|<<||Selected anniversaries for December||>>|
|An archive of historical anniversaries that appeared on the Main Page
2017 day arrangement
- 1577 – Elizabeth I of England's principal secretary and spymaster Francis Walsingham was knighted.
- 1822 – Pedro I was formally crowned the first Emperor of Brazil, seven weeks after his reign began on his 24th birthday.
- 1955 – In a key event in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks (pictured) was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- 1959 – Twelve countries signed the Antarctic Treaty, the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War, banning military activity in the Antarctic and setting the continent aside as a scientific preserve.
- 1991 – Over 92% of Ukrainian voters approved their country's independence as declared by the Ukrainian parliament on 24 August.
- 1804 – The coronation of Napoleon (pictured) as Emperor of the French was held at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.
- 1823 – U.S. President James Monroe issued the Monroe Doctrine, a proclamation of opposition to European colonialism in the New World.
- 1950 – Korean War: With the conclusion of the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River, the Chinese People's Volunteer Army expelled UN forces out of North Korea.
- 1988 – Benazir Bhutto took office as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of a Muslim-majority state.
- 2015 – In San Bernardino, California, a married couple carried out a mass shooting at a Christmas party before fleeing and dying in a shootout with police.
- 1800 – War of the Second Coalition: French forces defeated the Austrians and Bavarians in Hohenlinden, near Munich, forcing the Austrians to sign an armistice.
- 1904 – Himalia, the largest irregular satellite of Jupiter, was discovered by astronomer Charles Dillon Perrine at the Lick Observatory in San Jose, California.
- 1927 – Putting Pants on Philip, the first official film featuring the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, was released.
- 1967 – Cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard (pictured) performed the first successful human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
- 1992 – During extreme weather conditions, the oil tanker Aegean Sea ran aground off the coast of Galicia, Spain, spilling 67,000 tonnes of light crude oil.
- 1639 – English astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks (pictured) made the first successful prediction and observation of a transit of Venus.
- 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 first Grey Cup, the championship game of the Canadian Football League, was held.
- 1971 – The Troubles: The Ulster Volunteer Force, an Ulster loyalist paramilitary group, exploded a bomb at a Catholic-owned pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland, killing 15 people.
- 1992 – U.S. President George H. W. Bush ordered American troops into Somalia to help provide humanitarian aid and restore order during the ongoing Somali Civil War.
- 1757 – Seven Years' War: Prussian forces under Frederick the Great defeated Austrian forces under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine at the Battle of Leuthen.
- 1876 – Fire engulfed the Brooklyn Theatre (damage pictured) in Brooklyn, New York, killing at least 278 people, mostly due to smoke inhalation.
- 1958 – Britain's first motorway, the Preston By-pass, opened to the public.
- 1972 – Gough Whitlam took office as the 21st Prime Minister of Australia and formed a duumvirate with his deputy Lance Barnard, ending 23 years of Liberal-Country Party government.
- 2007 – A nineteen-year-old gunman went on a shooting spree at a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., killing nine people, including himself.
- 1060 – Béla I the Champion was crowned King of Hungary.
- 1917 – World War I: USS Jacob Jones became the first American destroyer to be sunk by enemy action when it was torpedoed by German submarine SM U-53.
- 1941 – The British Secret Intelligence Service established a facility known as "Camp X" in Ontario, Canada, to train covert agents in clandestine operations.
- 1957 – The first U.S. attempt to launch a satellite failed with an explosion (pictured) on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.
- 1992 – The Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India, was destroyed by Hindu Kar Sevaks, who believed that it was built on the birthplace of Rama.
- 1904 – Comparative trials began between HMS Spiteful (pictured), the first warship powered solely by fuel oil, and a similar Royal Navy ship burning coal.
- 1941 – World War II: The Imperial Japanese Navy made a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, intending to neutralize the United States Pacific Fleet from influencing the war Japan was planning to wage in Southeast Asia.
- 1975 – The Indonesian military invaded East Timor under the pretext of anti-colonialism and began a 25-year occupation.
- 1987 – A former airline employee on Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 shot his former boss and the pilots and deliberately crashed the plane near Cayucos, California, leaving no survivors.
- 2007 – A crane barge that had broken free from a tugboat crashed into an oil tanker near Daesan, South Korea, causing the country's worst-ever oil spill.
- 1432 – The first battle of the Lithuanian Civil War between the forces of Švitrigaila and of Sigismund Kęstutaitis was fought near what is now the town of Ashmyany.
- 1813 – Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 (audio featured) premiered in Vienna, conducted by the composer himself.
- 1971 – Indo-Pakistani War: Following their successful attack three days earlier, a small Indian Navy strike force attacked the Port of Karachi again and created a de facto blockade.
- 1987 – A man shot and killed eight people at the Australia Post building in Melbourne, before jumping to his death.
- 2009 – Bombings carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq in Baghdad, Iraq, killed at least 127 people and injured 448.
- 1775 – American Revolutionary War: After their loss in the Battle of Great Bridge, British authorities were forced to evacuate from the Colony of Virginia.
- 1897 – French actress, journalist and leading suffragette Marguerite Durand founded the feminist newspaper La Fronde.
- 1917 – First World War: Hussein al-Husayni, the Ottoman mayor of Jerusalem, surrendered (pictured) the city to the British.
- 1931 – The approval of the Spanish Constitution by the Constituent Cortes paved the way to the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic.
- 1979 – A World Health Organization commission of scientists certified the global eradication of smallpox, making it the only human infectious disease to date to have been completely eradicated from nature.
- 1508 – The Papal States, France, Aragon and the Holy Roman Empire formed the League of Cambrai, an alliance against the Republic of Venice.
- 1861 – Forces led by Nguyễn Trung Trực, an anti-colonial guerrilla leader in southern Vietnam, sank the French lorcha L'Esperance.
- 1909 – Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf (pictured) became the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
- 1979 – The Kuomintang (KMT) dictatorship of Taiwan arrested a large number of opposition leaders who had organized pro-democracy demonstrations, an incident credited with ending the KMT's rule in 2000.
- 1989 – At the first open pro-democracy demonstration in Mongolia, journalist Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj announced the formation of the Mongolian Democratic Union, which would be instrumental in ending Communist rule four months later.
- 1789 – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (The Old Well pictured), one of the oldest public universities in the United States and the only one to award degrees in the 18th century, received its charter.
- 1886 – The London-based football club Arsenal, then known as Dial Square, played their first match on the Isle of Dogs.
- 1920 – Irish War of Independence: Following an Irish Republican Army ambush of a British Auxiliary patrol in Cork, British forces burned and looted numerous buildings in the city.
- 1962 – Convicted murderers Ronald Turpin and Arthur Lucas were the last two persons to be executed in Canada.
- 1981 – Salvadoran Civil War: About 900 civilians were killed by the Salvadoran armed forces in an anti-guerrilla campaign.
- 1866 – England's worst mining disaster occurred when a series of explosions caused by flammable gases ripped through the Oaks Colliery.
- 1911 – The final Delhi Durbar, a mass assembly at Coronation Park to mark the succession of an Emperor or Empress of India, took place.
- 1942 – World War II: German troops began Operation Winter Storm, an attempt to relieve encircled Axis forces during the Battle of Stalingrad.
- 1964 – Jomo Kenyatta (pictured) became the first President of the Republic of Kenya.
- 2000 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bush v. Gore that the election recount of the ballots cast in Florida for the presidential election must stop, effectively making George W. Bush the winner.
- 1643 – First English Civil War: Roundhead forces serving under Sir William Waller (pictured) led a successful surprise attack on a winter garrison of Royalist infantry and cavalry.
- 1769 – Dartmouth College in what is now Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S., was established by a royal charter and became the last university founded in the Thirteen Colonies before the American Revolution.
- 1937 – Second Sino-Japanese War: Japanese forces captured Nanking in China and then began to commit numerous atrocities over the next several weeks.
- 1982 – A magnitude 6.2 earthquake in North Yemen killed as many as 2,800 people and was the region's first instrumentally recorded event to be detected on global seismograph networks.
- 557 – A large earthquake severely damaged the city of Constantinople.
- 1836 – The Toledo War, the mostly bloodless boundary dispute between Ohio and the adjoining Territory of Michigan, unofficially ended with a resolution passed by the controversial "Frostbitten Convention".
- 1913 – Haruna (pictured), the fourth and last ship of the Kongō-class, was launched, eventually becoming one of the Japanese workhorses during both World Wars.
- 1981 – The Knesset extended Israeli "laws, jurisdiction and administration" to the Golan Heights, effectively annexing the territory.
- 1992 – War in Abkhazia: During the Siege of Tkvarcheli, a helicopter carrying evacuees from Tkvarcheli was shot down, resulting in at least 52 deaths, which catalysed more concerted Russian military intervention on behalf of Abkhazia.
- 687 – Sergius was elected pope, ending the last disputed sede vacante of the Byzantine Papacy.
- 1467 – Troops under Stephen III of Moldavia defeated the forces of Matthias Corvinus of Hungary in present-day Baia, Romania.
- 1906 – The Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (poster pictured), a 14.17-kilometre (8.80 mi) long deep-level underground tube railway connecting Hammersmith and Finsbury Park, London, opened.
- 1942 – World War II: The Americans engaged Imperial Japanese forces at the Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse in the hills near the Matanikau River area on Guadalcanal during the Guadalcanal Campaign.
- 1961 – Former Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to death after being found guilty on fifteen criminal charges, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- 1707 – The last recorded eruption of Japan's Mount Fuji released some 800 million m3 of volcanic ash.
- 1773 – To prevent the unloading of tea that was taxed without their consent under the Tea Act, a group of colonists destroyed it by throwing it into Boston Harbor (pictured).
- 1850 – The Canterbury Pilgrims aboard Randolph and Charlotte-Jane arrived to settle Christchurch, New Zealand.
- 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.
- 1997 – "Dennō Senshi Porygon", an episode of the Japanese television series Pokémon, induced epileptic seizures in 685 children.
- 1583 – Cologne War: Forces under Ernest of Bavaria defeated the troops under Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg at the Siege of Godesberg.
- 1837 – A fire in the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg broke out, partially damaging the palace and killing thirty guardsmen (pictured).
- 1862 – American Civil War: Union General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
- 1907 – Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned the first King of Bhutan.
- 1967 – Harold Holt, Prime Minister of Australia, disappeared while swimming near Portsea, Victoria; his body was never recovered.
- 2010 – Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest against police harassment, triggering the Tunisian Revolution.
- 1867 – In Angola, New York, U.S., the last coach of a Lake Shore Railway train derailed, plunged 40 ft (12 m) down a gully, and caught fire, resulting in 49 deaths.
- 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.
- 1939 – Second World War: The Luftwaffe victory over the Royal Air Force in the Battle of the Heligoland Bight greatly influenced both sides' future air strategy.
- 1966 – Epimetheus (pictured), one of the moons of Saturn, was discovered, but was mistaken for Janus. It took twelve years to determine that they are two distinct objects sharing the same orbit.
- 1996 – The school board of Oakland, California, passed a controversial resolution officially declaring African American Vernacular English as a separate language or dialect.
- 1154 – Henry II was crowned King of England in London's Westminster Abbey.
- 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.
- 1941 – Second World War: Three Italian Royal Navy divers on manned torpedoes detonated limpet mines on British Royal Navy ships, disabling two battleships.
- 1956 – Irish-born British physician John Bodkin Adams was arrested in connection with the suspicious deaths of more than 160 of his patients, although he was only convicted on minor charges.
- 2016 – Andrei Karlov, Russia's ambassador to Turkey, is 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 (Cardiff City Hall pictured) was proclaimed as the capital of Wales.
- 1971 – Two groups of French doctors involved in humanitarian aid merged to form Médecins Sans Frontières.
- 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.
- 1999 – Portugal transferred sovereignty of Macau, which it had administered since the mid-16th century, to China.
- 1124 – Lamberto Scannabecchi was elected Pope and took the name Honorius II.
- 1844 – The Rochdale Pioneers, usually considered the first successful co-operative enterprise, opened their store in Rochdale, England, and formed the basis for the modern co-operative movement.
- 1919 – After serving two years in prison for encouraging people to resist military conscription, anarchist Emma Goldman (pictured) was deported from the United States to Russia.
- 1923 – Nepal and the United Kingdom signed a treaty, the first to define the international status of Nepal as an independent and a sovereign nation.
- 1937 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length cel-animated feature in film history, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles.
- 1995 – In accordance with the Oslo II Accord, Israeli troops withdrew from the city of Bethlehem in preparation for the transfer of its control to the Palestinian National Authority.
- 1216 – Pope Honorius III issued the papal bull Religiosam vitam to establish the Dominican Order.
- 1769 – Having been soundly defeated in battle, the Qing dynasty agreed to terms of truce, ending the Sino-Burmese War.
- 1937 – The Lincoln Tunnel, connecting New York City to Weehawken, New Jersey, opened.
- 1988 – Brazilian unionist and environmental activist Chico Mendes was murdered at his Xapuri home.
- 2001 – Burhanuddin Rabbani of the Northern Alliance handed over power in Afghanistan to the interim government headed by Hamid Karzai (pictured).
- 583 – Yohl Ik'nal acceded to the throne of the Maya city-state of Palenque.
- 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.
- 1916 – First World War: Allied forces gained a strategic victory in the Battle of Magdhaba, located in the Sinai Peninsula.
- 1938 – A South African fisherman discovered the first living specimen of a coelacanth (pictured), long believed to be extinct.
- 1986 – Piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, the Rutan Voyager became the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refueling, landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California after a nine-day trip.
Jean-François Champollion (b. 1790) ·
- 759 – Tang dynasty poet Du Fu departed for Chengdu, staying with his fellow poet Pei Di, where he composed poems about life in his thatched cottage.
- 1871 – Aida, one of Giuseppe Verdi's most popular operas, made its debut in Cairo, Egypt.
- 1953 – On New Zealand's North Island, at Tangiwai, a railway bridge was damaged by a lahar and collapsed beneath a passenger train, killing 151 people.
- 1968 – Astronaut William Anders of the NASA Apollo 8 mission, the first manned voyage to orbit the Moon, took the famous photograph known as "Earthrise" (pictured), showing the Earth rising above the lunar surface.
- 1974 – Cyclone Tracy struck Darwin, Australia, eventually destroying more than 70% of the city.
- 1066 – Norman Conquest: William the Conqueror was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey, although he still faced rebellions over the following years and was not secure on his throne until after 1072.
- 1809 – American physician Ephraim McDowell performed the world's first removal of an ovarian tumor.
- 1926 – Emperor Taishō died of a heart attack, and was succeeded by his son, Hirohito, who ruled until his death in 1989, becoming the longest-reigning Emperor of Japan.
- 1941 – Second World War: The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong began after Mark Aitchison Young, the Governor of Hong Kong, surrendered the territory to Japan after 18 days of fierce fighting.
- 2009 – Fire destroyed Longford's 19th-century St Mel's Cathedral (pictured), considered the "flagship cathedral" of the Irish midlands.
- 1776 – American Revolutionary War: In the predawn hours, George Washington and his army crossed the Delaware River to launch a surprise attack against the Hessian forces at the Battle of Trenton.
- 1871 – Thespis, the first comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, made its debut at the Gaiety Theatre, London, UK.
- 1900 – A relief crew arrived at the Flannan Isles Lighthouse (pictured) of Scotland and discovered that the previous crew had disappeared without a trace.
- 1996 – The Federation of Korean Trade Unions called upon its 1.2 million members to walk off the job, beginning the largest organized strike in South Korea's history.
- 2006 – The Hengchun earthquake struck off the southwest coast of Taiwan, on the anniversaries of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake that devastated coastal communities across Southeast and South Asia, and of the 2003 Bam earthquake that killed more than 26,000 people.
Elizabeth David (b. 1913) ·
- 1657 – Citizens of New Netherland presented the Flushing Remonstrance to Director-General Peter Stuyvesant, requesting an exemption to his ban on Quaker worship.
- 1831 – Aboard HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin left Plymouth, England, on what became a historic expedition to South America that made his name as a naturalist.
- 1916 – German Togoland, occupied by the Allies in World War I, was partitioned between Britain and France.
- 1966 – The first descent into the Cave of Swallows (pictured) in Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico, the largest known cave shaft in the world, took place.
- 2007 – Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto was assassinated while she was leaving a political rally of Pakistan Peoples Party supporters at Liaquat National Bagh in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
- 893 – An earthquake destroyed the city of Dvin, Armenia, causing about 30,000 casualties.
- 1768 – Taksin the Great was crowned king of the newly established Thonburi Kingdom in the new capital at Thonburi, present-day Thailand.
- 1907 – The last confirmed sighting of the now-extinct huia (pictured) took place in the Tararua Ranges, North Island, New Zealand.
- 1973 – U.S. President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law, a wide-ranging environmental law designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation."
- 2009 – A suicide bomber attacked a Shi'ite commemoration in Karachi, Pakistan, during a procession on the Day of Ashura, the holiest of days for followers of Shia Islam.
- 1170 – Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket was slain in his own cathedral by four knights of Henry II of England.
- 1779 – American Revolutionary War: British soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell captured Savannah, Georgia.
- 1891 – Physical education teacher James Naismith introduced a game in Springfield, Massachusetts, with thirteen rules and nine players on each team that he called "basket ball".
- 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.
- 1702 – Carolina colonial governor James Moore abandoned the siege against the Castillo de San Marcos (pictured) at St. Augustine, Spanish Florida, and retreated to Charles Town in disgrace.
- 1853 – The United States purchased approximately 29,600 sq mi (77,000 km2) of land south of the Gila River and west of the Rio Grande from Mexico for $10 million.
- 1903 – In the deadliest single-building fire in United States history, the Iroquois Theatre fire claimed over 600 lives in Chicago.
- 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.
- 2006 – MV Senopati Nusantara, an Indonesian ferry, sank in the Java Sea during a storm, killing at least 400 people.
- 405 or 406 – The Vandals, Alans and Suebians crossed the Rhine River to begin an invasion of Gaul.
- 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.
- 1759 – Arthur Guinness (pictured) signed a 9,000-year lease at £45 per annum to the St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin and began brewing Guinness.
- 1857 – Queen Victoria selected Ottawa, then a small logging town, to be the capital of the British colony of Canada.
- 1907 – Times Square in New York City held its first New Year's Eve celebrations with its "ball drop" event.
- 1998 – The European Exchange Rate Mechanism froze the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone and established the value of the euro currency.
Robert Boyle (d. 1691) ·