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On December 21st...

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Feast of St. Thomas

Giovanni Boccaccio1375 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.

Robert Barnwell Rhett1800 American politician Robert Barnwell Rhett was born.

Benjamin Disraeli1804 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.

Savannah, Georgia1864 General William Tecumseh Sherman captured Savannah, Georgia.

HMS Challenger voyage1872 The HMS Challenger embarked on the first-ever sea voyage undertaken for scientific purposes.

1879 Russian dictator Joseph Stalin was born.

James Naismith1891 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.

Kurt Waldheim1918 Kurt Waldheim, Austrian politician and diplomat, was born.

1922 Ventriloquist Paul Winchell was born.

Nepal1923 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 Theater.
1937 Actress Jane Fonda was born.
1937 American politician and diplomat Frank B. Kellogg died.

1940 Musician Frank Zappa was born.
1940 Author F. Scott Fitzgerald died.

George S. Patton1945 U.S. General George S. Patton died.

1946 An earthquake in southern Japan killed 1,086 persons.
1946
Musician Carl Wilson was born.

1948 The Irish Free State declared itself the independent State of Eire.
1948 Actor Samuel L. Jackson was born.

Indonesia1949 The Dutch First Chamber accepted the sovereignty of Indonesia.
1949
The film Samson and Delilah premiered in New York City.

1950 Businessman Jeffrey Katzenberg was born.
Hattie Caraway1950 Hattie Wyatt Caraway, the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate, died.

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 Gaulle1958 Charles de Gaulle was elected President of the Fifth Republic of France.
1958 Actress Ingrid Bergman married film and theatrical producer Lars Schmidt in London, England.
1958 An overloaded bus plunged into a ravine in Mexico, killing 70 persons.

Farah Diba1959 The Shah of Iran married Farah Diba.
1959 Tom Landry became head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
1959 Actor Dave Coulier was born.
1959 Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner was born.

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.
1968
David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash performed together for the first time.

1969 Vince Lombardi coached his last football game.
1969 Diana Ross made her final television appearance as a Supreme, on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

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 City.
1994 Dean Rusk, former U.S. Secretary of State, died.

1995 The city of Bethlehem passed from Israeli to Palestinian control.

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The Robinson Library >> On This Day

This page was last updated on February 21, 2018.