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Old 12-22-2009, 01:20 AM
Location: Pacific Northwest
589 posts, read 7,567,460 times
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~1118 – Born this day: Thomas Becket, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1170)

~1140 – The forces of King Conrad III of Germany were victorious after the lenghty Siege of Weinsberg.

~1598 – At The Battle of Curalaba the revolting Mapuche, led by cacique Pelentaru, dealt a major defeat to Spanish troops under the command of Martín García Oñez de Loyola, in southern Chile.

~1620 – William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims landed on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

~1844 – The Rochdale Pioneers commenced business at their cooperative in Rochdale, England, starting the Cooperative movement.

~1861 – Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor, was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.

~1872 – HMS Challenger, commanded by Captain George Nares, sailed from Portsmouth. She travelled nearly 70,000 nautical miles (130,000 km) surveying and exploring. The result was the Report Of The Scientific Results of the Exploring Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873-76 which, among many other discoveries, catalogued over 4,000 previously unknown species.

HMS Challenger, pioneer of Oceanography

Image courtesy NOAA archives

~1883 – The first Permanent Force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army were formed: The Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment.

Cap badge of the Royal Canadian Dragoons

Courtesy the (CDN) Department of National Defense

Crest of the Royal Canadian Regiment

Courtesy the (CDN) Department of National Defense

~1913 – Arthur Wynne's "word-cross", the first real crossword puzzle, was published in the New York World.

~1937 – Only 9 years after the sensational debut of the animated short Steamboat Willie, true magic came to the silver screen when Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full length animated film, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater in Los Angeles.

~1958 – 1958 French presidential election: Charles de Gaulle was elected President of France when his Union des Démocrates pour la République party gained 78.5% of the vote. (So you see...the French brought that grief upon themselves.)

~1962 – The Rondane National Park was established as Norway's first national park.

~1967 – Louis Washkansky, the first man to undergo a heart transplant, died of double pneumonia in Cape Town, South Africa. He had lived for 18 days after the transplant.

~1968 – The Apollo Program: Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At 2h:50m:37s Mission elapsed time (MES), the crew performed the first ever manned Trans Lunar Injection and became the first humans to leave Earth's gravity.

The Apollo 8 Saturn V builds thrust after ignition of the S-IC first stage F-1 engines on December 21, 1968.
Note that the Moon is double exposed - it was neither visible at the time of launch nor in the crescent phase at this time.

Photo courtesy NASA

~1973 – The Geneva Conference on the Arab-Israeli conflict opened. (Fortunately we didn't all hold our collective breaths waiting for the UN to establish a permanent peace in the Middle East...)

~1979 – The Lancaster House Agreement, an independence agreement for Rhodesia, was signed in London. (Mugabe was one of the signatories...so that should tell you just how much relevance THAT piece of paper has to reality!)

~1988 - Pan Am Flt. 103, a Boeing 747 was blown out of the sky over over Lockerbie, Scotland when a terrorist bomb exploded onboard. All 259 people aboard, and 11 more on the ground were killed.

A Boeing 747-100 similar to Pan Am 103. The explosion occurred almost directly under the 'P' in the "Pan Am" name on the side of the fuselage.

Photo by Eduard Marmet, taken at Zurich Airport (May 1985)

~1989 – The Romanian Revolution spread from Timişoara to Bucharest.

~1992 – Martinair Flt. 495, a DC-10, crashed at Faro Airport during severe weather. 56 people were killed and 106 more were seriously injured.

~1994 – The Mexican volcano Popocatepetl, which had laid dormant for 47 years, erupted gases and ash. It has remained fairly active ever since.

~1995 – Israeli troops withdrew from Bethlehem, giving the city up to Palestinian control.

~1999 – The Spanish Civil Guard intercepted a van loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to use to blow up Torre Picasso in Madrid.

~2002 - In British Columbia, Vancouver city council declared "D.O.A. Day" in observance of the Canadian punk band D.O.A.'s decades of influence and accomplishments. (Vancouver city council is well known for having their heads planted firmly up their rectums.)

~2007 – The Schengen Agreement area increased to include 9 European Union member states; Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia on land and sea borders.

~2012 - The Mayan calendar comes to an end. (Actually, December 21, 2012 is simply the last day of the 13th b'ak'tun. It is not the end of the Long Count calendar because the 14th through 20th b'ak'tuns are still to come.

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Old 12-22-2009, 11:37 PM
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Default December 22


~1603 - Mehmed III, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, died and was succeeded by his son Ahmed I.

~1790 – The reputedly impenetrable Turkish fortress of Izmail was stormed and captured by Suvorov and his Russian army.

~1807 – The Embargo Act was passed. It was a bill that banned trade between the United States of America and all other nations. The bill also prevented any ships from leaving American ports, thereby hindering exploration efforts. It was created at the request of President Thomas Jefferson in an attempt to prevent American involvement in the Napoleonic Wars. The bill proved unpopular and unenforceable. The act was repealed in 1808 but not before smugglers had made fortunes beyond their wildest dreams.

~1849 – The execution of Fyodor Dostoevsky was called off at the last second and his sentence commuted to 4 years of exile with hard labor at a katorga prison camp in Omsk, Siberia.

~1851 - The world's first freight train was operated in Roorkee, India.

~1864 – Savannah, Georgia fell to the Union army of General William Tecumseh Sherman, concluding his "March to the Sea". Savannah mayor R. D. Arnold rode out to formally surrender, in exchange for General Geary's promise to protect the city's citizens and their property. Sherman's men, led by Geary's division of the XX Corps, occupied the city the same day.

~1885 – Ito Hirobumi, a samurai, became the first Prime Minister of Japan.

~1890 – The Cornwallis Valley Railway began operations between Kingsport and Kentville in Nova Scotia.

~1910 - The Chicago Union Stock Yards Fire: A fire broke out at Warehouse 7 of the Nelson Morris Company at the Chicago Union Stock Yards. By the time the massive blaze was finally extinguished 21 firemen were dead.

~1937 – The Lincoln Tunnel opened to traffic in New York City.

~1940 – Himarë in southern Albania was re-captured from the Italians by the Greek army.

~1942 – Adolf Hitler signed the order to develop the V-2 rocket as a weapon.

~1944 – At the Battle of the Bulge German military commanders demanded the surrender of US troops at the encircled town of Bastogne, Belgium defended by the 101st Airborne and Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division. This prompted the famous one word reply by General Anthony McAuliffe: "Nuts!"

~1944 – The People's Army of Vietnam was formed to resist Japanese occupation of Indo-China (now Vietnam).

~1947 – The Constituent Assembly of Italy approved the post-war Constitution of the Italian Republic.

~1956 – Born this day: Colo, the first gorilla to be bred in captivity. Colo is currently the oldest living gorilla in captivity following the death of 55 year old Jenny in September, 2008. (And a happy 53rd to the monkey.)

~1962 - Named after the AT&T communications satellite which went into orbit the previous July amid much fanfare, the instrumental Telstar, by the Tornados, went to number 1 on the charts.


~1963 – The cruise ship Lakonia burned 180 miles north of Madeira with the loss of 128 lives.

The Lakonia at her port in Southampton.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/45/TSMS_Lakonia.JPG (broken link)
Photo courtesy US National Archives

~1964 – One of the greatest aircraft of all time, the SR-71 Blackbird, took to the skies on her maiden flight. Throughout its nearly 24 year career, the SR-71 remained the world's fastest and highest flying operational aircraft.

Overhead frontal view of an SR-71A

Photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Haggerty, courtesy USAF

~1974 – The house of former British Prime Minister Ted Heath was attacked by members of the Provisional IRA.

~1978 – The pivotal Third Plenum of the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in Beijing, with Deng Xiaoping reversing Mao era policies to pursue a program for Chinese economic reform.

~1984 – The Subway Vigilante: Bernhard Goetz, shot 4 would be muggers on an express train in Manhattan, New York City.

~1988 – Chico Mendes, the outspoken Brazilian rubber tapper, unionist and environmental activist, was assassinated.

~1989 – After a week of bloody demonstrations, Ion Iliescu took over as president of Romania, ending Nicolae Ceauşescu's Communist dictatorship.

~1989 – Berlin's Brandenburg Gate was officially re-opened after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.

Crowds gather at the Brandenburg Gate after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Photographer unknown, image courtesy of the Senate of Berlin.

~1990 - Lech Wałęsa was sworn in as President of Poland.

~1992 – The Archivos del Terror (Archives of Terror) were discovered in Asunción, Paraguay by José Agustín Fernández. Fernández was looking for files on a former prisoner. Instead, he found archives describing the fates of thousands of Latin Americans who had been secretly kidnapped, tortured, and killed by the security services of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. This was known as Operation Condor.

~1997 – The Acteal Massacre: Attendees at a prayer meeting of Roman Catholic activists for indigenous causes in the small village of Acteal in the Mexican state of Chiapas were massacred by paramilitary forces.

~1997 – Hussein Mohamed Farrah Aidid relinquished the disputed title of President of Somalia by signing The Cairo Declaration, in Cairo, Egypt. It was the first major step towards reconciliation in Somalia since 1991.

~1999 - The Spanish Civil Guard found a second van loaded by ETA with 750 kg of explosives near Calatayud (see related event on December 21, 1999).

~1999 – Korean Air Cargo Flt. 8509, a Boeing 747-200F crashed shortly after takeoff from London Stansted Airport due to pilot error. All 4 crew members were killed.

~2001 – Burhanuddin Rabbani, political leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance, handed over power in Afghanistan to the interim government headed by President Hamid Karzai. (This was after the Taliban had supposedly been swept away forever.)

~2001 – The Shoe Bomber, Richard Reid, attempted to destroy a Boeing 767 by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes, aboard American Airlines Flt 63.

~2001 - Born this day: CC the cat, the world’s first cloned pet. (8 years old and doing well.)

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Old 12-24-2009, 01:54 AM
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Default December 23


~962 – Commanded by the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, Byzantine troops stormed the city of Aleppo during the Byzantine-Arab Wars.

~1493 – Georg Alt's German translation of Hartmann Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle was published.

~1776 - The first of 16 pamphlets written by Thomas Paine, known as The American Crisis, was read aloud to the Continental army, 2 days before the Battle of Trenton. It began with the famous words: "These are the times that try men's souls".

~1779 - Benedict Arnold was court martialed for improper conduct.

~1783 – George Washington resigned as commander in chief of the Continental Army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland.

~1793 – The Battle of Savenay resulted in a decisive defeat of the royalist counter-revolutionaries in the Revolt in the Vendée during the French Revolution.

~1823 - An anonymous poem appeared in the Troy (NY) Sentinel; A Visit from St. Nicholas, later known better as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. The poem was written by a professor of Greek and Oriental literature, Clement Clark Moore, and appeared without his knowledge in the newspaper.

~1888 - In a fit of depression, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh cut off part of his left ear. His Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear shows the right one bandaged because he painted the mirror image. He was staying at lodgings in Arles, France at the time.

~1893 – The opera Hänsel und Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck was first performed.

~1907 - The first all steel passenger railroad coach was completed in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

~1913 – The Federal Reserve Act is signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, creating the Federal Reserve.

~1914 – Australian and New Zealand troops arrived in Cairo, Egypt.

~1916 – Allied troops defeated Turkish forces at the Battle of Magdhaba, in Egypt's Sinai peninsula.

Painting of the Camel corps at Magdhaba

Artist: H. Septimus Power (1925)

~1919 - Alice H. Parker received a patent for a highly efficient (central) gas heating furnace.

Application drawing submitted to the US Patent Office for Alice H Parker's improved heating furnace

~1921 – Visva-Bharati University was inaugurated with proceeds from the prize money of the Nobel Prize Rabindranath Tagore received in 1913 for the publication of his book of poems entitled Gitanjali.

~1922 - BBC Radio began daily news broadcasts.

~1933 - A train crash in Eastern Paris left 230 people dead.

~1938 – Previously believed to have been extinct for over 65 million years, the first modern coelacanth was discovered in South Africa.

~1938 - Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West costume caught fire during the filming of The Wizard of Oz. She was seriously burned and was off the film set for over one month.

~1941 – Wake Island was occupied by the Japanese.

~1948 – 7 high ranking Japanese military and civilian officials, convicted of war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, were executed at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo.

~1954 – The first human kidney transplant was performed by Dr. Joseph E. Murray at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

~1958 – The opening of Tokyo Tower took place, the world's highest self supporting iron tower.

Tokyo Tower (taken on February 11th, 2006)

Photo by Eckhard Pecher

~1959 - The Drifters recorded This Magic Moment.


~1964 - India and Ceylon were hit by a cyclone, an estimated 4,850 were killed.

~1968 – The Pueblo Incident: The United States won the release of 82 sailors by issuing a written apology to North Korea for spying on the Communist country.

Photo courtesy US Navy

~1970 – The North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York City was topped out at 1,368 feet (417 m), making it the tallest building in the world.

~1972 – A 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Nicaraguan capital of Managua. Though only a moderate quake it devastated the city leaving over 5,000 dead with thousands more injured and tens of thousands left homeless.

~1972 – The 16 survivors of the Andes flight disaster were rescued after 73 days.

~1979 – During the Soviet War in Afghanistan Soviet forces occuppied the Afghan capital, Kabul.

~1982 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it had identified dangerous levels of dioxin in the soil of Times Beach, Missouri.

~1986 – (Model 76) Voyager, an endurance aircraft manufactured by Rutan Aircraft and piloted by Dick Rutan & Jeana Yeager, landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California following a 9 day flight becoming the first aircraft to fly non stop around the world without refueling. The average speed for the trip was just over 122 mph. (Whoa! I'll bet those two made a run for the can when they got out of that bird!)

Voyager exhibited at the National Air and Space Museum

Photo by Johnstone

~1987 - Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, serving a life sentence for the attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford, escaped from Alderson Prison.

~1990 – In a referendum, 88% of Slovenia's population voted for independence from Yugoslavia.

~2002 – A MQ-1 Predator was shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25, making it the first time in history that an aircraft and an unmanned drone had engaged in combat.

MQ-1 Predator on display at Edwards AFB open house on October 28th, 2006

Photo by Alan Radecki

~2003 – The PetroChina Chuandongbei natural gas field explosion occurred in Chongqing, China killing at least 234 people.

~2004 – An 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean.

~2005 – Shortly after takeoff Azerbaijan Airlines Flt. 217 from Baku, Azerbaijan, to Aktau, Kazakhstan crashed into the Caspian Sea about 20 miles north of the capital, Baku. All 23 people aboard were killed.


Last edited by Da Grouch; 12-24-2009 at 02:06 AM..
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Old 12-25-2009, 03:47 AM
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Default December 24


~563 – The (3rd) Byzantine church Hagia Sophia, in Constantinople, was dedicated for the 2nd time after being damaged by earthquakes in 553, 557 and again in 558. (Some sources indicate this as occurring on December 23rd.)

The Hagia Sophia in July, 2007

Photo by Gryffindor

~640 - John IV was elected pope after a 4 month sede vacante.

~1294 – Pope Boniface VIII was elected Pope, replacing St. Celestine V, who had resigned.

~1777 – Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, was discovered by Capt. James Cook.

~1814 – The Treaty of Ghent was signed in the Netherlands, ending the War of 1812. Due to the era's slow speed of communication, it took weeks for news of the peace treaty to reach America, well after the Battle of New Orleans had begun.

~1818 - The carol Silent Night was first performed in the Nikolaus Kirche (Church of St. Nicholas) in Oberndorf, Austria.

~1826 – The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy began, wrapping up the following morning. (I know that if somebody laid a hand on MY eggnog there would definitely be a riot!)

~1851 – The Library of Congress burned. The largest fire in the Library's history destroyed 35,000 books, about 2/3 of the Library's (then) 55,000 book collection.

~1865 – 6 middle class Confederate veterans from Pulaski, Tennessee, created the original Ku Klux Klan in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War. They made up the name by combining the Greek kyklos (κυκλος, circle) with clan.
(Just'a good ol' boys
Never meanin' no harm.
Beats all you never saw
Been in trouble with the law
Since the day they was born...)

~1906 – Reginald Fessenden transmitted what is believed to be the first full radio broadcast, from Brant Rock, Massachusetts. It consisted of a poetry reading, a violin solo, and a speech.

Penny postcard of Reginald Fessenden's Brant Rock radio tower (c. 1910)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d8/Brant_rock_radio_tower_1910.jpg (broken link)
Photographer unknown

~1914 – During World War I, the "Christmas Truce" began.

British and German troops meeting in No Mans's Land during the unofficial Christmas Truce. (British troops from the Northumberland Hussars, 7th Division, Bridoux-Rouge Banc Sector).

Photo courtesy the Imperial War Museum

~1929 – An assassination attempt was made on the life of Argentine President Hipólito Yrigoyen.

~1939 – World War II: Pope Pius XII made a Christmas Eve appeal for peace. (And we all know how far THAT idea went...)

~1940 - The Greek submarine Papanikolis (Y-2) torpedoed and sank the 4,000 ton Italian troop transport Firenze near Sazan Island, Albania.

~1941 – In Malaysia, Kuching was surrendered to Japanese forces.

~1942 – French monarchist, Fernand Bonnier de La Chapelle, assassinated Vichy French Admiral François Darlan in Algiers. (Good on you, Fernand. Finally...a Frenchman I can respect.)

~1943 – U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower became the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

~1946 – France's Fourth Republic was officially founded. (Just trolling through the debris, here...lookin' for bits an' pieces...ya' know how it goes...)

~1951 – Libya became independent from Italy. Idris I was proclaimed King of Libya. (GAWWWD! Why don't I just stick a loaded gun in my mouth...)

~1953 – The Tangiwai Disaster: A railway bridge was destroyed by a lahar at Tangiwai, in the Central North Island of New Zealand, sending a fully loaded passenger train into the Whangaehu River and killing 151 of the 285 people aboard.

~1955 – NORAD tracked Santa for the first time in what would become an annual Christmas Eve tradition. (Methinks those boys have been spending just a little too much time up there all alone on the DEW Line...)

~1966 – A Canadair CL-44 chartered by the United States military crashed into a small village in South Vietnam, killing 129.

~1968 – The Apollo Program: The crew of Apollo 8 entered into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed 10 lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures along with the now legendary recital of the first 10 verses of the book of Genesis. All of what became known as The Christmas Eve Broadcast, one of the most watched television programs in history. Astronaut Frank Borman finished the broadcast with the now famous line; "And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you...all of you on the good Earth."

The first Earthrise ever witnessed by humans, as seen from Apollo 8 (December 24th. 1968)

Photo by Frank Borman, courtesy NASA

~1973 –The District of Columbia Home Rule Act was passed, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to elect their own local government.

~1974 – Cyclone Tracy, a category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale when it made landfall, devastated Darwin, Australia. Tracy killed 71 people and destroyed more than 70% of Darwin's buildings, including 80% of its housing. Tracy left homeless more than 20,000 out of the 49,000 inhabitants of the city and required the evacuation of over 30,000 people.

Damaged houses after the passage of Cyclone Tracy (taken on Christmas day 1974)

Photo by Bill Bradley

~1979 – The first European Ariane rocket was launched.

An Ariane 4 rocket at launch

Photo courtesy NASA

~1980 - Died this day: Karl Dönitz, German naval admiral, and commander of the Kreigsmarine during World War II (b. 1891)

~1997 – The Sid El-Antri Massacre: The Sid El-Antri massacre took place in two small villages near Tiaret, Algeria. The death toll is unclear; Reuters cites "at least 80", but only 48 according to the government, Le Jeune Independent says 117 people were killed and 11 abducted by terrorists, and a timeline gives 53 (including 15 children) killed in Sidi el-Antri (or Sidi el-Antar, Sidi Lamri) and 28 in Shari.

~1997 - Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn were married in the Palazzo Cavalli in Venice, Italy. (And, of course...we all know that Mia Farrow gave her blessings to the union.)

~2000 – The Texas 7 held up a sports store in Irving, Texas. Police officer Aubrey Hawkins was murdered during the robbery. (Fortunately all of this human excrement was soon recaptured and promptly returned to their little prison hell-holes where they belonged.)

~2003 – The Spanish police thwarted an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives inside Madrid's busy Chamartín Station.

~2005 - Chad declared war on Sudan over the conflict in the border region of Darfur.

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Old 12-25-2009, 04:58 PM
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Default December 25


~800 – The coronation of Charlemagne, as Holy Roman Emperor, took place in Rome.

~1000 – Hungary was established as a Christian kingdom by Stephen I of Hungary.

~1066 – At Westminster Abbey in London, William the Conqueror was crowned king of England.

~1100 – Baldwin of Boulogne was crowned as the first King of Jerusalem in the Church of the Nativity.

~1130 – Count Roger II of Sicily was crowned as the first King of Sicily. (Is it me or did a lot of royals get themselves crowned on December 25th?)

~1223 – St. Francis of Assisi assembled the first known Nativity Scene.

~1261 – John IV Lascaris of the restored Eastern Roman Empire was deposed and blinded, on his 11th birthday by orders of his second cousin and co-ruler Michael VIII Palaeologus. (So much for Christmas spirit and kinship in THAT family!)

~1553 – At the Battle of Tucapel, Mapuche rebels under Lautaro defeated the Spanish conquistadors and then executed the governor of Chile, Pedro de Valdivia.

~1599 – In Brazil, the city of Natal was founded.

~1643 – The Australian Territory of Christmas Island was named by William Mynors, captain of the East India Ship Company vessel, the Royal Mary when he sailed past it on Christmas Day.

~1776 –George Washington and his Continental Army crossed the Delaware River and prepared to attack Britain's Hessian mercenaries in Trenton, New Jersey.

~1826 – The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy concluded after beginning the previous evening.

~1837 – At the Battle of Lake Okeechobee, in Florida, US troops under the command of Col. Zachary Taylor were soundly defeated by a force (only 1/3 their numbers) of Seminole indians led by chiefs Billy Bowlegs, Abiaca and Alligator. Years later Billy Bowlegs visited Washington and on being escorted through the buildings of the Capitol and viewing many statues and paintings, he suddenly halted before a portrait of Zachary Taylor, grinned and exclaimed: "Me whip!"

Chief Billy Bowlegs

Photo as appeared in Harper's Weekly, June 12, 1858

~1868 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to all Civil War Confederate soldiers.

~1872 - The very first Colt Peacemaker single action revolver (a final prototype) was given as a gift to Major Jason B. Lakewood of the US Army by his good friend Orville W. Ainsworth, an inspector at Colt Firearms Mfg. The handgun went into regular army service in 1873.

Colt Peacemaker

Photo by Mike Cumpston

~1917 - Why Marry?, the first dramatic play to win a Pulitzer Prize, opened at the Astor Theatre in New York City.

~1926 – Emperor Taishō of Japan died. His son, Prince Hirohito succeeded him as Emperor Shōwa. (Uh oh...I smell trouble brewing.)

~1932 – Gansu, China was struck by yet another great earthquake, a magnitude 7.6. This time over 70,000 people died.

~1939 - Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was introduced by the Montgomery Ward stores.

~1941 – Admiral Chester Nimitz arrived at Pearl Harbor to assume command of what remained of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

~1941 – Defended largely by a single, novice Canadian battalion, Hong Kong fell to the Japanese after 17 days of fierce fighting.

Japanese troops enter Hong Kong led by Lieutenant General Takashi Sakai and Vice Admiral Miimi Massichi
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8f/Japanese_troops_enter_Hong_Kong.jpg (broken link)
Photo courtesy the Imperial War Museum
Canadian defensive position at Hong Kong - December, 1941

Photographer unknown, courtesy Vancouver Technical Secondary

~1947 – The Constitution of the Republic of China went into effect. (That turned out to be a rather short-lived excercise then, didn't it?)

~1950 – The Stone of Scone, the traditional coronation stone of Scottish and later British monarchs, was taken from Westminster Abbey by 4 Scottish nationalist students. It later turned up in Scotland on April 11, 1951.

~1953 - The Shek Kip Mei Fire: In Shek Kip Mei, Hong Kong a major fire destroyed all the makeshift homes of the immigrants from Mainland China that had fled to Hong Kong, leaving over 53,000 people homeless.

The 1953 Shek Kip Mei fire in Hong Kong

Photo courtesy the Hong Kong Heritage Museum

~1963 – Turkish Cypriot Bayrak Radio began transmitting in Cyprus after Turkish Cypriots were forcibly excluded from the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.

~1968 – The Apollo Program: Apollo 8 began its trip back to Earth from its lunar orbit.

~1968 – 42 Dalits were burned alive in Kilavenmani village, Tamil Nadu, India. This in retaliation for a campaign for higher wages by Dalit labourers.

~1973 - The ARPANET crashed when a programming bug re-routed all ARPANET traffic through the server at Harvard University, causing the server to freeze.

~1974 – Marshall Fields crashed his Chev Impala into the Northwest Gate of the White House complex. Dressed in Arab clothing, Fields claimed that he was the Messiah and that he was laden with explosives. He drove up to the North Portico and positioned himself only several feet from the front door. After 4 hours of negotiations, Fields surrendered. The explosives he claimed to be in possession of were discovered to be nothing more than flares. President Gerald Ford and his family were not home at the time. (A little too much rum and eggnog the night before, Marsh?)

~1977 – Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin met in Egypt with the President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat. (Doesn't seem to be any info as to just why they met, maybe to swap Christmas presents.)

~1989 – Nicolae Ceauşescu, former communist dictator of Romania and his wife Elena were condemned to death and executed under a wide range of charges. (As much as I hated that S.O.B. he and his wife at least deserved something better than the kangaroo court they were put in front of.)

~1990 – The first successful trial run of the system which would become the World Wide Web was made.

~1991 – Ukraine's referendum was finalized and Ukraine officially left the Soviet Union. On the same day Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union (the union itself was dissolved the next day).

~2003 – The ill fated Beagle 2 probe, released from the Mars Express Spacecraft on December 19, fell victim to the Mars Curse when it disappeared shortly before its scheduled landing on the surface of Mars.

~2004 – Cassini orbiter released the Huygens probe which successfully landed upon Saturn's moon Titan on January 14, 2005.


Last edited by Thyra; 12-26-2009 at 08:02 PM..
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Old 12-26-2009, 11:52 PM
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Default December 26

A quick couple or three for Harry:

~602 BC - The Chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar II ordered construction of The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, they would become one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

A 16th century hand coloured engraving of the "Hanging Gardens of Babylon", with the Tower of Babel in the background.

Painting by Dutch artist Martin Heemskerck (1498 - 1574)

~268 - After a 9 1/2 year papacy, Pope (Saint) Dionysius died.

~418 - After only a 21 month papacy, Pope (Saint) Zosimus died. (Too much Christmas partying for the both of them.)

And moving right along...

~1481 – At the Battle of Westbroek an army from Holland defeated the troops of Utrecht.

~1606 – Shakespeare’s classic tragedy King Lear was performed in the Court of England for the first time.

~1776 – In New Jersey, a large force British Hessian mercenaries were defeated by the Continental Army at the Battle of Trenton.

~1790 – King Louis XVI of France gave his public assent to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy during the French Revolution. (Too little too late, Louis!)

~1792 – In Paris, during the trial of Louis XVI of France for High Treason and Crimes Against the State, legal counsel, Raymond de Sèze, delivered Louis's response to the charges, with the assistance of François Tronchet and Malesherbes. (The smart money says they don't get their man off...)

~1793 – At the Battle of Geisberg French forces under General Hoche defeated an Austrian army led by General Wumser.

~1793 – The wedding of Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and the two-timing lowlife Prince Friedrich (Louis) Ludwig of Prussia took place.

~1805 – Austria and France signed the (4th) Treaty of Pressburg with Austria giving France everything it demanded and receiving nothing in return. (The Austrians had trouble signing the treaty because they were rubbing their bums which still hurt due to the spankings they had received from Napoleon at the Battle of Ulm and the Battle of Austerlitz.)

~1806 – The Battle of Pultusk and the Battle of Golymin: Both were French victories but Russian forces held off the French armies under Napoleon long enough to make a semi-organized retreat.

~1811 – A theater fire in Richmond, Virginia killed the Governor of Virginia George William Smith, the president of the First National Bank of Virginia Abraham B. Venable and 42 others.

~1825 – Several officers of the Imperial Russian Army led 3000 soldiers on the Senate Square in St. Petersburg for the failed Decembrist uprising.

Decembrists at the Senate Square

Painted by Karl Kolman (1786-1846)

~1848 – The Phi Delta Theta fraternity was founded at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

~1860 – The first ever inter-club football match took place between Hallam F.C. and Sheffield F.C. at the Sandygate Road ground in Sheffield, England.

~1861 – The Trent Affair: Confederate diplomatic envoys James M. Mason and John Slidell were granted their freedom by the United States government, thereby avoiding a possible war between the US and Britain.

~1862 – The Battle of Chickasaw Bayou began. It was the opening engagement of the Vicksburg Campaign and ended 3 days later with a Confederate victory.

~1862 – 4 nuns serving as volunteer nurses came aboard the USS Red Rover. They were the first female nurses to ever serve on a U.S. Navy hospital ship.

Line engraving after a drawing by Theodore R. Davis, as published in "Harper's Weekly" (January-June 1863) courtesy US Navy

~1862 – The largest mass-hanging in U.S. history took place in Mankato, Minnesota when 38 Dakota Indians were executed for rape and murder, following the Dakota War of 1862.

The Executions
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/3a/MankatoMN38.JPG (broken link)
Artist: W. H. Childs - Drawing from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, January 24, 1863, pg. 285; courtesy Library of Congress

~1870 – The 12.8km (7.95 mi) long Fréjus Rail Tunnel through the Alps became one when the French and Italian construction crews met up underground at the halfway point. The tunnel opened for traffic on September 17th, 1871.

~1871 – Collaborating for the first time, Gilbert and Sullivan's lost opera Thespis premièred in London at the Gaiety Theatre. It did modestly well, but the two would not collaborate again for 4 years.

Programme from the original run of Thespis by Gilbert and Sullivan, January 1872

Image taken from the Gilbert and Sullivan Online Exhibit, courtesy
Rochester University - original artist unknown

~1883 – In Newfoundland the Harbour Grace Affray, a sectarian melee between Irish Catholics of Riverhead and the Southside of Harbour Grace who confronted a parade of Orangemen, occurred. The resulting battle killed 5 and injured 17 more.

~1898 – Marie and Pierre Curie announced the discovery and isolation of radium.

~1908 - Jack Johnson became the first black heavyweight boxing champion by defeating Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia.

~1919 – Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox was sold to the New York Yankees by owner Harry Frazee. (The Curse of The Bambino begins!)

~1933 – In Tokyo, Japan DAT Motors became The Nissan Motor Company.

~1941 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

~1943 – The German warship Scharnhorst, attempting to intercept the Russia bound Arctic convoys JW 55B and RA 55A north of Norway, ran into the convoy's escort cruisers HMS Belfast, Norfolk, and Sheffield. She was severely damaged and when the convoy's covering force, including the British battleship HMS Duke of York, caught up with her she was sunk off of Norway's North Cape.

Schlachtschiff "Scharnhorst" (circa 1939)

Photo courtesy the German Federal Archive

~1944 – Patton's Third Army broke through the German encirclement of U.S. forces at Bastogne, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge.

~1944 – The first public performance of Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie took place in Chicago.

~1946– The Flamingo Hotel opened in Las Vegas.

The Flamingo Hotel, Las Vegas (March 15th, 2008)

Photo by someone who calls him/herself Kvasir

~1947 - In New York City 26 inches of snow fell in only 16 hours. (Glad I missed THAT shamozzle!)

~1948 – Cardinal Mindszenty was arrested in Hungary and accused of treason and conspiracy.

~1974 – Died this day: Comedian Jack Benny (b. 1894)...he was 39 years old

~1974 - The Soviet space station Salyut 4 (DOS 4) was launched. It was essentially a copy of the DOS 3 but, unlike its ill-fated sibling, it was a complete success.

~1979 – It was opening night on the series of Concerts for the People of Kampuchea at the Hammersmith Odeon when Queen took to the stage. These were benefit concerts for the citizens of Cambodia who were victims of the dictator Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.

~1980 – Aeroflot began flying the Ilyushin Il-86.

An Aeroflot Il-86 on landing

Photo by Dmitry A. Mottl

~1982 – Time Magazine's Man of the Year was for the first time a non-human, the winner being the personal computer.

~1986 – The very first long running American television soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, aired its final episode after 35 years on the small screen.

~1986 – The world's human population reached 5 billion, according to the ibiblio.org world population tracker.

~1991 – The Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the USSR. (Glad to see the last of that 74 year long debacle.)

~1996 – 6 year old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey was found beaten and strangled to death in the basement of her family's home in Boulder, Colorado.

~1996 – The largest labor strike in South Korean history began when workers in the automotive and shipbuilding industries refused to work. This was in protest against a law which was to make firing employees easier for employers and curtailed labor organizing rights.

~1997 – The Soufriere Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat exploded, creating an offshore tsunami.

An ashfall from Soufriere Hills in Monteserrat in 1997
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Soufrierehillsvolc.jpg (broken link)
Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey

~1998 – Iraq announced its intention to fire upon U.S. and British warplanes that patrolled the northern and southern no fly zones. (Old Saddam just didn't know when to give it a rest...)

~1998 - Severe gales occurred over Ireland, northern England and Scotland causing widespread disruption and power outages throughout Northern Ireland and southern Scotland.

~1999 - The first of 3 days in which France and countries to the east were devastated by severe storms and rain. Over 100 people were killed with the storms causing extensive damage to property and the French national power grid.

~2003 – The Bam Earthquake: A magnitude 6.6 earthquake devastated the southeast Iranian city of Bam, killing 26,271 people, injuring an additional 30,000 and leaving over 225,000 homeless. The citadel of Arg-é Bam was also destroyed in the quake.

The remains of the 2,000 year old Bam Citadel following the quake
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/95/Destruction_of_the_Bam_Citadel.jpg (broken link)
Photo by Marty Bahamonde, courtesy FEMA

Earthquake damage in Bam, New Years Day 2004

Photo courtesy US AID

~2004 – (In memory of Lai - Rest well old friend...forever amongst your stars) The 2004 Tsunami: A 9.0 magnitude earthquake created a huge tsunami causing massive devastation in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives and many other areas around the rim of the Indian Ocean. Over a quarter million people died in the disaster.

The 2004 Tsunami coming ashore in Ao Nang, Thailand

Photo by David Rydevik

~2005 – The Boxing Day Shooting: A gang related shooting occurred on Toronto's Yonge Street, resulting in the death of 15 year old student Jane Creba. 6 other bystanders, 4 men and 2 women, were wounded. The incident took place on one of Toronto's most crowded streets on the busiest shopping day of the year just a few blocks north of the Toronto Eaton Centre.

Jane Creba, early 2005

Photo courtesy the National Post

~2006 – The Hengchun Earthquake, with a 7.1 magnitude, struck just off the coast of Taiwan. Despite the rather severe magnitude damage was relatively light and fortunately there were only 44 casualties, including 2 deaths.


Last edited by Da Grouch; 12-27-2009 at 12:07 AM..
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Old 12-27-2009, 11:57 PM
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Default December 27


~1512 – The Spanish Crown issued the Laws of Burgos, governing the conduct of settlers with regards to native Indians in the New World. Although well written in their protecting of Indian rights and respecting of the native culture, the laws were generally ignored in the Americas.

~1657 – The Flushing Remonstrance was signed. It is considered a precursor to the United States Constitution's provision on freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights.

U.S Postage Stamp (1957), commemorating the tricentennial of the Flushing Remonstrance

Image courtesy the US Postal Service

~1703 – The Methuen Treaty, an offensive military and commercial treaty between Portugal and England was signed as part of the War of the Spanish Succession.

~1814 – The schooner USS Carolina, the last of Commodore Daniel Patterson's make shift fleet that fought a series of delaying actions that contributed to Andrew Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans, was destroyed in an explosion caused by gunfire from British warships.

~1831 – Charles Darwin embarked upon his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, during which he would begin to formulate his theory of evolution.

~1836 – The worst avalanche to ever occur in England took place at Lewes, Sussex. 8 people were killed.

~1918 – The Great Poland Uprising against the Germans began.

~1922 – The Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō became the world's first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned.

The Japanese Imperial Navy carrier Hōshō (circa 1924)

Photographer unknown

~1923 – Namba Daisuke, a Japanese student and communist sympathizer, attempted to assassinate the Prince Regent Hirohito.

~1932 - The largest movie theatre in the world, Radio City Music Hall in New York City, opened on this date. It originally had 5,945 seats which also made it the largest indoor theatre in the world. The gala grand opening show was a 6 hour extravaganza that lost half a million dollars within three weeks. Although subjected to several mediocre facelifts over the years, the theatre has since been renovated to recapture its original decorative charm. An Art Deco cathedral of entertainment, it seats more than 6,200 people and is still a must-see for those visiting New York. During the holiday season, audiences continue to marvel at seeing the world famous Rockettes perform in precision on Radio City Music Hall’s stage.

~1939 – The 1939 Erzincan Earthquake: Erzincan, Turkey was rocked by a major earthquake. The earthquake consisted of 7 violent shocks, the strongest one measuring 8.2 on the Richter scale, was the most powerful to strike Turkey in recent history. More than 20,000 people were killed in the initial quake and another 19,000 in the subsequent aftershocks. So extensive was the damage to Erzincan city that its old site was entirely abandoned and a new town was founded a little further to the north.

~1945 – The World Bank was created with the signing of an agreement by 28 nations.

~1945 - The Foreign Ministers of Britain, the US and the USSR, meeting in Moscow, divided Korea into two nations and agreed on a plan to govern them for 5 years. (Now what could possibly go wrong with that idea?)

~1947 - "Hey boys and girls, do you know what time it is?" The children's TV show, Howdy Doody, under the title Puppet Playhouse, and featuring both live action and marionettes, premiered on NBC, with host Buffalo Bob Smith. It was television's first show to complete 1,000 broadcasts and the first to utilize a split screen on a cross-country telecast. After 13 successful years, production ended with a total of 2,343 shows under its belt.

~1949 – Indonesian National Revolution: After more than 4 years and involved sporadic but bloody armed conflict, internal Indonesian political and communal upheavals along with two major international diplomatic interventions, the Netherlands finally granted Indonesia sovereignty.

~1950 - The United States and Spain resumed relations for the first time since the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.

~1951 - In Cincinnati, Ohio a 1951 Crosley station wagon, with right hand drive, became the first so equipped vehicle placed in service for mail delivery.

1950 Crosley station wagon on display at the Central Texas Museum of Automotive History

Photo by Larry D. Moore

~1964 - The Supremes made their first of many performnces on CBS's Ed Sullivan Show.

~1968 - After 35 1/2 years, Don McNeil's ABC radio program Breakfast Club signed off for the last time.

1941 Newspaper advertisement for the Breakfast Club

Image courtesy the National Broadcasting Corporation

~1971 - Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and Woodstock of Charles Schulz’ famous Peanuts comic strip, made the cover of Newsweek.

~1968 – The Apollo Program: Apollo 8 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.

~1978 – Spain became a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.

~1979 - The Soviet Union invaded and seized control of Afghanistan. Babrak Karmal replaced the overthrown and executed (murdered) President Hafizullah Amin.

~1983 - Pope John Paul II pardoned Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who shot him. (John Paul was pretty damned good at cutting people some slack, he was a class act.)

~1985 - Terrorists killed 16 people and wounded a further 99 when 4 Palestinian terrorists attacked the El Al check in counter at Rome's Fiumicino airport. A similar attack at Vienna's Schwechat airport left 4 dead, including one gunman, and 39 wounded.

~1996 – Taliban forces recaptured the strategic Bagram air base. This solidified their buffer zone around Kabul.

~1997 – Protestant paramilitary leader Billy Wright was assassinated in a Northern Ireland prison.

~2001 – The People's Republic of China was granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States. (After all, it had been more than 12 years since Tiananmen Square...and there was money to be made!)

~2002 - French Raelian scientist Brigitte Boisselier declared that Clonaid had delivered the first of a supposed five clone babies through cesarean section. To date, no Clonaid claims of cloned human births have ever been verified.

~2004 – Radiation from an explosion on the magnetar SGR 1806-20 reached Earth. It was the brightest extrasolar event known to have been witnessed on the planet.

~2007 – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was murdered in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

~2008 – The Gaza War: Israel launched a 3 week military operation against Hamas on Gaza codenamed Operation Cast Lead. Nearly 1,500 people died as a result.

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Old 12-28-2009, 02:39 PM
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Default December 28


~418 - Boniface I became pope.

~1065 – Westminster Abbey, one of the world's greatest heritage sites, was consecrated.

Westminster Abbey

Photo by ChrisO

~1308 – The reign of Japan's Emperor Hanazono began.

~1612 - Galileo was the first astronomer to observe the planet Neptune when it was in conjunction with Jupiter, yet he mistakenly catalogued it as a fixed star because of its extremely slow motion along the ecliptic at that time. Neptune was not truly discovered as a planet until 1846, about 234 years after Galileo first sighted it with his telescope.

Neptune as photographed by Voyager 2 on August 16th, 1989

Photo courtesy NASA

~1732 - Benjamin Franklin published the very first edition of Poor Richard's Almanack. He would continue to publish it for 25 years.

Poor Richard, 1739. An Almanack for the Year of Christ 1739

Image courtesy Library of Congress, Rare Book & Special Collections Division

~1768 – King Taksin's coronation took place in Thailand and established Thonburi as a capital.

~1795 – The Construction of Yonge Street, formerly recognized as the longest street in the world, began in York, Upper Canada (present-day Toronto, Ontario).

~1835 – During the Second Seminole War, 2 US Army companies totaling 108 men under the command of Major Francis L. Dade were sent from Fort Brooke to reinforce Fort King, Florida. Seminole warriors ambushed the soldiers enroute and wiped out the command.

~1836 – South Australia and Adelaide were founded.

~1846 – Iowa was admitted as the 29th state of the Union.

~1879 – The Tay Bridge Disaster: The central portion of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland collapsed just as a train passed over it, killing 75 people.

Tay Bridge after the disaster, from the south side
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5b/Tayrailbridge.jpg (broken link)
Photographer unknown

~1895 – The Lumière brothers showed 10 of their cinematic pictures for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines, marking the debut of the cinema.

~1897 - Edmond Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac, premiered in Paris.

~1908 – A massive earthquake struck Messina, Sicily and killed over 60,000 people.

Picture from the 1908 Messina earthquake

Photo by Wilhelm von Gloeden

~1912 – The first municipally (Muni) owned streetcars took to the streets in San Francisco, California.

~1929 – In Samoa: New Zealand colonial police opened fire and killed 11 peaceful, unarmed demonstrators. The event led the Mau Movement to demand independence for Samoa.

~1935 – Pravda published a letter by Pavel Postyshev, that revived the New Year Tree tradition in the Soviet Union.

~1943 – After 8 days of brutal house to house fighting, the Battle of Ortona concluded with the victory of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division over the German 1st Parachute Division, and the capture of the Italian town of Ortona.

Canadian sniper at the Battle of Ortona

Photo courtesy the National Archives of Canada

Canadian rifleman of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, December 1943. Ortona, Italy

Photo courtesy the National Archives of Canada

~1944 – Maurice "The Rocket" Richard of the Montreal Canadiens became the first player to score 8 points in a single NHL game.

~1948 – An Airborne Transport DC-3 (NC16002) disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle 50 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. No trace of the plane or its occupants has ever been found and no cause for the disappearance has ever been determined.

~1958 – "Greatest Game Ever Played": The Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants in the first ever National Football League sudden death overtime game at New York's Yankee Stadium.

~1973 – The Endangered Species Act was signed into law by US President Richard Nixon.

~1973 - Alexander Solzhenitsyn's book The Gulag Archipelago was published, much to the chagrin of the Soviet Union.

~1981 – The first American test tube baby, Elizabeth Jordan Carr, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

~1989 – A moderate earthquake of only 5.6 magnitude hit Newcastle, New South Wales in Australia but caused major damage and killed 13 people.

~1991 - 9 people wre crushed to death when a crowd pushed its way into a basketball game at the City College of New York.

~1995 - CompuServe set an ominous precedent by blocking access to sex-oriented newsgroups after being pressured by German prosecutors.

~1999 - Saparmurat Niyazov was proclaimed President for Life in Turkmenistan. (Democracy was thriving there, no? Fortunately the pompous ass bought the bullet in 2006.)

~2000 – U.S. retail giant Montgomery Ward announced it was closing its doors forever after 128 years in business.

~2007 – Nepal declared itself a Federal Democratic Republic by interim parliament, abolishing the monarchy.

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Old 12-28-2009, 10:56 PM
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Default December 29


~1170 – Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was assassinated inside Canterbury Cathedral by 4 knights of King Henry II. He subsequently became a saint and martyr in both the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

~1675 - The English Parliament ordered all coffee houses to be closed, believing they originated malicious rumors about the government. (Which they probably did.)

~1778 - 3,500 British soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell captured Savannah, Georgia without firing a shot.

~1800 - Born this day: Charles Goodyear, the inventor of vulcanized rubber for tires.

~1812 – After a battle lasting more than 3 hours, the USS Constitution under the command of Captain William Bainbridge captured the British warship HMS Java off the coast of Brazil.

USS Constitution engaging HMS Java

Painted by Montardier

~1837 - A steam powered threshing machine was patented, in Winthrop, Maine.

~1845 – Texas was admitted as the 28th state of the Union.

~1848 - US President James Polk turned on the first gas light at the White House.

~1852 - Emma Snodgrass was arrested in Boston, Massachusetts for wearing pants. (THE VILE TRAMP!!!)

~1860 – HMS Warrior, the first British seagoing iron clad warship was launched.

~1862 - Union General William T. Sherman's troops tried to gain the north side of Vicksburg with a full frontal charge at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou. They failed miserably in the face of a withering rebel fire that inflicted heavy casualties.

~1872 - The first successful firing of the Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon took place. It fired over 1,000 rounds without a misfire.

Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon (c. 1874)

Photo source unknown

~1876 – The Ashtabula River Railroad Bridge Disaster occurred. A rail bridge collapsed causing a train to plunge 70 feet into the river below. The accident at Ashtabula, Ohio left 64 injured and 92 dead.

Wood engraving depicting the Ashtabula Bridge Disaster
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fa/Ashtabula_Bridge_disaster.jpg (broken link)
As published in Harper's Weekly on January 20th, 1877, artist unknown

~1885 - Gottlieb Daimler patented his first bike in Germany.

~1890 – US soldiers of the 7th Cavalry killed 146 mostly Lakota men, women, and children at the Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota.

Burial of the dead after the massacre of Wounded Knee

First published Jan. 17 1891 by Northwestern Photo Co. (Trager & Kuhn) Chadron, Nebraska

~1890 - Died this day: Big Foot, Sioux Indian chief, at Wounded Knee.

~1908 - A patent was granted for a 4 wheel automobile brake, in Clintonville Wisconsin.

~1911 – Sun Yat-sen became the provisional President of the Republic of China.

~1911 – Mongolia declared its independence from the Qing dynasty.

~1924 - J.M. Barrie's fanciful tale about a boy who didn't want to grow up was released on film for the first time in the silent movie Peter Pan.

Poster for the 1924 movie Peter Pan

Image courtesy Paramount Pictures

~1934 – Japan renounced the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930 which limited naval armaments. (And nobody was overly concerned about this?)

~1937 - The Irish Free State was replaced by a new state called Ireland with the adoption of a new constitution.

~1939 - The Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bomber took to the air on her maiden flight.

The B-24 Liberator (c. 1944)

Photo courtesy the US Air Force

~1940 - In The Second Great Fire of London, the Luftwaffe dropped over 10,000 (mostly incendiary) bombs on London in one of the worst nights of The Blitz. Eight Wren churches along with the Guildhall were destroyed and over 200 civilians died.

~1952 - The first transistorized hearing aid was offered for sale by Sonotone Corporation. It went on sale in Elmsford, New York.

~1972 - Eastern Airlines Flt. 401, a Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, crashed near the Florida Everglades killing 101.

~1973 - Time in a Bottle, recorded by Jim Croce, jumped into the No.1 spot on Billboard's record charts on this date, and stayed there for 2 weeks. Croce had died in a plane crash three months earlier and was never to realize the success of his now classic recording.


~1975 - 11 people were killed and 74 more injured when a terrorist bomb exploded at LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

~1989 – Riots broke out after Hong Kong decided to forcibly repatriate Vietnamese refugees.

~1989 – Václav Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia. He became the first non-Communist to attain the post in more than 4 decades.

~1992 – Fernando Collor de Mello, president of Brazil, resigned his term in office just before the Brazilian Senate was to vote for his impeachment. The Senate did so anyway and suspended his political rights for eight years.

~1996 – Guatemala and leaders of the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union signed a peace accord that ended a 36 year civil war.

~1997 – Hong Kong began to kill all the nation's 1.25 million chickens to stop the spread of a potentially deadly influenza strain (Bird Flu).

~2003 - The last known speaker of Akkala Sami, Marja Sergina, died rendering the language extinct.


Last edited by Da Grouch; 12-28-2009 at 11:10 PM..
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:20 PM
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Default December 30


~1066 – The Granada Massacre: A Muslim mob stormed the royal palace in Granada, crucified Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacred most of the Jewish population of the city.

~1460 – The Battle of Wakefield took place in West Yorkshire during the Wars of the Roses. The Lancastrians won a decisive victory and Richard, Duke of York (the rival claimant to the throne of England) was himself killed in the battle.

~1816 – A treaty was proclaimed between the United States and representatives of the Council of Three Fires (united tribes of Ottawa, Ojibwa, and Potawatomi) residing on the Illinois and Milwaukee rivers. The tribes, their chiefs and warriors relinquished all right, claim, and title to land previously ceded to the United States by the Sac and Fox tribes on November 3, 1804. The the united tribes also ceded a 20 mile strip of land to the United States, which connected Chicago and Lake Michigan with the Illinois River. In 1848, the Illinois and Michigan Canal was built on the ceded land and, in 1900, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

~1861 - Banks in the United States suspended the practice of redeeming paper money for metal currency, a practice that would continue until 1879. (Yeah...and lotsa luck trying to trade in paper currency for gold or silver at face value in any US bank today!)

~1862 - The final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation was finished and circulated among President Abraham Lincoln's cabinet for comment.

~1865 - Born this day: Rudyard Kipling, one of the greatest novelists of all time, a short story author, poet and Nobel Prize winner for Literature [1907]. He was born in India where some of his best novels and short stories were set. (d. 1936)

Rudyard Kipling on the cover of TIME, September 27th, 1926

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

~1873 - The American Metrological Society, the first organization to improve the system of weights and measures, was formed.

~1896 – Philippine Nationalist José Rizal was executed by a firing squad in Manila after Spanish authorities convicted him of rebellion, sedition, and conspiracy.

A photographic record of Rizal's execution in what was then Bagumbayan

Photographer unknown

~1897 – In South Africa Natal annexed Zululand.

~1903 – The Iroquois Theatre Fire occurred in Chicago, Illinois. It is the deadliest theater fire and the deadliest single-building fire in United States history. A total of 602 people died as a result of the blaze and the ensuing public outrage led to new theatre safety codes being implemented across America. These new codes were soon copied by Britain, Canada and many other countries worldwide.

Drawing of the interior of the Iroquois Theater as it appeared prior to the 1903 fire. The stairway on the right saw the greatest loss of life.

As published in The World Today Magazine, February 1904; artist unknown

~1905 – Former Governor Frank Steunenberg was assassinated. He was killed outside his house in Caldwell, Idaho by a bomb rigged to his front gate.

~1906 – The All India Muslim League was founded in Dacca, East Bengal, British India Empire, which later laid down the foundations of Pakistan.

~1916 – The last coronation in Hungary was performed for King Charles IV and Queen Zita.

King Karl IV of Hungary taking his coronation oath December 1916

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

~1919 – In London, Lincoln's Inn admitted its first female bar student.

~1922 - The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was established through the confederation of Russia, Byelorussia, Ukraine and the Transcaucasian Federation.

~1927 – The Ginza Line, the first subway line in Asia, opened in Tokyo, Japan.

~1936 – The United Auto Workers' sit-down strike, which had began the day before, got into full swing in Flint, Michigan. The strike would last until February, 1937.

~1940 – California opened its first freeway, the Arroyo Seco Parkway.

~1943 – Subhas Chandra Bose raises the flag of Indian independence at Port Blair. (Verification on this one is a bit sketchy with only 2 sources mentioning it in passing.)

~1947 – King Michael of Romania was forced to abdicate by the Soviet backed Communist government of Romania.

~1948 – The Cole Porter Broadway musical, Kiss Me, Kate, opened at the New Century Theatre and ran for 1,077 performances. It went on to become the first show to win the Best Musical Tony Award.

~1953 – RCA introduced the first ever (NTSC) color television sets. They went on sale for about $1,175 US each. (A huge sum of money in '53 when the average wage was only $3,139 per year.)

~1963 - The game show Let's Make a Deal, hosted by Monty Hall, premiered.

~1965 – Ferdinand Marcos became President of the Philippines. (By all accounts one of the 20th century's greatest DINKS!)

~1972 - After 2 weeks of heavy bombing raids, President Nixon ordered a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam and announced that peace talks with the Hanoi government would resume in Paris in January.

~1977 – For the second time, Ted Bundy escaped from his cell in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. (Gonna hafta bite my tongue on this one...)

~1980 - NBC announced that The Wonderful World of Disney, the longest running series in prime time television history, was going to be axed after more than 25 years on the air.

~1980 - The Selective Service System sent a warning to Mickey Mouse at Disneyland in Anaheim, California: Register for the draft or else! The Selective Service said that Mickey was in violation of registration compliance. Of course, Mickey, age 52 at the time, sent in his registration card proving that he was a World War II veteran. (WHOA!!! Ya' don't wanna mess with the mouse!)

~1981 – In the 39th game of his 3rd NHL season Wayne Gretzky scored 5 goals giving him 50 on the year. This set a new NHL record that was previously held by Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy who had each scored 50 goals in 50 games years earlier.

~1986 - Exxon Corporation became the first major international oil company to withdraw from South Africa because of that nation's racial policies. (One of the few times I've been impressed with Exxon/ExxonMobil.)

~1996 – In the Indian state of Assam, a passenger train was bombed by Bodo separatists, killing 26.

~1996 – Proposed budget cuts by Benjamin Netanyahu sparked protests from 250,000 workers who shut down services across Israel.

~1997 – In the worst incident in Algeria's insurgency, the Wilaya of Relizane Massacres took place. 400 people were killed from 4 villages.

~2000 – Rizal Day Bombings: A series of bombs exploded in various locations throughout Metro Manila, Philippines within a period of a few hours. 22 people were killed and over 100 injured.

~2003 – U.S. Attorney General John ******** recused himself and his office from the Plame Affair.

~2004 – A fire in the República Cromagnon nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina killed 194.

~2005 – Tropical Storm Zeta formed over the open Atlantic, tying the record for the latest tropical cyclone ever to form in the North Atlantic basin.

~2006 – The carpark building at Madrid Barajas International Airport was bombed, resulting in 2 deaths.

The damaged parkade at Madrid Barajas (January 2007)

Photo by Sebastián García

~2006 – The deposed President of Iraq Saddam Hussein, convicted of the murders of 148 Iraqi Shiites, was executed by hanging.

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