|<<||Selected anniversaries for December||>>|
|An archive of historical anniversaries that appeared on the Main Page|
2023 day arrangement
- 1577 – Francis Walsingham (pictured), Elizabeth I of England's principal secretary and spymaster, was knighted.
- 1822 – Pedro I was crowned the first emperor of Brazil, seven weeks after his reign began on his 24th birthday.
- 1941 – The Civil Air Patrol, the civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force, was founded.
- 1991 – A referendum held to ratify the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine passed with more than 92 percent of the vote.
- 1805 – War of the Third Coalition: French forces led by Napoleon decisively defeated a Russo-Austrian army commanded by Tsar Alexander I at the Battle of Austerlitz (depicted).
- 1852 – Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte established the Second French Empire, declaring himself Emperor of the French as Napoleon III.
- 1942 – Manhattan Project scientists led by Enrico Fermi initiated the first self-sustaining chain reaction in the experimental nuclear reactor Chicago Pile-1.
- 1989 – The Malayan Communist Party and the Malaysian government signed a peace accord to end a 21-year communist insurgency.
- 1800 – War of the Second Coalition: French forces defeated Austrian and Bavarian troops at the Battle of Hohenlinden, eventually resulting in the Austrians signing the Treaty of Lunéville.
- 1910 – Freda Du Faur (pictured) became the first woman to climb Aoraki / Mount Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand.
- 1968 – American singer Elvis Presley's first television special and first live performance in seven years, Singer Presents ... Elvis, was broadcast by NBC.
- 1976 – Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley survived an assassination attempt by seven gunmen in Kingston.
- 1994 – Sony released the PlayStation, the first computer entertainment platform to ship 100 million units.
- 1370 – Hundred Years' War: In two separate engagements in the Battle of Pontvallain, French forces wiped out an English army which had split up because of a dispute between the commanders.
- 1829 – Sati, the Hindu funeral custom of a widow's self-immolation on her husband's pyre, was prohibited by Lord William Bentinck in parts of British India after years of campaigning by Ram Mohan Roy (pictured).
- 1909 – The Montreal Canadiens, the oldest professional ice hockey club in the world, were founded as a charter member of the National Hockey Association.
- 1928 – Cosmo Gordon Lang was enthroned as the Archbishop of Canterbury, the first bachelor to be appointed in 150 years.
- 1971 – The Troubles: The Ulster Volunteer Force, an Ulster-loyalist paramilitary group, detonated a bomb at a Catholic-owned pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland, killing 15 people.
- 1484 – Pope Innocent VIII issued the papal bull Summis desiderantes affectibus, which gave the Dominican inquisitor Heinrich Kramer the explicit authority to prosecute witchcraft in Germany.
- 1775 – American Revolutionary War: Continental Army colonel Henry Knox arrived at Fort Ticonderoga in New York to arrange the transport of 60 tons of artillery (depicted) to support the siege of Boston.
- 1936 – The 1936 Soviet constitution, also known as the "Stalin constitution", was adopted.
- 1995 – Azerbaijan Airlines Flight 56 crashed shortly after takeoff from Nakhchivan Airport, killing 52 people on board.
- 963 – Leo VIII was ordained a bishop, claiming the Holy See as an antipope supported by Otto the Great.
- 1803 – Haitian Revolution: Nearly all the final French ships in Haiti were captured by the Royal Navy when they attempted to evade the blockade of Saint-Domingue.
- 1907 – A mine explosion in Monongah, West Virginia, killed 362 people and led to the establishment of the United States Bureau of Mines.
- 1941 – The British Secret Intelligence Service established a facility known as Camp X (pictured) in Ontario, Canada, to train covert agents in clandestine operations.
- 2015 – In the Venezuelan parliamentary election, the ruling United Socialist Party lost control of the National Assembly for the first time in 16 years.
- 574 – Suffering from mental illness, Eastern Roman emperor Justin II had his general Tiberius proclaimed Caesar, adopting him as his own son.
- 1862 – American Civil War: The Battle of Prairie Grove ended a Confederate attempt to regain control of northwestern Arkansas.
- 1936 – Australian cricketer Jack Fingleton became the first player to score centuries in four consecutive Test innings.
- 1975 – The Indonesian military invaded East Timor under the pretext of anti-colonialism, beginning an occupation.
- 1995 – The Galileo spacecraft (illustration shown) arrived at Jupiter, a little more than six years after it was launched by Space Shuttle Atlantis during Mission STS-34.
- 1660 – Margaret Hughes appeared professionally on the English stage; she is thought to have been the first woman to do so.
- 1854 – Pope Pius IX (pictured) promulgated the apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus, proclaiming the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception, which holds that the Virgin Mary was conceived free of original sin.
- 1880 – At an assembly of 10,000 Boers, Paul Kruger announced the fulfilment of the decision to restore the government and volksraad of the South African Republic.
- 1941 – The Holocaust: The Chełmno extermination camp in occupied Poland, the first such Nazi camp to kill Jews, began operations.
- 1991 – Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian leaders signed the Belovezh Accords, agreeing to dissolve the Soviet Union and establish the Commonwealth of Independent States.
- 1822 – In a memoir read to the French Academy of Sciences, Augustin-Jean Fresnel coined the terms linear, circular, and elliptical polarization, and reported a direct refraction experiment verifying his theory that optical rotation is a form of birefringence.
- 1892 – The English association football club Newcastle United was founded by the merger of Newcastle East End and West End.
- 1917 – First World War: Hussein al-Husayni, the Ottoman mayor of Jerusalem, surrendered the city to British forces (pictured).
- 2016 – Park Geun-hye, the president of South Korea, was impeached, marking the culmination of the country's political scandal.
- 1684 – Edmond Halley presented the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, containing Isaac Newton's derivation of Kepler's laws from his theory of gravity, to the Royal Society.
- 1768 – The first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica was released in Edinburgh.
- 1907 – During the Brown Dog affair, protesters marched through London and clashed with police officers in Trafalgar Square over the existence of a memorial (pictured) for animals that had been vivisected.
- 1941 – Second World War: The Royal Navy capital ships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse were sunk by Imperial Japanese Navy torpedo bombers east of Malaya.
- 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.
- 861 – The Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil was assassinated by his guards, beginning the Anarchy at Samarra.
- 1640 – A crowd of 1,500 people presented the Root and Branch petition to the Long Parliament, calling for abolishing the episcopacy of the Church of England.
- 1907 – The original Parliament House in Wellington, New Zealand, was destroyed by fire (pictured).
- 1925 – Pope Pius XI promulgated the encyclical Quas primas, establishing the Feast of Christ the King.
- 2008 – American stockbroker Bernie Madoff was arrested and charged with securities fraud in a $64.8 billion Ponzi scheme, the largest in history.
- 1388 – Unable to defend her possessions, Maria of Enghien sold the lordship of Argos and Nauplia to the Republic of Venice.
- 1866 – England's worst mining disaster occurred when a series of explosions (depicted) caused by flammable gases ripped through the Oaks Colliery, killing 361 people.
- 1905 – In support of the December Uprising in Moscow, the Council of Workers' Deputies of Kyiv staged a mass uprising, establishing the Shuliavka Republic in the city.
- 1941 – The Holocaust: At a Nazi Party meeting in the Reich Chancellery, Adolf Hitler declared the imminent destruction of the Jewish people.
- 1985 – Arrow Air Flight 1285R crashed after takeoff in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, killing 256 people, including 248 members of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division.
- 1643 – First English Civil War: Roundhead forces under Sir William Waller led a successful surprise attack in Hampshire on a winter garrison of Cavalier infantry and cavalry.
- 1769 – Dartmouth College was established by royal charter in present-day Hanover, New Hampshire.
- 1937 – Second Sino-Japanese War: Japanese forces, capturing the Chinese city of Nanjing, began committing numerous atrocities over the next several weeks, including looting, rape and the execution of prisoners of war and civilians.
- 1981 – Polish prime minister Wojciech Jaruzelski (pictured) declared martial law.
- 2011 – A man threw grenades and fired a rifle at crowds in Liège, Belgium, causing 6 deaths and injuring more than 120 others, before killing himself.
- 835 – In the Sweet Dew incident, Emperor Wenzong (pictured) of the Tang dynasty conspired to kill the powerful eunuchs of the Tang court, but the plot was foiled.
- 1863 – American Civil War: The Battle of Bean's Station, the final battle of the Knoxville campaign, was fought in Grainger County, Tennessee.
- 1981 – The Knesset passed the Golan Heights Law, extending Israeli "laws, jurisdiction and administration" to the Golan Heights, effectively annexing the territory internationally recognized as part of Syria.
- 1998 – Kosovo War: Yugoslav forces ambushed a group of Kosovo Liberation Army militants attempting to smuggle weapons into Yugoslavia from Albania.
- 2012 – A 20-year-old gunman shot twenty children and six adult staff members in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
- 687 – Sergius was elected pope, ending the last disputed period of sede vacante during the Byzantine Papacy.
- 1025 – Constantine VIII became the sole Byzantine emperor, 63 years after being crowned co-emperor.
- 1467 – Troops under Stephen III of Moldavia defeated the forces of Matthias Corvinus of Hungary at the Battle of Baia (pictured) in present-day Romania.
- 1890 – Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Lakota leader, was killed on Standing Rock Indian Reservation in South Dakota by U.S. Indian agency police.
- 1981 – The Iraqi Shia Islamist group al-Dawa carried out one of the first modern suicide bombings, targeting the Iraqi embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, resulting in 61 deaths and at least 100 injuries.
- 1707 – The last recorded eruption of Japan's Mount Fuji released some 800 million m3 (28 billion cu ft) of volcanic ash.
- 1893 – Czech composer Antonín Dvořák's New World Symphony (audio featured) premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
- 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.
- 1971 – The surrender of Pakistani forces in Dacca, East Pakistan, concluded the Bangladesh Liberation War and the Indo-Pakistani War.
- 2014 – A hostage crisis in a Lindt chocolate café in Sydney, Australia, ended with police storming the building, killing the perpetrator and one of the hostages.
- 546 – Rome was sacked by the Ostrogoths led by Totila after a year-long siege.
- 1583 – Cologne War: Forces under Ernest of Bavaria defeated Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg's troops at the siege of Godesberg.
- 1918 – About 1,000 demonstrators marched (pictured) on Government House in Darwin, Australia, where they burned an effigy of Administrator John Gilruth and demanded his resignation.
- 1945 – The modern flag of Kurdistan was raised for the first time in Mahabad, Iran.
- 1983 – The Troubles: The Provisional Irish Republican Army detonated a car bomb outside Harrods in London, killing six people and injuring about 90 others.
- 1499 – Muslims in Granada began a rebellion against their Castilian rulers in response to forced conversions to Catholicism.
- 1898 – Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat (pictured) set the first official land speed record, averaging 63.16 km/h (39.245 mph) over 1 km (0.62 mi) in Achères, France.
- 1913 – The Jew's Christmas, the first American film to include a rabbi as a character, was released.
- 1939 – Second World War: The Luftwaffe won a victory over the Royal Air Force in the Battle of the Heligoland Bight, greatly influencing both sides' future aerial warfare strategy.
- 1996 – The school board of Oakland, California, passed a controversial resolution officially declaring African-American Vernacular English to be a separate language or dialect.
- 1154 – Henry II was crowned king of England in Westminster Abbey, London.
- 1675 – King Philip's War: In the Great Swamp Fight, the colonial militia of New England and their Pequot allies attacked a Narragansett fort in Rhode Island, killing many warriors and hundreds of non-combatants.
- 1956 – British physician and suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams was arrested in connection with the death of Edith Alice Morrell.
- 1985 – Aeroflot Flight 101/435 was hijacked by the co-pilot and landed in a cow pasture in China, where he was apprehended.
- 2016 – Andrei Karlov (pictured), Russia's ambassador to Turkey, was assassinated at an art gallery in Ankara.
- 1955 – Cardiff (city hall pictured) was recognised as the capital of Wales by the British government.
- 1987 – The deadliest peacetime maritime disaster in history occurred when the MV Doña Paz sank after colliding with an oil tanker in the Tablas Strait in the Philippines, resulting in an estimated 4,385 deaths.
- 1988 – The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, governing international cooperation against the illegal drug trade, opened for signatures.
- 1995 – American Airlines Flight 965 crashed into a mountain in Buga, Colombia, killing most of those on board.
- 2007 – Pablo Picasso's Portrait of Suzanne Bloch was stolen from the São Paulo Museum of Art before being recovered about three weeks later.
- 1826 – Settlers from the United States in Mexican Texas made the first attempt to secede from Mexico, establishing the short-lived Republic of Fredonia.
- 1844 – The Rochdale Pioneers opened their store (pictured) in Rochdale, England, forming the basis for the modern co-operative movement.
- 1923 – Nepal and the United Kingdom signed the first treaty that defined the international status of Nepal as an independent and a sovereign nation.
- 1965 – The United Nations adopted the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which 88 member states have since signed.
- 1988 – The world's heaviest aircraft, the Antonov An-225 Mriya, made its first flight.
- 401 – Pope Innocent I began his papacy, succeeding Anastasius I.
- 1807 – In an effort to avoid engaging in the Napoleonic Wars, the United States Congress passed the Embargo Act, forbidding American ships from engaging in trade with foreign nations.
- 1984 – While riding a New York City Subway train, Bernhard Goetz shot four African-American youths who had attempted to rob him, sparking a nationwide debate on vigilantism, racism, and the legal limits of self-defense.
- 2001 – Richard Reid unsuccessfully attempted to detonate a bomb in his shoe (pictured) on a transatlantic flight from Paris to Miami.
- 1783 – George Washington resigned as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis (painting shown).
- 1815 – Jane Austen's novel Emma was first published.
- 1919 – The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act was enacted, lifting most of the existing common-law restrictions on women in the United Kingdom.
- 1958 – Tokyo Tower, then the world's tallest freestanding tower, opened.
- 759 – The Tang-dynasty poet Du Fu departed for Chengdu, where he lived for the next five years and composed poems about life in his thatched cottage.
- 1814 – The United Kingdom and the United States signed a peace treaty in Ghent, present-day Belgium, ending the War of 1812.
- 1846 – The Sultanate of Brunei ceded the island of Labuan to the British Empire.
- 1968 – Piloted by Jim Lovell, Apollo 8 became the first human spaceflight to reach and orbit the Moon (Earthrise pictured).
- 1973 – The U.S. Congress granted home rule to Washington, D.C., allowing the residents to elect their own mayor and a city council.
- 1066 – Norman Conquest: William the Conqueror was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey, but continued to face rebellions over the following years and was not secure on the throne until after 1072.
- 1100 – Baldwin I was crowned the first king of Jerusalem (depicted) in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
- 1809 – American physician Ephraim McDowell performed the world's first removal of an ovarian tumor.
- 1989 – Romanian Revolution: Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena were condemned to death on a wide range of charges and executed.
- 2009 – A fire destroyed Longford's 19th-century St Mel's Cathedral, considered the "flagship cathedral" of the Irish midlands.
- 1709 – The opera Agrippina by George Frideric Handel premiered in Venice.
- 1776 – American Revolutionary War: George Washington led a Continental Army column across the Delaware River to launch a surprise attack against Hessian forces at the Battle of Trenton (painting shown).
- 1898 – At the French Academy of Sciences, physicists Pierre and Marie Curie announced the discovery of a new element, naming it radium.
- 1919 – American baseball player Babe Ruth was sold by the Boston Red Sox to their rivals, the New York Yankees, beginning the 84-year-long "Curse of the Bambino".
- 1943 – Second World War: The German battleship Scharnhorst was sunk at the Battle of the North Cape during an attempt to attack Arctic convoys.
- 537 – The reconstructed Hagia Sophia (pictured) in Constantinople was inaugurated; built as a church, it later became a mosque and a museum.
- 1831 – HMS Beagle departed Plymouth, England, on a voyage to South America that established Charles Darwin's standing as a naturalist.
- 1918 – A public speech by the Polish pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski in Poznań sparked the Greater Poland uprising against Germany.
- 1932 – New York City's Radio City Music Hall opened with the world's largest auditorium at the time.
- 1997 – Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright was assassinated in HM Prison Maze by members of the Irish National Liberation Army.
- 1879 – The Tay Bridge, spanning the Firth of Tay in Scotland between Dundee and Wormit, collapsed during a violent storm while a train was passing over it, killing all on board.
- 1907 – The last confirmed sighting of the now-extinct huia occurred in the Tararua Range on New Zealand's North Island.
- 2009 – Tibetan dissident filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen was imprisoned for subversion by Chinese authorities after a secret trial.
- 2014 – The passenger ferry Norman Atlantic (pictured) caught fire in the Adriatic Sea.
- 1778 – American Revolutionary War: Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell led a contingent of British soldiers to capture the city of Savannah, Georgia.
- 1812 – War of 1812: In a three-hour single-ship action, HMS Java (drawing shown) was captured by USS Constitution off the coast of Brazil.
- 1876 – A railway bridge collapsed over the Ashtabula River in Ohio, killing 92 people and injuring 64 others on a Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway train.
- 1928 – The Northern Expedition, a military campaign by the National Revolutionary Army of the Kuomintang, ended with the complete control of the Republic of China.
- 1460 – Wars of the Roses: At the Battle of Wakefield, Lancastrian forces destroyed the Yorkist army and killed Richard of York (pictured) at Sandal Magna in West Yorkshire, England.
- 1902 – The Discovery Expedition under Robert Falcon Scott attained a new Farthest South point in Antarctica.
- 1903 – In one of the deadliest single-building fires in United States history, the Iroquois Theatre fire in Chicago killed more than 600 people.
- 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 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.
- 1907 – New York City held its first annual ball drop event in Times Square as part of New Year's Eve celebrations.
- 1965 – Central African military officers led by Jean-Bédel Bokassa began a coup d'état against the government of President David Dacko.
- 2010 – 28 tornadoes (one depicted) touched down in midwestern and southern United States, part of an outbreak that led to the deaths of nine people and large property damage.