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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:40am On Nov 23, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


First issue of “Life” is published

On November 23, 1936, the first issue of the pictorial magazine Life is published, featuring a cover photo of the Fort Peck Dam's spillway by Margaret Bourke-White.

Life actually had its start earlier in the 20th century as a different kind of magazine: a weekly humor publication, not unlike today’s The New Yorker in its use of tart cartoons, humorous pieces and cultural reporting. When the original Life folded during the Great Depression, the influential American publisher Henry Luce bought the name and re-launched the magazine as a picture-based periodical on this day in 1936. By this time, Luce had already enjoyed great success as the publisher of Time, a weekly news magazine.

From his high school days, Luce was a newsman, serving with his friend Briton Hadden as managing editors of their school newspaper. This partnership continued through their college years at Yale University, where they acted as chairmen and managing editors of the Yale Daily News, as well as after college, when Luce joined Hadden at The Baltimore News in 1921. It was during this time that Luce and Hadden came up with the idea for Time. When it launched in 1923, it was with the intention of delivering the world’s news through the eyes of the people who made it.

Whereas the original mission of Time was to tell the news, the mission of Life was to show it. In the words of Luce himself, the magazine was meant to provide a way for the American people “to see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events … to see things thousands of miles away… to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed… to see, and to show…” Luce set the tone of the magazine with Margaret Bourke-White’s stunning cover photograph of the spillway, which has since become an icon of the 1930s and the great public works completed under President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Life was an overwhelming success in its first year of publication. Almost overnight, it changed the way people looked at the world by changing the way people could look at the world. Its flourish of images painted vivid pictures in the public mind, capturing the personal and the public, and putting it on display for the world to take in. At its peak, Life had a circulation of over 8 million and it exerted considerable influence on American life in the beginning and middle of the 20th century.

With picture-heavy content as the driving force behind its popularity, the magazine suffered as television became society’s predominant means of communication. Life ceased running as a weekly publication in 1972, when it began losing audience and advertising dollars to television. Between 2004-2007, however, it resumed weekly publication as a supplement to U.S. newspapers. Today much of its archive is viewable online.







GREAT BRITAIN

1499

Flemish imposter executed in London


Perkin Warbeck, who invaded England in 1497 claiming to be the lost son of King Edward IV, is hanged for allegedly trying to escape from the Tower of London. Believed to be a native of Tournai in Belgium, Warbeck went to Ireland in 1491 and claimed he was Richard, duke of York.





CRIME

1979

IRA member sentenced for Mountbatten’s assassination


Thomas McMahon, a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), is sentenced to life imprisonment for preparing and planting the bomb that killed Lord Louis Mountbatten and three others three months before. On August 27, 1979.





CRIME

1876

“Boss” Tweed delivered to authorities

William Magear “Boss” Tweed, leader of New York City’s corrupt Tammany Hall political organization during the 1860s and early 1870s, is delivered to authorities in New York City after his capture in Spain. Tweed became a powerful figure in Tammany Hall.





19TH CENTURY

1859

Legendary outlaw Billy the Kid is born


The infamous Western outlaw known as “Billy the Kid” is mostly likely born in a poor Irish neighborhood on New York City’s East Side on November 23, 1859. (Much about his early life is unknown or unverified.) Before he was shot dead at age 21.





WORLD WAR II

1940

Romania becomes an Axis “power”


On November 23, 1940, Romania signs the Tripartite Pact, officially allying itself with Germany, Italy and Japan. As early as 1937, Romania had come under control of a fascist government that bore great resemblance to that of Germany’s, including similar anti-Jewish laws.







CRIME

1959

The Birdman of Alcatraz is allowed a small taste of freedom


Robert Stroud, the famous “Birdman of Alcatraz,” is released from solitary confinement for the first time since 1916. Stroud gained widespread fame and attention when author Thomas Gaddis wrote a biography that trumpeted Stroud’s ornithological expertise.









US GOVERNMENT

1981

President Reagan gives CIA authority to establish the Contras


President Ronald Reagan signs off on a top secret document, National Security Decision Directive 17 (NSDD-17), which gives the Central Intelligence Agency the power to recruit and support a 500-man force of Nicaraguan rebels to conduct covert actions against the leftist.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 7:22am On Nov 24, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


"Origin of Species" is published

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, a groundbreaking scientific work by British naturalist Charles Darwin, is published in England. Darwin’s theory argued that organisms gradually evolve through a process he called “natural selection.” In natural selection, organisms with genetic variations that suit their environment tend to propagate more descendants than organisms of the same species that lack the variation, thus influencing the overall genetic makeup of the species.

Darwin, who was influenced by the work of French naturalist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck and the English economist Thomas Malthus, acquired most of the evidence for his theory during a five-year surveying expedition aboard the HMS Beagle in the 1830s. Visiting such diverse places as the Galapagos Islands and New Zealand, Darwin acquired an intimate knowledge of the flora, fauna, and geology of many lands. This information, along with his studies in variation and interbreeding after returning to England, proved invaluable in the development of his theory of organic evolution.

The idea of organic evolution was not new. It had been suggested earlier by, among others, Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus Darwin, a distinguished English scientist, and Lamarck, who in the early 19th century drew the first evolutionary diagram—a ladder leading from one-celled organisms to man. However, it was not until Darwin that science presented a practical explanation for the phenomenon of evolution.

Darwin had formulated his theory of natural selection by 1844, but he was wary to reveal his thesis to the public because it so obviously contradicted the biblical account of creation. In 1858, with Darwin still remaining silent about his findings, the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace independently published a paper that essentially summarized his theory. Darwin and Wallace gave a joint lecture on evolution before the Linnean Society of London in July 1858, and Darwin prepared On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection for publication.

Published on November 24, 1859, Origin of Species sold out immediately. Most scientists quickly embraced the theory that solved so many puzzles of biological science, but orthodox Christians condemned the work as heresy. Controversy over Darwin’s ideas deepened with the publication of The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), in which he presented evidence of man’s evolution from apes.

By the time of Darwin’s death in 1882, his theory of evolution was generally accepted. In honor of his scientific work, he was buried in Westminster Abbey beside kings, queens, and other illustrious figures from British history. Subsequent developments in genetics and molecular biology led to modifications in accepted evolutionary theory, but Darwin’s ideas remain central to the field.







CRIME

2017

Terrorists attack mosque in Sinai, Egypt


On November 24, 2017, a bomb ripped through a mosque in Egypt’s northern Sinai region as terrorists opened fire on those finishing Friday prayer at the al-Rawdah mosque. The attack killed 305 people—including 27 children—and wounded 120, in what was the deadliest terrorist strike.





CRIME

1963

Jack Ruby kills Lee Harvey Oswald


At 12:20 p.m., in the basement of the Dallas police station, Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, is shot to death by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner. On November 22, President Kennedy was fatally shot while riding in an open-car motorcade.





CRIME

1971

Hijacker and criminal mastermind D.B. Cooper parachutes out of plane


A hijacker calling himself D.B. Cooper parachutes from a Northwest Orient Airlines 727 into a raging thunderstorm over Washington State. He had $200,000 in ransom money in his possession.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1849

John Froelich, inventor of the gas-powered tractor, is born


John Froelich, the inventor of the first internal-combustion traction motor, or tractor, is born on November 24, 1849, in Iowa. At the end of the 19th century, Froelich operated a grain elevator and mobile threshing service.





SPORTS

1960

Wilt Chamberlain sets NBA rebounds record


On November 24, 1960, Philadelphia Warrior Wilt Chamberlain snags 55 rebounds in a game against the Boston Celtics and sets an NBA record for the most rebounds in a single game. The seven-foot-one-inch Chamberlain–often called “Wilt the Stilt,” a nickname he detested.





CHINA

1999

Ferry sinks in Yellow Sea, killing hundreds


A ferry sinks in the Yellow Sea off the coast of China, killing hundreds of people on November 24, 1999. The ship had caught fire while in the midst of a storm and nearly everyone on board perished, including the captain.





CRIME

1932

The FBI Crime Lab opens its doors for business


The crime lab that is now referred to as the FBI Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory officially opens in Washington, D.C., on November 24, 1932. The lab was initially operated out of a single room and had only one full-time employee, Agent Charles Appel.





COLD WAR

1947

“Hollywood Ten″ cited for contempt of Congress


The House of Representatives votes 346 to 17 to approve citations of contempt against 10 Hollywood writers, directors, and producers. These men had refused to cooperate at hearings dealing with communism in the movie industry held by the House Un-American Activities Committee.





CIVIL WAR

1863

Battle of Lookout Mountain


On November 24, 1863, Union troops capture Lookout Mountain southwest of Chattanooga, Tennessee, as they begin to break the Confederate siege of the city. In the “battle above the clouds,” the Yankees scaled the slopes of the mountain on the periphery of the Chattanooga lines.





NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY

1807

Mohawk Chief Thayendanegea dies


On November 24, 1807, Mohawk Chief Thayendanegea, also known by his English name, Joseph Brant, dies at his home in Burlington, Ontario. Before dying, he reportedly said, “Have pity on the poor Indians.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 6:53am On Nov 25, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


"The Mousetrap" opens in London

“The Mousetrap,” a murder-mystery written by the novelist and playwright Agatha Christie, opens at the Ambassadors Theatre in London. The crowd-pleasing whodunit would go on to become the longest continuously running play in history.

When “The Mousetrap” premiered in 1952, Winston Churchill was British prime minister, Joseph Stalin was Soviet ruler and Harry Truman was president. Christie, already a hugely successful English mystery novelist, originally wrote the drama for Queen Mary, wife of the late King George V. Initially called “Three Blind Mice,” it debuted as a 30-minute radio play on the queen’s 80th birthday in 1947. Christie later extended the play and renamed it “The Mousetrap”—a reference to the play-within-a-play performed in William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

On November 25, 1952, 453 people took their seats in the Ambassadors Theatre for the London premiere of Christie’s “Mousetrap.” The drama is played out at “Monkswell Manor,” whose hosts and guests are snowed in among radio reports of a murderer on the loose. Soon a detective shows up on skis with the terrifying news that the murderer, and probably the next victim, are likely both among their number. Soon the clues and false leads pile as high as the snow. At every curtain call, the individual who has been revealed as the murderer steps forward and tells the audience that they are “partners in crime” and should “keep the secret of the whodunit locked in their heart.”

Richard Attenborough and his wife, Sheila Sim, were the first stars of “The Mousetrap.” To date, more than 300 actors and actresses have appeared in the roles of the eight characters. David Raven, who played “Major Metcalf” for 4,575 performances, is in the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the world’s most durable actor, while Nancy Seabrooke is noted as the world’s most patient understudy for 6,240 performances, or 15 years, as the substitute for “Mrs. Boyle.”

“The Mousetrap” is not considered Christie’s best play, and a prominent stage director once declared that “‘The Mousetrap'” should be abolished by an act of Parliament.” Nevertheless, the show’s popularity has not waned. Asked about its enduring appeal, Christie said, “It is the sort of play you can take anyone to. It is not really frightening. It is not really horrible. It is not really a farce, but it has a little bit of all these things, and perhaps that satisfies a lot of different people.” In 1974, after almost 9,000 shows, the play was moved to St. Martin’s Theatre, where it remained until March 2020, after which the COVID-19 pandemic suspended performances.

Agatha Christie, who wrote scores of best-selling mystery novels, died in 1976.







JAPAN

1970

Japanese author Yukio Mishima dies by suicide

World-renowned Japanese writer Yukio Mishima dies by suicide after failing to win public support for his often extreme political beliefs. Born in 1925, Mishima was obsessed with what he saw as the spiritual barrenness of modern life.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1963

JFK buried at Arlington National Cemetery


Three days after his assassination in Dallas, Texas, John F. Kennedy is laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was shot to death while riding in an open-car motorcade with his wife.





US GOVERNMENT

1986

Iran-Contra connection revealed


Three weeks after a Lebanese magazine reported that the United States had been secretly selling arms to Iran, Attorney General Edwin Meese reveals that proceeds from the arms sales were illegally diverted to the anti-communist Contras in Nicaragua.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1990

Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge sinks to the bottom of Lake Washington


After a howling wind- and rainstorm on Thanksgiving Day, Washington state’s historic floating Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge breaks apart and sinks to the bottom of Lake Washington, between Seattle and its suburbs to the east.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1876

U.S. Army retaliates for the Little Bighorn massacre


U.S. troops under the leadership of General Ranald Mackenzie destroy the village of Cheyenne living with Chief Dull Knife on the headwaters of the Powder River. The attack was in retaliation against some of the Native Americans who had participated in the massacre of Custer.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1950

"Storm of the century" hits eastern U.S.


The so-called “storm of the century” hits the eastern part of the United States, killing hundreds and causing millions of dollars in damages, on November 25, 1950. Also known as the “Appalachian Storm,” it dumped record amounts of snow in parts of the Appalachian Mountains.







1990S

1999

First International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women


The United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution designating November 25 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The resolution, which was introduced by the Dominican Republic, marked the anniversary of the death of three sisters, Maria.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1783

Last British soldiers leave New York

On November 25, 1783, nearly three months after the Treaty of Paris was signed ending the American Revolution, the last British soldiers withdraw from New York City, the last British military position in the United States.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 8:34am On Nov 26, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY

FDR establishes modern Thanksgiving holiday

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill officially establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

The tradition of celebrating the holiday on Thursday dates back to the early history of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies, when post-harvest holidays were celebrated on the weekday regularly set aside as “Lecture Day,” a midweek church meeting where topical sermons were presented. A famous Thanksgiving observance occurred in the autumn of 1621, when Plymouth governor William Bradford invited local members of the Wampanoag tribe to join the Pilgrims in a festival held in gratitude for the bounty of the season.

Thanksgiving became an annual custom throughout New England in the 17th century, and in 1777 the Continental Congress declared the first national American Thanksgiving following the Patriot victory at Saratoga. In 1789, President George Washington became the first president to proclaim a Thanksgiving holiday, when, at the request of Congress, he proclaimed November 26, a Thursday, as a day of national thanksgiving for the U.S. Constitution. However, it was not until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to officially fall on the last Thursday of November, that the modern holiday was celebrated nationally.

With a few deviations, Lincoln’s precedent was followed annually by every subsequent president—until 1939. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt departed from tradition by declaring November 23, the next to last Thursday that year, as Thanksgiving Day. Considerable controversy surrounded this deviation, and some Americans refused to honor Roosevelt’s declaration. For the next two years, Roosevelt repeated the unpopular proclamation, but on November 26, 1941, he admitted his mistake and signed a bill into law officially making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.







AFRICA

1922

Archaeologists enter tomb of King Tut


In Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, British archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon become the first souls to enter King Tutankhamen’s tomb in more than 3,000 years. Tutankhamen’s sealed burial chambers were miraculously intact.





WORLD WAR I

1916

T.E. Lawrence reports on Arab affairs


On November 26, 1916, Thomas Edward Lawrence, a junior member of the British government’s Arab Bureau during World War I, publishes a detailed report analyzing the revolt led by the Arab leader Sherif Hussein against the Ottoman Empire in the late spring of 1916.





VIETNAM WAR

1968

Air Force helicopter pilot rescues Special Forces team


While returning to base from another mission, Air Force 1st Lt. James P. Fleming and four other Bell UH-1F helicopter pilots get an urgent message from an Army Special Forces team pinned down by enemy fire.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1862

"Alice in Wonderland" manuscript is sent as a Christmas present


On November 26, 1862, Oxford mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson sends a handwritten manuscript called Alice’s Adventures Under Ground to 10-year-old Alice Liddell.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1942

“Casablanca” opens in theaters


On November 26, 1942, Casablanca, a World War II-era drama starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, premieres in New York City; it will go on to become one of the most beloved Hollywood movies in history. In the film, Bogart played Rick Blaine, the owner of a swanky North.





CRIME

1933

Vigilantes in California lynch two suspected murderers


A mob of people in San Jose, California, storm the jail where Thomas Thurmond and John Holmes are being held as suspects in the kidnapping and murder of Brooke Hart, the 22-year-old son of a local storeowner.





1950S

1950

Chinese counterattacks in Korea change nature of war


In some of the fiercest fighting of the Korean War, thousands of communist Chinese troops launch massive counterattacks against U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) troops, driving the Allied forces before them and putting an end to any thoughts for a quick or conclusive U.S.





WORLD WAR II

1941

Japanese task force leaves for Pearl Harbor


On November 26, 1941, Adm. Chuichi Nagumo leads the Japanese First Air Fleet, an aircraft carrier strike force, toward Pearl Harbor, with the understanding that should “negotiations with the United States reach a successful conclusion.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 8:30am On Nov 27, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


Pope Urban II orders first Crusade


On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II makes perhaps the most influential speech of the Middle Ages, giving rise to the Crusades by calling all Christians in Europe to war against Muslims in order to reclaim the Holy Land, with a cry of “Deus vult!” or “God wills it!”

Born Odo of Lagery in 1042, Urban was a protege of the great reformer Pope Gregory VII. Like Gregory, he made internal reform his main focus, railing against simony (the selling of church offices) and other clerical abuses prevalent during the Middle Ages. Urban showed himself to be an adept and powerful cleric, and when he was elected pope in 1088, he applied his statecraft to weakening support for his rivals, notably Clement III.

By the end of the 11th century, the Holy Land—the area now commonly referred to as the Middle East—had become a point of conflict for European Christians. Since the 6th century, Christians frequently made pilgrimages to the birthplace of their religion, but when the Seljuk Turks took control of Jerusalem, Christians were barred from the Holy City. When the Turks then threatened to invade the Byzantine Empire and take Constantinople, Byzantine Emperor Alexius I made a special appeal to Urban for help. This was not the first appeal of its kind, but it came at an important time for Urban. Wanting to reinforce the power of the papacy, Urban seized the opportunity to unite Christian Europe under him as he fought to take back the Holy Land from the Turks.

At the Council of Clermont, in France, at which several hundred clerics and noblemen gathered, Urban delivered a rousing speech summoning rich and poor alike to stop their in-fighting and embark on a righteous war to help their fellow Christians in the East and take back Jerusalem. Urban denigrated the Muslims, exaggerating stories of their anti-Christian acts, and promised absolution and remission of sins for all who died in the service of Christ.

Urban’s war cry caught fire, mobilizing clerics to drum up support throughout Europe for the crusade against the Muslims. All told, between 60,000 and 100,000 people responded to Urban’s call to march on Jerusalem. Not all who responded did so out of piety: European nobles were tempted by the prospect of increased land holdings and riches to be gained from the conquest. These nobles were responsible for the death of a great many innocents both on the way to and in the Holy Land, absorbing the riches and estates of those they conveniently deemed opponents to their cause. Adding to the death toll was the inexperience and lack of discipline of the Christian peasants against the trained, professional armies of the Muslims. As a result, the Christians were initially beaten back, and only through sheer force of numbers were they eventually able to triumph.

Urban died in 1099, two weeks after the fall of Jerusalem but before news of the Christian victory made it back to Europe. His was the first of seven major military campaigns fought over the next two centuries known as the Crusades, the bloody repercussions of which are still felt today. Urban was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in 1881.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2005

Aerosmith and 50 Cent headline a $10 million bar mitzvah


In exchange for a multimillion-dollar fee, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith and rapper 50 Cent took to the stage at New York City’s famous Rainbow Room in the early morning hours of November 27, 2005, as headline performers at the $10 million bat mitzvah of Long Island.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1942

Jimi Hendrix born


Guitar legend Jimi Hendrix is born in Seattle. Hendrix grew up playing guitar, imitating blues greats like Muddy Waters as well as early rockers. He joined the army in 1959 and became a paratrooper but was honorably discharged in 1961 after an injury that exempted him from duty.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1911

White House housekeeper frets over William Howard Taft’s waistline


On November 27, 1911, Elizabeth Jaffray, a White House housekeeper, writes in her diary about a conversation she’d had with President William Howard Taft and his wife about the commander in chief’s ever-expanding waistline.





NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY

1868

Colonel George Custer massacres Cheyenne on Washita River


Without bothering to identify the village or do any reconnaissance, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer leads an early morning attack on a band of peaceful Cheyenne living with Chief Black Kettle.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1940

Bruce Lee born


On November 27, 1940, the actor and martial-arts expert Bruce Lee is born in San Francisco, California. In his all-too-brief career, Lee became a film star in Asia and, later, a pop-culture icon in America.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1703

Freak storm dissipates over England


On November 27, 1703, an unusual storm system finally dissipates over England after wreaking havoc on the country for nearly two weeks. Featuring hurricane strength winds, the storm killed somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 people.







CRIME

1978

San Francisco leaders George Moscone and Harvey Milk are murdered


Former Board of Supervisors member Dan White murders Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk at City Hall in San Francisco, California. White, who stormed into San Francisco’s government offices with a .38 revolver, had reportedly been angry about Moscone’s decision.





COLD WAR

1954

Accused spy Alger Hiss released from prison


After 44 months in prison, former government official Alger Hiss is released and proclaims once again that he is innocent of the charges that led to his incarceration. One of the most famous figures of the Cold War period.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1746

R.R. Livingston, future Founding Father known as “The Chancellor,” is born


On November 27, 1746, Robert R. (or R.R.) Livingston—later known as “the Chancellor”—becomes the first of nine children eventually born to Judge Robert Livingston and Margaret Beekman Livingston in their family seat, Clermont, on the Hudson River in upstate New York.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:36am On Nov 28, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


Ferdinand Magellan reaches the Pacific

After sailing through the dangerous straits below South America that now bear his name, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan enters the Pacific Ocean with three ships, becoming the first European explorer to reach the Pacific from the Atlantic.

On September 20, 1519, Magellan set sail from Spain in an effort to find a western sea route to the rich Spice Islands of Indonesia. In command of five ships and 270 men, Magellan sailed to West Africa and then to Brazil, where he searched the South American coast for a strait that would take him to the Pacific. He searched the Rio de la Plata, a large estuary south of Brazil, for a way through; failing, he continued south along the coast of Patagonia. At the end of March 1520, the expedition set up winter quarters at Port St. Julian. On Easter day at midnight, the Spanish captains mutinied against their Portuguese captain, but Magellan crushed the revolt, executing one of the captains and leaving another ashore when his ship left St. Julian in August.

On October 21, he finally discovered the strait he had been seeking. The Strait of Magellan, as it became known, is located near the tip of South America, separating Tierra del Fuego and the continental mainland. Only three ships entered the passage; one had been wrecked and another deserted. It took 38 days to navigate the treacherous strait, and when ocean was sighted at the other end Magellan wept with joy. His fleet accomplished the westward crossing of the ocean in 99 days, crossing waters so strangely calm that the ocean was named “Pacific,” from the Latin word pacificus, meaning “tranquil.” By the end, the men were out of food and chewed the leather parts of their gear to keep themselves alive. On March 6, 1521, the expedition landed at the island of Guam.

Ten days later, they dropped anchor at the Philippine island of Cebu—they were only about 400 miles from the Spice Islands. Magellan met with the chief of Cebu, who after converting to Christianity persuaded the Europeans to assist him in conquering a rival tribe on the neighboring island of Mactan. In fighting on April 27, Magellan was hit by a poisoned arrow and left to die by his retreating comrades.

After Magellan’s death, the survivors, in two ships, sailed on to the Moluccas and loaded the hulls with spice. One ship attempted, unsuccessfully, to return across the Pacific. The other ship, the Vittoria, continued west under the command of Basque navigator Juan Sebastian de Elcano. The vessel sailed across the Indian Ocean, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at the Spanish port of Sanlucar de Barrameda on September 6, 1522, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the globe.







GREAT BRITAIN

1919

Lady Astor becomes MP

American-born Nancy Astor, the first woman ever to sit in the House of Commons, is elected to Parliament with a substantial majority. Lady Astor took the Unionist seat of her husband, Waldorf Astor, who was moving up to an inherited seat in the House of Lords.





CRIME

1994

Jeffrey Dahmer murdered in prison


Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, serving 15 consecutive life sentences for the brutal murders of 15 men, is beaten to death by a fellow inmate while performing cleaning duty in a bathroom at the Columbia Correctional Institute gymnasium in Portage, Wisconsin.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1943

FDR attends Tehran Conference

On November 28, 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt joins British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin at a conference in Iran to discuss strategies for winning World War II and potential terms for a peace settlement.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1925

The Grand Ole Opry begins broadcasting


The Grand Ole Opry, one of the longest-lived and most popular showcases for western music, begins broadcasting live from Nashville, Tennessee. The showcase was originally named the Barn Dance.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1582

William Shakespeare marries Anne Hathaway


On November 28, 1582, William Shakespeare, 18, and Anne Hathaway, 26, pay a 40-pound bond for their marriage license in Stratford-upon-Avon. Six months later, Anne gives birth to their daughter, Susanna, and two years later, to twins.





1970S

1979

Plane crashes over Antarctica


A New Zealander sightseeing plane traveling over Antarctica crashes, killing all 257 people on board, on November 28, 1979. It was the worst airplane accident in New Zealand’s history. During the 1970s, air travel to Antarctica became more popular.







CRIME

1987

A media controversy ignites over the case of Tawana Brawley


Tawana Brawley, a young Black woman, is found covered with feces and wrapped in garbage bags outside the Pavilion Condominiums in Wappingers Falls, New York. Brawley appeared to have undergone an extremely traumatic experience.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1895

Duryea Motor Wagon wins first car race in U.S.


On this Thanksgiving Day in 1895, piloting a gas-powered “horseless carriage” of his and his brother’s own design, the mechanic, inventor and now racecar driver Frank Duryea wins the first motor-car race in the United States.





WORLD WAR I

1914

New York Stock Exchange resumes bond trading


On November 28, 1914, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) reopens for bond trading after nearly four months, the longest stoppage in the exchange’s history. The outbreak of World War I in Europe forced the NYSE to shut its doors on July 31, 1914.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:17am On Nov 29, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


U.N. votes for partition of Palestine

Despite strong Arab opposition, the United Nations votes for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state.

The modern conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine dates back to the 1910s, when both groups laid claim to the British-controlled territory. The Jews were Zionists, recent emigrants from Europe and Russia who came to the ancient homeland of the Jews to establish a Jewish national state. The native Palestinian Arabs sought to stem Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state.

Beginning in 1929, Arabs and Jews openly fought in Palestine, and Britain attempted to limit Jewish immigration as a means of appeasing the Arabs. As a result of the Holocaust in Europe, many Jews illegally entered Palestine during World War II. Radical Jewish groups employed terrorism against British forces in Palestine, which they thought had betrayed the Zionist cause. At the end of World War II, in 1945, the United States took up the Zionist cause. Britain, unable to find a practical solution, referred the problem to the United Nations, which on November 29, 1947, voted to partition Palestine.

The Jews were to possess more than half of Palestine, though they made up less than half of Palestine’s population. The Palestinian Arabs, aided by volunteers from other countries, fought the Zionist forces, but the Jews secured full control of their U.N.-allocated share of Palestine and also some Arab territory. On May 14, 1948, Britain withdrew with the expiration of its mandate, and the State of Israel was proclaimed by Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion. The next day, forces from Egypt, Transjordan (now known as Jordan), Syria, Lebanon and Iraq invaded.

The Israelis managed to fight off the Arabs and then seize key territories, such as Galilee, the Palestinian coast, and a strip of territory connecting the coastal region to the western section of Jerusalem. In 1949, U.N.-brokered cease-fires left the State of Israel in permanent control of those conquered areas. The departure of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs from Israel during the war left the country with a Jewish majority.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2001

George Harrison, lead guitarist for the Beatles, dies

On November 29, 2001, English musician and songwriter George Harrison dies at the age of 58. Harrison achieved global fame as a member of the Beatles and went on to a successful solo career that included frequent collaborations with many of the foremost musicians.





CRIME

2011

Dr. Conrad Murray receives four-year sentence in Michael Jackson’s death


On November 29, 2011, Conrad Murray, the physician convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of singer Michael Jackson, is sentenced in a Los Angeles County courtroom to four years behind bars. The iconic pop star died at age 50 at his California home.





EXPLORATION

1929

Explorer Richard Byrd flies over South Pole


American explorer Richard Byrd and three companions make the first flight over the South Pole, flying from their base on the Ross Ice Shelf to the pole and back in 18 hours and 41 minutes. Richard Evelyn Byrd learned how to fly in the U.S. Navy and served as a pilot in World War 11,





VIETNAM WAR

1967

Robert S. McNamara resigns as Secretary of Defense


Robert S. McNamara announces that he will resign as Secretary of Defense and will become president of the World Bank. Formerly the president of Ford Motor Company, McNamara had served as Secretary of Defense under two presidents, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson,





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1963

LBJ forms commission to investigate Kennedy assassination


On November 29, 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson appoints a special commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which had occurred a week earlier, on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1981

Actress Natalie Wood drowns


On November 29, 1981, the actress Natalie Wood, who starred in such movies as Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story, drowns in a boating accident near California’s Catalina Island. She was 43 years old.







COLD WAR

1952

President Eisenhower goes to Korea

Making good on his most dramatic presidential campaign promise, newly elected Dwight D. Eisenhower goes to Korea to see whether he can find the key to ending the bitter and frustrating Korean War.





CIVIL WAR

1864

Sand Creek massacre

On November 29, 1864, peaceful band of Southern Cheyenne and Arapahoe Native Americans are massacred by Colonel John Chivington’s Colorado volunteers at Sand Creek, Colorado.





WORLD WAR II

1942

Coffee rationing begins

On November 29, 1942, coffee joins the list of items rationed in the United States. Despite record coffee production in Latin American countries, the growing demand for the bean from both military and civilian sources.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:00am On Dec 02, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


Enron files for bankruptcy

On December 2, 2001, the Enron Corporation files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court, sparking one of the largest corporate scandals in U.S. history.

An energy-trading company based in Houston, Texas, Enron was formed in 1985 as the merger of two gas companies, Houston Natural Gas and Internorth. Under chairman and CEO Kenneth Lay, Enron rose as high as number seven on Fortune magazine’s list of the top 500 U.S. companies. In 2000, the company employed 21,000 people and posted revenue of $111 billion. Over the next year, however, Enron’s stock price began a dramatic slide, dropping from $90.75 in August 2000 to $0.26 by closing on November 30, 2001.

As prices fell, Lay sold large amounts of his Enron stock, while simultaneously encouraging Enron employees to buy more shares and assuring them that the company was on the rebound. Employees saw their retirement savings accounts wiped out as Enron’s stock price continued to plummet. After another energy company, Dynegy, canceled a planned $8.4 billion buy-out in late November, Enron filed for bankruptcy. By the end of the year, Enron’s collapse had cost investors billions of dollars, wiped out some 5,600 jobs and liquidated almost $2.1 billion in pension plans.

Over the next several years, the name “Enron” became synonymous with large-scale corporate fraud and corruption, as an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Justice Department revealed that Enron had inflated its earnings by hiding debts and losses in subsidiary partnerships. The government subsequently accused Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling, who served as Enron’s CEO from February to August 2001, of conspiring to cover up their company’s financial weaknesses from investors. The investigation also brought down accounting giant Arthur Andersen, whose auditors were found guilty of deliberately destroying documents incriminating to Enron.

In July 2004, a Houston court indicted Skilling on 35 counts including fraud, conspiracy and insider trading. Lay was charged with 11 similar crimes. The trial began on January 30, 2006, in Houston. A number of former Enron employees appeared on the stand, including Andrew Fastow, Enron’s ex-CFO, who early on pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and agreed to testify against his former bosses. Over the course of the trial, the defiant Skilling–who unloaded almost $60 million worth of Enron stock shortly after his resignation but refused to admit he knew of the company’s impending collapse–emerged as the figure many identified most personally with the scandal. In May 2006, Skilling was convicted of 19 of 35 counts, while Lay was found guilty on 10 counts of fraud and conspiracy. When Lay died from heart disease just two months later, a Houston judge vacated the counts against him. That October, the 52-year-old Skilling was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison.







US GOVERNMENT

1970

Environmental Protection Agency opens


On December 2, 1970, a new federal agency opens its doors. Created in response to the dawning realization that human activity can have major effects on the planet, the Environmental Protection Agency heralded a new age of government action on behalf of the environment.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1972

The Temptations earn their final #1 hit with “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”


On December 2, 1972, the Temptations earn the last of their four chart-topping hits when “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” reaches #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Over the course of their storied career, the Temptations placed 38 hit records in the pop top 40.





FRANCE

1804

Napoleon crowned emperor


In Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Napoleon I, the first Frenchman to hold the title of emperor in a thousand years. Pope Pius VII handed Napoleon the crown that the 35-year-old conqueror of Europe placed on his own head.





ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT

1859

Abolitionist John Brown is hanged


Militant abolitionist John Brown is executed on charges of treason, murder and insurrection on December 2, 1859. Brown, born in Connecticut in 1800, first became militant during the mid-1850s, when as a leader of the Free State forces in Kansas he fought pro-slavery settlers.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1823

Monroe Doctrine declared


During his annual address to Congress, President James Monroe proclaims a new U.S. foreign policy initiative that becomes known as the “Monroe Doctrine.” Primarily the work of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, the Monroe Doctrine forbade European interference in the American.





RED SCARE

1954

Joseph McCarthy condemned by Senate


The U.S. Senate votes 65 to 22 to condemn Senator Joseph R. McCarthy for conduct unbecoming of a senator. The condemnation, which was equivalent to a censure, related to McCarthy’s controversial investigation of suspected communists in the U.S. government.







WORLD WAR II

1942

Physicist Enrico Fermi produces the first nuclear chain reaction


Enrico Fermi, the Italian-born Nobel Prize-winning physicist, directs and controls the first nuclear chain reaction in his laboratory beneath the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, ushering in the nuclear age.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1997

“Good Will Hunting” premieres in theaters

On December 2, 1997, Good Will Hunting, a movie that will earn childhood friends Ben Affleck and Matt Damon a Best Screenplay Oscar and propel them to Hollywood stardom, premieres in Los Angeles. Good Will Hunting, which opened in wide release across America on January 9, 1998.





CRIME

1991

William Kennedy Smith’s rape trial begins


Opening testimony takes place in the highly publicized rape trial of William Kennedy Smith, a nephew of President John F. Kennedy and son of Jean Kennedy Smith, the president’s sister and a former ambassador to Ireland.





COLD WAR

1961

Fidel Castro declares himself a Marxist-Leninist


Following a year of severely strained relations between the United States and Cuba, Cuban leader Fidel Castro openly declares that he is a Marxist-Leninist. The announcement sealed the bitter Cold War animosity between the two nations.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1777

Philadelphia nurse overhears British plans to attack Washington’s army


Legend has it that on the night of December 2, 1777, Philadelphia housewife and nurse Lydia Darragh single-handedly saves the lives of General George Washington and his Continental Army when she overhears the British planning a surprise attack on Washington’s army.





WORLD WAR I

1917

Russia reaches armistice with the Central Powers


A day after Bolsheviks seize control of Russian military headquarters at Mogilev, a formal ceasefire is proclaimed throughout the battle zone between Russia and the Central Powers. Immediately after their accession to power in Russia in November 1917.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:36pm On Dec 04, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY

Hostage Terry Anderson freed in Lebanon

On December 4, 1991, Islamic militants in Lebanon release kidnapped American journalist Terry Anderson after 2,454 days in captivity.

As chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, Anderson covered the long-running civil war in Lebanon (1975-1990). On March 16, 1985, he was kidnapped on a west Beirut street while leaving a tennis court. His captors took him to the southern suburbs of the city, where he was held prisoner in an underground dungeon for the next six-and-a-half years.

Anderson was one of 92 foreigners (including 17 Americans) abducted during Lebanon’s bitter civil war. The kidnappings were linked to Hezbollah, or the Party of God, a militant Shiite Muslim organization formed in 1982 in reaction to Israel’s military presence in Lebanon. They seized several Americans, including Anderson, soon after Kuwaiti courts jailed 17 Shiites found guilty of bombing the American and French embassies there in 1983. Hezbollah in Lebanon received financial and spiritual support from Iran, where prominent leaders praised the bombers and kidnappers for performing their duty to Islam.

U.S. relations with Iran–and with Syria, the other major foreign influence in Lebanon–showed signs of improving by 1990, when the civil war drew to a close, aided by Syria’s intervention on behalf of the Lebanese army. Eager to win favor from the U.S. in order to promote its own economic goals, Iran used its influence in Lebanon to engineer the release of nearly all the hostages over the course of 1991.

Anderson returned to the U.S. and was reunited with his family, including his daughter Suleme, born three months after his capture. In 1999, he sued the Iranian government for $100 million, accusing it of sponsoring his kidnappers; he received a multi-million dollar settlement.





CRIME

1928

“Irish Godfather” killed by car bomb in St. Paul


“Dapper Dan” Hogan, a St. Paul, Minnesota saloonkeeper and mob boss, is killed on December 4, 1928 when someone plants a car bomb under the floorboards of his new Paige coupe. Doctors worked all day to save him–according to the Morning Tribune.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

2012

Typhoon "Pablo" kills over 1,000 people in the Philippines


On December 4, 2012, Bopha, a Category 5 typhoon nicknamed “Pablo,” struck the Philippines. Rushing flood waters destroyed entire villages and killed over one thousand people, in what was the strongest typhoon ever to strike the Southeast Asian islands.





CRIME

2009

Amanda Knox convicted of murder in Italy


On December 4, 2009, 22-year-old American exchange student Amanda Knox is convicted of murdering her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2007 in Perugia, Italy. Knox received a 26-year prison sentence.





1990S

1992

President Bush orders U.S. troops to Somalia


President George H.W. Bush orders 28,000 U.S. troops to Somalia, a war-torn East African nation where rival warlords were preventing the distribution of humanitarian aid to thousands of starving Somalis. In a military mission he described as “God’s work,”.





WORLD WAR II

1942

Polish Christians come to the aid of Polish Jews


In Warsaw, a group of Polish Christians put their own lives at risk when they set up the Council for the Assistance of the Jews. The group was led by two women, Zofia Kossak and Wanda Filipowicz. Since the German invasion of Poland in 1939.



SPORTS

1997

NBA suspends Latrell Sprewell for attacking coach

On December 4, 1997, the National Basketball Association (NBA) suspends Latrell Sprewell, three-time All Star point guard for the Golden State Warriors, for one year after he attacked Warriors’ coach P.J. Carlesimo.









AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1783

George Washington bids farewell to his officers


On December 4, 1783, future President George Washington, then commanding general of the Continental Army, summons his military officers to Fraunces Tavern in New York City to inform them that he will be resigning his commission and returning to civilian life.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1867

Oliver Kelley organizes the Grange


Former Minnesota farmer Oliver Hudson Kelley founds the Grange, which became a powerful political force among western farmers. Though he grew up in Boston, Kelley decided in his early twenties that he wanted to become a farmer.





GREAT BRITAIN

1952

Smog kills thousands in England


Heavy smog begins to hover over London, England, on December 4, 1952. It persists for five days, leading to the deaths of at least 4,000 people. It was a Thursday afternoon when a high-pressure air mass stalled over the Thames River Valley.





CRIME

1969

Police kill two members of the Black Panther Party


Black Panthers Fred Hampton, 21, and Mark Clark, 22, are gunned down by 14 police officers as they lie sleeping in their Chicago, Illinois, apartment. About a hundred bullets had been fired in what police described as a fierce gun battle with members of the Black Panther Party.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1780

George Washington’s cousin tricks Loyalists


A force of Continental dragoons commanded by Colonel William Washington–General George Washington’s second cousin once removed–corners Loyalist Colonel Rowland Rugeley and his followers in Rugeley’s house and barn near Camden, South Carolina, on December 4, 1780.





WORLD WAR I

1917

Psychiatrist reports on the phenomenon of shell shock

Well-known psychiatrist W.H. Rivers presents his report The Repression of War Experience, based on his work at the Craiglockhart War Hospital for Neurasthenic Officers, to the Royal School of Medicine, on this day in 1917.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:47am On Dec 05, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


Aircraft squadron disappears in the Bermuda Triangle

At 2:10 p.m., five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers comprising Flight 19 take off from the Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station in Florida on a routine three-hour training mission. Flight 19 was scheduled to take them due east for 120 miles, north for 73 miles, and then back over a final 120-mile leg that would return them to the naval base. They never returned.

Two hours after the flight began, the leader of the squadron, who had been flying in the area for more than six months, reported that his compass and back-up compass had failed and that his position was unknown. The other planes experienced similar instrument malfunctions. Radio facilities on land were contacted to find the location of the lost squadron, but none were successful. After two more hours of confused messages from the fliers, a distorted radio transmission from the squadron leader was heard at 6:20 p.m., apparently calling for his men to prepare to ditch their aircraft simultaneously because of lack of fuel.

By this time, several land radar stations finally determined that Flight 19 was somewhere north of the Bahamas and east of the Florida coast, and at 7:27 p.m. a search and rescue Mariner aircraft took off with a 13-man crew. Three minutes later, the Mariner aircraft radioed to its home base that its mission was underway. The Mariner was never heard from again. Later, there was a report from a tanker cruising off the coast of Florida of a visible explosion seen at 7:50 p.m.

The disappearance of the 14 men of Flight 19 and the 13 men of the Mariner led to one of the largest air and seas searches to that date, and hundreds of ships and aircraft combed thousands of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and remote locations within the interior of Florida. No trace of the bodies or aircraft was ever found.

Although naval officials maintained that the remains of the six aircraft and 27 men were not found because stormy weather destroyed the evidence, the story of the “Lost Squadron” helped cement the legend of the Bermuda Triangle, an area of the Atlantic Ocean where ships and aircraft are said to disappear without a trace. The Bermuda Triangle is said to stretch from the southern U.S. coast across to Bermuda and down to the Atlantic coast of Cuba and Santo Domingo.





AFRICA

2013

South African president Nelson Mandela dies at 95


On December 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela, the former activist who overcame a nearly three-decade prison stint to become president of South Africa, passes away after years of struggling with health issues. He was 95. "Our nation has lost its greatest son.





US GOVERNMENT

1933

21st amendment is ratified; Prohibition ends


The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and bringing an end to the era of national prohibition of alcohol in America. At 5:32 p.m. EST, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, achieving the requisite three-fourths majority.





19TH CENTURY

1872

The Mary Celeste, a ship whose crew mysteriously disappeared, is spotted at sea


The Dei Gratia, a small British brig under Captain David Morehouse, spots the Mary Celeste, an American vessel, sailing erratically but at full sail near the Azores Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was seaworthy, its stores and supplies were untouched.





VIETNAM WAR

1964

Army Captain awarded first Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam


The first Medal of Honor awarded to a U.S. serviceman for action in Vietnam is presented to Capt. Roger Donlon of Saugerties, New York, for his heroic action earlier in the year. Captain Donlon and his Special Forces team were manning Camp Nam Dong.





SPORTS

2002

TV producer Roone Arledge dies


On December 5, 2002, the legendary television producer and executive Roone Arledge dies in New York City, at the age of 71. Born in Forest Hills, Queens, Arledge won his first producing job from New York’s Channel 4.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1984

Eddie Murphy stars in “Beverly Hills Cop”


Eddie Murphy stars as the wisecracking Detective Axel Foley in the action-comedy Beverly Hills Cop, released in theaters on December 5, 1984. The movie marked the first major starring role for Murphy, who went on to become one of the top-grossing actors in Hollywood.







19TH CENTURY

1876

Hundreds die in Brooklyn theater fire


A fire at the Brooklyn Theater in New York kills nearly 300 people and injures hundreds more on December 5, 1876. Some victims perished from a combination of burns and smoke inhalation; others were trampled to death in the general panic that ensued.





CRIME

1873

The Boston Belfry Murderer kills his first victim


Bridget Landregan is found beaten and strangled to death in the Boston suburb of Dorchester. According to witnesses, a man in black clothes and a flowing cape attempted to sexually assault the dead girl before running away.





1970S

1978

U.S.S.R. and Afghanistan sign “friendship treaty”

In an effort to prop up an unpopular pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union signs a “friendship treaty” with the Afghan government agreeing to provide economic and military assistance.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1776

Phi Beta Kappa fraternity is founded


In Williamsburg, Virginia, a group of five students at the College of William and Mary gather at Raleigh’s Tavern to found a new fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa. Intended to follow strictly American principles as opposed to those of England or Germany.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:16am On Dec 07, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY

Pearl Harbor bombed

At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.

With diplomatic negotiations with Japan breaking down, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his advisers knew that an imminent Japanese attack was probable, but nothing had been done to increase security at the important naval base at Pearl Harbor. It was Sunday morning, and many military personnel had been given passes to attend religious services off base. At 7:02 a.m., two radar operators spotted large groups of aircraft in flight toward the island from the north, but, with a flight of B-17s expected from the United States at the time, they were told to sound no alarm. Thus, the Japanese air assault came as a devastating surprise to the naval base.

Much of the Pacific fleet was rendered useless: Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged, and more than 200 aircraft were destroyed. A total of 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded, many while valiantly attempting to repulse the attack. Japan’s losses were some 30 planes, five midget submarines, and fewer than 100 men. Fortunately for the United States, all three Pacific fleet carriers were out at sea on training maneuvers. These giant aircraft carriers would have their revenge against Japan six months later at the Battle of Midway, reversing the tide against the previously invincible Japanese navy in a spectacular victory.

The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress and declared, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941–a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” After a brief and forceful speech, he asked Congress to approve a resolution recognizing the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted for war against Japan by 82 to 0, and the House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 388 to 1. The sole dissenter was Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a devout pacifist who had also cast a dissenting vote against the U.S. entrance into World War I. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States, and the U.S. government responded in kind.

The American contribution to the successful Allied war effort spanned four long years and cost more than 400,000 American lives.





SPORTS

1989

Sugar Ray Leonard fights Roberto Duran for the third and final time

On December 7, 1989, the boxer Sugar Ray Leonard triumphs over a lackluster Roberto Duran in a unanimous 12-round decision at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Leonard became a sensation in the boxing world during the 1980s, providing a superstar presence that boxing lacked.





EARLY US

1787

Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the Constitution


In Dover, Delaware, the U.S. Constitution is unanimously ratified by all 30 delegates to the Delaware Constitutional Convention, making Delaware the first state of the modern United States. Less than four months before, the Constitution was signed by 37 of the original 55.





1970S

1975

Indonesia invades East Timor


Early in the morning, Indonesian forces launch a massive invasion of the former Portuguese half of the island of Timor, which lies near Australia in the Timor Sea. The Portuguese departed East Timor in August 1975.





CRIME

1982

First execution by lethal injection


The first execution by lethal injection takes place at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Charles Brooks, Jr., convicted of murdering an auto mechanic, received an intravenous injection of sodium pentathol.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1941

FDR reacts to news of Pearl Harbor bombing


On December 7, 1941, at around 1:30 p.m., President Franklin Roosevelt is conferring with advisor Harry Hopkins in his study when Navy Secretary Frank Knox bursts in and announces that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor.





WESTWARD EXPANSION

1805

Lewis and Clark temporarily settle in Fort Clatsop

Having spied the Pacific Ocean for the first time a few weeks earlier, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark cross to the south shore of the Columbia River (near modern-day Astoria) and begin building the small fort that would be their winter home.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2001

“Ocean’s Eleven” remake opens in theaters


Ocean’s Eleven, a caper film featuring an all-star ensemble cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts, opens in theaters. Ocean’s Eleven was a remake of the 1960 film of the same name.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1988

Earthquakes wreak havoc in Armenia


Two earthquakes hit Armenia on December 7, 1988, killing 60,000 people and destroying nearly half a million buildings. The two tremors, only minutes apart, were measured at 6.9 and 5.8 in magnitude and were felt as far away as Georgia, Turkey and Iran.





CRIME

1993

Shooter opens fire on Long Island Railroad train


Colin Ferguson opens fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train from New York City, killing 6 and injuring 19. Other train passengers stopped the perpetrator by tackling and holding him down. Colin Ferguson was a mentally ill man from Jamaica who spent years on the West Coast.





CIVIL WAR

1862

Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas


On December 7, 1862, northwestern Arkansas and southwestern Missouri are secured for the Union when a force commanded by General James G. Blunt holds off a force of Confederates under General Thomas Hindman at the Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 6:58am On Dec 08, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


John Lennon shot

John Lennon, a former member of the Beatles, the rock group that transformed popular music in the 1960s, is shot and killed by an obsessed fan in New York City.

The 40-year-old artist was entering his luxury Manhattan apartment building when Mark David Chapman shot him four times at close range with a .38-caliber revolver. Lennon, bleeding profusely, was rushed to the hospital but died en route. Chapman had received an autograph from Lennon earlier in the day and voluntarily remained at the scene of the shooting until he was arrested by police. For a week, hundreds of bereaved fans kept a vigil outside the Dakota–Lennon’s apartment building–and demonstrations of mourning were held around the world.

John Lennon was one half of the singing-songwriting team that made the Beatles the most popular musical group of the 20th century. The other band leader was Paul McCartney, but the rest of the quartet–George Harrison and Ringo Starr–sometimes penned and sang their own songs as well. Hailing from Liverpool, England, and influenced by early American rock and roll, the Beatles took Britain by storm in 1963 with the single “Please Please Me.” “Beatlemania” spread to the United States in 1964 with the release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” followed by a sensational U.S. tour. With youth poised to break away from the culturally rigid landscape of the 1950s, the “Fab Four,” with their exuberant music and good-natured rebellion, were the perfect catalyst for the shift.

The Beatles sold millions of records and starred in hit movies such as A Hard Day’s Night (1964). Their live performances were near riots, with teenage girls screaming and fainting as their boyfriends nodded along to the catchy pop songs. In 1966, the Beatles gave up touring to concentrate on their innovative studio recordings, such as 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, a psychedelic concept album that is regarded as a masterpiece of popular music. The Beatles’ music remained relevant to youth throughout the great cultural shifts of the 1960s, and critics of all ages acknowledged the songwriting genius of the Lennon-McCartney team.

Lennon was considered the intellectual Beatle and certainly was the most outspoken of the four. He caused a major controversy in 1966 when he declared that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus,” prompting mass burnings of Beatles’ records in the American Bible Belt. He later became an anti-war activist and flirted with communism in the lyrics of solo hits like “Imagine,” recorded after the Beatles disbanded in 1970. In 1975, Lennon dropped out of the music business to spend more time with his Japanese-born wife, Yoko Ono, and their son, Sean. In 1980, he made a comeback with Double-Fantasy, a critically acclaimed album that celebrated his love for Yoko and featured songs written by her.

On December 8, 1980, their peaceful domestic life on New York’s Upper West Side was shattered by 25-year-old Mark David Chapman. Psychiatrists deemed Chapman a borderline psychotic. He was instructed to plead insanity, but instead he pleaded guilty to murder. He was sentenced to 20 years to life. In 2000, New York State prison officials denied Chapman a parole hearing, telling him that his “vicious and violent act was apparently fueled by your need to be acknowledged.” He remains behind bars.

John Lennon is memorialized in “Strawberry Fields,” a section of Central Park across the street from the Dakota that Yoko Ono landscaped in honor of her husband.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1942

Auto-factory architect Albert Kahn dies


On December 8, 1942, the architect and engineer Albert Kahn—known as “the man who built Detroit”—dies at his home there. He was 73 years old. Kahn and his assistants built more than 2,000 buildings in all, mostly for Ford and General Motors.





COLD WAR

1987

Superpowers agree to reduce nuclear arsenals


At a summit meeting in Washington, D.C., President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign the first treaty between the two superpowers to reduce their massive nuclear arsenals.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1993

NAFTA signed into law


The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Clinton said he hoped the agreement would encourage other nations to work toward a broader world-trade pact. NAFTA, a trade pact between the United States, Canada and Mexico.





GREAT BRITAIN

1542

Mary Queen of Scots born


In Linlithgow Palace in Scotland, a daughter is born to James V, the dying king of Scotland. Named Mary, she was the only surviving child of her father and ascended to the Scottish throne when the king died just six days after her birth.





WORLD WAR II

1941

The United States declares war on Japan


On December 8, as America’s Pacific fleet lay in ruins at Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt requests, and receives, a declaration of war against Japan. Leaning heavily on the arm of his son James, a Marine captain.





VIETNAM WAR

1969

President Nixon announces Vietnam War is ending


At a news conference, President Richard Nixon says that the Vietnam War is coming to a “conclusion as a result of the plan that we have instituted.” Nixon had announced at a conference in Midway in June that the United States would be following a new program.







SPORTS

1940

Bears beat Redskins 73-0 in NFL Championship game


On December 8, 1940, the Chicago Bears trounce the Washington Redskins in the National Football League (NFL) Championship by a score of 73-0, the largest margin of defeat in NFL history. The Bears, coached by George Halas, brought a 6-2 record to their regular-season.





WORLD WAR II

1941

Jeannette Rankin casts sole vote against WWII


Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress and a dedicated lifelong pacifist, casts the sole Congressional vote against the U.S. declaration of war on Japan. She was the only member of Congress to vote against U.S. involvement in both World Wars.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1894

Humorist James Thurber is born


On December 8, 1894, humorist James Thurber is born in Columbus, Ohio. When Thurber was about 7, he lost an eye in an accident while playing with his brothers. His disability made him shy and awkward, and he was something of a misfit until he discovered a love for writing.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1982

“Sophie’s Choice” opens in theaters


Sophie’s Choice, starring the actress Meryl Streep as a Holocaust survivor, opens in theaters. Directed by Alan J. Pakula (All The President’s Men, The Pelican Brief) and based on a 1979 novel of the same name by William Styron, Sophie’s Choice co-starred Kevin Kline and Peter.





NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

1881

Theater fire kills hundreds in Vienna


A fire at the Ring Theater in Vienna, Austria, kills at least 620 people and injures hundreds more on December 8, 1881. The luxurious, ornate theater hosted the most popular performances of the day.





THIS DAY IN HISTORY

1949

Chinese Nationalists move capital to Taiwan


As they steadily lose ground to the communist forces of Mao Zedong, Chinese Nationalist leaders depart for the island of Taiwan, where they establish their new capital. Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek left for the island the following day.







CIVIL WAR

1863

President Lincoln issues Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction


On December 8, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln offers his conciliatory plan for reunification of the United States with his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. By this point in the Civil War, it was clear that Lincoln needed to make some preliminary plans for postwar.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1775

Americans begin siege of Quebec


Beginning on December 8, 1775, Colonel Benedict Arnold and General Richard Montgomery lead an American force in the siege of Quebec. The Americans hoped to capture the British-occupied city and with it win support for the American cause in Canada. In June.





WORLD WAR I

1914

The Battle of the Falkland Islands


A month after German naval forces led by Admiral Maximilian von Spee inflicted the Royal Navy’s first defeat in a century by sinking two British cruisers with all hands off the southern coast of Chile, Spee’s squadron attempts to raid the Falkland Islands.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:40am On Dec 09, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


U.S. Marines storm Mogadishu, Somalia

On December 9, 1992, 1,800 United States Marines arrive in Mogadishu, Somalia, to spearhead a multinational force aimed at restoring order in the conflict-ridden country.

Following centuries of colonial rule by countries including Portugal, Britain and Italy, Mogadishu became the capital of an independent Somalia in 1960. Less than 10 years later, a military group led by Major General Muhammad Siad Barre seized power and declared Somalia a socialist state. A drought in the mid-1970s combined with an unsuccessful rebellion by ethnic Somalis in a neighboring province of Ethiopia to deprive many of food and shelter. By 1981, close to 2 million of the country’s inhabitants were homeless. Though a peace accord was signed with Ethiopia in 1988, fighting increased between rival clans within Somalia, and in January 1991 Barre was forced to flee the capital. Over the next 23 months, Somalia’s civil war killed some 50,000 people; another 300,000 died of starvation as United Nations peacekeeping forces struggled in vain to restore order and provide relief amid the chaos of war.

In early December 1992, outgoing U.S. President George H.W. Bush sent the contingent of Marines to Mogadishu as part of a mission dubbed Operation Restore Hope. Backed by the U.S. troops, international aid workers were soon able to restore food distribution and other humanitarian aid operations. Sporadic violence continued, including the murder of 24 U.N. soldiers from Pakistan in 1993. As a result, the U.N. authorized the arrest of General Mohammed Farah Aidid, leader of one of the rebel clans. On October 3, 1993, during an attempt to make the arrest, rebels shot down two of the U.S. Army’s Black Hawk helicopters and killed 18 American soldiers.

As horrified TV viewers watched images of the bloodshed—including footage of Aidid’s supporters dragging the body of one dead soldier through the streets of Mogadishu, cheering—President Bill Clinton immediately gave the order for all American soldiers to withdraw from Somalia by March 31, 1994. Other Western nations followed suit. When the last U.N. peacekeepers left in 1995, ending a mission that had cost more than $2 billion, Mogadishu still lacked a functioning government. A ceasefire accord signed in Kenya in 2002 failed to put a stop to the violence, though a new parliament was convened in 2004.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1979

Smallpox is officially declared eradicated


On December 9, 1979, a commission of scientists declare that smallpox has been eradicated. The disease, which carries around a 30 percent chance of death for those who contract it, is the only infectious disease afflicting humans that has officially been eradicated.





GREAT BRITAIN

1992

Separation of Charles and Diana announced


British Prime Minister John Major announces the formal separation of Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne, and his wife, Princess Diana. Major explained that the royal couple were separating “amicably.”





RED SCARE

1958

John Birch Society founded


In Indianapolis, retired candy manufacturer Robert H.W. Welch, Jr., establishes the John Birch Society, a right-wing organization dedicated to fighting what it perceives to be the extensive infiltration of communism into American society.





1990S

1990

Lech Walesa elected president of Poland

In Poland, Lech Walesa, founder of the Solidarity trade union, wins a landslide election victory, becoming the first directly elected Polish leader. Walesa, born in 1943, was an electrician at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk when he was fired for union agitation in 1976.





MIDDLE EAST

1987

Intifada begins on Gaza Strip


In the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, the first riots of the Palestinian intifada, or “shaking off” in Arabic, begin one day after an Israeli truck crashed into a station wagon carrying Palestinian workers in the Jabalya refugee district of Gaza, killing four and wounding 10.





VIETNAM WAR

1971

Paris peace talks break down


For the first time since the Paris peace talks began in May 1968, both sides refuse to set another meeting date for continuation of the negotiations. The refusal to continue came during the 138th session of the peace talks. U.S. delegate William Porter angered the communist.







WESTWARD EXPANSION

1835

The Texan Army captures San Antonio


Inspired by the spirited leadership of Benjamin Rush Milam, the newly created Texan Army takes possession of the city of San Antonio, an important victory for the Republic of Texas in its war for independence from Mexico. Milam was born in 1788 in Frankfort, Kentucky.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1854

“The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred Lord Tennyson is published


On December 9, The Examiner prints Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” which commemorates the courage of 600 British soldiers charging a heavily defended position during the Battle of Balaklava, in the Crimea, just six weeks earlier.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1983

“Scarface,” starring Al Pacino, opens in theaters


The actor Al Pacino stars as a Cuban refugee who becomes a Miami crime boss in Scarface, which opens in theaters on December 9, 1983. In Scarface, Pacino played Tony Montana, who arrives in Florida from Cuba in 1980 and eventually becomes wealthy from his involvement in the booming cocaine business.





CRIME

1981

Policeman Daniel Faulkner found dead


Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner is found dead on the street with Mumia Abu-Jamal, a well-known activist and freelance journalist, lying severely wounded nearby. In 1982, Abu-Jamal was tried for and convicted of Faulkner’s murder.





WORLD WAR I

1917

Jerusalem surrenders to British troops


On the morning of December 9, 1917, after Turkish troops move out of the region after only a single day s fighting, officials of the Holy City of Jerusalem offer the keys to the city to encroaching British troops.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 11:27am On Dec 10, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


First Nobel Prizes awarded

The first Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. The ceremony came on the fifth anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite and other high explosives. In his will, Nobel directed that the bulk of his vast fortune be placed in a fund in which the interest would be “annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” Although Nobel offered no public reason for his creation of the prizes, it is widely believed that he did so out of moral regret over the increasingly lethal uses of his inventions in war.

Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born in Stockholm in 1833, and four years later his family moved to Russia. His father ran a successful St. Petersburg factory that built explosive mines and other military equipment. Educated in Russia, Paris, and the United States, Alfred Nobel proved a brilliant chemist. When his father’s business faltered after the end of the Crimean War, Nobel returned to Sweden and set up a laboratory to experiment with explosives. In 1863, he invented a way to control the detonation of nitroglycerin, a highly volatile liquid that had been recently discovered but was previously regarded as too dangerous for use. Two years later, Nobel invented the blasting cap, an improved detonator that inaugurated the modern use of high explosives. Previously, the most dependable explosive was black powder, a form of gunpowder.

Nitroglycerin remained dangerous, however, and in 1864 Nobel’s nitroglycerin factory blew up, killing his younger brother and several other people. Searching for a safer explosive, Nobel discovered in 1867 that the combination of nitroglycerin and a porous substance called kieselguhr produced a highly explosive mixture that was much safer to handle and use. Nobel christened his invention “dynamite,” for the Greek word dynamis, meaning “power.” Securing patents on dynamite, Nobel acquired a fortune as humanity put his invention to use in construction and warfare.

In 1875, Nobel created a more powerful form of dynamite, blasting gelatin, and in 1887 introduced ballistite, a smokeless nitroglycerin powder. Around that time, one of Nobel’s brothers died in France, and French newspapers printed obituaries in which they mistook him for Alfred. One headline read, “The merchant of death is dead.” Alfred Nobel in fact had pacifist tendencies and in his later years apparently developed strong misgivings about the impact of his inventions on the world. After he died in San Remo, Italy, on December 10, 1896, the majority of his estate went toward the creation of prizes to be given annually in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. The portion of his will establishing the Nobel Peace Prize read, “[one award shall be given] to the person who has done the most or best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” Exactly five years after his death, the first Nobel awards were presented.

Today, the Nobel Prizes are regarded as the most prestigious awards in the world in their various fields. Notable winners have included Marie Curie, Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and Malala Yousafzai. Multiple leaders and organizations sometimes receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and multiple researchers often share the scientific awards for their joint discoveries. In 1968, a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science was established by the Swedish national bank, Sveriges Riksbank, and first awarded in 1969.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences decides the prizes in physics, chemistry, and economic science; the Swedish Royal Caroline Medico-Surgical Institute determines the physiology or medicine award; the Swedish Academy chooses literature; and a committee elected by the Norwegian parliament awards the peace prize. The Nobel Prizes are still presented annually. Each Nobel carries a cash prize of nearly $1,400,000 and recipients also received a gold medal, as is the tradition.







COLONIAL AMERICA

1690

First paper currency is issued in the Colonies


On December 10, 1690, a failed attack on Quebec and subsequent near-mutiny force the Massachusetts Bay Colony to issue the first paper currency in the history of the Western Hemisphere.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2009

“Avatar” makes its world premiere in London


On December 10 2009, “Avatar,” a 3-D science-fiction epic helmed by “Titanic” director James Cameron, makes its world debut in London. Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver, the box-office mega-hit was praised for its state-of-the-art technology.





FRANCE

1898

Treaty of Paris ends Spanish-American War


In France, the Treaty of Paris is signed, formally ending the Spanish-American War and granting the United States its first overseas empire. The Spanish-American War had its origins in the rebellion against Spanish rule that began in Cuba in 1895.





US POLITICS

1974

Sex scandal leads to political fallout for Arkansas congressman


Representative Wilbur D. Mills, a Democrat from Arkansas, resigns as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in the aftermath of the first truly public sex scandal in American politics. On October 7, 1974, at 2 a.m., Mills was stopped by park police while driving at night.





1950S

1950

American diplomat Ralph Bunche receives Nobel Peace Prize


For his peace mediation during the first Arab-Israeli war, American diplomat Ralph Joseph Bunche receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. Bunche was the first African American to win the prestigious award.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1920

Woodrow Wilson awarded Nobel Peace Prize


On December 10, 1920, the Nobel Prize for Peace is awarded to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for his work in ending the First World War and creating the League of Nations. Although Wilson could not attend the award ceremony in Oslo, Norway.









WOMEN’S HISTORY

1869

Wyoming grants women the right to vote


Motivated more by interest in free publicity than a commitment to gender equality, Wyoming territorial legislators pass a bill that is signed into law granting women the right to vote. Western states led the nation in approving women’s suffrage.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1967

Soul legend Otis Redding dies in a plane crash near Madison, Wisconsin


When he left his final recording session in Memphis, Otis Redding intended to return soon to the song he’d been working on—he still had to replace a whistled verse thrown in as a placeholder with additional lyrics that he’d yet to write.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1830

Emily Dickinson is born


On December 10, 1830, Emily Dickinson is born in Amherst, Massachusetts. Dickinson was a witty and popular student at Amherst Academy and at Mt. Holyoke but was viewed as somewhat unconventional. She made a few trips to Philadelphia and Boston but rarely left Amherst. She ...read more





CRIME

1963

Frank Sinatra Jr. endures a frightening ordeal


Frank Sinatra Jr., who was kidnapped in Lake Tahoe, California, on December 8, is allowed to talk to his father briefly. The 19-year-old man, who was trying to follow in his father’s footsteps by pursuing a singing career, was abducted at gunpoint from his hotel room at Harrah’s.





COLD WAR

1977

Soviets arrest dissidents on United Nations Human Rights Day


In Moscow, Soviet officials arrest four dissidents and prevent at least 20 others from attending a peaceful protest against communist political oppression on United Nations Human Rights Day. According to some of the protesters, Soviet officials threatened them with violence.





CIVIL WAR

1864

General William T. Sherman completes March to the Sea


On December 10, 1864, Union General William T. Sherman completes his March to the Sea when he arrives in front of Savannah, Georgia. Since mid-November of that year, Sherman’s army had been sweeping from Atlanta across the state to the south and east towards Savannah.







INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1915

Ford builds its 1 millionth car


On December 10, 1915, the 1 millionth Ford car rolls off the assembly line at the River Rouge plant in Detroit. At first, Henry Ford had built his cars like every other automaker did: one at a time. But his factories’ efficiency and output steadily increased.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1778

John Jay is elected president of the Continental Congress


On December 10, 1778, John Jay, the former chief justice of the New York Supreme Court, is elected president of the Continental Congress. Jay, who graduated from King’s College (now Columbia University) at the age of 19, was a prominent figure in New York state politics.





WORLD WAR I

1917

Red Cross is awarded Nobel Peace Prize


After three years of war, during which there had been no Nobel Peace Prize awarded, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the 1917 prize to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:06am On Dec 11, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY

Edward VIII abdicates

After ruling for less than one year, Edward VIII becomes the first English monarch to voluntarily abdicate the throne. He chose to abdicate after the British government, public, and the Church of England condemned his decision to marry the American divorcée Wallis Warfield Simpson. On the evening of December 11, he gave a radio address in which he explained, “I have found it impossible to carry on the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge the duties of king, as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love.” On December 12, his younger brother, the duke of York, was proclaimed King George VI.

Edward, born in 1894, was the eldest son of King George V, who became the British sovereign in 1910. Still unmarried as he approached his 40th birthday, he socialized with the fashionable London society of the day. By 1934, he had fallen deeply in love with American socialite Wallis Warfield Simpson, who was married to Ernest Simpson, an English-American businessman who lived with Mrs. Simpson near London. Wallis, who was born in Pennsylvania, had previously married and divorced a U.S. Navy pilot. The royal family disapproved of Edward’s married mistress, but by 1936 the prince was intent on marrying Mrs. Simpson. Before he could discuss this intention with his father, George V died, in January 1936, and Edward was proclaimed king.

The new king proved popular with his subjects, and his coronation was scheduled for May 1937. His affair with Mrs. Simpson was reported in American and continental European newspapers, but due to a gentlemen’s agreement between the British press and the government, the affair was kept out of British newspapers. On October 27, 1936, Mrs. Simpson obtained a preliminary decree of divorce, presumably with the intent of marrying the king, which precipitated a major scandal. To the Church of England and most British politicians, an American woman twice divorced was unacceptable as a prospective British queen. Winston Churchill, then a Conservative backbencher, was the only notable politician to support Edward.

Despite the seemingly united front against him, Edward could not be dissuaded. He proposed a morganatic marriage, in which Wallis would be granted no rights of rank or property, but on December 2, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin rejected the suggestion as impractical. The next day, the scandal broke on the front pages of British newspapers and was discussed openly in Parliament. With no resolution possible, the king renounced the throne on December 10. The next day, Parliament approved the abdication instrument, and Edward VIII’s reign came to an end. The new king, George VI, made his older brother the duke of Windsor. On June 3, 1937, the duke of Windsor and Wallis Warfield married at the Château de Cande in France’s Loire Valley.

For the next two years, the duke and duchess lived primarily in France but visited other European countries, including Germany, where the duke was honored by Nazi officials in October 1937 and met with Adolf Hitler. After the outbreak of World War II, the duke accepted a position as liaison officer with the French. In June 1940, France fell to the Nazis, and Edward and Wallis went to Spain. During this period, the Nazis concocted a scheme to kidnap Edward with the intention of returning him to the British throne as a puppet king. George VI, like his prime minister, Winston Churchill, was adamantly opposed to any peace with Nazi Germany. Unaware of the Nazi kidnapping plot but conscious of Edward’s pre-war Nazi sympathies, Churchill hastily offered Edward the governorship of the Bahamas in the West Indies. The duke and duchess set sail from Lisbon on August 1, 1940, narrowly escaping a Nazi SS team sent to seize them.

In 1945, the duke resigned his post, and the couple moved back to France. They lived mainly in Paris, and Edward made a few visits to England, such as to attend the funerals of King George VI in 1952 and his mother, Queen Mary, in 1953. It was not until 1967 that the duke and duchess were invited by the royal family to attend an official public ceremony, the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to Queen Mary. Edward died in Paris in 1972 but was buried at Frogmore, on the grounds of Windsor Castle. In 1986, Wallis died and was buried at his side.



1990S

1997

Kyoto Protocol first adopted in Japan


On December 11, 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, the United Nations adopts a new treaty for the purpose of limiting greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was a revolutionary attempt to forestall climate change.



CRIME

1978

Millions stolen from JFK Airport in infamous 'Lufthansa heist'


On December 11, 1978 half a dozen masked robbers raided the Lufthansa Airlines cargo building at JFK Airport in New York, making off with more than $5 million in cash ($21 million in today's dollars) and almost $1 million in jewelry.



WORLD WAR II

1941

Germany declares war on the United States


Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States, bringing America, which had been neutral, into the European conflict. The bombing of Pearl Harbor surprised even Germany. Although Hitler had made an oral agreement with his Axis partner Japan that Germany would join a war against U.S.



1990S

1994

Russian forces enter Chechnya

In the largest Russian military offensive since the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan, thousands of troops and hundreds of tanks pour into the breakaway Russian republic of Chechnya. Encountering only light resistance.



CRIME

2008

Billionaire conman Bernard Madoff arrested


On December 11, 2008, financier Bernard Madoff is arrested at his New York City apartment and charged with masterminding a long-running Ponzi scheme later estimated to involve around $65 billion, making it one of the biggest investment frauds in Wall Street history.



WORLD WAR II

1946

UNICEF founded


In the aftermath of World War II, the General Assembly of the United Nations votes to establish the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), an organization to help provide relief and support to children living in countries devastated by the war.







VIETNAM WAR

1961

First U.S. helicopters arrive in South Vietnam


The ferry carrier, USNS Core, arrives in Saigon with the first U.S. helicopter unit. This contingent included 33 Vertol H-21C Shawnee helicopters and 400 air and ground crewmen to operate and maintain them. Their assignment was to airlift South Vietnamese Army troops into combat.



WESTWARD EXPANSION

1872

Buffalo Bill Cody makes his first stage appearance


Already appearing as a well-known figure of the Wild West in popular dime novels, Buffalo Bill Cody makes his first stage appearance on this day, in a Chicago-based production of The Scouts of the Prairie. Unlike many of his imitators in Wild West shows and movies.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1964

Sam Cooke dies under suspicious circumstances in LA


On December 11, 1964, in response to a reported shooting, officers of the Los Angeles Police Department were dispatched to the Hacienda Motel, where they found musician Sam Cooke dead on the office floor, shot three times in the chest by the motel’s manager, Bertha Franklin.



COLD WAR

1969

Soviets declare nudity a sign of “western decadence”


The secretary of the Moscow writer’s union declares that nudity as displayed in the popular play Oh! Calcutta! is a sign of decadence in Western culture. More disturbing, he claimed, was the fact that this “bourgeois” thinking was infecting Russian youth.



AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1777

British delay Washington’s march to Valley Forge


On December 11, 1777, General George Washington begins marching 12,000 soldiers of his Continental Army from Whitemarsh to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, for the winter. As Washington’s men began crossing the Schuylkill River.



WORLD WAR I

1915

Yuan Shih-kai accepts Chinese throne


With war raging in Europe, conflict also reigns in the Far East between two traditional enemies, Japan and an internally-divided China. On December 11, 1915, the first president of the new Chinese republic, Yuan Shih-kai, who had come to power in the wake of revolution in 1911.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:53am On Dec 12, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


Da Vinci notebook sells for over $5M

On December 12, 1980, American oil tycoon Armand Hammer pays $5,126,000 at auction for a notebook containing writings by the legendary artist Leonardo da Vinci.

The manuscript, written around 1508, was one of some 30 similar books da Vinci produced during his lifetime on a variety of subjects. It contained 72 loose pages featuring some 300 notes and detailed drawings, all relating to the common theme of water and how it moved. Experts have said that da Vinci drew on it to paint the background of his masterwork, the Mona Lisa. The text, written in brown ink and chalk, read from right to left, an example of da Vinci’s favored mirror-writing technique. The painter Giuseppi Ghezzi discovered the notebook in 1690 in a chest of papers belonging to Guglielmo della Porto, a 16th-century Milanese sculptor who had studied Leonardo’s work. In 1717, Thomas Coke, the first earl of Leicester, bought the manuscript and installed it among his impressive collection of art at his family estate in England.

More than two centuries later, the notebook—by now known as the Leicester Codex—showed up on the auction block at Christie’s in London when the current Lord Coke was forced to sell it to cover inheritance taxes on the estate and art collection. In the days before the sale, art experts and the press speculated that the notebook would go for $7 to $20 million. In fact, the bidding started at $1.4 million and lasted less than two minutes, as Hammer and at least two or three other bidders competed to raise the price $100,000 at a time. The $5.12 million price tag was the highest ever paid for a manuscript at that time; a copy of the legendary Gutenberg Bible had gone for only $2 million in 1978. “I’m very happy with the price. I expected to pay more,” Hammer said later. “There is no work of art in the world I wanted more than this.” Lord Coke, on the other hand, was only “reasonably happy” with the sale; he claimed the proceeds would not be sufficient to cover the taxes he owed.

Hammer, the president of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, renamed his prize the Hammer Codex and added it to his valuable collection of art. When Hammer died in 1990, he left the notebook and other works to the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Several years later, the museum offered the manuscript for sale, claiming it was forced to take this action to cover legal costs incurred when the niece and sole heir of Hammer’s late wife, Frances, sued the estate claiming Hammer had cheated Frances out of her rightful share of his fortune. On November 11, 1994, the Hammer Codex was sold to an anonymous bidder–soon identified as Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft–at a New York auction for a new record high price of $30.8 million. Gates restored the title of Leicester Codex and has since loaned the manuscript to a number of museums for public display.



AFRICA

1963

Kenya declares independence from Britain


On December 12, 1963, Kenya declares its independence from Britain. The East African nation is freed from its colonial oppressors, but its struggle for democracy is far from over. A decade before, in 1952, a rebellion known the Mau Mau Uprising had shaken the British colony.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1913

Stolen “Mona Lisa” recovered in Florence


Two years after it was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece The Mona Lisa is recovered inside Italian waiter Vincenzo Peruggia’s hotel room in Florence. Peruggia had previously worked at the Louvre and had participated in the heist with a group.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1970

“Tears Of A Clown” gives Smokey Robinson & The Miracles their first #1 pop hit


While Motown Records founder Berry Gordy surely deserves credit for establishing the creative philosophy and business strategy that turned his Detroit-based company into a hit-making machine in the 1960s, the inner workings of that machine during the company’s early years.



WORLD WAR II

1937

USS Panay sunk by Japanese


During the battle for Nanking in the Sino-Japanese War, the U.S. gunboat Panay is attacked and sunk by Japanese warplanes in Chinese waters. The American vessel, neutral in the Chinese-Japanese conflict, was escorting U.S. evacuees and three Standard Oil barges away from Nanking.



INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1901

First radio transmission sent across the Atlantic Ocean


Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi succeeds in sending the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean, disproving detractors who told him that the curvature of the earth would limit transmission to 200 miles or less.



SPORTS

1965

NFL rookie Gale Sayers ties single-game TD record


On December 12, 1965, the rookie running back Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears scores six touchdowns during a single game against the San Francisco 49ers at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, tying the National Football League (NFL) record for most touchdowns in a single game.





U.S. PRESIDENTS

1963

JFK memorial album sets record for sales


On December 12, 1963, a vinyl long-playing record (“LP”) called John Fitzgerald Kennedy: A Memorial Album sets a record for album sales. A total of 4 million copies sold in the first six days of its release. The album, released on the Premier label.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1967

“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” opens in theaters


On December 12, 1967, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, a groundbreaking movie about an interracial romantic relationship starring Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton, opens in theaters.



CRIME

1989

Real estate mogul Leona Helmsley sentenced to prison


Leona Helmsley, nicknamed the “Queen of Mean” by the press, receives a four-year prison sentence, 750 hours of community service, and a $7.1 million tax fraud fine in New York.



CRIME

1997

14-year-old indicted for school shooting


Fourteen-year-old Michael Carneal is indicted as an adult on three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder for the shooting of his classmates at Heath High School in West Paducah, Kentucky.



AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1787

Pennsylvania ratifies the Constitution


On December 12, 1787, Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the Constitution, by a vote of 46 to 23. Pennsylvania was the first large state to ratify, as well as the first state to endure a serious Anti-Federalist challenge to ratification.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:11am On Dec 13, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY

Al Gore concedes presidential election


Vice President Al Gore concedes defeat to George W. Bush in his bid for the presidency, following weeks of legal battles over the recounting of votes in Florida, on December 13, 2000.

In a televised speech from his ceremonial office next to the White House, Gore said that while he was deeply disappointed and sharply disagreed with the Supreme Court verdict that ended his campaign, ”partisan rancor must now be put aside.”

“I accept the finality of the outcome, which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College” he said. “And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.”

Gore had won the national popular vote by more than 500,000 votes, but narrowly lost Florida, giving the Electoral College to Bush 271 to 266.

Gore said he had telephoned Bush to offer his congratulations, honoring him, for the first time, with the title ”president-elect.”

”I promised that I wouldn’t call him back this time” Gore said, referring to the moment on election night when he had called Bush to tell him he was going to concede, then called back a half hour later to retract that concession.

Gore only hinted at what he might do in the future. ”I’ve seen America in this campaign and I like what I see. It’s worth fighting for—and that’s a fight I’ll never stop.”

Among the friends and family beside Gore were his wife, Tipper, and his running mate, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, and Lieberman's wife, Hadassah.

A little more than an hour later, Bush addressed the nation for the first time as president-elect, declaring that the “nation must rise above a house divided.” Speaking from the podium of the Texas House of Representatives, Bush devoted his speech to themes of reconciliation following one of the closest and most disputed presidential elections in U.S. history. ”I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one nation,” Bush said.

Bush and his running mate, Dick Cheney, took office on January 20, 2001. They were re-elected in 2004 over Democrats John Kerry and John Edwards. Gore has since become a foremost climate advocate. He was the creator and subject of a 2006 Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, about the climate crisis. Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.





21ST CENTURY

2019

16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg named Time's Person of the Year


On December 13, 2019, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg is named Time magazine's Person of the Year. The Swedish climate activist became the first Person of the Year to be born in the 21st century and the youngest ever to receive the honor.



MIDDLE EAST

2003

Saddam Hussein captured


After spending nine months on the run, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is captured on December 13, 2003. Saddam’s downfall began on March 20, 2003, when the United States led an invasion force into Iraq to topple his government.



EXPLORATION

1577

Explorer Francis Drake sets sail from England


English seaman Francis Drake sets out from Plymouth, England, with five ships and 164 men on a mission to raid Spanish holdings on the Pacific coast of the New World and explore the Pacific Ocean.



CHINA

1937

The Rape of Nanking


During the Sino-Japanese War, Nanking, the capital of China, falls to Japanese forces, and the Chinese government flees to Hankow, further inland along the Yangtze River. To break the spirit of Chinese resistance.



U.S. PRESIDENTS

1918

Woodrow Wilson arrives in France for peace talks


On December 13, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson arrives in France to take part in World War I peace negotiations and to promote his plan for a League of Nations, an international organization for resolving conflicts between nations.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1925

Dick Van Dyke born


On December 13, 1925, Dick Van Dyke, the quintessential “nice guy” actor who would become known for his performances in such movie classics as Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as the popular 1960s TV sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, is born in West Plains.





WORLD WAR I

1916

Soldiers perish in avalanche as World War I rages


A powerful avalanche kills hundreds of Austrian soldiers in a barracks near Italy’s Mount Marmolada on December 13, 1916. Over a period of several days, avalanches in the Italian Alps killed an estimated 10,000 Austrian and Italian soldiers in mid-December.



CRIME

2000

Texas Seven prison break


On December 13, 2000, seven convicts break out of a maximum-security prison in South Texas, setting off a massive six-week manhunt. The escapees, dubbed the “Texas Seven” by the media, overpowered civilian employees and prison guards in the maintenance shop where they worked.



CIVIL WAR

1862

Battle of Fredericksburg


On December 13, 1862, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia repulses a series of attacks by General Ambrose Burnside’s Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg, Virginia. The defeat was one of the most decisive loses for the Union army.



AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1776

General Charles Lee leaves his troops for Widow White’s Tavern


On December 13, 1776, American General Charles Lee leaves his army, riding in search of female sociability at Widow White’s Tavern in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. General George Washington had repeatedly urged General Lee to expedite his movements across New Jersey.



WORLD WAR II

1942

Joseph Goebbels complains of Italians’ treatment of Jews


Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels records in his journal his contempt for the Italians’ treatment of Jews in Italian-occupied territories. “The Italians are extremely lax in their treatment of Jews.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:12am On Dec 16, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2009

Blockbuster sci-fi film "Avatar" opens in theaters

December 16, 2009 sees the U.S. release of the blockbuster science fiction film Avatar. One of the most expensive films ever made, it was also one of the most successful, holding the title of highest-grossing film of all time for nearly a decade.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1893

Antonin Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” receives its world premiere in New York City


On December 16, 1893, the Philharmonic Society of New York gave the world premiere performance of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World” at Carnegie Hall.



WORLD WAR I

1914

Germans bombard English ports of Hartlepool and Scarborough


At approximately 8 o’clock in the morning, German battle cruisers from Franz von Hipper’s Scouting Squadron catch the British navy by surprise as they begin heavy bombardment of Hartlepool and Scarborough, English port cities on the North Sea.



SPORTS

1973

OJ Simpson rushes record 2,000 yards in a season


On December 16, 1973, the Buffalo Bills running back Orenthal James “OJ” Simpson becomes the first player in the National Football League (NFL) to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a single season.



U.S. PRESIDENTS

1998

Clinton orders air attack on Iraq


On December 16, 1998, President Bill Clinton announces he has ordered air strikes against Iraq because it refused to cooperate with United Nations (U.N.) weapons inspectors. Clinton’s decision did not have the support of key members of Congress.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1775

Jane Austen is born


Celebrated English novelist Jane Austen is born on December 16, 1775, the seventh of eight children of a clergyman in a country village in Hampshire, England. Jane was very close to her older sister, Cassandra, who remained her faithful editor and critic throughout her life.





1960S

1960

Two airplanes collide over New York City


On December 16, 1960, two airplanes collide over New York City, killing 134 people on the planes and on the ground. The improbable mid-air collision was the only such accident to have occurred over a major city in the U.S.



CRIME

1989

A terrorist bomber begins his deadly rampage


Federal Judge Robert Vance is instantly killed by a powerful explosion after opening a package mailed to his house near Birmingham, Alabama. Two days later, a mail bomb killed Robert Robinson, an attorney in Savannah, Georgia, in his office.



U.S. PRESIDENTS

1950

President Truman declares state of emergency over Korean War


In the wake of the massive Chinese intervention in the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman declares a state of emergency. Proclaiming that “Communist imperialism” threatened the world’s people, Truman called upon the American people to help construct an “arsenal of freedom.”



WORLD WAR II

1944

Battle of the Bulge begins


On December 16, 1944, the Germans launch the last major offensive of the war, Operation Autumn Mist, also known as the Ardennes Offensive and the Battle of the Bulge, an attempt to push the Allied front line west from northern France to northwestern Belgium.
Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 11:04am On Dec 17, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY

First airplane flies

Near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight.

Orville and Wilbur Wright grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and developed an interest in aviation after learning of the glider flights of the German engineer Otto Lilienthal in the 1890s. Unlike their older brothers, Orville and Wilbur did not attend college, but they possessed extraordinary technical ability and a sophisticated approach to solving problems in mechanical design. They built printing presses and in 1892 opened a bicycle sales and repair shop. Soon, they were building their own bicycles, and this experience, combined with profits from their various businesses, allowed them to pursue actively their dream of building the world’s first airplane.

After exhaustively researching other engineers’ efforts to build a heavier-than-air, controlled aircraft, the Wright brothers wrote the U.S. Weather Bureau inquiring about a suitable place to conduct glider tests. They settled on Kitty Hawk, an isolated village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, which offered steady winds and sand dunes from which to glide and land softly. Their first glider, tested in 1900, performed poorly, but a new design, tested in 1901, was more successful. Later that year, they built a wind tunnel where they tested nearly 200 wings and airframes of different shapes and designs. The brothers’ systematic experimentations paid off–they flew hundreds of successful flights in their 1902 glider at Kill Devils Hills near Kitty Hawk. Their biplane glider featured a steering system, based on a movable rudder, that solved the problem of controlled flight. They were now ready for powered flight.

In Dayton, they designed a 12-horsepower internal combustion engine with the assistance of machinist Charles Taylor and built a new aircraft to house it. They transported their aircraft in pieces to Kitty Hawk in the autumn of 1903, assembled it, made a few further tests, and on December 14 Orville made the first attempt at powered flight. The engine stalled during take-off and the plane was damaged, and they spent three days repairing it. Then at 10:35 a.m. on December 17, in front of five witnesses, the aircraft ran down a monorail track and into the air, staying aloft for 12 seconds and flying 120 feet. The modern aviation age was born. Three more tests were made that day, with Wilbur and Orville alternately flying the airplane. Wilbur flew the last flight, covering 852 feet in 59 seconds.

During the next few years, the Wright brothers further developed their airplanes but kept a low profile about their successes in order to secure patents and contracts for their flying machines. By 1905, their aircraft could perform complex maneuvers and remain aloft for up to 39 minutes at a time. In 1908, they traveled to France and made their first public flights, arousing widespread public excitement. In 1909, the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps purchased a specially constructed plane, and the brothers founded the Wright Company to build and market their aircraft. Wilbur Wright died of typhoid fever in 1912; Orville lived until 1948.

The historic Wright brothers’ aircraft of 1903 is on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1892

First issue of "Vogue" is published


On December 17, 1892, Arthur Baldwin Turnure first publishes a new magazine, dedicated to “the ceremonial side of life” and targeted at “the sage as well as the debutante, men of affairs as well as the belle.”





US GOVERNMENT

1963

Clean Air Act becomes law


On December 17, 1963, one of the first major pieces of environmental legislation in the United States becomes law. The Clean Air Act empowers federal and state agencies to research and regulate air pollution.





21ST CENTURY

2011

Kim Jong Il, leader of North Korea, dies


On December 17, 2011, Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s enigmatic, reclusive dictator, dies of a heart attack while reportedly traveling on a train in his country. Kim, who assumed leadership of North Korea upon the death of his father in 1994.





CRIME

1975

Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme sentenced to life for assassination attempt


A federal jury in Sacramento, California, sentences Lynette Alice Fromme, also known as “Squeaky” Fromme, to life in prison for her attempted assassination of President Gerald R. Ford. On September 5, a Secret Service agent wrested a semi-automatic .45-caliber pistol from Fromme.





US GOVERNMENT

1944

U.S. approves end to internment of Japanese Americans


During World War II, U.S. Major General Henry C. Pratt issues Public Proclamation No. 21, declaring that, effective January 2, 1945, Japanese American “evacuees” from the West Coast could return to their homes.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1979

Stuntman Stan Barrett breaks the sound barrier


On December 17, 1979, Hollywood stuntman Stan Barrett blasts across a dry lakebed at California’s Edwards Air Force Base in a rocket- and missile-powered car, becoming the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound on land. He did not set an official record, however.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

2003

Third and final “Lord of the Rings” movie opens


On December 17, 2003, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the final film in the trilogy based on the best-selling fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, opens in theaters. The film was a huge box-office success and won 11 Academy Awards.





1960S

1961

Circus catches fire in Brazil


On December 17, 1961, a fire at a circus in Brazil kills more than 300 people and severely burns hundreds more. The cause of the fire was never conclusively determined but it may have been the result of sparks from a train passing nearby.





CRIME

1986

“Operation Iceman” nabs murderer Richard Kuklinski


Richard Kuklinski, a suspect in several murders, is arrested by undercover agents at a truck stop off the New Jersey Turnpike, marking the culmination of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms’ “Operation Iceman.”





CIVIL WAR

1862

Union General Ulysses S. Grant expels Jews from his military district

On December 17, 1862, Union General Ulysses S. Grant lashes out at Jewish cotton speculators, who he believed were the driving force behind the black market for cotton. Grant issued an order expelling all Jewish people from his military district.





COLD WAR

1991

Boris Yeltsin announces the Soviet Union will cease to exist by New Year’s Eve


After a long meeting between Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin, a spokesman for the latter announces that the Soviet Union will officially cease to exist on or before New Year’s Eve.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1777

France formally recognizes the United States


On December 17, 1777, the French foreign minister, Charles Gravier, count of Vergennes, officially acknowledges the United States as an independent nation. News of the Continental Army’s overwhelming victory against the British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga.







WORLD WAR II

1941

Commander at Pearl Harbor relieved of his duties


Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel was relieved of his command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet as part of a shake-up of officers in the wake of the Pearl Harbor disaster.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:46am On Dec 18, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


Mayflower docks at Plymouth Harbor

On December 18, 1620, the British ship Mayflower docks at modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, and its passengers prepare to begin their new settlement, Plymouth Colony.

The famous Mayflower story began in 1606, when a group of reform-minded Puritans in Nottinghamshire, England, founded their own church, separate from the state-sanctioned Church of England. Accused of treason, they were forced to leave the country and settle in the more tolerant Netherlands. After 12 years of struggling to adapt and make a decent living, the group sought financial backing from some London merchants to set up a colony in America. On September 6, 1620, 102 passengers–dubbed Pilgrims by William Bradford, a passenger who would become the first governor of Plymouth Colony—crowded on the Mayflower to begin the long, hard journey to a new life in the New World.

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower anchored at what is now Provincetown Harbor, Cape Cod. Before going ashore, 41 male passengers—heads of families, single men and three male servants—signed the famous Mayflower Compact, agreeing to submit to a government chosen by common consent and to obey all laws made for the good of the colony. Over the next month, several small scouting groups were sent ashore to collect firewood and scout out a good place to build a settlement. Around December 10, one of these groups found a harbor they liked on the western side of Cape Cod Bay. They returned to the Mayflower to tell the other passengers, but bad weather prevented them from landing until December 18.

After exploring the region, the settlers took over a cleared area previously occupied by members of a local Native American tribe, the Wampanoag. The tribe had abandoned the village several years earlier, after an outbreak of European disease. That winter of 1620-1621 was brutal, as the Pilgrims struggled to build their settlement, find food and ward off sickness. By spring, 50 of the original 102 Mayflower passengers were dead. The remaining settlers made contact with returning members of the Wampanoag tribe and in March they signed a peace treaty with a tribal chief, Massasoit. Aided by the Wampanoag, especially the English-speaking Squanto, the Pilgrims were able to plant crops—especially corn and beans—that were vital to their survival. The Mayflower and its crew left Plymouth to return to England on April 5, 1621.

Over the next several decades, more and more settlers made the trek across the Atlantic to Plymouth, which gradually grew into a prosperous shipbuilding and fishing center. In 1691, Plymouth was incorporated into the new Massachusetts Bay Association, ending its history as an independent colony.



U.S. PRESIDENTS

2019

President Donald Trump impeached


After weeks of discussions among legislators, the House of Representatives voted to impeach the 45th President, Donald Trump, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on December 18, 2019. The vote fell largely along party lines: 230 in favor, 197 against and 1 present.



WORLD WAR II

1941

Japan invades Hong Kong


Japanese troops land in Hong Kong on December 18, 1941, and slaughter ensues. A week of air raids over Hong Kong, a British crown colony, was followed up on December 17 with a visit paid by Japanese envoys to Sir Mark Young, the British governor of Hong Kong.



SLAVERY

1865

Slavery abolished in America with adoption of 13th amendment


Following its ratification by the requisite three-quarters of the states earlier in the month, the 13th Amendment is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution, ensuring that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1961

The Tokens earn a #1 hit with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”


The song that topped the Billboard pop chart on December 18, 1961, was an instant classic that went on to become one of the most successful pop songs of all time, yet its true originator saw only a tiny fraction of the song’s enormous profits.



GREAT BRITAIN

1912

Fraudulent “Piltdown Man” fossil discovered


After three years of digging in the Piltdown gravel pit in Sussex, England, amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson announces the discovery of two skulls that appear to belong to a primitive hominid and ancestor of man, along with a canine tooth, a tool carved from an elephant.



U.S. PRESIDENTS

1915

Woodrow Wilson marries Edith Bolling Galt


On December 18, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson marries Edith Galt in Washington, D.C. The bride was 43 and the groom was 59. It was the second marriage for Wilson, whose first wife died the year before from a kidney ailment.







CRIME

1878

Last member of Irish secret society is executed


John Kehoe, the last of the Molly Maguires, is executed in Pennsylvania. The Molly Maguires, an Irish secret society that had allegedly been responsible for some incidences of vigilante justice in the coalfields of eastern Pennsylvania.



VIETNAM WAR

1972

Nixon announces start of “Christmas Bombing” of North Vietnam


Following the breakdown of peace talks with North Vietnam just a few days earlier, President Richard Nixon announces the beginning of a massive bombing campaign to break the stalemate. For nearly two weeks, American bombers pounded North Vietnam.



WORLD WAR I

1916

Battle of Verdun ends


The Battle of Verdun, the longest engagement of World War I, ends on this day after ten months and close to a million total casualties suffered by German and French troops.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 11:59am On Dec 20, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


Elvis Presley is drafted

On December 20, 1957, while spending the Christmas holidays at Graceland, his newly purchased Tennessee mansion, rock-and-roll star Elvis Presley receives his draft notice for the United States Army.

With a suggestive style—one writer called him “Elvis the Pelvis”—a hit movie, Love Me Tender, and a string of gold records including “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel,” Presley had become a national icon, and the world’s first bona fide rock-and-roll star, by the end of 1956. As the Beatles’ John Lennon once famously remarked: “Before Elvis, there was nothing.” The following year, at the peak of his career, Presley received his draft notice for a two-year stint in the army. Fans sent tens of thousands of letters to the army asking for him to be spared, but Elvis would have none of it. He received one deferment–during which he finished working on his movie King Creole–before being sworn in as an army private in Memphis on March 24, 1958.

After basic training—which included an emergency leave to see his beloved mother, Gladys, before she died in August 1958—Presley sailed to Europe on the USS General Randall. For the next 18 months, he served in Company D, 32nd Tank Battalion, 3rd Armor Division in Friedberg, Germany, where he attained the rank of sergeant. For the rest of his service, he shared an off-base residence with his father, grandmother and some Memphis friends. After working during the day, Presley returned home at night to host frequent parties and impromptu jam sessions. At one of these, an army buddy of Presley’s introduced him to 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, whom Elvis would marry some years later.

Meanwhile, Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, continued to release singles recorded before his departure, keeping the money rolling in and his most famous client fresh in the public’s mind. Widely praised for not seeking to avoid the draft or serve domestically, Presley was seen as a model for all young Americans.



VIETNAM WAR

1960

National Liberation Front formed


North Vietnam announces the formation of the National Front for the Liberation of the South at a conference held “somewhere in the South.” This organization, more commonly known as the National Liberation Front (NLF), was designed to replicate the success of the Viet Minh.



COLD WAR

1963

Berlin Wall opened for first time


More than two years after the Berlin Wall was constructed by East Germany to prevent its citizens from fleeing its communist regime, nearly 4,000 West Berliners are allowed to cross into East Berlin to visit relatives. Under an agreement reached between East and West Berlin.



LATIN AMERICA

1989

The U.S. invades Panama


The United States invades Panama in an attempt to overthrow military dictator Manuel Noriega, who had been indicted in the United States on drug trafficking charges and was accused of suppressing democracy in Panama and endangering U.S. nationals.



1990S

1995

NATO assumes peacekeeping duties in Bosnia


During a brief military ceremony in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, French General Bernard Janvier, head of the United Nations peacekeeping force, formally transfers military authority in Bosnia to U.S. Admiral Leighton Smith, commander of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).



U.S. PRESIDENTS

1836

Andrew Jackson submits Indian treaty to Congress


On December 20, 1836, President Andrew Jackson presents Congress with a treaty he negotiated with the Ioway, Sacs, Sioux, Fox, Otoe and Omaha tribes of the Missouri territory. The treaty, which removed those tribes from their ancestral homelands to make way for white settlement.



CRIME

1986

Man chased to his death in Howard Beach hate-crime


On December 20, 1986, three Black men are attacked by a group of white teenagers yelling racial slurs in Howard Beach, a predominately white, middle-class, Italian-American neighborhood in Queens, New York. Earlier that night, the men were driving from Brooklyn to Queens.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1989

“Roger & Me” opens in U.S. theaters


Documentarian Michael Moore's first film, Roger & Me, opens in theaters on December 20, 1989. The film follows the economic impact of GM shutting down several auto factories in Moore's hometown of Flint, Michigan.



WORLD WAR II

1941

Hitler to Halder: No retreat!


In one of his first acts as the new commander in chief of the German army, Adolf Hitler informs General Franz Halder that there will be no retreating from the Russian front near Moscow. “The will to hold out must be brought home to every unit!”.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 9:22am On Dec 21, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over Scotland

On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York explodes in midair over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members aboard, as well as 11 Lockerbie residents on the ground. A bomb hidden inside an audio cassette player detonated in the cargo area when the plane was at an altitude of 31,000 feet. The disaster, which became the subject of Britain’s largest criminal investigation, was believed to be an attack against the United States. One hundred eighty nine of the victims were American.

Islamic terrorists were accused of planting the bomb on the plane while it was at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. Authorities suspected the attack was in retaliation for either the 1986 U.S. air strikes against Libya, in which leader Muammar al-Qaddafi’s young daughter was killed along with dozens of other people, or a 1988 incident, in which the U.S. mistakenly shot down an Iran Air commercial flight over the Persian Gulf, killing 290 people.

Sixteen days before the explosion over Lockerbie, the U.S. embassy in Helsinki, Finland, received a call warning that a bomb would be placed on a Pan Am flight out of Frankfurt. There is controversy over how seriously the U.S. took the threat and whether travelers should have been alerted, but officials later said that the connection between the call and the bomb was coincidental.

In 1991, following a joint investigation by the British authorities and the F.B.I., Libyan intelligence agents Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah were indicted for murder; however, Libya refused to hand over the suspects to the U.S. Finally, in 1999, in an effort to ease United Nations sanctions against his country, Qaddafi agreed to turn over the two men to Scotland for trial in the Netherlands using Scottish law and prosecutors. In early 2001, al-Megrahi was convicted and sentenced to life in prison and Fhimah was acquitted. Over the U.S. government’s objections, Al-Megrahi was freed and returned to Libya in August 2009 after doctors determined that he had only months to live. In December 2020, reports surfaced that the U.S. Justice Department would unseal criminal charges in against another suspect in the bombing, Abu Agila Mas’ud.

In 2003, Libya accepted responsibility for the bombing, but didn’t express remorse. The U.N. and U.S. lifted sanctions against Libya and Libya agreed to pay each victim’s family approximately $8 million in restitution. In 2004, Libya’s prime minister said that the deal was the “price for peace,” implying that his country only took responsibility to get the sanctions lifted, a statement that infuriated the victims’ families. Pan Am Airlines, which went bankrupt three years after the bombing, sued Libya and later received a $30 million settlement.



21ST CENTURY

2012

"Gangnam Style" becomes the first YouTube video to reach one billion views


On December 21, 2012, the music video for "Gangnam Style," a song by the Korean rapper Psy, becomes the first YouTube video to garner one billion views. The video's global popularity is a case study in the power and unpredictability of viral internet content.



MIDDLE EAST

1971

The United Arab Emirates is formed

On December 21, 1971, the United Arab Emirates is formed. The union of six small Gulf kingdoms—to which a seventh was soon added—created a small state with an outsized role in the global economy.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1996

“Curious George” co-creator Margret Rey dies


On December 21, 1996, Margret Rey, who with her husband Hans created the popular “Curious George” children’s books about a mischievous monkey, dies at age 90 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Reys, both German Jews, escaped wartime Europe in 1940 and fled to America.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1967

“The Graduate” opens in New York


The film The Graduate opens at two theaters in New York: the Coronet on Third Avenue and the Lincoln Art Theater on Broadway. The film, based on a 1963 novel by Charles Webb, had a simple premise.



FRANCE

1958

Charles de Gaulle elected president of France


Three months after a new French constitution was approved, Charles de Gaulle is elected the first president of the Fifth Republic by a sweeping majority of French voters. The previous June, France’s World War II hero was called out of retirement to lead the country.



SPACE EXPLORATION

1968

Apollo 8 departs for moon’s orbit


Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, is successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, Jr. and William Anders aboard. On Christmas Eve, the astronauts entered into orbit around the moon.





WORLD WAR II

1945

General George S. Patton dies


General George S. Patton, commander of the U.S. 3rd Army, dies from injuries suffered not in battle but in a freak car accident. He was 60 years old. Descended from a long line of military men, Patton graduated from the West Point Military Academy in 1909.



U.S. PRESIDENTS

1970

President Nixon meets Elvis Presley


On December 21, 1970, rock star Elvis Presley is greeted at the White House by President Richard M. Nixon. Presley’s visit was not just a social call: He wanted to meet Nixon in order to offer his services in the government’s war on drugs.



WESTWARD EXPANSION

1866

Native Americans massacre 81 soldiers


Determined to challenge the growing American military presence in their territory, Native Americans in northern Wyoming lure Lieutenant Colonel William Fetterman and his soldiers into a deadly ambush on December 21, 1866.



CRIME

1980

Socialite Sunny von Bulow is found comatose


Wealthy socialite Martha “Sunny” Crawford von Bulow is found in a coma—the result of what appeared to be an insulin overdose—on the marble bathroom floor of her Newport, Rhode Island, mansion.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 7:37am On Dec 22, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


First gorilla born in captivity


On December 22, 1956, a baby gorilla named Colo enters the world at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, becoming the first-ever gorilla born in captivity. Weighing in at approximately 4 pounds, Colo, a western lowland gorilla whose name was a combination of Columbus and Ohio, was the daughter of Millie and Mac, two gorillas captured in French Cameroon, Africa, who were brought to the Columbus Zoo in 1951. Before Colo’s birth, gorillas found at zoos were caught in the wild, often by brutal means. In order to capture a gorilla when it was young and therefore still small enough to handle, hunters frequently had to kill the gorilla’s parents and other family members.

Gorillas are peaceful, intelligent animals, native to Africa, who live in small groups led by one adult male, known as a silverback. There are three subspecies of gorilla: western lowland, eastern lowland and mountain. The subspecies are similar and the majority of gorillas in captivity are western lowland. Gorillas are vegetarians whose only natural enemy is the humans who hunt them. On average, a gorilla lives to 35 years in the wild and 50 years in captivity.

At the time Colo was born, captive gorillas often never learned parenting skills from their own parents in the wild, so the Columbus Zoo built her a nursery and she was reared by zookeepers. In the years since Colo’s arrival, zookeepers have developed habitats that simulate a gorilla’s natural environment and many captive-born gorillas are now raised by their mothers. In situations where this doesn’t work, zoos have created surrogacy programs, in which the infants are briefly cared for by humans and then handed over to other gorillas to raise.

Colo, who generated enormous public interest, went on to become a mother, grandmother, and in 1996, a great-grandmother to Timu, the first surviving infant gorilla conceived by artificial insemination. Timu gave birth to her first baby in 2003.

Today, there are approximately 750 gorillas in captivity around the world and an estimated 100,000 lowland gorillas (and far fewer mountain gorillas) remaining in the wild. Most zoos are active in captive breeding programs and have agreed not to buy gorillas born in the wild.

Colo died in 2017.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1808

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony given world premiere in Vienna


If the initial reviews failed to recognize it as one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, one needs to understand the adverse conditions under which the work was first heard. The concert venue was freezing cold; it was more than two hours into a mammoth four-hour program.



FRANCE

1894

Dreyfus affair begins in France


French officer Alfred Dreyfus is convicted of treason by a military court-martial and sentenced to life in prison for his alleged crime of passing military secrets to the Germans. The Jewish artillery captain, convicted on flimsy evidence in a highly irregular trial.



CRIME

1984

Bernhard Goetz shoots four youths on the subway

On the New York City subway, Bernhard Goetz, a 37-year-old white male, shoots four young Black men after they surround him and ask for $5. After wounding three of the unarmed men, Goetz pointed his gun at 18-year-old Darrell Cabey.



COLD WAR

1989

Romanian government falls


The Romanian army defects to the cause of anti-communist demonstrators, and the government of Nicolae Ceausescu is overthrown. The end of 42 years of communist rule came three days after Ceausescu’s security forces opened fire on demonstrators in Timisoara.



WORLD WAR I

1917

Russian-German peace talks begin at Brest-Litovsk


A week after the armistice was signed between Russia and Germany and nearly three weeks after a ceasefire was declared on the Eastern Front, representatives of the two countries begin peace negotiations at Brest-Litovsk, near the Polish border in what is now the city of Brest.



VIETNAM WAR

1971

Soviet Union attacks Chinese policy toward Vietnam


The Soviet Union accuses China of backing U.S. policies in Vietnam, an accusation that illustrates the growing rift between the two communist superpowers. China, which had previously taken a hard line toward negotiations between Hanoi and Washington.



U.S. PRESIDENTS

1968

Julie Nixon marries David Eisenhower


On December 22, 1968, Julie Nixon and David Eisenhower, both progeny of United States presidents, tie the knot in New York City. Julie Nixon was the daughter of Richard M. Nixon, who was president-elect at the time of the wedding. Her groom was the grandson of Dwight D.



WESTWARD EXPANSION

1884

Cattleman John Chisum dies in Arkansas


A central player in the violent Lincoln County War of 1878-81, the cattleman John Chisum dies at Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Born in Tennessee in 1824, Chisum moved with his family to Paris, Texas, when he was eleven years old.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1849

Fyodor Dostoevsky spared from execution


On December 22, 1849 writer Fyodor Dostoevsky is led before a firing squad and prepared for execution. He had been convicted and sentenced to death on November 16 for allegedly taking part in antigovernment activities.



CRIME

1978

John Wayne Gacy confesses to dozens of murders


On December 22, 1978, John Wayne Gacy confesses to police to killing over two dozen boys and young men and burying their bodies under his suburban Chicago home. In March 1980, Gacy was convicted of 33 sex-related murders, committed between 1972 and 1978.



CIVIL WAR

1864

General Sherman presents President Lincoln with a Christmas gift


On December 22, 1864, Union General William T. Sherman presents the city of Savannah, Georgia, to President Abraham Lincoln. Sherman captured the city after his famous March to the Sea from Atlanta.



WORLD WAR II

1941

Churchill and Roosevelt discuss war and peace


British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrives in Washington, D.C. for a series of meetings with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on a unified Anglo-American war strategy and a future peace.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 8:23am On Dec 23, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


Vincent van Gogh chops off his ear

On December 23, 1888, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, suffering from severe depression, cuts off the lower part of his left ear with a razor while staying in Arles, France. He later documented the event in a painting titled Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear. Today, Van Gogh is regarded as an artistic genius and his masterpieces sell for record-breaking prices; however, during his lifetime, he was a poster boy for tortured starving artists and sold only one painting.

Vincent Willem van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853, in the Netherlands. He had a difficult, nervous personality and worked unsuccessfully at an art gallery and then as a preacher among poor miners in Belgium. In 1880, he decided to become an artist. His work from this period–the most famous of which is The Potato Eaters (1885)–is dark and somber and reflective of the experiences he had among peasants and impoverished miners.

In 1886, Van Gogh moved to Paris where his younger brother Theo, with whom he was close, lived. Theo, an art dealer, supported his brother financially and introduced him to a number of artists, including Paul Gauguin, Camille Pisarro and Georges Seurat. Influenced by these and other painters, Van Gogh’s own artistic style lightened up and he began using more color.

In 1888, Van Gogh rented a house in Arles in the south of France, where he hoped to found an artists’ colony and be less of a burden to his brother. In Arles, Van Gogh painted vivid scenes from the countryside as well as still-lifes, including his famous sunflower series. Gauguin came to stay with him in Arles and the two men worked together for almost two months. However, tensions developed and on December 23, in a fit of dementia, Van Gogh threatened his friend with a knife before turning it on himself and mutilating his ear lobe.

Afterward, he allegedly wrapped up the ear and gave it to a prostitute at a nearby brothel. Following that incident, Van Gogh was hospitalized in Arles and then checked himself into a mental institution in Saint-Remy for a year. During his stay in Saint-Remy, he fluctuated between periods of madness and intense creativity, in which he produced some of his best and most well-known works, including Starry Night and Irises.

In May 1890, Van Gogh moved to Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris, where he continued to be plagued by despair and loneliness. On July 27, 1890, he shot himself and died two days later at age 37.





EXPLORATION

1986

Voyager completes global flight


After nine days and four minutes in the sky, the experimental aircraft Voyager lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California, completing the first nonstop flight around the globe on one load of fuel.





CRIME

2009

“Balloon Boy” parents sentenced in Colorado


On December 23, 2009, Richard Heene, who carried out a hoax in which he told authorities his 6-year-old son Falcon had floated off in a runaway, saucer-shaped helium balloon, is sentenced to 90 days in jail in Fort Collins, Colorado.





WORLD WAR II

1948

Japanese war criminals hanged in Tokyo


In Tokyo, Japan, Hideki Tojo, former Japanese premier and chief of the Kwantung Army, is executed along with six other top Japanese leaders for their war crimes during World War II. Seven of the defendants were also found guilty of committing crimes against humanity.





COLONIAL AMERICA

1620

Construction of Plymouth settlement begins


One week after the Mayflower docks at Plymouth harbor in present-day Massachusetts, construction of the first permanent European settlement in New England begins. On September 16, the Mayflower departed Plymouth, England, bound for the New World with 102 passengers.





WORLD WAR II

1944

The execution of Eddie Slovik is authorized


Gen. Dwight Eisenhower endorses the finding of a court-martial in the case of Eddie Slovik, who was tried for desertion, and authorizes his execution, the first such sentence against a U.S. Army soldier since the Civil War, and the only man so punished during World War II.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1959

Chuck Berry is arrested on Mann Act charges in St. Louis, Missouri


On December 23, 1959, Chuck Berry is arrested in St. Louis, Missouri, on charges relating to his transportation of a 14-year-old girl across state lines for allegedly “immoral purposes.” “Never saw a man so changed,” is how the great Carl Perkins described the experience.







ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1993

“Philadelphia,” the first major Hollywood movie about AIDS, opens in theaters


On December 23, 1993, Philadelphia, starring the actor Tom Hanks in the first major Hollywood movie to focus on the subject of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), opens in theaters.





CRIME

1984

Subway shooter Bernhard Goetz goes on the lam

Bernhard Goetz, who shot four young Black men on a subway car the previous day, flees New York City and heads for New Hampshire after becoming the central figure in a media firestorm.





COLD WAR

1968

Crew of USS Pueblo released by North Korea


The crew and captain of the U.S. intelligence gathering ship Pueblo are released after 11 months imprisonment by the government of North Korea. The ship, and its 83-man crew, was seized by North Korean warships on January 23 and charged with intruding into North Korean waters.





INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1982

Chemical contamination prompts evacuation of Missouri town


On December 23, 1982, the Missouri Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) inform residents of Times Beach, Missouri that their town was contaminated when the chemical dioxin was sprayed on its unpaved roads.





AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1783

George Washington resigns as commander in chief


On December 23, 1783, following the signing of the Treaty of Paris, General George Washington resigns as commander in chief of the Continental Army and retires to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 10:20am On Dec 24, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


Soviet Union invades Afghanistan

On December 24, 1979, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan, under the pretext of upholding the Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty of 1978.

As midnight approached, the Soviets organized a massive military airlift into Kabul, involving an estimated 280 transport aircraft and three divisions of almost 8,500 men each. Within a few days, the Soviets had secured Kabul, deploying a special assault unit against Tajberg Palace. Elements of the Afghan army loyal to Hafizullah Amin put up a fierce, but brief resistance.

On December 27, Babrak Karmal, exiled leader of the Parcham faction of the Marxist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), was installed as Afghanistan’s new head of government. And Soviet ground forces entered Afghanistan from the north.

The Soviets, however, were met with fierce resistance when they ventured out of their strongholds into the countryside. Resistance fighters, called mujahidin, saw the Christian or atheist Soviets controlling Afghanistan as a defilement of Islam as well as of their traditional culture. Proclaiming a “jihad”(holy war), they gained the support of the Islamic world.

The mujahidin employed guerrilla tactics against the Soviets. They would attack or raid quickly, then disappear into the mountains, causing great destruction without pitched battles. The fighters used whatever weapons they could grab from the Soviets or were given by the United States.

The tide of the war turned with the 1987 introduction of U.S. shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles. The Stingers allowed the mujahidin to shoot down Soviet planes and helicopters on a regular basis.

New Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev decided it was time to get out. Demoralized and with no victory in sight, Soviet forces started withdrawing in 1988. The last Soviet soldier crossed back across the border on February 15, 1989.

It was the first Soviet military expedition beyond the Eastern bloc since World War II and marked the end of a period of improving relations (known as détente) in the Cold War. Subsequently, the SALT II arms treaty was shelved and the U.S. began to re-arm.

Fifteen thousand Soviet soldiers were killed.

The long-term impact of the invasion and subsequent war was profound. First, the Soviets never recovered from the public relations and financial losses, which significantly contributed to the fall of the Soviet empire in 1991. Secondly, the war created a breeding ground for terrorism and the rise of Osama bin Laden.



U.S. PRESIDENTS

1851

Fire destroys Thomas Jefferson library


On this day in 1851, a fire sweeps through the Library of Congress and destroys two-thirds of Thomas Jefferson’s personal literary collection. Jefferson, who died in 1826, had offered to sell his personal library to Congress after the Congressional library.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1973

Stephenie Meyer, best-selling author of "Twilight" novels, is born


On December 24, 1973, Stephenie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” novels, a vampire romance series for young adults that became a literary phenomenon, is born in Hartford, Connecticut. Meyer, born Stephenie Morgan, was raised in Phoenix, Arizona, the second of six siblings.



19TH CENTURY

1865

KKK founded


In Pulaski, Tennessee, a group of Confederate veterans convenes to form a secret society that they christen the “Ku Klux Klan.” The KKK rapidly grew from a secret social fraternity to a paramilitary force bent on reversing the federal government’s progressive Reconstruction.



WAR OF 1812

1814

War of 1812 ends


The Treaty of Peace and Amity between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America is signed by British and American representatives at Ghent, Belgium, ending the War of 1812. By terms of the treaty, all conquered territory was to be returned.



19TH CENTURY

1851

Fire ravages Library of Congress


A devastating fire at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroys about two-thirds of its 55,000 volumes, including most of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library, sold to the institution in 1815. The Library of Congress was established in 1800.



VIETNAM WAR

1964

Viet Cong bomb Brinks Hotel


Two Viet Cong agents disguised as South Vietnamese soldiers leave a car filled with explosives parked at the Brinks Hotel in Saigon. The hotel was housing U.S. officers. Two Americans were killed in the blast and 65 Americans and Vietnamese were injured.





VIETNAM WAR

1972

Bob Hope gives his last show in Vietnam

Comedian Bob Hope gives what he says is his last Christmas show to U.S. servicemen in Saigon. Hope was a comedian and star of stage, radio, television and over 50 feature films. Hope was one of many Hollywood stars who followed the tradition of traveling overseas to entertain in Vietnam.



U.S. PRESIDENTS

1923

President Coolidge lights first national Christmas tree


On December 24, 1923, President Calvin Coolidge touches a button and lights up the first national Christmas tree to grace the White House grounds. Not only was this the first White House “community” Christmas tree, but it was the first to be decorated with electric lights.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1997

Woody Allen marries Soon-Yi Previn


On December 24, 1997, Woody Allen, the 62-year-old Academy Award-winning writer-director of such movies as Annie Hall and Hannah and Her Sisters, marries 27-year-old Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his former partner Mia Farrow, in a small ceremony in Venice, Italy.



COLD WAR

1952

McCarran-Walter Act goes into effect, revising immigration laws

The McCarran-Walter Act takes effect and revises U.S. immigration laws. The law was hailed by supporters as a necessary step in preventing alleged communist subversion in the United States, while opponents decried the legislation as being xenophobic and discriminatory.



INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1801

Richard Trevithick introduces his “Puffing Devil”


British inventor Richard Trevithick takes seven of his friends for a test ride on his “Puffing Devil,” or “Puffer,” the first steam-powered passenger vehicle, on December 24, 1801.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 11:54am On Dec 25, 2020
The Christmas Truce

Just after midnight on Christmas morning, the majority of German troops engaged in World War I cease firing their guns and artillery and commence to sing Christmas carols. At certain points along the eastern and western fronts, the soldiers of Russia, France, and Britain even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.

At the first light of dawn, many of the German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.

The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated
notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. In 1915, the bloody conflict of World War I erupted in all its technological fury, and the concept of another Christmas Truce became unthinkable.




INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1880

Layne Hall is born; will become oldest licensed driver in United States


On December 25 1880, Layne Hall is born in Mississippi. Some records indicate that he was actually born in 1884; either way, when he died in November 1990, Hall was the oldest licensed driver in the United States.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1941

Bing Crosby introduces “White Christmas” to the world


“White Christmas,” written by the formidable composer and lyricist Irving Berlin receives its world premiere on December 26, 1941 on Bing Crosby’s weekly NBC radio program, The Kraft Music Hall. It went on to become one of the most commercially successful singles of all time.



RELIGION

6

Christ is born?


Although most Christians celebrate December 25 as the birthday of Jesus Christ, few in the first two Christian centuries claimed any knowledge of the exact day or year in which he was born. The oldest existing record of a Christmas celebration is found in a Roman almanac.



SPORTS

2002

Katie Hnida is first woman to play in Division I football game


On December 25, 2002, the University of New Mexico junior place-kicker Katie Hnida attempts to kick an extra point in a game against UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl. Though her kick was blocked by UCLA, Hnida became the first woman to play in a Division I football game.



CRIME

1869

John Wesley Hardin kills over a card game


Angered over a card game dispute, 16-year-old John Wesley Hardin reveals a singular lack of Christmas spirit by shooting James Bradley dead in the street. Although less famous than Billy the Kid, Jesse James, or Wyatt Earp, John Wesley Hardin is believed to hold the gunslinger’s.



ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1962

“To Kill a Mockingbird” opens in theaters


On December 25, 1962, To Kill a Mockingbird, a film based on the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Harper Lee, opens in theaters.



CRIME

1996

Six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey is murdered


Six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey is killed in her Boulder, Colorado, home. John and Patsy Ramsey, her parents, called police at 5:52 the following morning to report that their daughter was missing. Although police found a ransom note demanding $118,000.



COLD WAR

1991

Gorbachev resigns as president of the USSR


Mikhail Gorbachev announces that he is resigning as president of the Soviet Union. In truth, there was not much of a Soviet Union from which to resign—just four days earlier, 11 of the former Soviet republics had established the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).



George Washington crosses the Delaware

AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1776

George Washington crosses the Delaware


During the American Revolution, Patriot General George Washington crosses the Delaware River with 5,400 troops, hoping to surprise a Hessian force celebrating Christmas at their winter quarters in Trenton, New Jersey.

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Re: Today In History by bolataiwo(m): 8:57am On Dec 26, 2020
TODAY IN HISTORY


Bugsy Siegel opens Flamingo Hotel

Mobster Bugsy Siegel opens the glitzy Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 26, 1946.

Well-known singer and comedian Jimmy Durante headlined the night's entertainment, with music by Cuban band leader Xavier Cugat. Some of infamous gangster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel’s Hollywood friends, including actors George Raft, George Sanders, Sonny Tufts and George Jessel were in attendance.

The grand opening of the Flamingo Hotel, however, was a flop. Bad weather kept many other Hollywood guests from arriving. And because gamblers had no rooms at the hotel, they took their winnings and gambled elsewhere. The casino lost $300,000 in the first week of operation.

Siegel and his New York “partners” had invested $1 million in a property already under construction by Billy Wilkerson, owner of the Hollywood Reporter as well as some very popular nightclubs in the Sunset Strip. Wilkerson had wanted to recreate the Sunset Strip in Las Vegas, with a European style hotel with luxuious rooms, a spa, health club, showroom, golf course, nightclub and upscale restaurant. But he soon ran out of money due to the high cost of materials immediately after the war.

Siegel, who held a largest interest in the racing publication Trans America Wire, was drawn to Las Vegas in 1945 by his interest in legalized gambling and off-track betting. He purchased The El Cortez hotel for $600,000 and later sold it for a $166,000 profit.

Siegel and his organized crime buddies used the profits to influence Wilkerson to accept new partners. Siegel took over the project and supervised the building, naming it after his girlfriend Virginia Hill, whose nickname was “The Flamingo” because of her red hair and long legs.

Two weeks after the grand opening, the Flamingo closed down. It re-opened March 1, 1947, as The Fabulous Flamingo. Siegel forced Wilkerson out in April, and by May, the resort reported a profit, but it wasn’t enough to save Siegel.

Convinced that Siegel wasn’t giving them a “square count,” it is widely believed that his partners in organized crime had him killed while he was reading the paper June 20, 1947, at Hill’s Beverly Hills mansion. Hill was in Paris, having flown the coop after a fight with Siegel 10 days prior. The crime remains unsolved to this day.

Surviving a series of name and ownership changes, the hotel is known today as The Flamingo Las Vegas.





CRIME

1985

World-renowned primatologist Dian Fossey is found murdered in Rwanda


On December 26, 1985, primatologist and conservationist Dr. Dian Fossey is found murdered in her cabin at Karisoke, a research site in the mountains of Rwanda. It is widely believed that she was killed in connection with her lifelong crusade against poaching.



HOLIDAYS

1966

The first Kwanzaa


The first day of the first Kwanzaa is celebrated in Los Angeles under the direction of Maulana Karenga, the chair of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach. The seven-day holiday, which has strong African roots, was designed by Dr. Karenga as a celebration of black culture.



SPORTS

1908

Jack Johnson wins heavyweight title


Jack Johnson becomes the first African American to win the world heavyweight title when he knocks out Canadian Tommy Burns in the 14th round in a championship bout near Sydney, Australia. Johnson, who held the heavyweight title until 1915.



WORLD WAR II

1944

General Patton relieves Allies at Bastogne


On December 26, General George S. Patton employs an audacious strategy to relieve the besieged Allied defenders of Bastogne, Belgium, during the brutal Battle of the Bulge. The capture of Bastogne was the ultimate goal of the Battle of the Bulge.



U.S. PRESIDENTS

1972

Truman dies


On December 26, 1972, former President Harry S. Truman dies in Independence, Missouri. Then-President Richard Nixon called Truman a man of “forthrightness and integrity” who had a deep respect for the office he held and for the people he served.



19TH CENTURY

1820

Moses Austin asks Spanish for Texas colony


Hoping to recover from bankruptcy with a bold scheme of colonization, Moses Austin meets with Spanish authorities in San Antonio to ask permission for 300 Anglo-American families to settle in Texas. A native of Durham, Connecticut, Austin had been a successful merchant.





ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY

1973

“The Exorcist” opens in theaters

On December 26, 1973, The Exorcist, a horror film starring the actress Linda Blair as a girl possessed by an evil spirit, makes its debut in theaters; it will go on to earn a reputation as one of the scariest movies in history. The Exorcist was based on William Peter Blatty’s book.



NATURAL DISASTERS & ENVIRONMENT

2004

Tsunami devastates Indian Ocean coast


A powerful earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, on December 26, 2004 sets off a tsunami that wreaks death and devastation across the Indian Ocean coastline. The quake was the second strongest ever recorded and the estimated 230,000 dead.



CRIME

1610

Hungarian countesses’ torturous escapades are exposed


On December 26, 1609 or 1610 (sources are not conclusive), Count Gyorgy Thurzo makes an investigative visit to Csejthe Castle in Hungary on orders from King Matthias and discovers Countess Elizabeth Bathory directing a torture session of young girls.



INVENTIONS & SCIENCE

1956

Carmaker Preston Tucker dies


On December 26, 1956, the visionary carmaker Preston Tucker dies of lung cancer. He was just 53 years old. Tucker began his career in the auto industry as a mail messenger at General Motors.



AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1776

George Washington wins first major U.S. victory at Trenton


At approximately 8 a.m. on the morning of December 26, 1776, General George Washington’s Continental Army reaches the outskirts of Trenton, New Jersey, and descends upon the unsuspecting Hessian force guarding the city.



WORLD WAR I

1917

U.S. government takes over control of nation’s railroads


Eight months after the United States enters World War I on behalf of the Allies, President Woodrow Wilson announces the nationalization of a large majority of the country’s railroads under the Federal Possession and Control Act. The U.S. entry into the war in April 1917.





WORLD WAR II

1943

Britain surprises German attacker in the Arctic


On December 26, the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst is sunk by British warships in the Arctic after decoded German naval signals reveal that the Scharnhorst is on a mission to attack an Anglo-American convoy to Russia.

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