|<<||Selected anniversaries for December||>>|
|An archive of historical anniversaries that appeared on the Main Page
2018 day arrangement
- 1577 – Elizabeth I of England's principal secretary and spymaster Francis Walsingham was knighted.
- 1822 – Pedro I was formally crowned the first Emperor of Brazil, seven weeks after his reign began on his 24th birthday.
- 1955 – In a key event in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks (pictured) was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- 1988 – Four armed men hijacked a bus with thirty schoolchildren in Ordzhonikidze, Soviet Union (now Vladikavkaz in Russia), and flew to Israel in exchange for the release of the hostages and ransom.
- 1991 – Over 92% of Ukrainian voters approved their country's independence as declared by the Ukrainian parliament on 24 August.
- 1804 – The coronation of Napoleon (pictured) as Emperor of the French was held at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.
- 1823 – U.S. President James Monroe issued the Monroe Doctrine, a proclamation of opposition to European colonialism in the New World.
- 1950 – Korean War: With the conclusion of the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River, the Chinese People's Volunteer Army expelled UN forces out of North Korea.
- 1988 – Benazir Bhutto took office as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of a Muslim-majority state.
- 2015 – In San Bernardino, California, a married couple carried out a mass shooting at a Christmas party before fleeing and dying in a shootout with police.
- 1800 – War of the Second Coalition: French forces defeated the Austrians and Bavarians in Hohenlinden, near Munich, forcing the Austrians to sign an armistice.
- 1904 – Himalia, the largest irregular satellite of Jupiter, was discovered by astronomer Charles Dillon Perrine at the Lick Observatory in San Jose, California.
- 1927 – Putting Pants on Philip, the first official film featuring the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, was released.
- 1967 – Cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard (pictured) performed the first successful human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
- 1968 – Elvis Presley's first television special, Singer Presents...ELVIS was broadcast by NBC.
- 1992 – During extreme weather conditions, the oil tanker Aegean Sea ran aground off the coast of Galicia, Spain, spilling 67,000 tonnes of light crude oil.
- 1639 – English astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks (pictured) made the first successful prediction and observation of a transit of Venus.
- 1893 – First Matabele War: A patrol of British South Africa Company soldiers was ambushed and annihilated by more than 3,000 Matabele warriors.
- 1909 – The first Grey Cup, the championship game of the Canadian Football League, was held.
- 1971 – The Troubles: The Ulster Volunteer Force, an Ulster loyalist paramilitary group, exploded a bomb at a Catholic-owned pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland, killing 15 people.
- 1992 – U.S. President George H. W. Bush ordered American troops into Somalia to help provide humanitarian aid and restore order during the ongoing Somali Civil War.
- 1757 – Seven Years' War: Prussian forces under Frederick the Great defeated Austrian forces under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine at the Battle of Leuthen.
- 1876 – Fire engulfed the Brooklyn Theatre (damage pictured) in Brooklyn, New York, killing at least 278 people, mostly due to smoke inhalation.
- 1958 – Britain's first motorway, the Preston By-pass, opened to the public.
- 1972 – Gough Whitlam took office as the 21st Prime Minister of Australia and formed a duumvirate with his deputy Lance Barnard, ending 23 years of Liberal-Country Party government.
- 2007 – A nineteen-year-old gunman went on a shooting spree at a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., killing nine people, including himself.
- 1060 – Béla I the Champion was crowned King of Hungary.
- 1912 – The Nefertiti Bust (pictured), labeled a "Top 10 Plundered Artifact" by Time magazine, was found in Amarna before being taking to Germany.
- 1941 – The British Secret Intelligence Service established a facility known as "Camp X" in Ontario, Canada, to train covert agents in clandestine operations.
- 1957 – The first U.S. attempt to launch a satellite failed with an explosion on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.
- 1992 – The Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India, was destroyed by Hindu Kar Sevaks, who believed that it was built on the birthplace of Rama.
- 1904 – Comparative trials began between HMS Spiteful (pictured), the first warship powered solely by fuel oil, and a similar Royal Navy ship burning coal.
- 1941 – World War II: The Imperial Japanese Navy made a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, intending to neutralize the United States Pacific Fleet from influencing the war Japan was planning to wage in Southeast Asia.
- 1975 – The Indonesian military invaded East Timor under the pretext of anti-colonialism and began a 25-year occupation.
- 1987 – A former airline employee on Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 shot his former boss and the pilots and deliberately crashed the plane near Cayucos, California, leaving no survivors.
- 2007 – A crane barge that had broken free from a tugboat crashed into an oil tanker near Daesan, South Korea, causing the country's worst-ever oil spill.
- 1432 – The first battle of the Lithuanian Civil War between the forces of Švitrigaila and of Sigismund Kęstutaitis was fought near what is now the town of Ashmyany.
- 1813 – Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 (audio featured) premiered in Vienna, conducted by the composer himself.
- 1971 – Indo-Pakistani War: Following their successful attack three days earlier, a small Indian Navy strike force attacked the Port of Karachi again and created a de facto blockade.
- 1987 – A man shot and killed eight people at the Australia Post building in Melbourne, before jumping to his death.
- 2009 – Bombings carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq in Baghdad, Iraq, killed at least 127 people and injured 448.
- 1775 – American Revolutionary War: After their loss in the Battle of Great Bridge, British authorities were forced to evacuate from the Colony of Virginia.
- 1897 – French actress, journalist and leading suffragette Marguerite Durand founded the feminist newspaper La Fronde.
- 1917 – First World War: Hussein al-Husayni, the Ottoman mayor of Jerusalem, surrendered (pictured) the city to the British.
- 1931 – The approval of the Spanish Constitution by the Constituent Cortes paved the way to the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic.
- 1979 – A World Health Organization commission of scientists certified the global eradication of smallpox, making it the only human infectious disease to date to have been completely eradicated from nature.
- 1508 – The Papal States, France, Aragon and the Holy Roman Empire formed the League of Cambrai, an alliance against the Republic of Venice.
- 1861 – Forces led by Nguyễn Trung Trực, an anti-colonial guerrilla leader in southern Vietnam, sank the French lorcha L'Esperance.
- 1909 – Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf (pictured) became the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
- 1979 – The Kuomintang (KMT) dictatorship of Taiwan arrested a large number of opposition leaders who had organized pro-democracy demonstrations, an incident credited with ending the KMT's rule in 2000.
- 1989 – At the first open pro-democracy demonstration in Mongolia, journalist Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj announced the formation of the Mongolian Democratic Union, which would be instrumental in ending Communist rule four months later.
- 1789 – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (The Old Well pictured), one of the oldest public universities in the United States and the only one to award degrees in the 18th century, received its charter.
- 1886 – The London-based football club Arsenal, then known as Dial Square, played their first match on the Isle of Dogs.
- 1920 – Irish War of Independence: Following an Irish Republican Army ambush of a British Auxiliary patrol in Cork, British forces burned and looted numerous buildings in the city.
- 1962 – Convicted murderers Ronald Turpin and Arthur Lucas were the last two persons to be executed in Canada.
- 1981 – Salvadoran Civil War: About 900 civilians were killed by the Salvadoran armed forces in an anti-guerrilla campaign.
- 1866 – England's worst mining disaster occurred when a series of explosions caused by flammable gases ripped through the Oaks Colliery.
- 1911 – The final Delhi Durbar, a mass assembly at Coronation Park to mark the succession of an Emperor or Empress of India, took place.
- 1942 – World War II: German troops began Operation Winter Storm, an attempt to relieve encircled Axis forces during the Battle of Stalingrad.
- 1964 – Jomo Kenyatta (pictured) became the first President of the Republic of Kenya.
- 2000 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bush v. Gore that the election recount of the ballots cast in Florida for the presidential election must stop, effectively making George W. Bush the winner.
- 1643 – First English Civil War: Roundhead forces serving under Sir William Waller (pictured) led a successful surprise attack on a winter garrison of Royalist infantry and cavalry.
- 1769 – Dartmouth College in what is now Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S., was established by a royal charter and became the last university founded in the Thirteen Colonies before the American Revolution.
- 1937 – Second Sino-Japanese War: Japanese forces captured Nanking in China and then began to commit numerous atrocities over the next several weeks.
- 1982 – A magnitude 6.2 earthquake in North Yemen killed as many as 2,800 people and was the region's first instrumentally recorded event to be detected on global seismograph networks.
- 557 – A large earthquake severely damaged the city of Constantinople.
- 1836 – The Toledo War, the mostly bloodless boundary dispute between Ohio and the adjoining Territory of Michigan, unofficially ended with a resolution passed by the controversial "Frostbitten Convention".
- 1913 – Haruna (pictured), the fourth and last ship of the Kongō-class, was launched, eventually becoming one of the Japanese workhorses during both World Wars.
- 1981 – The Knesset extended Israeli "laws, jurisdiction and administration" to the Golan Heights, effectively annexing the territory.
- 1992 – War in Abkhazia: During the Siege of Tkvarcheli, a helicopter carrying evacuees from Tkvarcheli was shot down, resulting in at least 52 deaths, which catalysed more concerted Russian military intervention on behalf of Abkhazia.
- 687 – Sergius was elected pope, ending the last disputed period of sede vacante during the Byzantine Papacy.
- 1467 – Troops under Stephen III of Moldavia defeated the forces of Matthias Corvinus of Hungary in present-day Baia, Romania.
- 1906 – The Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (poster pictured), a 14.17-kilometre (8.80 mi) long deep-level underground tube railway connecting Hammersmith and Finsbury Park, London, opened.
- 1942 – World War II: The Americans engaged Imperial Japanese forces at the Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse in the hills near the Matanikau River area on Guadalcanal during the Guadalcanal Campaign.
- 1707 – The last recorded eruption of Japan's Mount Fuji released some 800 million m3 of volcanic ash.
- 1773 – To prevent the unloading of tea that was taxed without their consent under the Tea Act, a group of colonists destroyed it by throwing it into Boston Harbor (pictured).
- 1850 – The Canterbury Pilgrims aboard Randolph and Charlotte Jane arrived to settle Christchurch, New Zealand.
- 1918 – Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas declared the formation of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, a puppet state created by Soviet Russia to justify the Lithuanian–Soviet War.
- 1997 – "Dennō Senshi Porygon", an episode of the Japanese television series Pokémon, induced epileptic seizures in 685 children.
- 497 BC – The temple to the Roman god Saturn was dedicated in the Roman Forum; its anniversary was celebrated as Saturnalia.
- 546 – After a nearly year-long siege, the Ostrogoths led by Totila sacked Rome.
- 1837 – A fire in the Winter Palace (pictured) in Saint Petersburg broke out, damaging the palace and killing thirty guardsmen.
- 1967 – Harold Holt, Prime Minister of Australia, disappeared while swimming near Portsea, Victoria; his body was never recovered.
- 1983 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army detonated a car bomb just outside Harrods in London, killing six people and injuring about 90 others.
- 1499 – Muslims in the city of Granada rebelled against their rulers in response to forced conversions to Catholicism.
- 1898 – Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat set the first official land speed record, averaging 63.15 km/h (39.24 mph) over 1 km (0.62 mi).
- 1939 – Second World War: The Luftwaffe victory over the Royal Air Force in the Battle of the Heligoland Bight greatly influenced both sides' future air strategy.
- 1963 – Students from Ghana and other African countries organized a protest on Moscow's Red Square in response to the alleged murder of medical student Edmund Assare-Addo.
- 1966 – Epimetheus (pictured), one of the moons of Saturn, was discovered, but was mistaken for Janus; it took twelve years to determine that they are two distinct objects sharing the same orbit.
- 1776 – Thomas Paine published the first in a series of pamphlets entitled The American Crisis, opening with the line, "These are the times that try men's souls."
- 1843 – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (pictured), a novella about the miser Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation after being visited by three Christmas ghosts, was first published.
- 1964 – The Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the ruling junta of South Vietnam led by Nguyễn Khánh, initiated a coup, dissolving and arresting members of the High National Council, a civilian advisory body.
- 1983 – The Jules Rimet Trophy, awarded to the winner of the FIFA World Cup, was stolen from a display case in the Brazilian Football Confederation offices.
- 1997 – SilkAir Flight 185 crashed into the Musi River in Indonesia, killing 104 people.
- 1860 – South Carolina became the first of eleven slave states to secede from the United States, leading to the eventual creation of the Confederate States of America and later the American Civil War.
- 1951 – Experimental Breeder Reactor I near Arco, Idaho, United States, became the world's first electricity-generating nuclear power plant when it became able to illuminate four 200-watt light bulbs.
- 1987 – The deadliest peacetime maritime disaster in history occurred when the MV Doña Paz (pictured) sank after colliding with an oil tanker on the Tablas Strait, in the Philippines, resulting in an estimated 4,000 deaths.
- 1995 – As per the Dayton Agreement that ended the Bosnian War, the NATO-led IFOR began peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- 2007 – Pablo Picasso's Portrait of Suzanne Bloch was stolen from the São Paulo Museum of Art and recovered about three weeks later.
- 1124 – Lamberto Scannabecchi was elected Pope and took the name Honorius II.
- 1826 – Settlers from the United States in Mexican Texas made the first attempt to secede from Mexico, establishing the short-lived Republic of Fredonia.
- 1937 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length cel-animated feature in film history, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles.
- 1988 – The world's largest aircraft, the Antonov An-225 Mriya (pictured), made its first flight.
- 2012 – Countries that were part of the Maya civilization celebrated the end-date of a 5,126-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.
- 856 – An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.9 struck the eastern Alborz mountains of Persia, causing 200,000 deaths.
- 1769 – Having been soundly defeated in battle, the Qing dynasty agreed to terms of truce, ending the Sino-Burmese War.
- 1937 – The Lincoln Tunnel (pictured), connecting New York City to Weehawken, New Jersey, opened.
- 1987 – The Zimbabwe African National Union and Zimbabwe African People's Union agreed to merge, bringing an end to the Gukurahundi, the suppression of predominantly Ndebele civilians by the 5th Brigade.
- 1997 – Hussein Farrah Aidid relinquished the disputed title of President of Somalia.
- 1793 – French Revolution: The Royalist counterrevolutionary army was decisively defeated in the Battle of Savenay, although fighting continued in the War in the Vendée for years afterward.
- 1888 – During a bout of mental illness, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh stalked his friend French painter Paul Gauguin with a razor, and then afterwards cut off the lower part of his own left ear and gave it to a prostitute.
- 1919 – The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 was enacted, lifting most of the existing common-law restrictions on women in the United Kingdom.
- 1957 – Ian Craig of Australia became the youngest Test cricket captain in history.
- 2010 – A monsoonal trough brought torrential rain to Queensland, causing massive flooding (pictured) that killed 38 people and caused A$2.38 billion in damage.
- 1818 – "Silent Night", a Christmas carol by Josef Mohr and Franz Gruber, was first performed in a church in Austria.
- 1846 – The Sultanate of Brunei ceded the island of Labuan to Great Britain as a colony.
- 1914 – British and German soldiers interrupted World War I to celebrate Christmas, beginning the Christmas truce (pictured).
- 1964 – The Viet Cong bombed the Brinks Hotel in Saigon, killing two U.S. Army officers, raising fears of an escalation in the Vietnam War.
- 1973 – The United States Congress granted Washington, D.C. home rule, allowing the residents to elect their own mayor and city council.
- 1100 – Baldwin of Boulogne was crowned as Baldwin I of Jerusalem (pictured), the first King of Jerusalem in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
- 1831 – A Baptist preacher named Samuel Sharpe began an unsuccessful eleven-day slave revolt in Jamaica.
- 1927 – The Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng, a revolutionary socialist political party that sought Vietnamese independence from French colonial rule, was formed in Hanoi.
- 1989 – Romanian Revolution: Dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena were condemned to death under a wide range of charges and executed.
- 2007 – A tiger at the San Francisco Zoo escaped from its enclosure and attacked three patrons before it was shot and killed.
- 1606 – The first known performance of the play King Lear, a tragedy by William Shakespeare based on the legendary King Lear of the Britons, was held.
- 1898 – At the French Academy of Sciences, physicists Pierre and Marie Curie announced the discovery of a new element, naming it radium.
- 1900 – A relief crew arrived at the Flannan Isles Lighthouse (pictured) of Scotland and discovered that the previous crew had disappeared without a trace.
- 1919 – American baseball player Babe Ruth was sold by the Boston Red Sox to their rivals, the New York Yankees, starting the 84-year-long "Curse of the Bambino".
- 1996 – The Federation of Korean Trade Unions called upon its 1.2 million members to walk off the job, beginning the largest organized strike in South Korea's history.
- 1521 – Three men of the Radical Reformation arrived in Wittenberg, Saxony, and caused an unrest that required the release of Martin Luther from custody to quell.
- 1831 – Aboard HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin (pictured) left Plymouth, England, on what became a historic expedition to South America that made his name as a naturalist.
- 1922 – The Imperial Japanese Navy commissioned Hōshō, the world's first purpose-built aircraft carrier.
- 1997 – Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright was assassinated in the HM Prison Maze by members of the Irish National Liberation Army.
- 2007 – Riots erupted in Mombasa, Kenya, after Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the presidential election—the first event in a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis.
- 484 – Alaric II succeeded his father Euric as king of the Visigoths.
- 1612 – Galileo became the first person to observe the planet Neptune (pictured), although he mistakenly catalogued it as a fixed star.
- 1895 – History of film: Using their cinematograph in Paris, the Lumière brothers showed motion pictures to a paying audience for the first time.
- 1943 – World War II: After eight days of brutal house-to-house fighting, the 1st Canadian Infantry Division captured Ortona, Italy.
- 2014 – The passenger ferry Norman Atlantic caught fire in the Adriatic Sea, resulting in nine deaths, with a further 19 missing.
- 1845 – The Republic of Texas was annexed by the United States, becoming the 28th state admitted into the union.
- 1860 – To counter the French Navy's Gloire, the world's first ironclad warship, the British Royal Navy launched the world's first iron-hulled armoured warship, HMS Warrior.
- 1911 – Sun Yat-sen (pictured) was elected in Nanjing as the Provisional President of the Republic of China.
- 1975 – A bomb set by unknown perpetrators at LaGuardia Airport in New York City exploded, killing 11 people and seriously injuring 74 others.
- 1997 – In order to prevent the spread of the H5N1 flu virus, the Hong Kong government began the slaughter of 1.3 million chickens.
- 1460 – Wars of the Roses: Richard, Duke of York (pictured), was killed in the Battle of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, England, and his army was destroyed.
- 1813 – War of 1812: British forces captured Buffalo, New York, and engaged in considerable plundering and destruction.
- 1906 – The All-India Muslim League, a political party in British India that developed into the driving force behind the creation of Pakistan as a Muslim state on the Indian subcontinent, was founded in Dhaka.
- 1954 – The Finnish National Bureau of Investigation was established to consolidate criminal investigation and intelligence into a single agency.
- 2009 – Pro-government counter-demonstrators held rallies in several Iranian cities in response to recent anti-government protests held on the holy day of Ashura.
- 1775 – American Revolutionary War: At the Battle of Quebec, British forces repulsed an attack by the Continental Army to capture Quebec City and enlist French Canadian support.
- 1857 – Queen Victoria selected Ottawa, then a small logging town, to be the capital of the British colony of Canada.
- 1963 – Despite Prime Minister Roy Welensky's efforts, the Central African Federation officially collapsed, subsequently becoming three separate nations: Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.
- 1986 – Three disgruntled employees set fire to the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, killing more than 90 people and injuring 140 others (rescue efforts depicted), making it the second deadliest hotel fire in United States history.
- 1999 – Panama took control of the Panama Canal Zone from the United States, in accordance with the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties.