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On December 21st...
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Feast of St. Thomas
1375 Poet Giovanni Boccaccio died.
1582 Flanders adopted the Gregorian calendar.
1620 The Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. [December 11 on the "Old Style" calendar]
1639 French playwright Jean Baptiste Racine was born.
1788 Hue Tay Sun became Emperor Quang Trung of Vietnam.
1795 Robert Moffat, missionary to South Africa, was born.
1800 American politician Robert Barnwell Rhett was born.
1804 Benjamin Disraeli, two-time Prime Minister of Great Britain, was born.
1824 James Parkinson, the first physician to describe Parkinson's Disease, died.
1829 The first stone arch bridge in the United States was dedicated in Baltimore, Maryland.
1849 The first U.S. skating club was formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1860 American social worker and Zionist movement leader Henrietta Szold was born.
1864 General William Tecumseh Sherman captured Savannah, Georgia.
1872 The HMS Challenger embarked on the first-ever sea voyage undertaken for scientific purposes.
1879 Russian dictator Joseph Stalin was born.
1891 James Naismith invented the game of basketball.
1892 Golfer Walter Hagen was born.
1898 Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radium.
1906 The British Parliament passed The Trades Disputes Bill, legalizing peaceful picketing, and The Workingmen's Compensation Act, broadening employers' liability for accidents.
1909 The first junior high school was established in Berkeley, California.
1910 An explosion in a coal mine in Hulton, England, killed 344 miners.
1913 The first known crossword puzzle was published in the New York World.
1914 The first ever six-reel comedy, Tillie's Punctured Romance, was released.
1918 Kurt Waldheim, Austrian politician and diplomat, was born.
1922 Ventriloquist Paul Winchell was born.
1923 Nepal became an independent nation.
1926 College football coach Joe Paterno was born.
1932 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made their first movie together, Flying Down to Rio.
1933 Fox Films signed 5-year-old Shirley Temple to a contract.
1935 Talk show host Phil Donahue was born.
1937 The first
full-length animated feature film, Snow White and the
Seven Dwarves, premiered at the Carthay Circle
1940 Musician Frank
Zappa was born.
1945 U.S. General George S. Patton died.
1946 An earthquake in southern Japan
killed 1,086 persons.
1948 The Irish Free State declared
itself the independent State of Eire.
1949 The Dutch First
Chamber accepted the sovereignty of Indonesia.
1950 Businessman Jeffrey Katzenberg
1952 The Broadway Tunnel opened in San Francisco, California.
1954 Tennis player Chris Evert was born.
1955 Actress Jane Kaczmarek was born.
1957 Actor Ray Romano was born.
Charles de Gaulle was elected President of the Fifth Republic of
1959 The Shah of Iran
married Farah Diba.
1962 Cuban Premier Fidel Castro agreed to exchange the Bay of Pigs invasion prisoners for medicine and food.
1965 Actor Andy Dick was born.
1966 Actor Kiefer Sutherland was born.
1968 Apollo VIII, the
first manned voyage to the Moon, was launched.
1969 Vince Lombardi
coached his last football game.
1970 The minimum voting age in U.S. federal elections was lowered from 21 to 18.
1974 Actor Richard Long died.
1978 Police in Des Plaines, Illinois, arrested John Wayne Gacy for murder.
1988 Pan Am flight 103 was destroyed in mid-air by a bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 258 persons on board.
1991 The Soviet Union formally dissolved and 11 of its former 12 republics formed the Commonwealth of Independent States.
1992 A Dutch DC-10 caught fire while landing at Faro, Portugal; 56 people were killed.
1994 A bomb exploded
on the #4 train at Fulton Street Station in New York
1995 The city of Bethlehem passed from Israeli to Palestinian control.
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This page was last updated on February 21, 2018.