On This Day in History December 24

December 24 – Events:

  • 563 – The Byzantine church Hagia Sophia in Constantinople is dedicated for the second time after being destroyed by earthquakes.
  • 962 – Byzantine troops destroy the Emir of Aleppo, thoroughly sacking the city.
  • 1294 – Pope Boniface VIII is elected Pope, replacing St. Celestine V, who had abdicated.
  • 1777 – Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, is discovered by James Cook.
  • 1814 – The Treaty of Ghent is signed ending the War of 1812.
  • 1818 – “Silent Night” is composed by Franz Joseph Gruber, first sung the next day.
  • 1851 – Library of Congress burns.
  • 1865 – Several U.S. Civil War Confederate veterans form the Ku Klux Klan.
  • 1889 – Daniel Stover & William Hance patent the bicycle with back pedal brake.
  • 1906 – Radio: Reginald Fessenden transmits the first radio broadcast; consisting of a poetry reading, a violin solo, and a speech.
  • 1910 – Luisa Tetrazzini sings to 250,000 people at Lot’s fountain.
  • 1914 – World War I: The “Christmas truce” begins.
  • 1924 – Albania becomes a republic.
  • 1929 – Assassination attempt on Argentine President Hipólito Yrigoyen.
  • 1933 – Paris express train derails and kills 160, injures 300.
  • 1936 – First radioactive isotope medicine administered in Berkeley, California.
  • 1939 – World War II: Pope Pius XII makes a Christmas Eve appeal for peace.
  • 1941 – World War II: Hong Kong falls to the Japanese Imperial Army.
  • 1941 – World War II: Kuching is conquered by Japanese forces.
  • 1942 – World War II: French monarchist, Fernand Bonnier de La Chapelle, assassinates Vichy French Admiral François Darlan in Algiers.
  • 1942 – World War II: First powered flight of V-1 buzz bomb, Germany.
  • 1943 – World War II: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the Supreme Allied Commander.
  • 1946 – France’s Fourth Republic is founded.
  • 1951 – Libya becomes independent from Italy. Idris I is proclaimed King of Libya.
  • 1953 – Tangiwai disaster: A railway bridge collapse at Tangiwai, New Zealand sending a fully loaded passenger train into the Whangaehu River and killing 153 people.
  • 1953 – Two fast express trains crash head-on killing 103 in Czechoslovokia.
  • 1954 – Laos gains its independence.
  • 1956 – “I Love Lucy” Christmas show airs; it was never put in syndication.
  • 1961 – Houston Oilers beat San Diego Chargers 10-3 in AFL championship game.
  • 1966 – A Canadair CL-44 chartered by the United States military crashes into a small village in South Vietnam, killing 129.
  • 1968 – The crew of the USS Pueblo is released by North Korea after being held for 11 months on suspicion of spying.
  • 1968 – Apollo Program: The crew of Apollo 8 enters into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed 10 lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures that became the famous Christmas Eve Broadcast, one of the most watched programs in history.
  • 1970 – Walt Disney’s “The Aristocats” is released.
  • 1973 – Ferryboat capsizes off the coast of Ecuador, drowning 200.
  • 1974 – Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Australia.
  • 1979 – The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan to support the country’s Marxist government.
  • 1979 – The first European Ariane rocket is launched.
  • 1980 – Americans remembered Iran hostages by shining lights for 417 seconds.
  • 1997 – The Sid El-Antri massacre (or Sidi Lamri) in Algeria kills 50-100 people.
  • 1989 – Panama’s dictator, Manual Noriega, seeks asylum in the Vatican embassy.
  • 1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as head of the Soviet Union.
  • 1997 – The Dominican Republic becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty.
  • 2000 – The Texas 7 hold up a sports store in Irving, Texas. Police officer Aubrey Hawkins is shot during the robbery.
  • 2003 – The Spanish police thwart an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives at 3:55 p.m. inside Madrid’s busy Chamartín Station.

December 24 – Birthdays:

  • 3 BC – Galba, Roman Emperor (d. 69)
  • 1166 – King John of England (d. 1216)
  • 1389 – John VI, Duke of Brittany (d. 1442)
  • 1475 – Thomas Murner, German writer (d.c. 1537)
  • 1491 – Ignatius of Loyola, Spanish founder of the Jesuit order (d. 1556)
  • 1508 – Pietro Carnesecchi, Italian humanist (d. 1567)
  • 1588 – Constance of Austria, queen of Poland (d. 1631)
  • 1609 – Philip Warwick, English writer and politician (d. 1683)
  • 1635 – Mariana of Austria, second wife of king Philip IV of Spain (d. 1696)
  • 1698 – William Warburton, English Bishop of Gloucester (d. 1779)
  • 1724 – Johann Conrad Ammann, Swiss physician and naturalist (d. 1811)
  • 1745 – Benjamin Rush, doctor and Founding Father of the United States (d. 1813)
  • 1754 – George Crabbe, British poet and naturalist (d. 1832)
  • 1761 – Jean-Louis Pons, French astronomer (d. 1831)
  • 1784 – Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna of Russia (d. 1803)
  • 1798 – Adam Mickiewicz, Polish poet (d. 1855)
  • 1809 – Kit Carson, American frontiersman (d. 1868)
  • 1812 – Karl Eduard Zachariae, German jurist (d. 1894)
  • 1818 – James Prescott Joule, British physicist (d. 1889)
  • 1822 – Matthew Arnold, British poet (d. 1888)
  • 1837 – Elisabeth of Bavaria a.k.a Sissi, Empress of Austria (d. 1898)
  • 1843 – Lydia Koidula, Estonian poet (d. 1886)
  • 1845 – King George I of Greece (d. 1913)
  • 1867 – Kantaro Suzuki, 42nd Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1948)
  • 1868 – Emanuel Lasker, German chess player (d. 1941)
  • 1879 – Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, Queen Consort to Christian X (d. 1952)
  • 1879 – Émile Nelligan, Quebec poet (d. 1941)
  • 1880 – Johnny Gruelle, American cartoonist, children’s book writer and creator of
  • 1881 – Juan Ramón Jiménez, Spanish writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1958)
  • 1886 – Michael Curtiz, Hungarian-born director (d. 1962)
  • 1887 – Louis Jouvet, French actor and producer (d. 1951)
  • 1893 – Harry Warren, American composer and lyricist (Chattanooga Choo Choo – I Only Have Eyes for You) (d. 1981)
  • 1894 – Georges Guynemer, French aviator (d. 1917)
  • 1895 – E. Roland Harriman, American financier (d. 1978)
  • 1898 – Héctor Scarone, Uruguayan footballer (d. 1967)
  • 1898 – Baby Dodds, American jazz drummer (d. 1959)
  • 1900 – Joey Smallwood, Canadian politician, Premier of Newfoundland (d. 1991)
  • 1904 – Joseph Moses Juran, American industrial engineer and philanthropist.
  • 1905 – Howard Hughes, American film producer and inventor (d. 1976)
  • 1906 – Franz Waxman, German film composer (d. 1967)
  • 1907 – I. F. Stone, American journalist (d. 1989)
  • 1910 – Fritz Leiber, American writer (d. 1992)
  • 1910 – Max Miedinger, typeface designer, famous for creating Helvetica in 1957. (d. 1980)
  • 1914 – Ralph Marterie, American trumpet player and big band leader (d. 1978)
  • 1914 – Herbert Reinecker, German writer
  • 1917 – Kim Jong-suk, Wife of Kim Il-sung, mother of Kim Jung-Il, “The Heroine of the Anti-Japanese Revolution” (d. 1949)
  • 1920 – Evgeniya Rudneva, Russian World War II heroine (d. 1944)
  • 1922 – Ava Gardner, American actress (d. 1990)
  • 1923 – George Patton IV, American general (d. 2004)
  • 1923 – Michael DiBiase, American wrestler (d. 1969)
  • 1924 – Lee Dorsey, American singer (d. 1986)
  • 1924 – Grigory Kriss, Russian Olympic champion fencer
  • 1925 – Mohd. Rafi, Indian actor and playback singer (d. 1980)
  • 1926 – Paul Buissonneau, French-born Quebec theatre director
  • 1929 – Mary Higgins Clark, American author
  • 1931 – Mauricio Kagel, Argentine composer
  • 1931 – Ray Bryant, American jazz pianist and composer
  • 1932 – On Kawara, Japanese conceptual artist
  • 1937 – Félix Miéli Venerando, Brazilian football player
  • 1938 – Bobby Henrich, American baseball player
  • 1938 – Valentim Loureiro, Portuguese politician, and former football chairman of Boavista F.C. and Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Profissional
  • 1941 – John Levene, British actor
  • 1943 – Tarja Halonen, President of Finland
  • 1944 – Daniel Johnson, Jr., Quebec politician, Premier of Quebec
  • 1944 – Mike Curb, American musician, record company executive and politician
  • 1944 – Oswald Gracias, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bombay
  • 1944 – Barry Chuckle, British comedian
  • 1945 – Lemmy, British singer, bassist (Motörhead)
  • 1945 – Nicholas Meyer, American author
  • 1945 – Steve Smith, Canadian Comedian, The New Red Green Show, Duct Tape Forever
  • 1946 – Brenda Howard, American bisexual activist (d. 2005)
  • 1946 – Jeff Sessions, American politician
  • 1947 – Kevin Sheedy, coach of Australian Football League club Essendon FC
  • 1948 – Frank Oliver, New Zealand rugby player
  • 1949 – Randy Neugebauer, American politician
  • 1949 – Warwick Brown, Australian racing driver
  • 1950 – Dana Gioia, American poet
  • 1951 – John D’Acquisto, baseball player
  • 1953 – François Loos, French politician
  • 1954 – José María Figueres, Costa Rican politician
  • 1955 – Grand L. Bush, American actor
  • 1955 – Clarence Gilyard, American actor
  • 1957 – Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan
  • 1957 – Diane Tell, Quebec singer
  • 1958 – Munetaka Higuchi, Japanese drummer
  • 1959 – Keith Deller, British darts player
  • 1959 – Anil Kapoor, Indian actor
  • 1960 – Glenn McQueen, American animator (d. 2002)
  • 1960 – Carol Vorderman, British television presenter
  • 1961 – Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan Republic
  • 1961 – Jay Wright, American basketball coach
  • 1963 – Jay Bilas, American basketball analyst
  • 1963 – Mary Ramsey, American singer (10,000 Maniacs)
  • 1963 – Caroline Aherne, British comedienne, writer and actress
  • 1964 – Mark Valley, American actor
  • 1966 – Diedrich Bader, American actor
  • 1967 – Mikhail Shchennikov, Russian race walker
  • 1968 – Doyle Bramhall II, American guitarist
  • 1969 – Mark Millar, Scottish comic book writer
  • 1970 – Amaury Nolasco, American actor
  • 1970 – Will Oldham, American singer and songwriter
  • 1971 – Christopher Daniels, American professional wrestler
  • 1971 – Ricky Martin, Puerto Rican singer
  • 1971 – Giorgos Alkaios, Greek singer
  • 1972 – Alvaro Mesen, Costa Rican footballer
  • 1973 – Eddie Pope, American soccer player
  • 1973 – Stephenie Meyer, Author
  • 1974 – Marcelo Salas, Chilean footballer
  • 1974 – Ryan Seacrest, American television host
  • 1978 – Yildiray Bastürk, Turkish footballer
  • 1979 – Chris Hero, American professional wrestler
  • 1980 – Tomas Kalnoky, American musician (Streetlight Manifesto)
  • 1981 – Dima Bilan, Karachay-Russian pop artist
  • 1982 – Aiba Masaki, Japanese singer and actor
  • 1982 – Robert Carmine, American singer
  • 1985 – David Ragan, American race car driver
  • 1986 – Edward Southall, British composer
  • 1986 – Riyo Mori, Miss Universe 2007 from Japan

December 24 – Deaths:

  • 427 – Archbishop Sisinnius I of Constantinople
  • 820 – Leo V, Byzantine Emperor (assassinated) (b. 775)
  • 1257 – John I, Count of Hainaut (b. 1218)
  • 1453 – John Dunstaple, English composer (b. 1390)
  • 1524 – Vasco da Gama, Portuguese explorer (b. 1469)
  • 1660 – Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (b. 1631)
  • 1707 – Noël Coypel, French painter (b. 1628)
  • 1813 – Empress Go-Sakuramachi of Japan (b. 1740)
  • 1863 – William Makepeace Thackeray, British writer (b. 1811)
  • 1865 – Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, British painter and writer (b. 1793)
  • 1868 – Adolphe d’Archiac, French paleontologist and geologist (b. 1802)
  • 1872 – William John Macquorn Rankine, British physician and engenier (b. 1820)
  • 1873 – Johns Hopkins, Baltimore philanthropist and businessman (b. 1795)
  • 1889 – Jan Jakob Lodewijk ten Kate, Dutch poet and clergyman (b. 1819)
  • 1898 – Sharbel Makhluf, Lebanese monk canonized in 1977 by Pope Paul VI (b. 1828)
  • 1914 – John Muir, British naturalist (b. 1838)
  • 1935 – Alban Berg, Austrian composer (b. 1885)
  • 1938 – Bruno Taut, German architect (b. 1880)
  • 1941 – Siegfried Alkan, German composer (b. 1858)
  • 1942 – François Darlan, vice-premier of Vichy France (b. 1881)
  • 1957 – Norma Talmadge, American actress (b. 1893)
  • 1965 – William M. Branham, Christian minister (b. 1906)
  • 1971 – Maria Koepcke, ornithologist (b. 1924)
  • 1972 – Gisela Richter, British art historian (b. 1882)
  • 1972 – Melville Ruick, American actor (b. 1898)
  • 1975 – Bernard Herrmann, American film composer (b. 1911)
  • 1976 – Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza, heir to the throne of Portugal (b. 1907)
  • 1977 – Samael Aun Weor, Columbian writer (b. 1917)
  • 1980 – Karl Dönitz, German naval admiral, and last leader of Nazi Germany (b. 1891)
  • 1980 – Siggie Nordstrom, model, actress, entertainer, socialite and lead singer of The Nordstrom Sisters (b. 1893)
  • 1982 – Louis Aragon, French writer (b. 1897)
  • 1984 – Peter Lawford, British actor (b. 1923)
  • 1985 – Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, Last Lincoln descendant (b. 1904)
  • 1986 – Gardner Fox, American writer (b. 1911)
  • 1987 – Joop den Uyl, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (b. 1919)
  • 1987 – M. G. Ramachandran, Chief Minister of the Tamil Nadu (b. 1917)
  • 1990 – Thorbjørn Egner, Norwegian author (b. 1922)
  • 1992 – Peyo, Belgian comics artist, and creator of The Smurfs (b. 1928)
  • 1992 – Bobby LaKind, American musician and singer (The Doobie Brothers) (b. 1945)
  • 1993 – Norman Vincent Peale, American writer (b. 1898)
  • 1994 – John Boswell, American historian (b. 1947)
  • 1994 – Rossano Brazzi, Italian actor and singer (b. 1916)
  • 1997 – Toshiro Mifune, Japanese actor (b. 1920)
  • 1997 – Pierre Péladeau, Quebec businessman, founder of Quebecor (b. 1925)
  • 1999 – João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo, President of Brazil (b. 1918)
  • 1999 – Maurice Couve de Murville, French politician, Prime minister of France (b. 1907)
  • 1999 – Bill Bowerman, American track and field coach
  • 2000 – John Cooper, English race car designer (b. 1923)
  • 2000 – Nick Massi, American singer (The Four Seasons) (b. 1935)
  • 2002 – Kjell Aukrust, Norwegian author (b. 1920)
  • 2002 – Laci Peterson, American murder victim (b. 1975)
  • 2004 – Johnny Oates, baseball player and manager (b. 1946)
  • 2005 – Michael Vale, American commercial actor (b. 1922)
  • 2006 – “Braguinha”, Brazilian songwriter (b. 1907)
  • 2006 – Kenneth Sivertsen, Norwegian singer, poet and comedian (b. 1961)
  • 2006 – Frank Stanton, American television executive (b. 1908)
  • 2007 – Nicholas Pumfrey, British judge (b. 1951)
  • 2007 – Akbar Radi, Iranian dramatist and playwright (b. 1939)

December 24 – Holidays:

  • Christmas Eve
  • Calendar of saints: Feast of Saint Adela and Saint Irmina.
  • The Declaration of Christmas Peace takes place in the Old Great Square of Turku, Finland’s official Christmas City, according to old traditions dating back to the Middle Ages.

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On This Day in History December 23

December 23 – Events:

  • 1493 – Georg Alt’s German translation of Hartmann Schedel’s Nuremberg Chronicle is published.
  • 1783 – George Washington resigns as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland.
  • 1793 – The Battle of Savenay, decisive defeat of the royalist counter-revolutionaries in Revolt in the Vendée during the French Revolution.
  • 1913 – The Federal Reserve Act is signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, creating the Federal Reserve.
  • 1914 – World War I: Australian and New Zealand troops arrive in Cairo, Egypt.
  • 1916 – World War I: Battle of Magdhaba – Allied forces defeat Turkish forces in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.
  • 1921 – Visva-Bharati University is inaugurated.
  • 1936 – Colombia becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
  • 1937 – First flight of the Vickers Wellington bomber.
  • 1938 – Discovery of the first modern coelacanth in South Africa.
  • 1940 – World War II: Greek submarine Papanikolis sinks the Italian motor ship Antonietta.
  • 1941 – World War II: Japanese Imperial Army occupies Wake Island.
  • 1947 – The transistor is first demonstrated at Bell Laboratories.
  • 1948 – Seven Japanese convicted of war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East are executed at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo.
  • 1954 – The first human kidney transplant is performed by Dr. Joseph E. Murray at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 1958 – Dedication of Tokyo Tower, world’s highest self-supporting iron tower.
  • 1968 – The United States won the release of 82 sailors by issuing a writing apology to North Korea for spying on the Communist country.
  • 1972 – The Nicaraguan capital of Managua is struck by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake, killing more than 10,000.
  • 1972 – The 16 survivors of the Andes flight disaster are rescued after 73 days, having survived by cannibalism.
  • 1979 – Soviet war in Afghanistan: Soviet forces occupy Kabul, the Afghan capital.
  • 1982 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency announces it has identified dangerous levels of dioxin in the soil of Times Beach, Missouri.
  • 1986 – Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California becoming the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world.
  • 1990 – History of Slovenia: In a referendum, 88% of Slovenia’s population vote for independence from Yugoslavia.
  • 2002 – A MQ-1 Predator is shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25, making it the first time in history that an aircraft and an unmanned drone had engaged in combat.
  • 2003 – PetroChina Chuandongbei natural gas field explosion, Guoqiao, Kai, Chongqing, China, killing at least 234.
  • 2004 – Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean is hit by an 8.1 magnitude earthquake.
  • 2005 – Azerbaijan Airlines Flight 217 from Baku, Azerbaijan, to Aktau, Kazakhstan
  • crashes shortly after takeoff killing 23 people.
  • 2005 – Chad declares a state of war against Sudan following a December 18th attack on Adré, which left about 100 people dead.

December 23 – Birthdays:

  • 245- Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra
  • 1173 – Louis I, Duke of Bavaria (d. 1231)
  • 1513 – Thomas Smith, English diplomat and scholar (d. 1577)
  • 1537 – King John III of Sweden (d. 1592)
  • 1582 – Severo Bonini, Italian composer (d. 1663)
  • 1597 – Martin Opitz von Boberfeld, German poet (d. 1639)
  • 1613 – Carl Gustaf Wrangel, Swedish soldier (d. 1676)
  • 1621 – Edmund Berry Godfrey, English magistrate (d. 1678)
  • 1621 – Heneage Finch, 1st Earl of Nottingham, Lord Chancellor of England (d. 1682)
  • 1689 – Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, French composer (d. 1755)
  • 1732 – Richard Arkwright, English industrialist and inventor (d. 1792)
  • 1743 – Ippolit Bogdanovich, Russian poet (d. 1803)
  • 1750 – King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony (d. 1827)
  • 1777 – Tsar Alexander I of Russia (d. 1825)
  • 1790 – Jean François Champollion, French Egyptologist (d. 1832)
  • 1804 – Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, French literary critic (d. 1869)
  • 1805 – Joseph Smith, Jr., American founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (d. 1844)
  • 1819 – Jan Jakob Lodewijk ten Kate, Dutch poet and clergyman (d. 1889)
  • 1822 – Wilhelm Bauer, German engineer (d. 1875)
  • 1843 – Richard Conner, American Civil War Medal of Honor Recipient (d. 1924)
  • 1854 – Henry B. Guppy, British botanist (d. 1926)
  • 1864 – Zorka of Montenegro, Princess of Serbia (d. 1890)
  • 1867 – Madam C.J. Walker, American philanthropist and tycoon (d. 1919)
  • 1878 – Stephen Timoshenko, Ukrainian-born mechanical engineer (d. 1972)
  • 1885 – Pierre Brissaud, French artist (d. 1964)
  • 1891 – Alexandr Rodchenko, Russian painter and photographer (d. 1956)
  • 1900 – Otto Soglow, American comics artist (d. 1975)
  • 1902 – Norman Maclean, American author (d. 1990)
  • 1907 – Avraham Stern, Polish-born Zionist leader (d. 1942)
  • 1908 – Yousuf Karsh, Turkish-born, Canadian portrait photographer (d. 2002)
  • 1911 – Niels Kaj Jerne, English-born immunologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1994)
  • 1911 – James Gregory, American actor (d. 2002)
  • 1916 – Dino Risi, Italian film director and screenwriter 
  • 1918 – Helmut Schmidt, Chancellor of Germany 
  • 1918 – José Greco, Italian-born flamenco dancer (d. 2001) 
  • 1921 – Guy Beaulne, French Canadian actor and theatre director (d. 2001) 
  • 1922 – Micheline Ostermeyer, French athlete and musician (d. 2001) 
  • 1923 – Günther Schifter, Austrian music journalist 
  • 1923 – Claudio Scimone, Italian conductor 
  • 1923 – James Stockdale, U.S. Navy admiral (d. 2005) 
  • 1923 – Onofre Marimón, Argentine racing driver (d. 1954)
  • 1926 – Robert Bly, American poet
  • 1928 – Chronis Aidonidis, Greek singer
  • 1929 – Chet Baker, American jazz trumpet player (d. 1988)
  • 1929 – Dick Weber, American professional tenpin bowler (d. 2005)
  • 1931 – Ronnie Schell, American actor
  • 1933 – Akihito, Emperor of Japan
  • 1935 – Paul Hornung, American football player
  • 1935 – Esther Phillips, American singer (d. 1984)
  • 1936 – Frederic Forrest, American actor
  • 1937 – Barney Rosenzweig, American television producer
  • 1938 – Bob Kahn, American Internet pioneer
  • 1940 – Jorma Kaukonen, American musician (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna)
  • 1940 – Robert Labine, former mayor of old city of Gatineau, Quebec
  • 1940 – Eugene Record, American singer (The Chi-Lites) (d. 2005)
  • 1941 – Ron Bushy, Rock Band Drummer
  • 1941 – Tim Hardin, American musician (d. 1980)
  • 1942 – John Peterman, American fashion designer
  • 1943 – Mikhail Gromov, Russian-born mathematician
  • 1943 – Harry Shearer, American actor
  • 1943 – Ron Allen, baseball player
  • 1943 – Elizabeth Hartman, American actress (d. 1987)
  • 1943 – Silvia Sommerlath, Queen of Sweden
  • 1944 – Wesley Clark, U.S. general, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, and former US Presidential candidate
  • 1945 – Ron Bushy, American drummer (Iron Butterfly)
  • 1946 – Edita Gruberova, Slovak operatic soprano
  • 1946 – Susan Lucci, American actress
  • 1947 – Heikki Lahtinen, Finnish race walker
  • 1948 – Jack Ham, American football player
  • 1948 – Leslie Moonves, American television executive
  • 1949 – Adrian Belew, American musician
  • 1950 – Michael C. Burgess, American politician
  • 1950 – Ilchi Lee, Korean educator and author
  • 1951 – Anthony Phillips, British guitarist (Genesis)
  • 1952 – William Kristol, American political commentator
  • 1956 – Dave Murray, English guitarist (Iron Maiden)
  • 1956 – Michele Alboreto, Italian Formula one driver (d. 2001)
  • 1957 – Dan Bigras, Canadian singer
  • 1957 – Trisha Goddard, English television presenter
  • 1958 – Victoria Williams, American singer
  • 1958 – Joan Severance, American actress
  • 1959 – Geoff Willis, British engineer
  • 1961 – Carol Smillie, British television personality
  • 1962 – Bertrand Gachot, Belgian racing driver
  • 1962 – Kang Je-gyu, South Korean film director
  • 1962 – Keiji Muto, Japanese professional wrestler
  • 1963 – Jim Harbaugh, American football player
  • 1963 – Donna Tartt, American author
  • 1964 – Eddie Vedder, American musician (Pearl Jam)
  • 1967 – Carla Bruni, Italian-French model, songwriter and singer
  • 1968 – Quincy Jones III, Swedish-American musician
  • 1969 – Greg Biffle, American racecar driver
  • 1969 – Martha Byrne, American actress
  • 1970 – Catriona LeMay Doan, Canadian speed skater
  • 1970 – Raymont Harris, American football player
  • 1971 – Corey Haim, Canadian actor
  • 1971 – Masayoshi Yamazaki, Japanese singer-songwriter
  • 1971 – Michalis Klokidis, Greek footballer
  • 1971 – Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, British socialite
  • 1974 – Agustín Delgado, Ecuadorian footballer
  • 1975 – Sky Lopez, American actress
  • 1975 – Vadim Sharifijanov, Russian ice hockey player
  • 1976 – Brad Lidge, American baseball player
  • 1976 – Dimitris Mavrogenidis, Greek footballer
  • 1976 – Jamie Noble, American professional wrestler
  • 1977 – Alge Crumpler, American football player
  • 1977 – Jari Mäenpää, Finnish guitarist and singer
  • 1977 – Paul Shirley, American basketball player
  • 1978 – Andra Davis, American football player
  • 1978 – Esthero, Canadian musician and singer
  • 1978 – Jodie Marsh, British glamour model
  • 1978 – Víctor Martínez, Venezuelan baseball player
  • 1978 – Estella Warren, Canadian model and actress
  • 1979 – Summer Altice, American model and actress
  • 1979 – Scott Gomez, American ice hockey player
  • 1979 – Holly Madison, American model
  • 1981 – Beth, Spanish singer
  • 1983 – Michael Chopra, English footballer
  • 1983 – Hanley Ramírez, Dominican baseball player
  • 1985 – Harry Judd, British drummer (McFly)
  • 1985 – Luke O’Loughlin, Australian actor
  • 1988 – Eri Kamei, Japanese singer
  • 1990 – Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, American actress, model, and singer

December 23 – Deaths:

  • 679 – Dagobert II, King of Austrasia (b. c 650).(murdered)
  • 910 – Naum of Preslav, Bulgarian scholar
  • 913 – Conrad of Franconia
  • 918 – Conrad I of Germany
  • 1230 – Berengaria of Navarre, queen of Richard I of England
  • 1556 – Nicholas Udall, English playwright (b. 1504)
  • 1568 – Roger Ascham, tutor of Elizabeth I of England
  • 1575 – Akiyama Nobutomo, Japanese warrior (hanged) (b. 1531)
  • 1588 – Henry I, Duke of Guise, French Catholic leader (b. 1550)
  • 1631 – Michael Drayton, English poet (b. 1563)
  • 1646 – François Maynard, French poet (b. 1582)
  • 1652 – John Cotton, founder of Boston, Massachusetts (b. 1585)
  • 1675 – Caesar, duc de Choiseul, French marshal and diplomat (b. 1602)
  • 1722 – Pierre Varignon, French mathematician (b. 1654)
  • 1771 – Marie-Marguerite d’Youville, Canadian saint (b. 1701)
  • 1761 – Alestair Ruadh MacDonnell, Scottish Jacobite spy
  • 1779 – Augustus Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol, British admiral and politician (b. 1724)
  • 1789 – Charles-Michel de l’Épée, French philanthropist (b. 1712)
  • 1793 – Johann Adolph Hasse, German composer (b. 1699)
  • 1793 – Antoine François Prévost, French author and novelist (b. 1697)
  • 1795 – Henry Clinton, British general (b. 1730)
  • 1805 – Pehr Osbeck, Swedish explorer and naturalist (b. 1723)
  • 1834 – Thomas Malthus, English demographer and economist (b. 1766)
  • 1846 – Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent, French naturalist (b. 1780)
  • 1902 – Frederick Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 1821)
  • 1912 – Otto Schoetensack, German anthropologist (b. 1850)
  • 1931 – Wilson Bentley, American scientist (b. 1865)
  • 1939 – Anthony Fokker, Dutch aircraft manufacturer (b. 1890)
  • 1946 – John A. Sampson, American gynecologist (b. 1873)
  • 1948 – Hideki Tojo, Prime Minister of Japan (hanged) (b. 1884)
  • 1948 – Akira Muto, Japanese army commander (hanged) (b. 1883)
  • 1953 – Lavrenty Beria, Soviet Communist leader (b. 1899)
  • 1954 – René Iché, French sculptor (b. 1897)
  • 1970 – Charles Ruggles, American actor (b. 1886)
  • 1972 – Andrei Tupolev, Soviet aircraft designer (b. 1888)
  • 1973 – Charles Atlas, Italian-born bodybuilder (b. 1892)
  • 1973 – Irna Phillips, American television writer, director, and producer (b. 1901)
  • 1979 – Peggy Guggenheim, American art collector (b. 1898)
  • 1982 – Jack Webb, American actor, producer, and director (b. 1920)
  • 1983 – Colin Middleton, Northern Irish artist (b. 1910)
  • 1992 – Vincent Fourcade, French American interior designer and socialite (b. 1934)
  • 1992 – Eddie Hazel, American guitarist (Funkadelic) (b. 1950)
  • 1994 – Sebastian Shaw, English actor (b. 1905)
  • 1997 – Stanley Cortez, American cinematographer (b. 1908)
  • 2000 – Noor Jehan, Indian singer and actress (b. 1926)
  • 2000 – Billy Barty, American actor (b. 1924)
  • 2000 – Victor Borge, Danish-born comedian and pianist (b. 1909)
  • 2004 – P. V. Narasimha Rao, Prime Minister of India (b. 1921)
  • 2005 – Norman D. Vaughan, polar explorer and dogsled driver (b. 1905)
  • 2005 – Lajos Baróti, Hungarian footballer and coach (b. 1914)
  • 2006 – Charlie Drake, English comedian (b. 1925)
  • 2006 – Marilyn Waltz, American actress and Playboy Playmate (b. 1931)
  • 2006 – Timothy J. Tobias, American composer and musician (b. 1952)
  • 2006 – Johnny Vincent, English footballer for Birmingham City and Middlesbrough (b. 1947)
  • 2007 – Michael Kidd, American film and stage choreographer (b. 1915)
  • 2007 – Oscar Peterson, Canadian jazz pianist and composer (b. 1925)
  • 2007 – William Francis Ganong, American physiologist (b. 1924)

December 23 – Holidays:

  • Roman festivals – Larentalia, a festival in honour of Larenta
  • R.C. Saints – O Emmanuel, John Cantius ; Thorlac Thorhallsson, patron saint of Iceland
  • Japan – The Emperor’s Birthday – Birthday of Akihito, the current Emperor of Japan
  • Ancient Latvia – Ziemassvetki held
  • Sweden – Birthday of Queen Silvia, an official flag day
  • Oaxaca – Night of the Radishes
  • Secular humanism (American) – HumanLight observed
  • Saint Abassad, in the Coptic Church
  • Saint Psote, in the Coptic Church

 

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On This Day in History December 22

December 22 – Events:

  • 1790 – The Turkish fortress of Izmail is stormed and captured by Suvorov and his Russian armies.
  • 1807 – The Embargo Act, forbidding trade with all foreign countries, is passed by the U.S. Congress, at the urging of President Thomas Jefferson.
  • 1809 – The Non-Intercourse Act, lifting the Embargo Act except for the United Kingdom and France, passes the U.S. Congress.
  • 1849 – The execution of Fyodor Dostoevsky is called off at the last second.
  • 1851 – The first freight train is operated in Roorkee, India.
  • 1864 – Savannah, Georgia falls to General William Tecumseh Sherman, concluding his “March to the Sea.”
  • 1885 – Ito Hirobumi, a samurai, became the first Prime Minister of Japan.
  • 1894 – The Dreyfus affair begins, in France, when Alfred Dreyfus is wrongly convicted of treason, on antisemitic grounds.
  • 1920 – The GOELRO economic development plan is adopted by the 8th Congress of Soviets of the Russian SFSR.
  • 1937 – The Lincoln Tunnel opens to traffic in New York City.
  • 1940 – World War II: Himarë is captured by the Greek army.
  • 1942 – World War II: Adolf Hitler signs the order to develop the V-2 rocket as a weapon.
  • 1944 – World War II: Battle of the Bulge–German troops demand the surrender of United States troops at Bastogne, Belgium, prompting the famous one word reply by General Anthony McAuliffe: “Nuts!”
  • 1944 – World War II: Vietnam People’s Army is formed to resist Japanese occupation of Indo-China, now Vietnam.
  • 1947 – The Constituent Assembly of Italy approves its constitution.
  • 1956 – Colo is born, the first gorilla to be bred in captivity.
  • 1963 – Cruise ship Lakonia burns 180 miles north of Madeira with the loss of 128 lives.
  • 1964 – Comedian Lenny Bruce is convicted of obscenity.
  • 1964 – First flight of the SR-71 (Blackbird).
  • 1965 – In the United Kingdom, a 70mph speed limit is applied to all rural roads including motorways for the first time. Previously, there had been no speed limit.
  • 1974 – Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli vote to become the independent nation of Comoros. Mayotte remains under French administration.
  • 1974 – Ted Heath’s house is attacked by members of the Provisional IRA.
  • 1978 – The pivotal Third Plenum of the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is held in Beijing, with Deng Xiaoping reversing Mao-era policies to pursue a program for Chinese economic reform.
  • 1984 – Subway vigilante Bernhard Hugo Goetz shoots four African-American men on an express train in The Bronx borough of New York City.
  • 1988 – Chico Mendes, a Brazilian rubber tapper, unionist and environmental activist, is assassinated.
  • 1989 – After a week of bloody demonstrations, Ion Iliescu takes over as president of Romania, ending Nicolae Ceausescu’s Communist dictatorship.
  • 1989 – Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate re-opens after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.
  • 1989 – Kempsey bus crash: Two tourist coaches collide on the Pacific Highway north of Kempsey, New South Wales
  • 1990 – Final independence of Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia after termination of trusteeship.
  • 1997 – Acteal massacre: Attendees at a prayer meeting of Roman Catholic activists for indigenous causes in the small village of Acteal in the Mexican state of Chiapas are massacred by paramilitary forces.
  • 1999 – The Spanish Civil Guard finds near Calatayud (Zaragoza) another van loaded by ETA with 750 kg of explosives.
  • 2001 – Burhanuddin Rabbani, political leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance, hands over power in Afghanistan to the interim government headed by President Hamid Karzai.
  • 2001 – Richard Reid attempts to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.
  • 2003 – A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hits near San Simeon, California. 

December 22 – Birthdays:

  • 1095 – Roger II of Sicily, King of Sicily (d. 1154)
  • 1178 – Emperor Antoku of Japan (d. 1185)
  • 1546 – Kuroda Yoshitaka, Japanese Daimyo (d. 1604)
  • 1550 – Cesare Cremonini, Italian philosopher (d. 1631)
  • 1639 – Jean Racine, French dramatist (d. 1699)
  • 1666 – Guru Gobind Singh, Sikh guru (d. 1708)
  • 1690 – Meidingnu Pamheiba, King of Manipur (d. 1751)
  • 1694 – Hermann Samuel Reimarus, German philosopher and writer (d. 1768)
  • 1696 – James Oglethorpe, English general and founder of the state of Georgia (d. 1785)
  • 1723 – Karl Friedrich Abel, German composer (d. 1787)
  • 1765 – Johann Friedrich Pfaff, German mathematician (d. 1825)
  • 1805 – John Obadiah Westwood, British entomologist (d. 1893)
  • 1807 – Johann Sebastian Welhaven, Norwegian poet (d. 1873)
  • 1819 – Franz Wilhelm Abt, German composer (d. 1870)
  • 1819 – Pierre Ossian Bonnet, French mathematician (d. 1892)
  • 1853 – Teresa Carreño, Venezuelan pianist (d. 1917)
  • 1853 – Yevgraf Fyodorov, Russian mathematician (d. 1919)
  • 1856 – Frank B. Kellogg, U.S. Secretary of State, Nobel laureate (d. 1937)
  • 1858 – Giacomo Puccini, Italian composer (d. 1924)
  • 1860 – Austin Norman Palmer, American penmanship innovator (d. 1927)
  • 1862 – Connie Mack, American baseball executive (d. 1956)
  • 1869 – Edwin Arlington Robinson, American poet (d. 1935)
  • 1869 – Dmitri Egorov, Russian mathematician (d. 1931)
  • 1872 – Camille Guérin, French veterinarian and bacteriologist (d. 1961)
  • 1874 – Franz Schmidt, Austrian composer (d. 1939)
  • 1876 – Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Italian poet and editor (d. 1944)
  • 1883 – Edgard Varèse French-born composer (d. 1965)
  • 1887 – Srinivasa Ramanujan, Indian mathematician (d. 1920)
  • 1888 – J. Arthur Rank, British film producer (d. 1972)
  • 1898 – Vladimir Aleksandrovich Fock, Russian physicist (d. 1974)
  • 1899 – Gustav Gründgens, German actor (d. 1963)
  • 1900 – Marc Allégret, French film director and screenwriter (d. 1973)
  • 1901 – André Kostelanetz, American popular music orchestra leader and arranger (d. 1980)
  • 1903 – Haldan Keffer Hartline, American physiologist, Nobel laureate (d. 1983)
  • 1905 – Kenneth Rexroth, American poet (d. 1982)
  • 1905 – Pierre Brasseur, French actor (d. 1972)
  • 1907 – Dame Peggy Ashcroft, English actress (d. 1991)
  • 1909 – Patricia Hayes, English actress (d. 1998)
  • 1912 – Lady Bird Johnson, First Lady of the United States (d. 2007)
  • 1915 – Barbara Billingsley, American actress
  • 1917 – Gene Rayburn, American game show host (d. 1999)
  • 1921 – Hawkshaw Hawkins, American country singer (d. 1963)
  • 1922 – Jack Brooks, American politician
  • 1922 – Ruth Roman, American actress (d. 1999)
  • 1924 – Frank Corsaro, American stage director
  • 1925 – Lewis Glucksman, American financier (d. 2006)
  • 1934 – David Pearson, American racecar driver
  • 1936 – James Burke, British writer
  • 1936 – Hector Elizondo, American actor
  • 1936 – Wojciech Frykowski, Polish actor (d. 1969)
  • 1937 – Eduard Uspensky, Russian writer
  • 1938 – Matty Alou, Dominican baseball player
  • 1938 – Lucien Bouchard, Quebec politician
  • 1939 – James Gurley, American musician
  • 1942 – Dick Parry, English musician (Pink Floyd)
  • 1943 – Paul Wolfowitz, American politician
  • 1944 – Steve Carlton, American baseball player
  • 1945 – Diane Sawyer, American journalist
  • 1946 – Rick Nielsen, American musician (Cheap Trick)
  • 1948 – Noel Edmonds, English game show host
  • 1948 – Steve Garvey, American baseball player
  • 1948 – Lynne Thigpen, American actress (d. 2003)
  • 1949 – Maurice Gibb, English musician (The Bee Gees) (d. 2003)
  • 1949 – Robin Gibb, English musician (The Bee Gees)
  • 1951 – Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, Duke of Westminster
  • 1953 – BernNadette Stanis, actress
  • 1953 – Ian Turnbull, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1954 – Hideshi Matsuda, Japanese racing driver
  • 1955 – Lonnie Smith, American baseball player
  • 1957 – Carole James, Canadian politician
  • 1958 – Frank Gambale, Australian musician
  • 1958 – David Heavener, American actor and musician
  • 1959 – Bernd Schuster, German footballer
  • 1960 – Wakin Chau, Chinese singer
  • 1960 – Jean-Michel Basquiat, American artist (d. 1988)
  • 1960 – Luther Campbell (Luke), American rap artist (2 Live Crew)
  • 1960 – Patrick Fitzgerald, American attorney
  • 1961 – Andrew Fastow, American businessman
  • 1962 – Ralph Fiennes, English actor
  • 1963 – Giuseppe Bergomi, Italian footballer
  • 1963 – Luna H. Mitani, Japanese American surrealism painter
  • 1966 – Dmitry Bilozerchev, Soviet gymnast
  • 1967 – Dan Petrescu, Romanian footballer
  • 1967 – Richey James Edwards, Welsh musician (Manic Street Preachers) (disappeared in 1995)
  • 1967 – Stéphane Gendron, Quebec politician
  • 1967 – Paul Morris, Australian racing driver
  • 1968 – Dina Meyer, American actress
  • 1968 – Lauralee Bell, American actress
  • 1969 – Myriam Bédard, Canadian athlete
  • 1971 – Pat Mastroianni, Canadian actor
  • 1972 – Big Tigger, television host
  • 1972 – Vanessa Paradis, French singer
  • 1974 – Heather Donahue, American actress
  • 1975 – Chris Adler, American actor
  • 1975 – Crissy Moran, American erotic actress
  • 1975 – Dmitri Khokhlov, Russian footballer
  • 1975 – Stanislav Neckár, Czech ice hockey player
  • 1976 – Brian A. Alexander, American screenwriter and director
  • 1976 – Jason Lane, American Baseball Player
  • 1977 – Steve Kariya, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1980 – Lee Eun-ju, South Korean actress (d. 2005)
  • 1980 – Chris Carmack, American actor
  • 1983 – Jennifer Hawkins, Australian Miss Universe
  • 1984 – Basshunter, popular Swedish singer
  • 1989 – Jordin Sparks, American singer and American Idol winner
  • 1990 – Jean-Baptiste Maunier, French actor
  • 1993 – Aliana Lohan,American actress and singer

December 22 – Deaths:

  • 1100 – Duke Bretislaus II of Bohemia
  • 1550 – Richard Plantagenet (Richard of Eastwell) possibly a son of Richard III
  • 1603 – Mehmed III, Ottoman Emperor (b. 1566)
  • 1646 – Peter Mogila, Orthodox Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia (b. 1596)
  • 1660 – André Tacquet, Flemish mathematician (b. 1612)
  • 1681 – Richard Alleine, English Puritan clergyman (b. 1611)
  • 1708 – Hedwig Sophia, duchess of Holstein-Gottorp, Swedish writer (b. 1681)
  • 1738 – Constantia Jones, British prostitute (executed)
  • 1767 – John Newbery, English publisher (b. 1713)
  • 1788 – Percivall Pott, English physician and surgeon (b. 1714)
  • 1806 – William Vernon, American merchant (b. 1719)
  • 1867 – Jean-Victor Poncelet, French mathematician (b. 1788)
  • 1870 – Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Spanish poet and writer (b. 1836)
  • 1828 – William Hyde Wollaston, English chemist (b. 1766)
  • 1880 – George Eliot, English writer (b. 1819)
  • 1899 – Dwight L. Moody, American evangelist (b. 1837)
  • 1902 – Richard von Krafft-Ebing, German psychiatrist (b. 1840)
  • 1917 – Mother Cabrini, first American citizen canonized by the Catholic Church (b. 1850)
  • 1939 – Ma Rainey, American singer (b. 1886)
  • 1940 – Nathanael West, American writer (b. 1903)
  • 1942 – Franz Boas, German anthropologist (b. 1858)
  • 1943 – Beatrix Potter, English writer (b. 1866)
  • 1944 – Harry Langdon, American silent film actor (b. 1884)
  • 1947 – Hans Aumeier, German Nazi official and concentration camp commandant (b. 1906)
  • 1947 – Therese Brandl, Nazi concentration camp guard (b. 1902)
  • 1959 – Gilda Gray, Polish-born American dancer and actress (b. 1901)
  • 1965 – Richard Dimbleby, English journalist and broadcaster (b. 1913)
  • 1971 – Godfried Bomans, Dutch author and television personality (b. 1913)
  • 1979 – Darryl F. Zanuck, American producer (b. 1902)
  • 1985 – D. Boon, American singer and guitarist (The Minutemen) (b. 1958)
  • 1988 – Chico Mendes, Brazilian rubber tapper, unionist, and environmental activist

(assassinated) (b. 1944)

  • 1989 – Samuel Beckett, Irish writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1906)
  • 1992 – Frederick Franz, Watchtower president (b. 1893) 
  • 1993 – Don DeFore, American actor (b. 1913) 
  • 1995 – Butterfly McQueen, American actress (b. 1911) 
  • 1995 – James Meade, English economist, Bank of Sweden Prize winner (b. 1907)
  • 1998 – Michelle Thomas, American actress (b. 1969)
  • 2002 – Desmond Hoyte, President of Guyana (b. 1929)
  • 2002 – Joe Strummer, English musician (The Clash) (b. 1952)
  • 2003 – Dave Dudley, American singer (b. 1928)
  • 2004 – Doug Ault, American baseball player (b. 1950)
  • 2006 – Galina Ustvolskaya, Russian composer (b. 1919)
  • 2006 – Dennis Linde, American songwriter (b. 1943)

December 22 – Holidays:

  • In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice, sometimes known as Yule, occurs on or very close to this date. In the Southern Hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs around this time.
  • R.C. Saints – commemoration of Frances Xavier Cabrini, O Rex, Anastasia of Sirmium
  • Japan – Toji (winter solstice)
  • Chinese Culture – Winter Solstice where is commonly met with the eating of glutinous flour balls(Tang Yuen). Marks the middle or “Extreme” of winter. Tang Yuen was introduced in China as an item of propaganda back in the Dynasties.
  • Indonesia Mother Day, as an achievement for Dewi Sartika.
  • Yalda Night Longest Day Of Year, from Ancient Persia.

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On This Day in History December 21

December 21 – Events:

  • 69 – The end of the Year of the four emperors: Following Galba, Otho and Vitellius, Vespasian becomes the fourth Emperor of Rome within a year.
  • 1620 – Plymouth Colony: William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims land on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • 1844 – The Rochdale Pioneers commence business at their cooperative in Rochdale, England, starting the Cooperative movement.
  • 1861 – Medal of Honor: Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor, is signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.
  • 1872 – Challenger expedition: HMS Challenger, commanded by Captain George Nares, sails from Portsmouth.
  • 1883 – The first Permanent Force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army are formed: The Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment.
  • 1913 – Arthur Wynne’s “word-cross”, the first crossword puzzle, is published in the New York World.
  • 1958 – French presidential election: Charles de Gaulle is elected President of France as his Union des Démocrates pour la République party gain 78.5% of the vote.
  • 1962 – Rondane National Park is established as Norway’s first national park.
  • 1967 – Louis Washkansky, the first man to undergo a heart transplant, dies in Cape Town, South Africa, after living for 18 days.
  • 1968 – Apollo program: Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At 2h:50m:37s Mission elapsed time (MES), the crew performs the first ever manned Trans Lunar Injection and become the first humans to leave Earth’s gravity.
  • 1971 – The United Nations Security Council chooses Kurt Waldheim to succeed U Thant as Secretary-General.
  • 1973 – The Geneva Conference on the Arab-Israeli conflict opens.
  • 1979 – Lancaster House Agreement: An independence agreement for Rhodesia is signed in London by Lord Carrington, Sir Ian Gilmour, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and S.C. Mundawarara.
  • 1987 – The passenger ferry Doña Paz sinks after colliding with the oil tanker Vector 1 in the Tablas Strait in the Philippines, killing 1,565.
  • 1988 – A bomb explodes on board Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, killing 270.
  • 1991 – Charilaos Florakis is elected honorary president of the Communist Party of Greece.
  • 1992 – A Dutch DC-10, flight Martinair MP 495, crashes at Faro Airport (Portugal), killing 56 people.
  • 1995 – The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control.
  • 1999 – The Spanish Civil Guard intercepts a van loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to use to blow up Torre Picasso in Madrid.
  • 2007 – The Schengen Agreement area increases to include 9 European Union member states; Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia on land and sea borders.

December 21 – Birthdays:

  • 1118 – Thomas Becket, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1170)
  • 1401 – Tommaso Masaccio, Italian painter (d. 1428) 
  • 1596 – Petro Mohyla, Moldovan Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop of Kiev and Galicia (d. 1646)
  • 1603 – Roger Williams, English theologian and colonist (d. 1684)
  • 1714 – John Bradstreet, Canadian-born soldier (d. 1774)
  • 1778 – Anders Sandøe Ørsted, Danish politician (d. 1860)
  • 1795 – Leopold von Ranke, German historian (d. 1886)
  • 1804 – Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1881)
  • 1805 – Thomas Graham, British chemist (d. 1869)
  • 1811 – Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1882)
  • 1815 – Thomas Couture French painter and teacher (d. 1879)
  • 1818 – Amalia of Oldenburg, Queen of Greece (d. 1875)
  • 1832 – John H. Ketcham, American politician (d. 1906)
  • 1843 – Thomas Bracken, Irish-born New Zealander poet (d. 1898)
  • 1850 – Zdenek Fibich, Bohemian composer (d. 1900)
  • 1851 – Thomas Chipman McRae, American politician, 34th Governor of Arkansas (d. 1929)
  • 1859 – Gustave Kahn, French poet (d. 1936)
  • 1872 – Sidney Ainsworth, British actor (d. 1922)
  • 1872 – Don Lorenzo Perosi, Italian composer (d. 1956)
  • 1872 – Albert Payson Terhune, American author (d. 1942)
  • 1873 – Blagoje Bersa, Croatian composer (d. 1934)
  • 1876 – Jack Lang (John Thomas Lang), Premier of New South Wales (d. 1975)
  • 1878 – Jan Lukasiewicz, Polish philosopher and mathematician (d. 1956)
  • 1885 – Frank Patrick, hockey player (d. 1960)
  • 1889 – Sewall Wright, American biologist (d. 1988)
  • 1890 – Hermann Joseph Muller, American geneticist and Nobel laureate (d. 1967)
  • 1891 – John William McCormack, American politician (d. 1980)
  • 1892 – Walter Hagen, American golfer (d. 1969)
  • 1892 – Rebecca West, American writer (d. 1983)
  • 1892 – Amy Key Clarke, English mystical poet
  • 1896 – Leroy Robertson, American composer (d. 1971)
  • 1905 – Anthony Powell, British author (d. 2000)
  • 1909 – Seicho Matsumoto, Japanese mystery writer and journalist (d. 1992)
  • 1911 – Josh Gibson, American baseball player (d. 1947)
  • 1914 – Ivan Generalic, Austro-Hungarian-born Croatian painter (d. 1992)
  • 1915 – Werner von Trapp, member of the Trapp Family Singers (d. 2007)
  • 1917 – Heinrich Böll, German writer and Nobel laureate (d. 1985)
  • 1917 – Sophie Masloff, American politician
  • 1918 – Donald Regan, American White House Chief of Staff (d. 2003)
  • 1918 – Kurt Waldheim, Austrian United Nations Secretary-General and Federal President of Austria (d. 2007)
  • 1920 – Alicia Alonso, Cuban ballerina
  • 1920 – Bob Bindig, cartoonist (d. 2006)
  • 1920 – Jean Gascon, Canadian actor (d. 1988)
  • 1921 – Maila Nurmi, aka Vampira, Finnish-born American actress (d. 2008)
  • 1921 – John Severin, American comics artist
  • 1922 – Paul Winchell, American ventriloquist (d. 2005)
  • 1923 – Intizar Hussain, Urdu writer and columnist of Pakistan
  • 1926 – Joe Paterno, American football coach
  • 1932 – Edward Hoagland, American essayist
  • 1935 – John G. Avildsen, American film director
  • 1935 – Lorenzo Bandini, Italian racecar driver (d. 1967)
  • 1935 – Yusuf Bey (Joseph Stephens), American activist (d. 2003)
  • 1935 – Phil Donahue, American talk show host
  • 1935 – Edward Schreyer, Canadian politician, Premier of Manitoba
  • 1937 – Jane Fonda, American actress
  • 1937 – Donald F. Munson, American politician
  • 1939 – Lloyd Axworthy, Canadian politician
  • 1940 – Frank Zappa, American musician (d. 1993)
  • 1940 – Ray Hildebrand, American singer (Paul & Paula)
  • 1942 – Hu Jintao, Chinese president
  • 1942 – Reinhard Mey, German singer
  • 1942 – Carla Thomas, American singer
  • 1943 – André Arthur. Quebec radio host
  • 1944 – Michael Tilson Thomas, American conductor
  • 1944 – Bill Atkinson, English footballer
  • 1946 – Carl Wilson, American musician (The Beach Boys) (d. 1998)
  • 1946 – Christopher Keene, American conductor (d. 1995)
  • 1947 – Paco de Lucía, Spanish musician
  • 1947 – Bryan Hamilton, Northern Irish footballer
  • 1948 – Samuel L. Jackson, American actor
  • 1948 – Willi Resetarits, Austrian musician
  • 1948 – Dave Kingman, baseball player
  • 1949 – Nikolaos Sifounakis, Greek politician
  • 1950 – Jeffrey Katzenberg, American producer
  • 1950 – Lillebjørn Nilsen, Norwegian singer-songwriter
  • 1951 – Nick Gilder, English musician (Sweeney Todd)
  • 1952 – Joaquín Andújar, baseball player
  • 1953 – Betty Wright, American singer
  • 1954 – Chris Evert, American tennis player
  • 1955 – Jane Kaczmarek, American actress
  • 1955 – Kazuyuki Sekiguchi, Japanese musician
  • 1956 – Lee Roy Parnell, American country singer
  • 1957 – Tom Henke, American baseball player
  • 1957 – Ray Romano, Italian-American comedian
  • 1959 – Florence Griffith Joyner, American sprinter (d. 1998)
  • 1960 – Louis Demetrius Alvanis, London-based pianist
  • 1960 – Roger McDowell, Former Major League Baseball Pitcher
  • 1960 – Andy Van Slyke, baseball player
  • 1961 – Francis Ng, Hong Kong actor
  • 1961 – Ryuji Sasai, Japanese composer
  • 1964 – Rob Kelly, English football manager
  • 1964 – Fabiana Udenio, Argentine actress
  • 1965 – Andy Dick, American actor and comedian
  • 1965 – Anke Engelke, German comedian
  • 1966 – Kiefer Sutherland, British-born Canadian actor
  • 1966 – Karri Turner, American actress
  • 1967 – Mikhail Saakashvili, Soviet-born President of Georgia
  • 1969 – Julie Delpy, French actress
  • 1969 – Mihails Zemlinskis, Latvian footballer
  • 1970 – Jamie Theakston, English television presenter
  • 1971 – Mathieu Chedid, French musician
  • 1971 – Fenton Keogh, Australian celebrity chef
  • 1971 – Brett Scallions, American singer (Fuel, The X’s)
  • 1972 – Latroy Hawkins, baseball player
  • 1972 – Erwin Schrott, Uruguayan opera singer
  • 1972 – Dustin Hermanson, baseball player
  • 1973 – Karmen Stavec, German-born Slovenian singer
  • 1973 – Mike Alstott, American football player
  • 1974 – Karrie Webb, Australian golfer
  • 1975 – Paloma Herrera, Argentine ballet dancer
  • 1976 – Mirela Manjani, Greek javelin thrower
  • 1978 – Mike Vitar, American actor
  • 1979 – Tuva Novotny, Swedish actress and singer
  • 1981 – Cristian Zaccardo, Italian football player
  • 1981 – Lynda Thomas, Mexican singer
  • 1981 – Sajid Mahmood, English cricketer
  • 1982 – Mike Gansey, American basketball player
  • 1982 – Erica Hayden, American journalist and radio personality
  • 1982 – Philip Humber, American baseball player
  • 1984 – Darren Potter, Irish footballer
  • 1985 – James Stewart Jr., American motorcycle racer

December 21 – Deaths:

  • 72 – Thomas the Apostle
  • 1295 – Marguerite Berenger of Provence, wife of Louis IX of France (b. 1221)
  • 1308 – Henry I of Hesse (b. 1244)
  • 1375 – Giovanni Boccaccio, Italian writer (b. 1313)
  • 1504 – Bertold von Henneberg-Römhild, German archbishop and elector (b. 1442)
  • 1549 – Marguerite of Navarre, wife of Henry II of Navarre (b. 1492)
  • 1579 – Vicente Masip, Spanish painter
  • 1597 – Petrus Canisius, Dutch Jesuit (b. 1521)
  • 1807 – John Newton, English cleric and hymnist (b. 1725)
  • 1824 – James Parkinson, English physician, geologist, paleontologist, and political activist (b. 1755)
  • 1873 – Francis Garnier, French explorer (b. 1839)
  • 1889 – Friedrich August von Quenstedt, German geologist (b. 1809)
  • 1900 – Roger Wolcott, American political figure, 39th Governor of Massachusetts (b. 1847)
  • 1933 – Knud Johan Victor Rasmussen, Greenlandic polar explorer and anthropologist (b. 1879)
  • 1935 – Kurt Tucholsky, German journalist and satirist (b. 1890)
  • 1937 – Frank B. Kellogg, United States Secretary of State, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1856)
  • 1940 – F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer (b. 1896)
  • 1945 – George S. Patton, U.S. general (b. 1885)
  • 1957 – Eric Coates, English composer (b. 1886)
  • 1958 – Lion Feuchtwanger, German writer (b. 1884)
  • 1959 – Rosanjin, Japanese calligrapher, restaurateur and ceramicist (b. 1883)
  • 1964 – Carl Van Vechten, American writer and photographer (b. 1880)
  • 1965 – Claude Champagne, Quebec composer (b. 1891)
  • 1967 – Stuart Erwin, American actor (b. 1903)
  • 1974 – James Henry Govier, British artist (b. 1910)
  • 1974 – Richard Long, American actor (b. 1927)
  • 1981 – Allan Dwan, Canadian-born American director and screenwriter (b. 1885)
  • 1983 – Paul de Man, Belgian-born literary critic (b. 1919)
  • 1987 – John Spence, founding No Doubt member (b. 1969)
  • 1988 – Nikolaas Tinbergen, Dutch ornithologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1907)
  • 1990 – Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, American aeronautical engineer (Lockheed Skunk Works; b. 1910)
  • 1992 – Albert King, American blues musician (b. 1924)
  • 1992 – Nathan Milstein, Ukrainian violinist (b. 1903)
  • 1997 – Amie Comeaux, American country music singer (b. 1976)
  • 1998 – Roger Avon, Durham actor (b. 1914)
  • 1998 – Karl Denver, Scottish singer (b 1931)
  • 1998 – Ernst Gunther Schenck, German doctor who joined the Sturmabteilung in 1933 (b. 1904)
  • 2001 – Dick Schaap, American sports journalist (b. 1934)
  • 2003 – Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Spanish playboy and businessman (b.

1924)

  • 2004 – Autar Singh Paintal, Indian medical scientist (b. 1925)
  • 2005 – Elrod Hendricks, American baseball player and coach (b. 1940)
  • 2006 – Scobie Breasley, Australian jockey (b. 1914)
  • 2006 – Saparmurat Niyazov, President of Turkmenistan (b. 1940)
  • 2007 – Ken Hendricks, American businessman (b. 1941)

December 21 – Holidays:

  • Roman festivals – Divalia in honour of Angerona
  • R.C. Saints – O Oriens, Saint Petrus Canisius; formerly feast day of Thomas the apostle
  • In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice, sometimes known as Yule, occurs on or very close to this date. In the Southern Hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs around this time. It is also an important festival in the Chinese calendar.
  • Yalda, originally a religious holiday for Zoroastrians, is now a social holiday in Iran.
  • Chester Greenwood Day in Maine, he was the inventor of earmuffs.

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On This Day in History December 20

December 20 – Events:

  • 69 – Vespasian, formerly a general under Nero, enters Rome to claim the title of emperor.
  • 1192 – Richard the Lion-Heart is captured and imprisoned by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after signing a treaty with Saladin ending the crusade.
  • 1522 – Suleiman the Magnificent accepts the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who are allowed to evacuate. They eventually settle on Malta and become known as the Knights of Malta.
  • 1606 – The Virginia Company loads three ships with settlers and sets sail to establish Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas.
  • 1803 – The Louisiana Purchase is completed at a ceremony in New Orleans.
  • 1835 – First signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence at Goliad, Texas.
  • 1860 – South Carolina becomes the first state to secede from the United States.
  • 1915 – World War I: Last Australian troops evacuated from Gallipoli.
  • 1917 – Cheka, the first Soviet secret police, is founded.
  • 1941 – World War II: First battle of the American Volunteer Group, better known as the “Flying Tigers” in Kunming, China.
  • 1942 – World War II: Bombing of Calcutta by the Japanese.
  • 1951 – The EBR-1 in Arco, Idaho becomes the first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for the first time. The electricity powered four light bulbs.
  • 1952 – United States Air Force C-124 crashes and burns in Moses Lake, Washington killing 87.
  • 1955 – Cardiff is proclaimed the capital city of Wales, United Kingdom.
  • 1960 – National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam is formed.
  • 1968 – The Zodiac Killer kills Betty Lou Jenson and David Faraday in Vallejo, California.
  • 1973 – The Spanish Prime Minister, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, is assassinated by a car bomb attack in Madrid.
  • 1984 – The Summit tunnel fire is the largest underground fire in history, as a freight train carrying over 1 million litres of petrol derails near the town of Todmorden in the Pennines.
  • 1988 – The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is signed in Vienna.
  • 1989 – United States invasion of Panama: The United States sends troops into Panama to overthrow government of Manuel Noriega.
  • 1991 – A Missouri court sentences the Palestinian militant Zein Isa and his wife Maria to death for the honor killing of their daughter Palestina.
  • 1995 – NATO begins peacekeeping in Bosnia.
  • 1995 – American Airlines Flight 965, a Boeing 757, crashes into a mountain 50 km north of Cali, Colombia killing 160.
  • 1995 – The Democratic Social Movement is founded in Greece.
  • 1996 – NeXT merges with Apple Computer, starting the path to Mac OS X.
  • 1999 – Macau is handed over to the People’s Republic of China by Portugal.
  • 2001 – Argentine economic crisis: President of Argentina Fernando de la Rúa is forced out of office.
  • 2002 – US Senator Trent Lott resigns as majority leader.
  • 2005 – New York City transit strike: New York City’s Transport Workers Union Local 100 goes on strike, shutting down all New York City Subway and Bus services.
  • 2005 – US District Court Judge John E. Jones III rules against mandating the teaching of “intelligent design” in his ruling of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
  • 2006 – A judge rules against the death penalty in the case of Naveed Haq, a man convicted in the shooting death and injuries at the Jewish Federation in Seattle.
  • 2007 – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest ever monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days.
  • 2007 – The Lakota Indians send a letter to the United States State Department declaring their secession from the union.
  • 2007 – The painting Portrait of Suzanne Bloch (1904), by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, was stolen from the São Paulo Museum of Art, along with O Lavrador de Café, by the major Brazilian modernist painter Candido Portinari.

December 20 – Birthdays:

  • 1494 – Oronce Finé, French mathematician (d. 1555)
  • 1537 – King John III of Sweden (d. 1592)
  • 1566 – Edward Wightman, English Baptist preacher (d. 1612)
  • 1579 – (baptized) John Fletcher, English playwright (d. 1625)
  • 1626 – Veit Ludwig von Seckendorff, German statesman (d. 1692)
  • 1629 – Pieter de Hooch, Dutch painter (d. 1684)
  • 1717 – Charles Gravier, comte de Vergennes, French statesman and diplomat (d. 1787)
  • 1786 – Pietro Raimondi, Italian composer (d. 1853)
  • 1792 – Nicolas Charlet, French painter (d. 1845)
  • 1833 – Samuel Mudd, American physician (d. 1883)
  • 1838 – Edwin Abbott Abbott, English schoolmaster, theologian, and author (d. 1926)
  • 1841 – Ferdinand Buisson, French pacifist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1932)
  • 1860 – Dan Leno, English entertainer (d. 1904)
  • 1861 – Ivana Kobilca, Slovenian painter (d. 1926)
  • 1865 – Elsie De Wolfe, American socialite and interior decorator (d. 1950)
  • 1868 – Harvey Firestone, American automobile pioneer (d. 1938)
  • 1873 – Kwan-Ichi Asakawa, Japanese historian(d. 1948)
  • 1881 – Branch Rickey, baseball executive (d. 1965)
  • 1886 – Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, American tennis player (d. 1974)
  • 1888 – Fred Merkle, American baseball figure (d. 1958)
  • 1890 – Yvonne Arnaud, French-born actress (d. 1958)
  • 1890 – Jaroslav Heyrovský, Czech chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1967)
  • 1894 – Sir Robert Menzies, twelfth Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1978)
  • 1898 – Irene Dunne, American actress (d. 1990)
  • 1901 – Robert Van de Graaff, American physicist and inventor (d. 1967)
  • 1902 – Sidney Hook, American philosopher (d. 1989)
  • 1902 – George Edward Alexander Windsor, Duke of Kent (d. 1942)
  • 1904 – Spud Davis, baseball player (d. 1984)
  • 1907 – Paul Francis Webster, songwriter (d. 1984)
  • 1908 – Dennis Morgan, American actor (d. 1994)
  • 1909 – Vakkom Majeed, Indian politician (d. 2000)
  • 1911 – Hortense Calisher, American author
  • 1916 – Michel Chartrand, Quebec union leader
  • 1917 – David Bohm, American-born physicist, philosopher, and neuropsychologist (d. 1992)
  • 1918 – Jean Marchand, French Canadian trade unionist and politician (d. 1988)
  • 1918 – Audrey Totter, American actress
  • 1922 – George Roy Hill, American film director (d. 2002)
  • 1922 – Beverly Pepper, American sculptor and painter
  • 1924 – Charlie Callas, American comedian
  • 1924 – Judy LaMarsh, Canadian politician and broadcaster (d. 1980)
  • 1925 – Benito Lorenzi, Italian footballer (d. 2007)
  • 1925 – Mahathir bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia
  • 1926 – Sir Geoffrey Howe, British politician
  • 1926 – Otto Graf Lambsdorff, German politician
  • 1927 – Kim Young-sam, President of South Korea
  • 1931 – Mala Powers, American film actress (d. 2007)
  • 1933 – Jean Carnahan, U.S. Senator
  • 1933 – Rik Van Looy, Belgian cyclist
  • 1938 – John Harbison, American composer
  • 1944 – Bobby Colomby, American musician (Blood, Sweat & Tears)
  • 1944 – Jean Fergusson, English actress
  • 1945 – Peter Criss, American drummer and singer (Kiss)
  • 1946 – Uri Geller, Israeli psychic
  • 1946 – John Spencer, American actor (d. 2005)
  • 1946 – Dick Wolf, American television series creator
  • 1947 – Gigliola Cinquetti, Italian singer
  • 1948 – Alan Parsons, British music producer and artist
  • 1949 – Soumaïla Cissé, Malian politician
  • 1949 – Cecil Cooper, Major League baseball player
  • 1951 – Gilbert Montagné, French musician
  • 1951 – Peter May, Scottish novelist and scriptwriter
  • 1952 – Jenny Agutter, English actress
  • 1954 – Michael Badalucco, American actor
  • 1954 – Sandra Cisneros, American writer
  • 1955 – Ed Kuepper, German-born Australian musician (The Saints, Laughing Clowns)
  • 1956 – Blanche Baker, American actress
  • 1956 – Junji Hirata, Japanese professional wrestler
  • 1957 – Billy Bragg, English singer and songwriter
  • 1957 – Mike Watt, American bassist
  • 1957 – Stephen Bicknell, British organ builder and scholar (d. 2007)
  • 1957 – Joyce Hyser, American actress
  • 1957 – Anna Vissi, Greek-Cypriot singer
  • 1958 – Steve Sailer, American political commentator
  • 1960 – Nalo Hopkinson, Canadian writer
  • 1963 – Infanta Elena of Spain
  • 1963 – Joel Gretsch, American actor
  • 1965 – Robert Cavanah, Scottish actor
  • 1965 – Rich Gannon, American football player
  • 1966 – Matt Neal , British Race Driver
  • 1966 – Chris Robinson, American singer (Black Crowes)
  • 1966 – Myrra Malmberg, Swedish singer
  • 1968 – Karl Wendlinger, Austrian racing driver
  • 1968 – Joe Cornish, British comedian
  • 1968 – Phil Andrews, British racing driver
  • 1970 – Nicole DeBoer, Canadian actress
  • 1973 – Cory Stillman, National Hockey League forward
  • 1974 – Die, Japanese musician (Dir en grey)
  • 1975 – Bartosz Bosacki, Polish footballer
  • 1975 – Jaydy Michel, Mexican model
  • 1976 – Jang Hyuk, Korean actor
  • 1976 – Aubrey Huff, American baseball player
  • 1976 – Adam Powell, Neopets creator
  • 1976 – Ramon Stoppelenburg, world traveler and Dutch author
  • 1977 – Saukrates, Canadian rapper
  • 1978 – Geremi Njitap, Cameroon footballer
  • 1978 – Andrei Markov, Russian hockey player
  • 1979 – David DeJesus, American baseball player
  • 1979 – Michael Rogers, Australian cyclist
  • 1980 – Ashley Cole, English footballer
  • 1980 – Anthony “Tony” da Silva, French-Portuguese footballer
  • 1981 – Roy Williams, American football player
  • 1981 – James Shields, American baseball player
  • 1981 – Chris Edwards, British musician (Kasabian)
  • 1982 – David Wright, baseball player
  • 1982 – Kasper Klausen, Danish footballer
  • 1983 – Jonah Hill, American actor
  • 1983 – Lara Stone, Dutch model
  • 1983 – Lucy Pinder, British model
  • 1983 – Adrián Varela, Mexican singer
  • 1987 – Tariel Zintiridis, Greek judoka
  • 1989 – Virgilio Falco, Italian politician
  • 1990 – Joanna “JoJo” Levesque American pop/R&B Singer

December 20 – Deaths:

  • 217 – Pope Zephyrinus
  • 860 – King Ethelbald of Wessex
  • 910 – Alfonso III of Leon
  • 1022 – Elvira Mendes, wife of Alfonso V of Castile (b. 996)
  • 1355 – Stefan Dušan, Serb king and tsar (b. circa 1308)
  • 1494 – Matteo Maria Boiardo, Italian poet
  • 1524 – Thomas Linacre, English scholar and physician
  • 1539 – Johannes Lupi, Flemish composer
  • 1590 – Ambroise Paré, French physician (b. 1510)
  • 1722 – Kangxi Emperor of China (b. 1654)
  • 1723 – Augustus Quirinus Rivinus (b. 1652)
  • 1740 – Richard Boyle, 2nd Viscount Shannon, English military officer and statesman (b. 1675)
  • 1768 – Carlo Innocenzio Maria Frugoni, Italian poet (b. 1692)
  • 1783 – Antonio Soler, Spanish composer (b. 1729)
  • 1812 – Sacagawea, Shoshone guide for the Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • 1856 – Francesco Bentivegna, Italian revolutionary (b. 1820)
  • 1862 – Robert Knox
  • 1917 – Lucien Petit-Breton, Argentine-French cyclist (b. 1882)
  • 1921 – Hans Hartwig von Beseler, German general (b. 1850)
  • 1929 – Émile Loubet, 7th President of France (b.1838)
  • 1935 – Martin O’Meara, Australian soldier (b. 1882)
  • 1937 – Erich Ludendorff, German general (b. 1865)
  • 1941 – Igor Severyanin, Russian poet (b. 1887)
  • 1954 – James Hilton, British author (b. 1900)
  • 1956 – Ramon Carrillo, Argentine neuroscientist and Public Health minister (b. 1906)
  • 1961 – Moss Hart, American dramatist (b. 1904)
  • 1961 – Earle Page, eleventh Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1880)
  • 1968 – John Steinbeck, American writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1902)
  • 1973 – Luis Carrero Blanco, Prime Minister of Spain (assassinated) (b. 1903)
  • 1973 – Bobby Darin, American singer (b. 1936)
  • 1974 – André Jolivet, French composer (b. 1905)
  • 1976 – Richard J. Daley, Mayor of Chicago (b. 1902)
  • 1981 – Dimitris Rontiris, Greek actor and director (b. 1899)
  • 1982 – Arthur Rubinstein, Polish-born pianist (b. 1887)
  • 1984 – Gonzalo Márquez, Venezuelan Major League Baseball player (b. 1946)
  • 1986 – Joe DeSa, baseball player (b. 1959)
  • 1988 – Alphonse Ouimet, Canadian television pioneer, president of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (b. 1908)
  • 1989 – Kurt Böhme, German bass (b. 1908)
  • 1991 – Simone Beck, French chef (b. 1904)
  • 1994 – Dean Rusk, United States Secretary of State (b. 1909)
  • 1996 – Carl Sagan, American astronomer and writer (b. 1934)
  • 1997 – Denise Levertov, English-born poet (b. 1923)
  • 1997 – Juzo Itami, Japanese actor and director (b. 1933)
  • 1997 – Dawn Steel, American film producer (b. 1946)
  • 1998 – Irene Hervey, American actress (b. 1910)
  • 1998 – Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, British scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1916)
  • 1999 – Hank Snow, Canadian singer (b. 1914)
  • 1999 – Riccardo Freda, Italian film director (b. 1909)
  • 2000 – Mirza Ghulam Hafiz, Bangladesh statesman, politician, and philanthropist (b. 1920)
  • 2001 – Foster Brooks, American actor and comedian (b. 1912)
  • 2001 – Léopold Sédar Senghor, first President of Senegal (b. 1906)
  • 2005 – Maniam Moorthy, member of the first Malaysian team to summit Mount Everest
  • 2006 – Shi Yuejun, Chinese serial killer. Executed.

December 20 – Holidays:

  • R.C. Saints – Saint Dominic of Silos, O Clavis, Ursicinus of Saint-Ursanne

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On This Day in History December 19

December 19 – Events:

  • 324 – Licinius abdicates his position as Roman Emperor.
  • 1154- Henry II of England is crowned at Westminster Abbey.
  • 1490 – Anne of Brittany is married to Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor by proxy.
  • 1606 – The Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery depart England carrying settlers who, at Jamestown, Virginia, found the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States.
  • 1776 – Thomas Paine publishes one of a series of pamphlets in the Pennsylvania Journal titled The American Crisis.
  • 1777 – American Revolutionary War: George Washington’s Continental Army goes into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
  • 1828 – Nullification Crisis: Vice President of the United States John C. Calhoun pens the South Carolina Exposition and Protest, protesting the Tariff of 1828.
  • 1835 – The first issue of The Blade newspaper is published in Toledo, Ohio.
  • 1907 – A group of 239 coal miners die during a mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania.
  • 1912 – William H. Van Schaick, captain of the steamship General Slocum which caught fire and killed over 1,000 people, is pardoned by U.S. President William Howard Taft after three-and-a-half-years in Sing Sing prison.
  • 1916 – World War I: Battle of Verdun – On the Western Front, the French Army successfully holds off the German Army and drives it back to its starting position.
  • 1920 – King Constantine I is restored as King of the Hellenes after the death of his son Alexander I of Greece and a plebiscite.
  • 1924 – The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is sold in London, England.
  • 1941 – World War II: Adolf Hitler becomes Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the German Army.
  • 1961 – India annexes Daman and Diu, part of Portuguese India.
  • 1967 – Prime Minister of Australia Harold Holt is officially presumed dead.
  • 1972 – Apollo program: The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt, returns to Earth.
  • 1981 – Sixteen lives are lost when the Penlee lifeboat goes to the aid of the stricken coaster Union Star in heavy seas.
  • 1983 – The original FIFA World Cup trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, is stolen from the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Confederation in Rio de Janeiro.
  • 1984 – The Sino-British Joint Declaration, stating that the People’s Republic of China would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the United Kingdom would restore Hong Kong to China with effect from July 1, 1997 is signed in Beijing by Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher.
  • 1986 – Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev releases Andrei Sakharov and his wife from internal exile in Gorky.
  • 1994 – Rolls-Royce announces its future cars will feature V12 engine which will be produced by BMW.
  • 1997 – Silkair Flight 185 crashes into the Musi River, near Palembang in Indonesia, killing 104.
  • 1998 – Lewinsky scandal: The United States House of Representatives forwards articles I and III of impeachment against President Bill Clinton to the Senate.
  • 2000 – The Leninist Guerrilla Units wing of the Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist attack a Nationalist Movement Party office in Istanbul, killing one person and injuring three.
  • 2001 – A record high barometric pressure of 1085.6 hPa (32.06 inHg) is recorded at Tosontsengel, Khövsgöl Province, Mongolia.
  • 2001 – Argentine economic crisis: December 2001 riots – Riots erupt in Buenos Aires after Domingo Cavallo’s corralito measures restrict the withdrawal of cash from bank deposits.
  • 2003 – Nepal financial crisis leads hundreds to protest outside of palace.

December 19 – Birthdays:

  • 1554 – Philip William, Prince of Orange (d. 1618)
  • 1683 – Philip V of Spain (d. 1746)
  • 1699 – William Bowyer, English printer (d. 1777)
  • 1714 – John Winthrop, American astronomer (d. 1779)
  • 1778 – Princess Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte, eldest child of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI (d. 1851)
  • 1784 – Marcus Morton, 16th and 18th Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1864)
  • 1813 – Thomas Andrews, Irish chemist (d. 1885)
  • 1817 – James J. Archer, Confederate general (d. 1904)
  • 1831 – Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Hawaiian philanthropist (d. 1884)
  • 1852 – Albert Abraham Michelson, Prussian-born American physicist, Nobel laureate (d. 1931)
  • 1853 – Charles Fitzpatrick, Canadian politician, lieutenant-governor of Quebec (d. 1942)
  • 1865 – Minnie Maddern Fiske, American actress (d. 1932)
  • 1885 – Joe “King” Oliver, American jazz musician (d. 1938)
  • 1888 – Fritz Reiner, Hungarian-born American conductor (d. 1963)
  • 1894 – Ford Frick, American baseball commissioner (d. 1978)
  • 1901 – Rudolf Hell, German inventor (d. 2002)
  • 1902 – Sir Ralph Richardson, English actor (d. 1983)
  • 1903 – George Davis Snell, American geneticist, Nobel laureate (d. 1996)
  • 1906 – Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the Soviet Union (d. 1982)
  • 1907 – Jimmy McLarnin, former Welterweight Champion (d. 2004)
  • 1909 – W.A. Criswell, American (Baptist) preacher (d. 2002)
  • 1910 – Jean Genet, French writer (d. 1986)
  • 1915 – Édith Piaf, French singer and actress (d. 1963)
  • 1918 – Professor Longhair, American blues musician (d. 1980)
  • 1920 – Little Jimmy Dickens, American country singer
  • 1920 – David Susskind, American TV talk show host (d. 1987)
  • 1922 – Eamonn Andrews, Irish-born television presenter (d. 1987)
  • 1923 – Gordon Jackson, Scottish actor (d. 1990)
  • 1924 – Carlo Chiti, Italian race car engineer (d. 1994)
  • 1924 – Doug Harvey, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 1989)
  • 1924 – Gary Morton, second husband of Lucille Ball (d. 1999)
  • 1924 – Edmund Purdom, English actor
  • 1925 – Tankred Dorst, German dramatist
  • 1925 – Robert B. Sherman, American songwriter
  • 1926 – Bobby Layne, American football player (d. 1986)
  • 1926 – Herb Stempel, American game show contestant
  • 1927 – James Booth, English actor and screenwriter (d. 2005)
  • 1928 – Nathan Oliveira, American artist
  • 1929 – Bob Brookmeyer, American jazz musician
  • 1929 – Howard Sackler, American screenwriter (d. 1982)
  • 1932 – Salvador Elizondo, Mexican writer
  • 1933 – Kevan Gosper, Australian athlete
  • 1933 – Cicely Tyson, American actress
  • 1934 – Rudi Carrell, Dutch singer
  • 1934 – Al Kaline, American baseball player
  • 1934 – Casper R. Taylor, Jr., American politician
  • 1935 – Barbara Bostock, American actress
  • 1935 – Bobby Timmons, American jazz pianist (d. 1974)
  • 1936 – Marian McKnight, Miss America 1957
  • 1940 – Phil Ochs, American folk singer (d. 1976)
  • 1941 – Maurice White, American singer and songwriter (Earth, Wind & Fire)
  • 1942 – Rufus, French actor
  • 1943 – Ross M. Lence, American political scientist (d. 2006)
  • 1944 – William Christie, American-born director of Les Arts Florissants
  • 1944 – Mitchell Feigenbaum, American mathematical physicist
  • 1944 – Richard Leakey, Kenyan paleontologist, conservationist and politician
  • 1944 – Alvin Lee, English singer/guitarist (Ten Years After)
  • 1944 – Tim Reid, American actor
  • 1944 – Zal Yanovsky, Canadian guitarist (The Lovin’ Spoonful) (d. 2002)
  • 1945 – Elaine Joyce, American actress
  • 1946 – Rosemary Conley, English businesswoman, author and broadcaster
  • 1946 – Robert Urich, American actor (d. 2002)
  • 1948 – Ken Brown, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1949 – Nancy Kyes, American actress
  • 1949 – Sebastian, Danish musician
  • 1956 – Tom Lawless, American baseball player
  • 1957 – Cyril Collard, French film director (d. 1993)
  • 1957 – John Gulager, American film director
  • 1957 – Kevin McHale, American basketball player
  • 1958 – Limahl, English singer (Kajagoogoo)
  • 1960 – Mike Lookinland, American actor
  • 1960 – Michelangelo Signorile, American writer
  • 1961 – Eric Allin Cornell, American physicist, Nobel laureate
  • 1961 – Matthew Waterhouse, English actor
  • 1961 – Reggie White, American football player (d. 2004)
  • 1963 – Jennifer Beals, American film actress
  • 1963 – Til Schweiger, German actor
  • 1964 – Arvydas Sabonis, Lithuanian basketball player
  • 1965 – Chito Martínez, Belizean baseball player
  • 1966 – Chuckii Booker, American singer, musician and producer
  • 1966 – Robert MacNaughton, American stage and screen actor
  • 1966 – Alberto Tomba, Italian alpine skier
  • 1966 – Eric Weinrich, American ice hockey player
  • 1967 – Frankie Lam, Hong Kong actor
  • 1967 – Criss Angel, Illusionist,Actor, Musician, etc.
  • 1969 – Richard Hammond, English television presenter
  • 1969 – Tom Gugliotta, American basketball player
  • 1969 – Kristy Swanson, American actress
  • 1969 – Villano IV, Mexican professional wrestler
  • 1970 – Tyson Beckford, American model
  • 1971 – Liz Cho, American television reporter
  • 1971 – Amy Locane, American actress
  • 1971 – Tiffany Towers, Canadian adult film actress
  • 1972 – Alyssa Milano, American actress
  • 1972 – Warren Sapp, American football player
  • 1973 – Takashi Sorimachi, Japanese actor
  • 1973 – Zulfiya Zabirova, Russian cyclist
  • 1974 – Migé Amour, Finnish bassist (HIM)
  • 1974 – Jake Plummer, American football player
  • 1974 – Ricky Ponting, Australian cricketer
  • 1975 – Olivier Tebily, Ivorian footballer
  • 1977 – Jorge Garbajosa, Spanish basketball player
  • 1978 – Patrick Casey, American screenwriter and actor
  • 1979 – Kevin Devine, American musician
  • 1979 – Paola Rey, Colombian actress
  • 1980 – Jake Gyllenhaal, American actor
  • 1980 – Marla Sokoloff, American actress
  • 1982 – Vincent Accardi, American musician
  • 1982 – Maurice Williams, American basketball player
  • 1983 – Matt Stajan, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1984 – Ian Kennedy, Major League Baseball pitcher
  • 1985 – Gary Cahill, English footballer
  • 1985 – Neil Kilkenny, English-born Australian footballer
  • 1985 – Lady Sovereign, English musician
  • 1986 – Ryan Babel, Dutch Footballer
  • 1987 – Karim Benzema, French footballer
  • 1988 – Paulina Gretzky, American-born Canadian actress and model
  • 1991 – Declan Galbraith, English singer
  • 1993 – Chloe Lay, English Legend.

December 19 – Deaths:

  • 401 – Pope Anastasius I
  • 1075 – Edith of Wessex, wife of Edward the Confessor of England
  • 1327 – Agnes of France, Duchess of Burgundy
  • 1370 – Pope Urban V (b. 1310)
  • 1737 – James Sobieski, Crown Prince of Poland (b. 1667)
  • 1741 – Vitus Bering, Danish-born explorer (b. 1681)
  • 1745 – Jean-Baptiste van Loo, French painter (b. 1684)
  • 1749 – Francesco Antonio Bonporti, Italian priest and composer (b. 1672)
  • 1751 – Louise of Great Britain, wife of Frederick V of Denmark (b. 1724)
  • 1807 – Friedrich Melchior, baron von Grimm, German writer (b. 1723)
  • 1813 – James McGill, Scottish-Canadian businessman and philanthropist (b. 1744)
  • 1814 – Joseph Bramah, Inventor and Locksmith, notably invented the beer pump
  • 1819 – Sir Thomas Fremantle, British naval officer and politician (b. 1765)
  • 1848 – Emily Brontë, English author (b. 1818)
  • 1915 – Alois Alzheimer, German neuroscientist (b. 1864)
  • 1932 – Yoon Bong-Gil, Korean activist (b. 1908)
  • 1933 – George Jackson Churchward, GWR Chief mechanical engineer. (b. 1857)
  • 1938 – Stephen Warfield Gambrill, U.S. Congressman (b. 1873)
  • 1939 – Hans Langsdorff, German naval officer (b. 1894)
  • 1944 – Khedive Abbas II of Egypt (b. 1874)
  • 1944 – Rudolph Karstadt, German entrepreneur (b. 1856)
  • 1946 – Paul Langevin, French physicist (b. 1872)
  • 1953 – Robert Millikan, American physicist, Nobel laureate (b. 1868)
  • 1968 – Norman Thomas, American socialist (b. 1884)
  • 1982 – Dwight Macdonald, American social critic (b. 1906)
  • 1984 – Joy Ridderhof, American missionary (b. 1903)
  • 1986 – V. C. Andrews, American author (b. 1923)
  • 1989 – Stella Gibbons, English author (b. 1902)
  • 1991 – Joe Cole, American rock music roadie (b. 1961)
  • 1993 – Michael Clarke, American drummer (The Byrds) (b. 1946)
  • 1996 – Marcello Mastroianni, Italian actor (b. 1924)
  • 1997 – Masaru Ibuka, Japanese industrialist (Sony) (b. 1908)
  • 1997 – Jimmy Rogers, American blues guitarist (b. 1924)
  • 1998 – Mel Fisher, American treasure hunter (b. 1922)
  • 1998 – Antonio Ordóñez, Spanish bullfighter (b. 1932)
  • 1999 – Desmond Llewelyn, Welsh actor (b. 1914)
  • 2000 – Rob Buck, American guitarist (10,000 Maniacs) (b. 1958)
  • 2000 – Milt Hinton, American jazz double bassist (b. 1910)
  • 2000 – John Lindsay, American politician (b. 1921)
  • 2000 – Pops Staples, American singer (The Staple Singers) (b. 1915)
  • 2001 – Marcel Mule, French saxophonist. (b. 1901)
  • 2002 – Arthur Rowley, English footballer. (b. 1926)
  • 2003 – Peter Carter-Ruck, English lawyer (b. 1914)
  • 2003 – Hope Lange, American actress (b. 1933)
  • 2003 – Les Tremayne, English-born American actor (b. 1913)
  • 2004 – Herbert C. Brown, English-born American chemist, Nobel laureate (b. 1912)
  • 2004 – Renata Tebaldi, Italian soprano (b. 1922)
  • 2005 – Keith Duckworth, English mechanical engineer (Cosworth; b. 1933)
  • 2005 – Vincent Gigante, American mafioso (b. 1927)

December 19 – Holidays:

  • Roman festivals – Opalia
  • R.C. Saints – O Radix
  • Independence day – Goa

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On This Day in History December 18

December 18 – Events:

  • 218 BC – Second Punic War: Battle of the Trebia – Hannibal’s Carthaginian forces defeat those of the Roman Republic.
  • 1271 – Kublai Khan renames his empire “Yuan,” officially marking the start of the Yuan Dynasty of China.
  • 1620 – The Mayflower lands in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts delivering 102 Pilgrims.
  • 1642 – Abel Tasman becomes first European to land in New Zealand.
  • 1777 – The United States celebrates its first Thanksgiving, celebrating the recent victory by the Americans over General John Burgoyne in the Battle of Saratoga in October
  • 1787 – New Jersey becomes the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
  • 1793 – Surrender of the frigate La Lutine by French royalists to Lord Hood; renamed HMS Lutine, she later becomes a famous treasure wreck.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: In the Battle of Lexington, General Nathan Bedford Forrest defeats a Union force under Colonel Robert Ingersoll.
  • 1865 – The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified by Georgia, fulfilling the two-thirds requirement for ratification, and abolishing Slavery in the United States.
  • 1878 – John Kehoe, the last of the Molly Maguires is executed in Pennsylvania.
  • 1888 – Richard Wetherill and his brother in-law discover the ancient Indian ruins of Mesa Verde.
  • 1898 – Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat sets the new land speed record going 39.245 mph, in a Jeantaud electric car. This is the first recognized land speed record.
  • 1900 – The Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook Narrow-gauge (2 ft 6 in or 762 mm) Railway (now the Puffing Billy Railway) in Victoria, Australia is opened for traffic.
  • 1912 -The Piltdown Man, later discovered to be a hoax, is supposedly found in the Piltdown Gravel Pit, by Charles Dawson.
  • 1915 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson marries Edith Bolling Galt Wilson.
  • 1916 – World War I: The Battle of Verdun ends when forces under Chief of Staff Erich Von Falkenhayn suffers 337,000 casualties by the French.
  • 1932 – The Chicago Bears defeat the Portsmouth Spartans 9-0 in the first ever NFL Championship Game. Because of a blizzard, the game was moved from Wrigley Field to the Chicago Stadium, the field measuring 80 yards long.
  • 1935 – The Lanka Sama Samaja Party is founded in Ceylon.
  • 1941 – Japan invades Hong Kong after British governor of Hong Kong, Mark Aitchison Young refuses to surrender to Japanese forces.
  • 1944 – World War II: 77 B-29 Superfortress and 200 other aircraft of U.S. Fourteenth Air Force bomb Hankow, China, a Japanese supply base.
  • 1961 – Indonesia invades Netherlands New Guinea.
  • 1966 – Saturn’s moon Epimetheus is discovered by Richard L. Walker.
  • 1969 – Capital punishment in the United Kingdom: Home Secretary James Callaghan’s motion to make permanent the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965, which had temporarily suspended capital punishment in England, Wales and Scotland for murder (but not for all crimes) for a period of five years, is carried by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
  • 1972 – Vietnam War: President Richard Nixon announces that the United States will engage North Vietnam in Operation Linebacker II, a series of Christmas bombings, after peace talks collapsed with North Vietnam on the 13th.
  • 1973 – Soviet Soyuz Programme: Soyuz 13, crewed by cosmonauts Valentin Lebedev and Pyotr Klimuk, is launched from Baikonur in the Soviet Union.
  • 1982 – A large Tacoa power plant starts burning in Venezuela, eventually killing 128.
  • 1987 – Larry Wall releases the first version of the Perl programming language.
  • 1987 – Ivan Boesky is sentenced to three years in prison for insider trading.
  • 1996 – The Oakland, California school board passes a resolution officially declaring “Ebonics” a language or dialect.
  • 1997 – HTML 4.0 is published by the World Wide Web Consortium.
  • 1999 – NASA launches into orbit the Terra platform carrying five Earth Observation instruments, including ASTER, CERES, MISR, MODIS and MOPITT.
  • 2002 – 2003 California recall: Then Governor of California Gray Davis announces the state would face a record budget deficit of $35 billion, roughly double the figure reported during his reelection campaign one month earlier.

December 18 – Birthdays:

  • 1507 – Ouchi Yoshitaka, Japanese warlord (d. 1551)
  • 1602 – Simonds d’Ewes, English antiquarian and politician (d. 1650)
  • 1610 – Charles du Fresne, sieur du Cange, French philologist (d. 1688)
  • 1615 – Kasandra Kulas Serbian Warrior (d. 1701)
  • 1620 – Heinrich Roth, German Sanskrit scholar (d. 1668)
  • 1661 – Christopher Polhem, Swedish scientist and inventor (d. 1751)
  • 1662 – James Douglas, 2nd Duke of Queensberry, Scottish politician (d. 1711)
  • 1707 – Charles Wesley, English Methodist hymnist (d. 1788)
  • 1725 – Johann Salomo Semler, German historian and Bible commentator (d. 1791)
  • 1825 – Charles Griffin (general), American general (d. 1876)
  • 1835 – Lyman Abbott, American author (d. 1922)
  • 1847 – Augusta Holmès, French composer (d. 1903)
  • 1851 – Graciano Lopez Jaena, Filipino hero, orator and satirist (d. 1896)
  • 1856 – Sir J. J. Thomson, English physicist, Nobel laureate (d. 1940)
  • 1860 – Edward MacDowell, American composer and pianist (d. 1908)
  • 1863 – Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria (d. 1914)
  • 1870 – Saki, English writer (d. 1916)
  • 1873 – Francis Burton Harrison, American political figure (d. 1957)
  • 1878 – Josef Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union (d. 1953) 
  • 1879 – Paul Klee, Swiss-born painter (d. 1940)
  • 1886 – Ty Cobb, American baseball player (d. 1961)
  • 1888 – Dame Gladys Cooper, English actress (d. 1971)
  • 1888 – Robert Moses, American public works official (d. 1981)
  • 1890 – Edwin Armstrong, American inventor (d. 1954)
  • 1897 – Fletcher Henderson, American arranger and composer (d. 1952)
  • 1904 – George Stevens, American film director (d. 1975)
  • 1907 – Bill Holland, American auto racer (d. 1984)
  • 1908 – Paul Siple, American Antarctic explorer (d. 1969)
  • 1910 – Abe Burrows, American playwright (d. 1985)
  • 1911 – Jules Dassin, American film director
  • 1912 – Benjamin O. Davis Jr., American General (d. 2002)
  • 1913 – Alfred Bester, American author (d. 1987)
  • 1913 – Willy Brandt, Chancellor of Germany, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1992)
  • 1913 – Ray Meyer, American basketball coach (d. 2006)
  • 1916 – Douglas Fraser, Scottish-born American trade unionist
  • 1916 – Betty Grable, American actress (d. 1973)
  • 1917 – Ossie Davis, American actor and activist (d. 2005)
  • 1927 – Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General
  • 1927 – Roméo LeBlanc, 25th Governor General of Canada
  • 1928 – Józef Glemp, Polish cardinal
  • 1929 – Gino Cimoli, American baseball player
  • 1930 – Moose Skowron, American baseball player
  • 1931 – Allen Klein, American rock and roll business manager
  • 1931 – Alison Plowden, English historian (d. 2007)
  • 1932 – Roger Smith, American actor
  • 1933 – Arthur Leigh Allen, Suspected Zodiac serial killer (d. 1992)
  • 1934 – Boris Volynov, Soviet cosmonaut
  • 1935 – Jacques Pépin, French chef
  • 1936 – Malcolm Kirk, English professional wrestler (d. 1987)
  • 1938 – Chas Chandler, English musician (The Animals) (d. 1996)
  • 1938 – Joel Hirschhorn, American songwriter and composer (d. 2005)
  • 1938 – Roger E. Mosley, American actor
  • 1939 – Michael Moorcock, English author
  • 1939 – Harold E. Varmus, American scientist, Nobel laureate
  • 1940 – Bramwell Morrison, member of Sharon, Lois & Bram
  • 1941 – Wadada Leo Smith, American trumpeter and composer
  • 1942 – Harvey Atkin, Canadian actor
  • 1943 – Keith Richards, English guitarist (The Rolling Stones)
  • 1943 – Alan Rudolph, American film director and screenwriter
  • 1945 – Jean Pronovost, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1946 – Steve Biko, South African anti-apartheid activist (d. 1977)
  • 1946 – Steven Spielberg, American film director
  • 1948 – Bill Nelson, English musician (Be Bop Deluxe)
  • 1948 – Laurent Voulzy, French singer and composer
  • 1949 – David A. Johnston, American volcanologist, first to report 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens (d. 1980)
  • 1950 – Gillian Armstrong, Australian film director
  • 1950 – Randy Castillo, American drummer (Ozzy Osbourne) (d. 2002)
  • 1950 – Leonard Maltin, American film critic
  • 1953 – Elliot Easton, American guitarist (The Cars)
  • 1953 – Khas-Magomed Hadjimuradov, Chechen bard
  • 1955 – Ray Liotta, American actor
  • 1956 – Ron White, American comedian
  • 1960 – Kazuhide Uekusa, Japanese economist
  • 1961 – Brian Orser, Canadian figure skater
  • 1963 – Karl Dorrell, American football coach
  • 1963 – Charles Oakley, American basketball player
  • 1963 – Brad Pitt, American actor
  • 1963 – Pauline Ester, French singer
  • 1964 – “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, American professional wrestler
  • 1964 – Don Beebe, American football player
  • 1964 – Robson Green, English actor and singer
  • 1965 – Mick Collins, American musician (The Gories, The Dirtbombs)
  • 1965 – Tommy Davidson, American actor
  • 1966 – Makiko Esumi, Japanese actress
  • 1966 – Mille Petrozza, German singer (Kreator)
  • 1967 – Toine van Peperstraten, Dutch sports journalist
  • 1968 – Rachel Griffiths, Australian actress
  • 1968 – Alejandro Sanz, Spanish singer
  • 1968 – Casper Van Dien, American actor
  • 1969 – Santiago Cañizares, Spanish footballer
  • 1969 – Justin Edinburgh, English footballer
  • 1969 – Akira Iida, Japanese racing driver
  • 1970 – Anthony Catanzaro, American fitness model
  • 1970 – Cowboy Troy, American rapper
  • 1970 – DMX, American rapper and actor
  • 1970 – Miles Marshall Lewis, American author
  • 1970 – Victoria Pratt, Canadian actress and fitness model
  • 1970 – Rob Van Dam, American professional wrestler
  • 1970 – Johnny Yeo, English artist
  • 1971 – Barkha Dutt, Indian journalist
  • 1971 – Noriko Matsueda, Japanese composer
  • 1971 – Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, Spanish tennis player
  • 1972 – DJ Lethal, Latvian-born American DJ (House of Pain, Limp Bizkit)
  • 1972 – Raymond Herrera, American drummer (Fear Factory) and businessman
  • 1974 – Peter Boulware, American football player
  • 1974 – Kari Byron, artist and television personality
  • 1974 – Euroboy, Norwegian musician (Turbonegro)
  • 1975 – Trish Stratus, Canadian professional wrestler
  • 1975 – Masaki Sumitani, Japanese comedian
  • 1976 – Koyuki, Japanese actress and model
  • 1977 – José Acevedo, Dominican baseball player
  • 1978 – Daniel Cleary, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1978 – Ali Curtis, American soccer player
  • 1978 – Katie Holmes, American actress
  • 1979 – Carlos, Portuguese footballer
  • 1980 – Christina Aguilera, American singer
  • 1982 – Dave Luetkenhoelter, American bassist (Kutless)
  • 1983 – Darren Carter, English footballer
  • 1985 – Tara Conner, 2006 Miss USA
  • 1985 – Hana Soukupová, Czech supermodel
  • 1987 – Miki Ando, Japanese figure skater
  • 1987 – Ayaka, Japanese singer
  • 1987 – Fernando Jara, Panamanian-American jockey
  • 1989 – Ashley Benson, American actress
  • 1989 – Ashley Slanina-Davies, Hollyoaks actress

December 18 – Deaths:

  • 821 – Theodulf, Bishop of Orléans
  • 1133 – Hildebert, French writer
  • 1290 – King Magnus I of Sweden (b. 1240)
  • 1442 – Pierre Cauchon, French Catholic bishop (b. 1371)
  • 1495 – King Alphonso II of Naples (b. 1448)
  • 1692 – Veit Ludwig von Seckendorff, German statesman (b. 1626)
  • 1737 – Antonio Stradivari, Italian violin maker (b. 1644)
  • 1787 – Francis William Drake, British Admiral and Governor of Newfoundland (b. 1724)
  • 1787 – Soame Jenyns, English writer (b. 1704)
  • 1799 – Jean-Étienne Montucla, French mathematician (b. 1725)
  • 1803 – Johann Gottfried Herder, German writer (b. 1744)
  • 1829 – Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, French scientist (b. 1744)
  • 1843 – Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch, British Viceroy of India (b. 1748)
  • 1848 – Bernard Bolzano, Bohemian mathematician and philosopher (b. 1781)
  • 1869 – Louis Moreau Gottschalk, American composer and pianist (b. 1829)
  • 1880 – Michel Chasles, French mathematician (b. 1793)
  • 1936 – Andrija Mohorovicic, Austro-Hungarian-born Yugoslav seismologist (b. 1857)
  • 1966 – Tara Browne, British socialite (b. 1945)
  • 1971 – Bobby Jones, American golfer (b. 1902)
  • 1971 – Diana Lynn, American actress (b. 1926)
  • 1973 – Allama Rasheed Turabi, Pakistani scholar, orator and philosopher (b. 1908)
  • 1974 – Harry Hooper, American baseball player (b. 1887)
  • 1975 – Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ukrainian geneticist (b. 1900)
  • 1980 – Alexei Kosygin, Premier of the USSR (b. 1904)
  • 1982 – Hans-Ulrich Rudel, German pilot (b. 1916)
  • 1985 – Xuân Diu, Vietnamese poet (b. 1916)
  • 1987 – Conny Plank, German record producer and musician (b. 1940)
  • 1990 – Anne Revere, American actress (b. 1903)
  • 1990 – Paul Tortelier, French cellist and composer (b. 1914)
  • 1991 – George Abecassis, English Formula 1 driver (b. 1913)
  • 1992 – Mark Goodson, American game show producer (b. 1915)
  • 1993 – Charizma, American rapper (b. 1973)
  • 1993 – Sam Wanamaker, American actor (b. 1919)
  • 1994 – Roger Apéry, Greek-French mathematician (b. 1916)
  • 1995 – Konrad Zuse, German engineer and computing pioneer (b. 1910)
  • 1996 – Yulii Borisovich Khariton, Russian physicist (b. 1904)
  • 1997 – Chris Farley, American actor and comedian (b. 1964)
  • 1998 – Lev Demin, Soviet cosmonaut (b. 1926)
  • 1999 – Robert Bresson, French film director (b. 1907)
  • 2000 – Stan Fox, American race car driver (b. 1952)
  • 2000 – Randolph Apperson Hearst, son of W. Randolph Hearst and father of Patty (b.

1915)

  • 2000 – Kirsty MacColl, English singer and songwriter (b. 1959)
  • 2001 – Gilbert Bécaud, French singer (b. 1927)
  • 2001 – Dimitris Dragatakis, Greek composer (b. 1914)
  • 2002 – Ray Hnatyshyn, Governor-General of Canada (b. 1934)
  • 2002 – Wayne Owens, former U.S. Congressman (D-Utah) (b. 1937)
  • 2004 – Anthony Sampson, British journalist and biographer (b. 1926)
  • 2005 – Alan Voorhees, American engineer and urban planner (b. 1922)
  • 2006 – Joseph Barbera, American cartoonist (b. 1911)
  • 2006 – Ruth Bernhard, American photographer (1905)
  • 2006 – Mike Dickin, British radio broadcaster (b. 1943)
  • 2006 – Shaukat Siddiqui, Pakistani author, journalist and political activist (b. 1923)
  • 2007 – Gerald Le Dain, Canadian Supreme Court judge (b. 1924)
  • 2007 – Jack Linkletter, American television host, son of Art Linkletter (b. 1937)
  • 2007 – Bill Strauss, American writer on generations, satirist, and founder of the Capitol Steps (b. 1947)

December 18 – Holidays:

  • New Jersey Day – A celebration to New Jersey’s admission to the union
  • Roman festivals – Feast of Epona (during Saturnalia)
  • R.C. Saints – Gatianus of Tours, O Adonai, Our Lady of Expectation
  • Niger – Republic Day (autonomous in 1958)
  • Greek Orthodox Church – Feast of Sebastian the Martyr

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