Home Today's History Lesson TODAY’S HISTORY LESSON: DEC 20



1803 – Louisiana Purchase completed – The United States was officially handed over the territory of Louisiana by the French. The French had regained control of the territory that spans over 15 present-day states and 2 Canadian territories in 1800. In 1762, Spain had taken over the territory.

0069 – Vespasian, a former general under Nero, enters Rome to claim the title of emperor after defeating the Emperor Vitellius

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.

1669 – First jury trial in Delaware; Marcus Jacobson condemned for insurrection and sentenced to flogging, branding and slavery

1699 – Peter the Great ordered that the Russian New Year be changed from September 1 to January 1.

1780 – Britain declares war on Holland

1790 – The first successful cotton mill in the United States began operating at Pawtucket, RI.

1803 – Louisiana Purchase completed – The United States was officially handed over the territory of Louisiana by the French. The French had regained control of the territory that spans over 15 present-day states and 2 Canadian territories in 1800. In 1762, Spain had taken over the territory.

1812 – “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” or “Children’s and Household Tales” by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm is first published

1820 – The state of Missouri enacted legislation to tax bachelors between the ages of 21-50 for being unmarried. The tax was $1 a year.

1860 – South Carolina became the first state to secede from the American Union.

1864 – Confederate forces evacuated Savannah, GA as Union Gen. William T. Sherman continued his “March to the Sea.”

1879 – Thomas A. Edison privately demonstrated his incandescent light at Menlo Park, NJ.

1880 – New York’s Broadway became known as the “Great White Way” when it was lighted by electricity.

1892 – Phileas Fogg completes around world trip, according to Verne

1907 – Explosion at Yolande Alabama, coal mine kills 91

1915 – Last Australian troops evacuated from Gallipoli Peninsula

1917 – Cheka forms – Soviet state security force and forerunner to the KGB, under Felix Dzerzhinsky after decree by Lenin

1922 – 14 republics form Union of Soviet Socialistic Republics (USSR)

1924 – Adolf Hitler freed from jail early, having served only nine months of five-year sentence for “Beer Hall Putsch”

1938 – Vladimir Kosma Zworykin patented the iconoscope television system.

1941 – World War II: First battle of the American Volunteer Group, better known as the “”Flying Tigers”” in Kunming, China.

1945 – Rationing of auto tires ends in US

1946 – The Frank Capra film “It’s A Wonderful Life” had a preview showing for charity at New York City’s Globe Theatre, a day before its “official” world premiere. James Stewart and Donna Reed star in the film.

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.

1954 – Buick Motor Company signed Jackie Gleason to one of the largest contracts ever entered into with an entertainer. Gleason agreed to produce 78 half-hour shows over a two-year period for $6,142,500.

1956 – Montgomery, Alabama removes race-based seat assignments on its buses

1957 – Elvis Presley receives his draft notice to join the US Army for national service

1960 – The National Liberation Front, better known as the Viet Cong, is officially formed in South Vietnam

1963 – The Berlin Wall was opened for the first time to West Berliners. It was only for the holiday season. It closed again on January 6, 1964.

1968 – The Zodiac Killer kills Betty Lou Jenson and David Faraday in Vallejo, California

1973 – The Spanish premier Carrero Blanco was assassinated in Madrid.

1978 – H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s White House chief of staff released from jail

1983 – PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and 4,000 loyalists evacuate Lebanon

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

1987 – More than 3,000 people were killed when the Dona Paz, a Philippine passenger ship, collided with the tanker Vector off Mindoro island, setting off a double explosion.

1988 – Animal rights terrorists fire-bomb Harrod’s department store, London

1989 – General Noriega, Panama’s former dictator, was overthrown by a United States invasion force invited by the new civilian government. The project was known as Operation Just Cause.

1990 – The world’s first website and server go live at CERN. The first website was http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html.

1991 – Missouri court sentences Palestinian militant Zein Isa and his wife Maria to death for the “honor killing” of their teenaged daughter Palestina in St. Louis; he dies of diabetes complications before execution, she dies of natural causes while in prison.

1994 – Marcelino Corniel, a homeless man, was shot and mortally wounded by White House security officers. He had brandished a knife near the executive mansion.

1996 – Doctors reported that a Cypriot woman who had taken fertility drugs was carrying about 11 embryos.

1998 – In Houston, TX, a 27-year-old woman gave birth to the only known living set of octuplets.

1999 – The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that homosexual couples were entitled to the same benefits and protections as wedded couples of the opposite sex.

2001 – The U.S. Congress passed a $20 billion package to finance the war against terrorism taking place in Afghanistan.

2002 – US Senator Trent Lott resigns as majority leader.

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 – Queen Elizabeth becomes the longest-living British monarch

2014 – Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley kills 2 NYPD officers in Brooklyn, New York, supposedly in revenge for the killing of Eric Garner, before killing himself

2017 – US House and Senate pass $1.5 trillion tax and jobs bill, the biggest tax overhaul for decades

2018 – US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announces his resignation after disagreements with President Donald Trump

2019 – United States Space Force founded, an armed forces branch dedicated to space warfare

2022 – The ruling Taliban suspend university education for female students in Afghanistan, part of a wider crackdown on women’s rights in the country

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



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