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Posted by Kronos

These are some of many widely recognized historic events that occurred during the month of December, listed by year.  Dates provided for earlier time events may be approximate.

609 BCE, December 25 - The first recorded solar eclipse in ancient Babylonia, which marked the beginning of systematic astronomical observations.

399 BCE, December 5 - The Greek philosopher Socrates is sentenced to death by drinking hemlock, following his trial in Athens.

333 BCE, December 1 - Alexander the Great decisively defeats the Persian king Darius III at the Battle of Issus, solidifying his control over Asia Minor.

218 BCE, December 2 - Hannibal, the Carthaginian general, wins a significant victory over the Roman Republic at the Battle of the Trebia during the Second Punic War.

121 BCE, December 15 - Gaius Gracchus, a Roman politician and reformer, is born. He would later become known for his attempts to enact land and citizenship reforms.

106 BCE, December 18 - The birth of Cicero, one of Rome's most famous orators, statesmen, and philosophers.

70 BCE, December 25 - The siege of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus ends with the destruction of the Second Temple.

68 BCE, December 7 - The birth of the Roman poet Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), known for his Odes and Satires.

65 BCE, December 8 - The birth of the Roman historian and author of "The History of Rome," Livy (Titus Livius).

45 BCE, December 31 - The Julian calendar is introduced by Julius Caesar, with January 1, 45 BCE, as its first day.

43 BCE, December 20 - The  Second Triumvirate in Rome, comprising Octavian, Mark Antony, and Lepidus is established, split ing the Roman world into three sets of provinces and giving each one of the rulers practically absolute power. 

43 BCE, December 23 - Gaius Oppius, a close friend and advisor to Julius Caesar, is born.

40 BCE, December 2 - The Treaty of Brundisium is signed, temporarily ending the Roman civil wars between Octavian and Antony.

40 BCE, December 15 - The birth of the Roman poet and philosopher, Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca).

21 BCE, December 30 - The Roman poet and author of the "Metamorphoses," Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso), is born.

17 BCE, December 25 - The Roman emperor Augustus celebrates the Ludi Saeculares, a secular games event, marking the end of a saeculum (a generation) and the beginning of a new one.

6 BCE, December 27 - The Roman emperor Augustus officially adopts his stepson and heir, Tiberius, as his son.

4 BCE, December 25 - The traditionally celebrated birth of Jesus Christ, though the exact date remains a subject of debate among scholars.

3 BCE, December 25 - Herod the Great dies, according to some estimates, around this date. Herod is known for his role in the Nativity story.

1 CE, December 20 - The Roman Emperor Vespasian captures the city of Jerusalem, effectively ending the First Jewish-Roman War.

37 CE, December 20 - Roman Emperor Nero is born, eventually becoming known for his tyrannical rule and the Great Fire of Rome.

45 CE, December 3 - Roman Emperor Augustus celebrates the Ludi Saeculares, a secular games event, marking the end of a saeculum (a generation) and the beginning of a new one.

104 CE, December 30 - The death of Trajan, one of Rome's greatest emperors, and the accession of his successor, Hadrian.

352 CE, December 25 - Pope Julius I officially establishes December 25 as the date of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, now known as Christmas.

357 CE, December 25 - Roman Emperor Constantius II decrees that the pagan festival of Sol Invictus coincides with Christmas, promoting Christianity.

540 CE, December 27 - The death of Chrysaphius, a eunuch advisor to the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, who played a controversial role in the court.

546 CE, December 27 - The Gothic War, fought between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ostrogoths, sees a significant battle at Taginae, resulting in a Byzantine victory.

564 CE, December 20 - Saint Columba, an Irish missionary, dies, leaving a lasting legacy in spreading Christianity in Scotland.

674 CE, December 3 - The beginning of the construction of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, an iconic Islamic shrine.

771 CE, December 25 - Charlemagne becomes the King of the Franks after the death of his brother Carloman I.

820 CE, December 24 - The Byzantine Empire defeats the forces of the Abbasid Caliphate at the Battle of Mehmetçik, marking a significant victory in the Byzantine-Arab Wars.

827 CE, December 20 - The Muslim scholar and polymath Al-Khwarizmi is born, known for his contributions to algebra and mathematics.

875 CE, December 21 - The Treaty of Verdun is signed, dividing the Carolingian Empire into three parts, marking the beginning of the Carolingian dissolution.

884 CE, December 25 - The Danelaw, a region of England under Viking control, sees a series of treaties between the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons.

910 CE, December 13 - The Buddhist monk Fadeng begins a journey to India, which would later contribute to Chinese Buddhist scholarship.

955 CE, December 6 - Otto I, King of Germany, defeats the Magyars at the Battle of Lechfeld, halting their invasion of Western Europe.

963 CE, December 15 - Emperor Otto I of the Holy Roman Empire dies, and he is succeeded by his son Otto II.

990 CE, December 16 - The Byzantine emperor Basil II wins a decisive victory against the Bulgarians at the Battle of Spercheios.

999 CE, December 31 - Pope Sylvester II dies, marking the end of his papacy, during which he contributed to the advancement of science and mathematics in Europe.

999 CE, December 31 - The coronation of Stephen I as the first Christian king of Hungary, a significant event in the Christianization of the Hungarian people.

1000, December 25 - The coronation of Stephen I as the first Christian king of Hungary, marking the establishment of the Kingdom of Hungary and Hungary's conversion to Christianity.

1002, December 29 - King Æthelred the Unready orders the St. Brice's Day massacre, leading to the killing of many Danish settlers in England.

1006. December - The supernova SN 1006, one of the brightest stellar events recorded, appears in the southern skies after appearing earlier in the year in the north. Now we know that is a remnant of a so-called Type Ia supernova. This class of supernova is caused when a white dwarf pulls too much mass from a companion star and explodes, or when two white dwarfs merge and explode. In this case, the star whose death brightened the early medieval sky was 7200 light years away. That means the supernova really happened about 8.200 years ago, but it took until 1006 for the light of the cosmic explosion to reach Earth. More

1013, December 25 - Sweyn Forkbeard is proclaimed King of England after the English nobility submits to him. Sweyn had built a strong an imposing Danish North Sea empire, establishing control in Norway in 1000 and conquering England in 1013. He died there on February 1014, having ruled England for only five weeks. Sweyn's cause of death is unknown. 

1025, December 24 - The Byzantine Emperor Basil II dies, marking the end of the Macedonian Dynasty

1065, December 28 - Westminster Abbey, located in London, was consecrated and opened by Edward the Confessor and became the site of coronations and other ceremonies of national significance in England. More

1066, December 25 - William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, is crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey, following the Norman conquest.

1135, December 1 - The death of King Henry I of England, leading to a period of civil war known as "The Anarchy."

1147, December 24 - The start of the Second Crusade, as European forces begin their journey to the Holy Land.

1154, December 19 - Henry II of England is crowned as king, beginning the Angevin Empire.

1170, December 29 - The murder of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in Canterbury Cathedral.

1214, December 27 - The University of Oxford receives its royal charter from King Henry III of England.

1257, December 9 - The Treaty of Paris is signed, ending a conflict between King Louis IX of France and King Henry III of England.

1271, December 24 - Kublai Khan issues a decree that allows Marco Polo to become an emissary of the Mongol Empire.

1287,  December 14 - A heavy storm over the North Sea generated surging waves that collapsed a thin land barrier, flooding the Zuiderzee inlet and causing more than 50,000 casualties. The flood, called the St. Lucia flood, has been rated as one of the most destructive floods in recorded history. The event also created direct sea access for the village of Amsterdam, allowing its development into a major port city.

1294, December 18 - Pope Celestine V abdicates the papacy, becoming one of the few popes to voluntarily resign.

1305, December 5 - Pope Clement V moves the papal residence to Avignon, beginning the Avignon Papacy.

1392, December 18 - The Joseon Dynasty in Korea repels the Japanese invasion during the Battle of Wihwa Island.

1398, December 17 - Tamerlane (Timur) captures and sacks Delhi, leading to the massacre of its inhabitants.

1408, December 28 - The Council of Oxford condemns the teachings of John Wycliffe, a precursor to the Protestant Reformation.

1431, December 16 - Henry VI of England is crowned King of France in Paris, marking a significant moment in the Hundred Years' War.

1431, December 23 - Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians and sold to the English, leading to her trial and execution.

1455, December 30 - The Battle of Castillon marks the end of the Hundred Years' War between England and France.

1470, December 29 - The Battle of Wakefield takes place during the Wars of the Roses in England, resulting in a Lancastrian victory.

1492, December 6 - Christopher Columbus reaches the island of Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic) during his first voyage to the Americas.

1497, December 19 - John Cabot, an Italian explorer sailing under the English flag, reaches the coast of what is now North America, likely Canada.

1520, December 10 - Martin Luther throws a copy of the Papal bull, Exsurge Domine (“Arise O Lord”) into a bonfire Upon the expiration of the 60-day period stipulated in the bull which had been promulgated on 15 June 1520 by Pope Leo X in response to the teachings of Martin Luther which opposed the views of the Catholic Church. Luther refused to recant and continued to rebuke the papacy. As a result, Luther was excommunicated on Jan 3, 1521. More

1524, December 24 - Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama passes away in India during his second voyage to the East.

1531, December 9 - Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the most important religious icons in Mexico, is believed to have appeared to Juan Diego.

1620, December 18 -  The Mayflower Pilgrims arrive at modern-day Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts  after spending some time in Cape hook, known today as Provincetown Harbor, and proceed to get ready to establish the Plymouth Colony. More

1639, December 4 - The first documented recorded observation of a transit of Venus across the Sun is made by the English astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks from his home at Carr House in Much Hoole, near Preston in England.

1684, December 10 - Isaac Newton's manuscript "On the motion of bodies in an orbit"; (De Motu) which he had sent to Edmond Halley, is read to the Royal  in November 1684.  This manuscript gave important mathematical derivations relating to the three relations now known as "Kepler's laws of planetary motion" which before Newton's work had not been generally regarded as scientific laws). After further encouragement from Halley, Newton went on to develop and write his book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Principia) which includes nearly all of the manuscript content. More

1688, December 11 - The Glorious Revolution in England sees William of Orange and Mary II take the throne from James II.

1732,  December 19 - Benjamin Franklin publishes his Poor Richard's Almanack, a periodical, containing  affordable information, humor, ideas, advice and the proverbial wisdom, etc. for the populace. More

1768, December 10 - The Encyclopedia Britannica is first published and advertised for sale in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is the oldest continuously published and revised work in the English language. More

1773, December 16 - Defiant colonists dump crates of tea into Boston Harbor. The "Boston Tea Party" is known as a central event in the American Revolution. But, it was simply the culmination of a series of events which led the thirteen American colonies closer to independence. More

1776, December 19 - Thomas Paine’s publishes "The American Crisis" a new pamphlet that appeared in the Pennsylvania Journal that inspired a huge American military victory. Paine had written the words during the army’s retreat from New York: “These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph,” More

1776, December 25 - General George Washington and 2,400 Continental soldiers cross the Delaware River in a treacherous storm for a surprise attack against Hessian mercenary forces at Trenton, New Jersey. More

1777, December 17 -  Benjamin Franklin engineers a major diplomatic victory when after nearly a year in France without making much visible progress, the French foreign minister, Charles Gravier, the Count of Vergennes, officially acknowledged the United States as an independent country. Franklin also convinced the French to provide financial and eventually military support to the revolutionary effort in America. A formal treaty with France was signed in Paris on February 6, 1778,. 

1777, December 31 - The British suffer heavy losses in the Battle of Princeton during the American Revolutionary War.

1787, December 7 - Delaware ratifies the Constitution of the United States Union becoming the 1st State to do so.

1787, December 12 - Pennsylvania ratifies the Constitution of the United States becoming the second State of the Union.

1787, December 18 - New Jersey ratifies the Constitution of the United States becoming the third State of the Union.

1790, December 15 - The United States Congress relocates to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from New York City.

1799, December 10 - The French revolutionary government declares the metric system to be the official system of weights and measures.

1803, December 20 - The United States officially takes possession of the Louisiana Territory from France in the Louisiana Purchase.

1804. December 20 - Napoleon and Joséphine were crowned Emperor and Empress of the French at Notre-Dame in Paris.  More

1814, December 24 - The Treaty of Ghent is signed, officially ending the War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom.

1816, December 11 - Indiana is admitted into the United States Union becoming the 19th State.

1817, December 10 - Mississippi is admitted into the United States Union becoming the 20th State.

1818. December 3 - Illinois is admitted into the United States Union becoming the 21st State.

1819. December 14 -Alabama is admitted into the United States Union becoming the 22nd State.

1820 Moses Austin asks the Spanish government for approval to establish an American Colony in Texas. Approval was granted but Moses Austin died a short time later and the project was taken over by his son Stephen Austin who continued his fathers project and by 1830 there were over 15,000 American settlers. More

1831, December 2 - Former U.S. President John Quincy Adams takes his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the only former president to do so.

1831, December 27 - British naturalist Charles Darwin sets out from Plymouth, England, aboard the HMS Beagle on a five-year voyage to the Pacific Ocean including the Galapagos Island in South America and New Zealand. Darwin's discoveries while visiting such diverse places gave him the basis to develop his theory of evolution published in 1859, "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection." More 

1836, December 28 - Spain finally accepts Mexico’s permanent independence with the Santa Maria-Calatrava Treaty. Spain had previously attempted  to re-invade Mexico in 1829, leading to the Battle of Tampico where Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, defeated the Spanish and became a war hero. 

1843, December 19 - Charles Dickens' classic novella "A Christmas Carol" is first published in London.

1845, December 29 - Texas is admitted into the United States Union becoming the 28th State.

1846, December 28 - Illinois is admitted into the United States Union becoming the 29th State.

1865, December 6 -  The 13th amendment, abolishing Slavery becomes part of the U.S. Constitution as the State of Georgia became the 27th State to ratify it. More

1865, December 24 - The KKK is founded in Pulaski, Tennessee,  More

1867, December 4 - The Patrons of Husbandry, better known as the Grange is founded by Oliver Hudson Kelley. The Grange went on to become and influential political force in the western U. S. States. More

1872, December 5 - The Mary Celeste, an American ship that mysteriously disappeared, is discovered adrift and deserted in the Atlantic Ocean off the Azores Islands. The ,Captain, his family, or the crew of the vessel were never found, and the reason for the abandonment of the Mary Celeste has never been determined. More 

1877, December 6 - Thomas Edison successfully demonstrates the phonograph for the first time. Edison filed for a patent for the phonograph on December 24, 1877 and the patent was issued on February 19, 1878. The original phonograph was invented and patented by Edouard-Leon Scott in 1857. He called his device the phonautograph . His invention made a recording of sound waves on a glass plate, but it was not able to play back the sounds. More

1890, December 29 - The Wounded Knee Massacre, also known as the Battle of Wounded Knee takes place. Nearly three hundred Lakota people are massacred by soldiers of the United States Army. More

1891, December 21 - The First Basketball Game is played in Springfield, MA at the YMCA International Training School; which today is Springfield College. The game was created by Dr. James Naismith in response to a request to come up with a new game students could play indoors during the winter that would help keep track and field runners in shape and would be relatively safe to play and would have a small amount of physical contact so that the players would not get injured in this game. More

1894, December 29 - French army officer Alfred Dreyfus is convicted of treason in a highly controversial trial, sparking the Dreyfus Affair.

1895, December 28 - The world’s first commercial movie screening takes place at the Grand Cafe in Paris showing a series of short scenes from everyday French life and charged admission for the first time. The film was made by Louis and Auguste Lumiere, two French brothers who developed a camera-projector called the Cinematographe. They had unveiled their invention to the public in March 1895 with a brief film showing workers leaving the Lumiere factory. More

1896, December 30 - Philippine nationalist José Rizal is publicly executed by the Spanish Colonial government enraging and uniting Filipinos against Spain. Rizal came from a prosperous family, was educated in Manila and at the University of Madrid. A brilliant medical student, he became an ophthalmologist by profession, a writer and a key member of the Filipino Propaganda Movement, which advocated political reforms for the colony under Spain, although he never advocated Philippine independence. The night before his execution he wrote “Último adiós” (“Last Farewell”), a masterpiece of 19th-century Spanish verse. More

1898, December 10 - The Treaty of Paris is signed by representatives of Spain and the United States, concluding the Spanish-American War.

1900, December 14 -  Quantum Theory is born when German theoretical physicist Max Planck shares his hypothesis that  radiation energy is emitted, not continuously, but rather in discrete packets called quanta. The energy E of the quantum is related to the frequency ν by E = hν. The quantity h, now known as Planck’s constant, is a universal constant with the approximate value of 6.62607 × 10−34 joule-second. In 1905 Einstein extended Planck’s hypothesis to explain the photoelectric effect. More

1901, December 10 - The first awarding of five Nobel Prizes take place. Four of them were given out in Stockholm and one, the Peace Prize, in Christiania, as Oslo was then called. Alfred Nobel had died in San Remo, five years earlier. Since 1901, the Nobel Prizes have been presented to new laureates at ceremonies on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.

1901, December 12 -  Guglielmo Marconi and his assistant, George Kemp, confirmed the reception of the first transatlantic radio signals from their test site in St. John, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.  With a telephone receiver and a wire antenna kept aloft by a kite, they heard Morse code for the letter "S" transmitted from Poldhu, Cornwall, England. Their experiments showed that radio signals extended far beyond the horizon, giving radio a new global dimension for communication in the twentieth century. More

1903, December 17 - Orville Wright makes the first powered, controlled, and sustained flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as his brother Wilbur looks on. Orville Wright covered 120 feet in 12 seconds during the first flight of the day. The Wright brothers made four flights that day, each longer than the last More 

1908, December 28 - The Messina Earthquake, Europe's most powerful earthquake shook southern Italy. Centered in the Messina Strait, which separates Sicily from Calabria. The quake's magnitude equaled a 7.5 by today's Richter scale. Moments after a devastating tsunami formed, causing forty-foot waves to crash down on dozens of coastal cities. Most of southern Italy's cities lost as many as half their residents with the total death toll throughout Italy was estimated at nearly 200,000 More

1911,  December 14 - Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian polar team was the first to reach the geographic South Pole on December. Five weeks later, on January, 1904, the polar team led by Robert Falcon Scott was the second. Scott's party of five died on the return journey from the pole. More

1913, December 1 - The world's first moving assembly line debuted, at the Ford Model T car factory in Highland Park, Michigan. The innovation spearheaded by Henry Ford, revolutionized the auto industry. More 

1913, December 12 - The stolen “Mona Lisa” was recovered in Florence, Italy. The thief, Vincenzo Perugia, was  arrested. He claimed he was avenging Italy. More

1913, December 13 - President Woodrow Wilson signs the Federal Reserve Act into law, creating the Federal Reserve. More

1914, December 8 -  Battle of the Falkland Islands (WWI) The German naval forces led by Admiral Maximilian von Spee,  unsuccessfully attempts to raid the Falkland Islands bit is stopped by the British Navy commanded by Admiral Doveton Sturdee. 

1914. December 25 - The Christmas Truce of 1914. Although fighting continued in many parts of the Western Front, a rare heart-warming display of humanity in the history of human conflict takes place in some sections. By Christmas of that year there were millions of soldiers dug in trenches packed together and living in freezing conditions. On Christmas Eve German troops began unwrapping gifts from home and singing Christmas carols and soon the British and French troops joined in. Christmas greetings and well wishes were exchanged, and offers of a temporary ceasefire were communicated between the trenches. On Christmas morning, The troops began to greet one another, messages and gifts were exchanged and spontaneous games of football(soccer) were rumored to have happened. More

1916, December 18 - The WWI battle of Verdun ends. The engagement in which the French repulsed a major German offensive was one of the longest, bloodiest, and most-ferocious battles of the war, lasting for almost a year. French casualties amounted to about 400,000, German ones to about 350,000. Some 300,000 were killed. More

1916, December 30 - Grigori Rasputin, the Siberian self proclaimed mystic was murdered by Russian nobles and conservatives—who reportedly poisoned, shot, and then drowned the Siberian mystic—to halt his influence over Empress Alexandra and the royal family. More

1917, December 6 - Finland declares independence from Russia, leading to the Finnish Civil War.

1917, December 7 - The United States  declares war on Austria-Hungary. More

1917, December 9 - Jerusalem surrenders to British troops. The mayor of Jerusalem, Hussein Salim al-Husseini,  delivers the Ottoman Governor's letter surrendering the city to Brigadier General C.F. Watson, of the 180th Brigade.

1917, December 26 - President Wilson issues a declaration that he had nationalized the railroad system under the Federal Possession and Control Act. Wilson appointed his son-in-law, Treasury Secretary William McAdoo, as administrator for the United States Railroad Administration. After the end of WWI in the railroads became private property once again on March 2020.

1922, December 30 - The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ( USSR) is established with its capital in Moscow, The  Communist Party, led by Marxist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin took control of the government. The Union eventually incorporated 15 republics and constituted the largest country (in area) in the world until its dissolution in 1991.

1923, December 19, The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) terrorizes the University of Dayton, a Catholic Institution, by exploding 12 bombs throughout the campus and setting on fire an 8-foot cross. Several hundred Klansmen were routed by hundreds of neighborhood residents who joined students in chasing them off. The growing Catholic presence in Dayton during the 1920s drew the hostility of the Ku Klux Klan. More about the attack - More about the KKK

1932, December 5 - German physicist Albert Einstein is granted a visa to enter the United States, fleeing Nazi Germany.

1933, December 5 - The 21st Amendment is passed, ending the prohibition of alcohol in America by repealing the 18th amendment which had been as passed thus becoming Prohibition, the only Constitutional amendment to be repealed in United States history.

1936, December 11 - The abdication of King Edward VIII formally approved. Edward VIII had abdicated after failing to win acceptance for his desire to marry American divorcée Wallis Warfield Simpson. He became the only British sovereign to voluntarily resign the crown. 

1941, December 7 - The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Empire leads to the United States' entry into World War II. The attack was preceded by months of negotiations between the U.S. and Japan over the future of the Pacific. Japanese demands included that the U.S. end its sanctions against Japan, cease aiding China in the Second Sino-Japanese war, and allow Japan to access the resources of the Dutch East Indies. More than 2,400 U.S. servicemen were killed in the attack. More 

1941, December 8 - The United States enters World War II a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, as Congress declares war against Imperial Japan.

1941, December 11 - Adolf Hitler declares that Germany is at war with the United States following the Japanese attacks on the U.S., British, and Dutch positions in the Pacific and in East Asia.

1941, December 17 -  Admiral Husband E. Kimmel is relieved of his fleet command following the the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and his rank is reverted to the rank of Rear Admiral. He retired in March 1942. Rear Admiral Kimmel died at Groton, Connecticut, on 14 May 1968. More

1941, December 18 - Battle of Hong Kong . Japan attacks the Island of Honk Kong as a continuation of an attack on the British Colony which started on December 7. A Japanese force of around 35,000 strong was faced by a defending force of 13,500 British, Indian, Canadian, and local troops. Hong Kong surrendered on Christmas Day 1941 and Hong Kong entered a period of Japanese rule that lasted for three years and eight months. More

1941, December 26 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs into law a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November  as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday ending the confusion that had taken place since 1939 when FDR had changed the official Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of the month since there were five Thursdays and the last Thursday of the month was the last day of the month and there was a worry that it would shorten the Christmas shopping season. Only 32 states had issued similar proclamations while 16 states refused to accept the change creating confusion. More 

1944, December 15 - A single-engine aircraft Noorduyn C-64 “Norseman” airplane carrying trombonist and Band leader Glenn Miller  disappears over the English Channel. The Army Air Force Major was an unauthorized passenger aboard the flight and he was preparing to move his Army Air Forces Band (Special) from England to France for a congratulatory performance for American troops that had recently helped to liberate Paris. More  

1944, December 16 - The German army launches a counteroffensive intended to cut through the Allied forces and turn the tide of the war in Hitler's favor. The German offensive was code-named Wacht am Rhein (the “Watch on the Rhine”), but is better known in the United States as the “Battle of the Bulge". More 

1944, December 27 - President Franklin Roosevelt , asserting wartime emergency powers, orders his secretary of commerce to seize the  plants and facilities of Montgomery Ward which was in the middle of a labor strike affecting the flow of war supplies. Montgomery Ward appealed the government action in Federal Court, but lost. More

1945, December 5 - Flight 19, a Navy Aircraft squadron disappears in the Bermuda Triangle. Thee squadron consisted of five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers which departed the U.S. Naval Air Station at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a routine navigational training flight with Lt. Charles C. Taylor acting as the flight's leader.  All 14 Naval Aviators on the flight were lost, as were all 13 crew members of a Martin PBM Mariner flying boat that subsequently launched from Naval Air Station Banana River to search for Flight 19. More

1945, December 9 - The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (.UNICEF) is established. More 

1948, December 10 - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris. A milestone document in the history of human rights, it sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. More

1949, December 8 - Unable hold ground against Mao Zedong forces, the Chinese Nationalists depart for the island of Taiwan and  establish their new capital. Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek joined them on the following day. This action marked the beginning of the “two Chinas” phase and it wasn't until 1979 when the United States officially recognized the People’s Republic of China.

December 5th - Lethal smog covers the city of London for five days. It was caused by a combination of industrial pollution and high-pressure weather conditions bringing  London to a near standstill and resulting in thousands of deaths. Four years later, the UK Parliament passed the Clean Air Act marking a turning point in the history of environmentalism. More

1954, December 2 - Censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy - The U.S. Senate votes to censure Senator Joseph McCarthy, who had led the fight in Congress to root out suspected Communists from the Federal Government. The censure described his behavior as "contrary to senatorial traditions". Senator Joseph R. McCarthy had been a little-known junior senator from Wisconsin until February 1950 when he claimed to have a list of 205 card-carrying Communists and members of a spy ring employed in the U.S. Department of State. McCarthy was never able to prove his sensational charge. More  

1955, December 1 - Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the civil rights movement. More

1955, December 5 - The Montgomery Bus Boycott ends after the U.S. Supreme Court rules that racial segregation on public buses is unconstitutional.

1958, December 9 - The John Birch Society (JBS) is founded by Robert W. Welch Jr. More

1958, December 21 - Charles de Gaulle is elected president of France's Fifth Republic. An insurrection that had broken out in Algiers threatened to bring civil war to France. He was given extraordinary powers to resolve the political crisis and the  extraordinarily divisive and bloody War in Algiers. After several tumultuous years de Gaulle resigned on April 28, 1969, following his defeat in a second referendum. More

1960, December 4 - A magnitude 9.5 earthquake, the most powerful ever recorded, strikes Chile, resulting in widespread destruction and loss of life.

1960, December 7 - Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire) gains independence from French colonial rule.

1960, December 11 - French forces capture the Algerian city of Oran, effectively ending the Algerian War of Independence.

1960, December 14 - Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is officially established in Baghdad, Iraq.

1960, December 15 - Richard Pavlick attempts to assassinate then-U.S. President-elect John F. Kennedy in Florida.

1960, December 16 - The United Nations General Assembly adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, marking a significant moment in human rights history.

1960, December 18 - Charles de Gaulle is reelected as the President of France.

1960, December 28 - An uprising against Portuguese colonial rule in Angola, known as the Baixa de Cassanje revolt, begins.

1961, December 2 - Fidel Castro declares that he is a Marxist-Leninist and Cuba becomes a communist state.

1961, December 6 - Independence is granted to Kuwait, ending British protection.

1961, December 9 - Tanganyika (now part of Tanzania) gains independence from British colonial rule.

1961, December 11 - Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi war criminal, is found guilty and sentenced to death in Israel.

1961, December 18 - India annexes the territories of Goa, Daman, and Diu, ending Portuguese colonial rule in the region.

1962, December 10 - The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Linus Pauling for his work in campaigning against nuclear weapons testing.

1962, December 14 - Mariner 2, an American space probe, becomes the first spacecraft to successfully fly by Venus.

1962, December 17 - The United States lifts its economic embargo on Cuba, allowing the sale of certain goods.

1962, December 20 - The New York City Board of Estimate votes to build the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.

1962, December 25 - An earthquake and tsunami in Northern Chile result in significant loss of life and destruction.

1963, December 1 - The Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Hotline is established between the United States and the Soviet Union.

1963, December 7 - The United States launches the communication satellite Syncom 3, which broadcasts the first live transatlantic television program.1963, December 10 - The United Nations General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

1963, December 10 - Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania) gains independence from British colonial rule.

1963, December 12 - Kenya becomes fully independent from British rule.  A year later, Kenya became a republic (with Kenyatta as its first president and Oginga Odinga as vice president). 

1963, December 17 - The Clean Air Act is signed into law in the United States, aiming to reduce air pollution. The Clean Air Act empowered federal and state agencies to research and regulate air pollution, marking a major expansion of government efforts to fight back against the damage being done to the climate.

1964, December 10 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. receives the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent civil rights activism.

1964, December 2 - The U.S. Senate passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, granting President Lyndon B. Johnson broad authority to use military force in Vietnam.

1964, December 10 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership in the American civil rights movement.

1964, December 11 - The South African Rivonia Trial concludes with the sentencing of Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid activists to life in prison.

1964, December 15 - Canada adopts the new national flag, the Maple Leaf, replacing the Red Ensign.

1965, December 4 - NASA's Gemini 7 and Gemini 6 spacecraft achieve the first space rendezvous, flying within 1 foot of each other.

1965, December 7 -  Roman Catholic Pope Paul VI and Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras I, lift the mutual excommunications that led to the split of the two churches in 1054 in the Great Schism. Today, the two branches of Christianity remain distinct expressions of a similar faith.

1965, December 13 - Singapore gains independence from Malaysia and becomes a sovereign nation.

1965, December 22 - Apartheid in South Africa is further entrenched with the passing of the Suppression of Communism Act.

1965, December 30 - Ferdinand Emmanuel Marcos first  inaugurated as the 10th President of the Philippines. . He ruled under martial law from 1972 until 1981. He was deposed in 1986. His rule was infamous for its corruption and brutality. More

1966, December 1 - The West Coast Port Dispute, a labor strike, begins on the U.S. West Coast, affecting shipping and trade.

1966, December 4 - The United Nations General Assembly recognizes the independence of Barbados and Guyana.

1966, December 25 - The first Kwanzaa celebration is held, a week-long holiday honoring African heritage in African American culture.

1966, December 30 - The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, secures a contract for the band to produce animated television shows.

1966, December 31 - The estimated population of the world reaches 3.45 billion, according to the United Nations.

1967, December 3 - The first successful human heart transplant is performed by South African surgeon Dr. Christiaan Barnard. More

1968, December 9 -  Douglas Engelbart, gives a landmark computer demonstration  at the  Association for Computing Machinery / Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (ACM/IEEE)—Computer Society's Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco". The presentation demonstrated for the first time many of the fundamental elements of modern personal computing: windows, hypertext, graphics, efficient navigation and command input, video conferencing, the computer mouse, word processing, dynamic file linking, revision control, and a collaborative real-time editor. The name "The Mother of All Demos" was retroactively applied to the landmark computer demonstration. More

1968, December 21 - Apollo 8, the first manned launch of the Saturn V rocket lifts off to demonstrate a lunar trajectory, entering lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. The Apollo 8 mission proved the performance of the command and service module.  On July 20 of the following year, The Apollo 11 spaceflight was the first to land humans on the Moon; Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin More

1969, December 2 - The Boeing 747 jumbo jet makes its first passenger flight. It carried 191 people, 110 of them reporters and photographers, from Seattle, to New York City.

1971, December 2 - The United Emirates (UAE) declares its independence following the completion of treaties with Great Britain. The United States recognized the United Arab Emirates the next day. The uniting Sheikdoms were Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharja, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Fujairah. Ras al-Khaimah joined two months later. The UAE is the third-largest oil producer in the Gulf after Saudi Arabia and Iran. The United Arab Emirates is a member state of the League of Arab States.

1972, December 7 - Apollo 17, the final Apollo moon mission, launches from Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

1973, December 2 - The first mobile phone call is made by Martin Cooper, a Motorola executive, in New York City.

1973, December 15 - The American Psychiatric Association reverses its longstanding position and declares that homosexuality isn't a mental illness. More

1973, December 28 - U.S. President Richard Nixon signs the Endangered Species Act, which obligates federal and state governments to protect all species threatened with extinction that fall within the borders of the United States and its outlying territories. More

1978, December 15 - Following months of secret negotiations, the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) announced that they would recognize one another and establish official diplomatic relations. As part of the agreement, the United States recognized the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, and declared it would withdraw diplomatic recognition from Taiwan (also known as the Republic of China [ROC]). More

1978, December 25 - Vietnam invades Cambodia, leading to the eventual downfall of the Khmer Rouge regime.

1979, December 24 - The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan, beginning the Soviet-Afghan War. More

1980, December 8 - Former Beatle John Lennon is assassinated in New York City.

1980, December 9 - The World Health Assembly declares smallpox, a serious infectious disease, eradicated (eliminated). No cases of naturally occurring smallpox have happened since. More

1980, December 12 - Leonardo Da Vinci's manuscript known as the Leicester Codex is sold in auction to American oil tycoon Armand Hammer for $5.1M . The manuscript written circa 1508, contained 72 loose pages with over 300 notes and drawings. Thomas Coke, the first earl of Leicester, bought the manuscript in 1717 and installed it among his impressive collection of art at his family estate in England. The manuscript was placed in auction by the then current Earl of Leicester. Hammer placed it in his private art collection. In 1994 it was bought by Bull Gates for $30.8M More

987, December 8 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty).

1987, December 9 - The Intifada begins in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip twenty years after Israeli conquered the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and permanently annexed East Jerusalem. Israeli settlers had moved into the occupied territories, seizing Arab land. By December 1987, 2,200 armed Jewish settlers occupied 40 percent of the Gaza Strip, while 650,000 impoverished Palestinians were crowded into the other 60 percent, making the Palestinian portion of the tiny Gaza Strip one of the most densely populated areas on earth. More

1988, December 7 - The Armenian earthquake. A 6.9 earthquake in Spitak, Armenia kills an estimated 25,000-50,000 people and leaves 130,000 injured. and up to 500,000 homeless. More 

1988, December 21 - Pan Am Flight 103 is destroyed by a terrorist bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland. The Boeing 747, took off from London, bound for New York City.  As it was climbing on its northerly flight path, it exploded over the town of Lockerbie , Scotland.  All 259 passengers and crewmembers were killed plus 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie. More

1989, December 2 - The Cold War officially ends with a summit meeting between U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.1991 CE, December 26 - The dissolution of the Soviet Union is officially declared, ending the existence of the USSR.

1989, December 20 - The United States invades Panama under orders from President residency of George H. W. Bush. The primary purpose of the invasion was to depose the de facto ruler of Panama, General Manuel Noriega who had longstanding ties to United States intelligence agencies but the relations had deteriorated. Noriega was wanted by U.S. authorities for racketeering and drug trafficking.  Noriega was captured, brought to the U.S. tried and convicted. He was eventually returned to Panama where he died in 2017.The United Nations General Assembly and the Organization of American States both condemned the invasion as a violation of international law. More

1990, December 1 - The Chunnel Breakthrough - In a mostly ceremonial event, British miner Graham Fagg and his French counterpart Philippe Cozette made history whent hey broke through the last piece of rock separating the French and British side of the Chunnel,132 feet (100 metres) below the English Channel,  connecting the two ends of an underwater tunnel linking Great Britain with the European mainland for the first time since the Ice Age. The official opening of the Chunnel took place In a May 6, 1994 in a ceremony presided over by England’s Queen Elizabeth II and French President Francois Mitterrand. More

1991, December 8 - The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus sign the Belavezha Accords, effectively dissolving the Soviet Union. The Accords and other signed documents were ratified by the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR on Dec. 12, 1991. At the same time Russia dissolved the Union Treaty of 1922. More

1991, December 21 -  The Belavezha Accords were joined by Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. In the city of Alma-Ata (Kazakhstan), the heads of these countries, along with Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, signed the Declaration on the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on an equal footing. In December 1993 the Accords on the establishment of the CIS were joined by Georgia. Three former Soviet republics, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, did not join the CIS. More 

1991, December 25 - The Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR approved the Law of the RSFSR "On renaming of the state of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic", which took effect immediately. The new name of the state was the Russian Federation (Russia) Effective dissolving the USSR. The Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin and then replaced by the tricolor Russian Federation flag. More

1992, December 3 - The first text message is sent from a computer by Neil Papworth, a 22-year-old software programmer from the UK working for Vodaphone  to his colleague Richard Jarvis. The message was “Merry Christmas.”  One year later in 1993, Nokia introduced an SMS feature with a distinctive ‘beep’ to signal an incoming message. More 

1992, December 4 - U.S. President George H.W. Bush, in his last weeks in office, orders about 25.000 U.S. troops to Somalia as part of an agreement with the UN to protect aid workers. The military operation encounter difficulties from the start due to the absence of a national Somali leadership and the daily fighting in the streets of the capital city of Mogadishu. The new U.S. president, Bill Clinton, ordered the number of U.S. troops to be reduced as other UN forces come in. In October 1993, soon after an incident at Mogadishu where 18 U.S. soldiers lost their lives and  two U.S. two helicopters were shut down, Clinton orders all U.S. combat troops to be out of Somalia by March 31. A year later UN troops were also withdrawn, leaving the country engulfed in clan warfare.

1992, December 6 - The Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India, is demolished by Hindu nationalists, leading to communal violence.

1993, December 2 - Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is killed in a shootout with authorities.

1995, December 14 - The Dayton Agreement is signed, ending the Bosnian War with the goal of achieving peace in the Balkans.

1995, December 20 - The NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) is deployed to Bosnia to insure compliance to the Dayton Agreement as NATO assumes peacekeeping duties. More 

1996, December 10 - South African President Nelson Mandela signs a new constitution that completes a transition from a long period of white minority rule (apartheid) to full-fledged #ref44040" class="md-crosslink" data-show-preview="true" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: var(--link-color); text-decoration: var(--link-decoration); font-family: Georgia, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">democracy. More 

1997, December 3 - The Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty to combat climate change, is adopted.

1998, December 16 - President Clinton orders air attack on Iraq and the United States joined by Britain begin operation "Desert Fox" as a reaction to Saddam Hussein's refusal to cooperate with UNSCOM's inspectors and to degrade Iraq's ability to produce weapons of mass destruction as well as to diminish" the Iraqi threat to its neighbors. More

1998, December 19 - The U.S. House of Representatives impeaches President Bill Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

1999, December 20 - Macau is handed back to China by Portugal, marking the end of Portuguese colonial rule.

1999, December 31 - The Panama Canal is transferred from U.S. control to Panamanian ownership.

2000, December 12 - The United States Supreme Court releases its 5-4 decision in the case of Bush v. Gore with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor providing the "swing vote".  The Court decision effectively ended the Florida recount of the presidential election and lead to the election of George W. Bush as President of the United States. Bob Gore won the popular vote by 537,179 votes but Bush won 271 Electoral votes versus 266 for Gore, who conceded the following day. More

2001, December 2 - The Enron Corporation files for bankruptcy.  Eventually it came to light, that some of Enron aggressive accounting practices allowed claiming future unrealized gains from some trading contracts into current income and the transferring of troubled operations to so-called special purpose entities (SPEs), kept the assets off Enron’s books, making its losses look less severe than they really were. Enron’s collapse, cost investors billions of dollars, wiped out over 5,600 jobs and liquidated over $2 billion in pension plans. It also triggered the collapse of Arthur Anderson which had served not only as Enron’s auditor but also as a consultant to the company. More about Enron - #toc-where-are-they-now">More about the executives

2001, December 11 - China joins the World Trade Organization (WTO) after 15 years of negotiations.

2003, December 13 - Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq, is captured by U.S. forces near Tikrit. after 9 months of hiding.

2004, December 26 -The Sumatra-Andaman earthquake in the Indian Ocean and resulting Tsunami kill approximately 230,000 people, making it one of the deadliest disasters in modern history. More

2006, December 30 - Saddam Hussein, former president of Iraq, is executed after being convicted of crimes against humanity in 2004. More

2007, December 27 - Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated in Rawalpindi. More

2009, December 1 - The Lisbon Treaty, which reformed the European Union's institutions, comes into force.

2010, December 17 - The outbreak of the Arab Spring begins when Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor, sets himself on fire in protest, sparking widespread demonstrations.

2011, December 18 - The last convoy of U.S. troops leaves Iraq, officially marking the end of the Iraq War.

2012, December 14 - A mass shooting occurs at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, leading to renewed discussions on gun control in the United States.

2013, December 5 - The death of Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa and anti-apartheid icon.

2014, December 17 - The United States and Cuba announce plans to normalize diplomatic relations after decades of tension.

2015, December 12 - The Paris Agreement on climate change is adopted by 196 countries during the COP21 summit.

2016, December 19 - The assassination of Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, in Ankara.

2017, December 6 - The United States officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, sparking controversy and protests.

2018, December 1 - Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush passes away at the age of 94.

2019, December 19 - The United States House of Representatives impeaches President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

2020, December 14 - The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are administered in the United Kingdom, marking the beginning of vaccination campaigns worldwide.

2020, December 24 - The United Kingdom and the European Union reach a post-Brexit trade deal, averting a no-deal scenario.

2020, December 28 - The United States Congress passes the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, providing economic relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

2021, December 4 - British businessman Richard Branson becomes the first person to reach space aboard a Virgin Galactic suborbital spaceplane.

2021, December 31 - The United Kingdom officially completes its transition out of the European Union, fully implementing Brexit.

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