of an unidentified man was found on Somerton beach in Adelaide, a case which remains unsolved.
- 1988 – Four armed men hijacked a bus carrying thirty schoolchildren and one teacher in Ordzhonikidze, Soviet Union (now Vladikavkaz in Russia), and were later given an Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft and ransom in exchange for the release of the hostages.
- 1805 – War of the Third Coalition: French forces led by Napoleon decisively defeated a Russo-Austrian army commanded by Tsar Alexander I in the Battle of Austerlitz.
- 1899 – Philippine–American War: A 60-man Filipino rear guard was defeated in the Battle of Tirad Pass, but delayed the American advance long enough to ensure Emilio Aguinaldo's escape.
- 1927 – The Ford Motor Company introduced the second version of the Model A (pictured), its first new model in 18 years.
- 1943 – World War II: The Luftwaffe conducted a surprise air raid on Allied ships in Bari, Italy, sinking twenty-eight ships and releasing one ship's secret cargo of mustard gas.
- 1988 – Benazir Bhutto took office as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of a Muslim-majority state.
- 1800 – War of the Second Coalition: French forces defeated the Austrians and Bavarians in Hohenlinden, near Munich, forcing the Austrians to sign an armistice.
- 1910 – Freda Du Faur (pictured) became the first woman to climb Mount Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand.
- 1976 – Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley survived an assassination attempt by unknown assailants.
- 1984 – Methyl isocyanate and other toxic chemicals were accidentally released from the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, causing the world's worst industrial disaster.
- 1994 – Sony released the PlayStation, the first "computer entertainment platform" to ship 100 million units.
- 1829 – Sati, the Hindu funeral custom of widows immolating themselves, was prohibited in part of British India after years of campaigning by Ram Mohan Roy.
- 1893 – First Matabele War: A patrol of British South Africa Company soldiers was ambushed and annihilated by more than 3,000 Matabele warriors.
- 1909 – The Montreal Canadiens, the oldest professional ice hockey club in the world, were founded as a charter member of the National Hockey Association.
- 1971 – Indo-Pakistani War: The Indian Navy launched a successful attack against the Pakistan Navy at Karachi, sinking three ships with no Indian casualties.
- 1978 – Following the murder of Mayor George Moscone, Dianne Feinstein (pictured) became San Francisco's first female mayor.
- 1484 – Pope Innocent VIII issued the papal bull Summis desiderantes affectibus, giving Dominican Inquisitor Heinrich Kramer explicit authority to prosecute witchcraft in Germany.
- 1775 – American Revolutionary War: Continental Army Colonel Henry Knox arrived at Fort Ticonderoga in New York to arrange the transport of 60 tons of artillery (pictured) that would be used to strengthen the Siege of Boston.
- 1916 – Amid the First World War and following his loss of support in Parliament, British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith resigned.
- 1958 – Britain's first motorway, the Preston By-pass, opened to the public.
- 1995 – Azerbaijan Airlines Flight 56 crashed shortly after takeoff from Nakhchivan Airport, killing 52 people on board.
- 1865 – Slavery in the United States was officially abolished when the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified.
- 1912 – The Nefertiti Bust (pictured), labeled a "Top 10 Plundered Artifact" by Time magazine, was found in Amarna, Egypt, before being taken to Germany.
- 1956 – In a contest that became known as the "Blood in the Water" match at the Melbourne Olympics, the Hungarian water polo team defeated the USSR, 4–0, against the background of the Hungarian Revolution.
- 1988 – The Australian Capital Territory was granted self-government.
- 2015 – In Venezuela's parliamentary election, the ruling United Socialist Party lost control of the National Assembly for the first time since 1999.
- 43 BC – Cicero, widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists, was killed after having been proscribed as an enemy of the state.
- 1904 – Comparative trials began between HMS Spiteful (pictured), the first warship powered solely by fuel oil, and a similar Royal Navy ship burning coal.
- 1936 – Australian cricketer Jack Fingleton became the first player to score centuries in four consecutive Test innings.
- 1988 – A 6.8 Ms earthquake struck the Spitak region of Armenia, killing at least 25,000 people.
- 1993 – A passenger murdered six people and injured nineteen others on the Long Island Rail Road in Garden City, New York.
- 1660 – Margaret Hughes (pictured), appeared professionally on the English stage, and is thought to have been the first woman to do so.
- 1880 – At an assembly of 10,000 Boers, Paul Kruger announced the fulfilment of the decision to restore the South African Republic government and Volksraad.
- 1963 – After being struck by lightning while in a holding pattern, Pan Am Flight 214 crashed near Elkton, Maryland, U.S., killing all 81 people on board.
- 1998 – The Australian Cricket Board's cover-up of Shane Warne and Mark Waugh's involvement with bookmakers was revealed.
- 2013 – After a fatal car accident in the Little India region of Singapore, angry mobs of passers-by attacked the bus involved and emergency vehicles, the first riot in the country in over 40 years.
- 1688 – In the only substantial military action in England during the Glorious Revolution, forces loyal to William of Orange were decisively victorious in the Battle of Reading.
- 1892 – The English association football club Newcastle United was founded by the merger of Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End.
- 1948 – The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Genocide Convention, which defines genocide in legal terms and advises its signatories to prevent and punish such actions.
- 1968 – Douglas Engelbart gave what became known as "The Mother of All Demos", publicly debuting the computer mouse (pictured), hypertext, and the bit-mapped graphical user interface using the oN-Line System (NLS).
- 2008 – Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich was arrested for a number of corruption crimes, including attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat that was being vacated by then-President-elect Barack Obama.
- 1684 – Edmond Halley presented the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, containing Isaac Newton's derivation of Kepler's laws from his theory of gravity, to the Royal Society.
- 1898 – The Spanish–American War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, with Spain recognizing the independence of Cuba and ceding Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico to the United States.
- 1907 – During the Brown Dog affair, about 1,000 protesters marched through London and then clashed with 400 police officers in Trafalgar Square over the existence of a memorial (pictured) for animals that had been vivisected.
- 1942 – Edward Raczyński of the Polish government-in-exile issued a note that was the first official report on the Holocaust.
- 1978 – Starring Christopher Reeve in the title role, Superman, the first big-budget Superman film, premiered in Washington, D.C.
- 1789 – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the oldest public universities in the United States and the only one to award degrees in the 18th century, received its charter.
- 1899 – Second Boer War: In the Battle of Magersfontein, Boers defeated the forces of the British Empire trying to relieve the Siege of Kimberley.
- 1972 – Apollo 17 (Lunar Roving Vehicle pictured), the last Apollo mission, landed on the Moon.
- 1981 – Salvadoran Civil War: About 900 civilians were killed by the Salvadoran armed forces in an anti-guerrilla campaign.
- 2008 – American stockbroker Bernard Madoff was arrested and charged with securities fraud in a $64.8 billion Ponzi scheme, the largest in history.
- 627 – A Byzantine army under Emperor Heraclius defeated Emperor Khosrau II's Persian forces, commanded by General Rhahzadh, near present-day Mosul, Iraq.
- 1866 – England's worst mining disaster occurred when a series of explosions caused by flammable gases ripped through the Oaks Colliery, killing 361 people.
- 1905 – In support of the December Uprising in Moscow, the Council of Workers' Deputies of Kiev staged a mass uprising, establishing the Shuliavka Republic in the city.
- 1936 – Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek (pictured) of the Republic of China was kidnapped by Marshal Zhang Xueliang, a former warlord of Manchuria.
- 1988 – Three trains collided near Clapham Junction railway station in London, killing 35 people and injuring 484 others.
- 1643 – First English Civil War: Roundhead forces serving under Sir William Waller led a successful surprise attack on a winter garrison of Royalist infantry and cavalry.
- 1862 – American Civil War: Union forces under Ambrose Burnside suffered severe casualties against entrenched Confederate defenders at the Battle of Fredericksburg in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
- 1928 – The premiere of An American in Paris, a jazz-influenced orchestral piece by George Gershwin (pictured), took place at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
- 1960 – With Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, out of the country, four conspirators staged a coup attempt and installed Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen as the new Emperor.
- 2001 – The Parliament of India was attacked by five gunmen, resulting in 14 deaths, including those of the perpetrators.
- 557 – A large earthquake severely damaged the city of Constantinople.
- 835 – In the Sweet Dew incident, Emperor Wenzong of the Tang dynasty conspired to kill the powerful eunuchs of the Tang court, but the plot was foiled.
- 1918 – In the 1918 United Kingdom general election women over thirty were permitted to vote, making it the first British election with female voters.
- 1948 – American physicists Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann were awarded a patent for their cathode-ray tube amusement device, the first interactive electronic game.
- 2008 – During a press conference in Baghdad, Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush and Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki (pictured), yelling that "this is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq".
- 687 – Sergius was elected pope, ending the last disputed period of sede vacante during the Byzantine Papacy.
- 1791 – The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, collectively known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified.
- 1943 – World War II: American and Australian forces began the Battle of Arawe as a diversion before a larger landing at Cape Gloucester on New Britain.
- 1970 – The Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 (descent vehicle pictured) touched down on the surface of Venus, becoming the first spacecraft to land on another planet.
- 2013 – The South Sudanese Civil War began when three opposition leaders voted to boycott the meeting of the National Liberation Council in Juba.
- 1653 – Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England.
- 1893 – Czech composer Antonín Dvořák's New World Symphony (audio featured) premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
- 1918 – Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas declared the formation of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, a puppet state created by Soviet Russia to justify the Lithuanian–Soviet War.
- 1938 – Adolf Hitler instituted the Cross of Honour of the German Mother as an order of merit for German mothers.
- 2014 – A hostage crisis in a Lindt chocolate café in Sydney, Australia, came to an end when police stormed the building, killing the perpetrator, but also one of the hostages.
- 942 – William Longsword of Normandy was ambushed and assassinated by supporters of Arnulf I, Count of Flanders, while the two were at a peace conference to settle their differences.
- 1862 – American Civil War: Union General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
- 1918 – About 1,000 demonstrators marched (pictured) on Government House in Darwin, Australia, where they burnt an effigy of Administrator John Gilruth and demanded his resignation.
- 1948 – The Finnish Security Police was established to remove communist leadership from its predecessor, the State Police.
- 1970 – Soldiers fired at workers emerging from trains in Gdynia, Poland, beginning the government's brutal crackdown on mass anti-communist protests across the country.
- 1499 – Muslims in the city of Granada rebelled against their rulers in response to forced conversions to Catholicism.
- 1898 – Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat set the first official land speed record, averaging 63.15 km/h (39.24 mph) over 1 km (0.62 mi).
- 1916 – The French defeated German forces around the city of Verdun-sur-Meuse in northeast France, ending the longest and one of the bloodiest battles in the First World War.
- 1958 – The United States launched SCORE (launch vehicle pictured), the world's first communications satellite.
- 2010 – The Tunisian Revolution began with what was initially a series of protests, but then evolved into nationwide demonstrations that eventually toppled the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after more than 23 years of rule.
- 1154 – Henry II was crowned King of England in London's Westminster Abbey.
- 1828 – Nullification Crisis: Vice President of the United States John C. Calhoun wrote the South Carolina Exposition and Protest to protest the Tariff of 1828.
- 1843 – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (pictured), a novella about the miser Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation after being visited by three Christmas ghosts, was first published.
- 1964 – The ruling junta of South Vietnam, led by Nguyễn Khánh, initiated a coup, dissolving the High National Council, a civilian advisory body.
- 2016 – Andrei Karlov, Russia's ambassador to Turkey, was assassinated at an art gallery in Ankara.
- 1860 – South Carolina became the first of eleven slave states to secede from the United States, leading to the eventual creation of the Confederate States of America and later the American Civil War.
- 1955 – Cardiff (City Hall pictured) was recognised as the capital of Wales.
- 1968 – The first two confirmed murders by the Zodiac Killer occurred in Benicia, California, in a case which remains unsolved.
- 1988 – The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances governing international cooperation against the illegal drug trade was signed in Vienna.
- 2007 – Pablo Picasso's Portrait of Suzanne Bloch was stolen from the São Paulo Museum of Art and recovered about three weeks later.
- 1620 – The Mayflower Pilgrims landed at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, establishing the Plymouth Colony.
- 1872 – HMS Challenger sailed from Portsmouth, England on a scientific expedition that ended up laying the foundation of oceanography.
- 1968 – Apollo 8 (crew pictured) launched from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, placing its crew on a trajectory to the Moon, for the first visit to another celestial body by humans.
- 1988 – A total of 270 people were killed when a bomb on board Pan Am Flight 103 exploded while the plane was in flight over Lockerbie, Scotland.
- 1994 – Mexico's Popocatépetl volcano, dormant for 47 years, began erupting, and is now one of the nation's most active volcanoes.
- 401 – The papacy of Innocent I began.
- 1807 – In an effort to avoid engaging in the Napoleonic Wars, the United States Congress passed the Embargo Act, forbidding American ships from engaging in trade with foreign nations.
- 1968 – Cultural Revolution: The People's Daily published a piece by Mao Zedong directing that "the intellectual youth must go to the country, and will be educated from living in rural poverty."
- 1988 – Brazilian unionist and environmental activist Chico Mendes (pictured) was murdered at his Xapuri home.
- 2008 – A dike ruptured at a waste containment area in Roane County, Tennessee, U.S., releasing 1.1 billion US gallons (4,200,000 m3) of coal fly ash slurry into local waterways.
- 1793 – French Revolution: The Royalist counterrevolutionary army was decisively defeated in the Battle of Savenay, although fighting continued in the War in the Vendée for years afterward.
- 1938 – The first living specimen of a coelacanth (example pictured), long believed to be extinct, was discovered in a South African fisherman's catch.
- 1958 – The Tokyo Tower, then the world's tallest freestanding structure at 332.5 metres (1,091 ft), opened.
- 2008 – The Guinean military engineered a coup d'état, and announced that it planned to rule the country for two years prior to a new presidential election.
- 759 – Tang dynasty poet Du Fu (pictured) departed for Chengdu, where he lived for the next five years and composed poems about life in his thatched cottage.
- 1818 – "Silent Night", a Christmas carol by Josef Mohr and Franz Gruber, was first performed in a church in Austria.
- 1913 – Seventy-three people were crushed to death in a stampede after someone falsely yelled "fire" at a crowded Christmas party in Calumet, Michigan, U.S.
- 1979 – Soviet government deployed troops in Afghanistan, starting Soviet–Afghan War.
- 2008 – The Lord's Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group, began attacks on several villages in Haut-Uele District, Democratic Republic of the Congo, resulting in at least 400 deaths and numerous atrocities.
- 1758 – Based on predictions by Edmond Halley in 1705, Johann Georg Palitzsch observed a comet that was later named Halley's Comet.
- 1815 – The Handel and Haydn Society, the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States, made its debut at King's Chapel in Boston.
- 1941 – Second World War: The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong began when Mark Aitchison Young, the Governor of Hong Kong, surrendered the territory to Japan after 18 days of fierce fighting.
- 1968 – In Tamil Nadu, India, families of striking Dalit workers were massacred by a gang, allegedly led by their landlords.
- 2009 – Fire destroyed Longford's 19th-century St Mel's Cathedral (pictured), considered the "flagship cathedral" of the Irish midlands.
- 1606 – The first known performance of the play King Lear, a tragedy by William Shakespeare based on the legendary King Lear of the Britons, was held.
- 1811 – Seventy-two people died when a theater in Richmond, Virginia, U.S., was destroyed by fire—the worst urban disaster in American history at the time.
- 1871 – Thespis, the first comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, made its debut at the Gaiety Theatre, London, UK.
- 1898 – At the French Academy of Sciences, physicists Pierre and Marie Curie (both pictured) announced the discovery of a new element, naming it radium.
- 1996 – Six-year-old American beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family's home in Boulder, Colorado, a murder that generated extensive coverage from the American media.
- 1521 – A period of unrest in Wittenberg, Saxony, following the arrival of the Zwickau prophets, was quelled after the release of Martin Luther from custody.
- 1831 – Charles Darwin left Plymouth, England, aboard HMS Beagle on the expedition to South America that would make his name as a naturalist.
- 1932 – New York City's Radio City Music Hall (pictured) opened with the world's largest auditorium at the time.
- 1985 – The body of murdered American primatologist Dian Fossey was discovered inside her cabin in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.
- 2008 – Citing rocket attacks from Palestinian armed groups, Israel launched a surprise attack against the Gaza Strip, opening the three-week Gaza War.
- 1065 – Westminster Abbey (pictured) in London, built by Edward the Confessor between 1045 and 1050, was consecrated.
- 1768 – Taksin the Great was crowned king of the newly established Thonburi Kingdom in the new capital at Thonburi, present-day Thailand.
- 1918 – Irishwoman Constance Markievicz became the first female Member of Parliament elected to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, although she never served.
- 1943 – World War II: After eight days of brutal house-to-house fighting, the 1st Canadian Infantry Division captured Ortona, Italy.
- 2006 – Somali Civil War: Troops of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government and their Ethiopian allies captured Mogadishu unopposed.
- 1860 – To counter the French Navy's Gloire, the world's first ironclad warship, the British Royal Navy launched the world's first iron-hulled armoured warship, HMS Warrior.
- 1876 – A railway bridge over the Ashtabula River in Ohio collapsed when a Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway train was crossing over it, killing 92 people and injuring 64 others.
- 1911 – Sun Yat-sen (pictured) was elected in Nanjing as the Provisional President of the Republic of China.
- 1959 – Physicist Richard Feynman gave a speech entitled "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom", anticipating the field of nanotechnology.
- 1997 – In order to prevent the spread of the H5N1 flu virus, the Hong Kong government began the slaughter of 1.3 million chickens.
- 999 – In Ireland, the combined forces of Munster and Meath crushed a rebellion by Leinster and Dublin.
- 1853 – The United States purchased approximately 29,700 square miles (77,000 km2) of land south of the Gila River and west of the Rio Grande (map pictured) from Mexico for $10 million.
- 1906 – The All-India Muslim League, a political party in British India that developed into the driving force behind the creation of Pakistan as a Muslim state on the Indian subcontinent, was founded in Dhaka.
- 1958 – The Guatemalan Air Force fired upon Mexican fishing boats which had strayed into Guatemalan territory, causing a conflict between the two nations.
- 2013 – Supporters of religious leader Paul-Joseph Mukungubila attacked television studios, the airport and a military base in Kinshasa, DR Congo.
- 1225 – Lý Chiêu Hoàng, the only empress regnant in the history of Vietnam, married Trần Thái Tông, making him the first emperor of the Trần Dynasty at age seven.
- 1862 – American Civil War: The Battle of Stones River in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, began in an engagement where both sides would suffer their highest casualty rates of the war.
- 1965 – Jean-Bédel Bokassa, leader of the Central African Republic army, and his military officers began a coup d'état against the government of President David Dacko.
- 1986 – Three disgruntled employees set fire to the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, killing more than 90 people and injuring 140 others (rescue efforts depicted), making it the second deadliest hotel fire in United States history.
- 1998 – The European Exchange Rate Mechanism froze the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone and established the value of the euro currency.