Home Today's History Lesson TODAY’S HISTORY LESSON: DEC 19



1887 – Jake Kilrain and Jim Smith fought in a bare knuckles fight which lasted 106 rounds and 2 hours and 30 minutes. The fight was ruled a draw and was halted due to darkness.

0324 – Licinius abdicates his position as Roman Emperor.

1154 – Henry II of England is crowned at Westminster Abbey.

1487 – Opening ceremony of the sixth Great Temple of Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City) 4,000 prisoners of war are sacrificed to Aztec gods over four days

1562 – The Battle of Dreux was fought between the Huguenots and the Catholics, beginning the French Wars of Religion.

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.

1642 – 4 of Abel Tasman’s crew killed at Wharewharangi (Murderers) Bay by Māori; Tasman’s ships depart without landing

1675 – King Philip’s War: Combined colonial millitias stake massive attack against the Great Swamp Fort, owned by the Narragansetts, totally destroying the settlement and killing or displacing hundreds of non-combatant women and children

1686 – Robinson Crusoe leaves his island after 28 years (as per Defoe)

1732 – Benjamin Franklin began publishing “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”

1776 – Thomas Paine published his first “American Crisis” essay. “These are the times that try men’s souls”

1777 – General George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, PA, to camp for the winter.

1823 – Georgia passes state birth registration law the first in the union

1842 – Hawaii’s independence was recognized by the U.S.

1843 – Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was first published in England.

1870 – After 31 days at sea in a small boat, William Halford and 3 others reach the island of Kauai, Hawaii to seek help for the shipwrecked USS Saginaw. A capsize in the breakers meant only Halford survived.

1887 – Jake Kilrain and Jim Smith fought in a bare knuckles fight which lasted 106 rounds and 2 hours and 30 minutes. The fight was ruled a draw and was halted due to darkness.

1900 – General Horatio Kitchener offers protections to all Boers who will surrender and asks the Dutch community of Pretoria to convey this offer, leaders in the field refuse to surrender

1903 – The Williamsburg Bridge opened in New York City. It opened as the largest suspension bridge on Earth and remained the largest until 1924. It was also the first major suspension bridge to use steel towers to support the main cable.

1907 – A coalmine explosion in Jacobs Creek, PA, killed 239 workers.

1910 – Rayon first commercially produced, Marcus Hook PA

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.

1917 – The first games of the new National Hockey League (NHL) were played. Five teams made up the league: Toronto Arenas, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs, the Montreal Canadiens and the Montreal Wanderers.

1920 – King Constantine I is restored as King of the Hellenes after the death of his son Alexander I of Greece and a plebiscite.

1922 – Theresa Vaughn, 24, confesses in court in Sheffield, England, to being married 61 times over 5 years in 50 cities in three countries

1923 – King George II of Greece moves in exile to Romania while the National Assembly deliberates over future of government

1932 – The British Broadcasting Corp. began transmitting overseas with its “Empire Service” to Australia.

1933 – US President Roosevelt creates Electric Home & Farm Authority (EHFA) to assist low income household with purchase of major appliances

1938 – Nazi “Ransom Plan” is rejected here, Joint Distribution Committee’s Boycott Council votes for intensification of boycott against German goods. Failure of “Barter Plan” is seen.

1939 – Russian air & ground attack against Finnish positions near Summa

1941 – Adolf Hitler takes complete command of German Army

1942 – Robert Stroud, convicted murdered, transferred to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, where he becomes known as “Birdman of Alcatraz”

1946 – War breaks out in Indochina as Ho Chi Minh attacks French in Hanoi

1950 – General Eisenhower named NATO commander

1952 – Queen Juliana of the Netherlands unveils statue “Docker” (“Dokwerker”), memorializing the February Strike of 1941 over the arrest of 450 Jews for the killing of a Nazi sympathizer; designed by Mari Andriessen, it was relocated in 1970 from Amsterdam’s Waterlooplein Market to Jonas Daniel Meijerplein (Square)

1959 – Penn State’s Nittany Lions beat Alabama, 7-0, in the first Liberty Bowl football game.

1960 – Fire aboard USS Constellation, under construction at Brooklyn (50 die)

1967 – Prime Minister of Australia Harold Holt is officially presumed dead (after being swept out to sea swimming two days earlier)

1972 – Apollo 17 splashed down in the Pacific, ending the Apollo program of manned lunar landings.

1973 – Johnny Carson started a fake toilet-paper scare on the “Tonight Show.”

1975 – The Red Hand Commandos, a very secretive Ulster loyalist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland, explode a no-warning car bomb in Dundalk, killing 2 civilians and wounding 20

1978 – Indira Gandhi was expelled from the Lok Sabha for contempt and imprisoned.

1979 – ESPN televised its first NHL game. The teams were the Washington Capitals and the Hartford Whalers.

1980 – Iran requests $24 billion in US guarantees to free hostages

1983 – After a grueling and sometimes bloody six weeks on the picket line, striking Greyhound workers agreed to sign off on a new contract and head back to work

1984 – Britain and China signed an accord returning Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997.

1985 – ABC Sports announced that it was severing ties with Howard Cosell and released ‘The Mouth’ from all TV commitments. Cosell continued on ABC Radio for another five years.

1986 – The Soviet Union announced it had freed dissident Andrei Sakharov from internal exile, and pardoned his wife, Yelena Bonner.

1989 – U.S. troops invaded Panama to overthrow the regime of General Noriega.

1994 – Rolls-Royce announces its future cars will feature V12 engine which will be produced by BMW.

1996 – The school board of Oakland, CA, voted to recognize Black English, also known as “ebonics.” The board later reversed its stance.

1998 – U.S. President Bill Clinton was impeached on two charges of perjury and obstruction of justice by the U.S. House of Representatives.

2000 – The U.N. Security Council voted to impose sanctions on Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers unless they closed all terrorist training camps and surrender U.S. embassy bombing suspect Osama bin Laden.

2003 – Images for the new design for the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site were released. The building slopes into a spire that reaches 1,776 feet.

2008 – U.S. President George W. Bush signed a $17.4 billion rescue package of loans for ailing auto makers General Motors and Chrysler.

2012 – Election of First female President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye is the eleventh President of South Korea and also holds the distinction of being the first female head of state in Northeast Asia. She assumed office in February 2013.

2016 – Truck driven into a Christmas market in Berlin kills 12, injures 48

2018 – US President Donald Trump announces victory over the Islamic State and planned withdrawal of US troops from Syria

2021 – Former student activist Gabriel Boric wins Chile’s Presidential election, to become the country’s youngest president at 35

2022 – 190 countries agree to protect 30% of world’s land and oceans by 2030 and other measures to halt declining global biodiversity at UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal

REFERENCE: history.net, onthisday.com, thepeopleshistory.com, timeanddate.com, scopesys.com, on-this-day.com


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