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 "Did You Know..."


Notable Historic Events

for the Month of December




 December 1st

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams

1824...As no candidate received a majority of the votes in the Presidential Election of 1824, it was turned over to the House of Representatives.  The House gives the Presidency to John Quincy Adams, even though Andrew Jackson had more electoral votes. This is the first time an election is decided by the House as dictated by the 18th Amendment of the US Constitution.

1913...Henry Ford installs the first auto assembly line, reducing time to build a car from 12 hours to 2 hours to 30 minutes.

1990...England is finally connected to Europe. The final hole is drilled  connecting them through a tunnel 132 feet below the English Channel. 


 December 2nd

John Brown

John Brown

1804...Napoleon is crowned Emperor of France.  Napoleon, 35 years old, and considered one of the greatest military strategists in history, is the first French man  to hold the title of Emperor in over 1,000 years.

1823...President James Monroe delivers an address to Congress creating what would become known as The Monroe Doctrine President Monroe states that America is not to be colonized by European powers.

1869...John Brown, the militant abolitionist, is executed by hanging.  Brown led the fight against slavery in Kansas and is often considered the first casualty of the Civil War that ended slavery.

1961...After years of denial, Cuban leader Fidel Castro openly declares he is a Marxist-Leninist, and establishes diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.


 December 3rd


Dr. Christiaan Bernard

Dr. Christiaan Bernard

1967...Surgeon Christiaan Bernard, trained in the US and South Africa, performs the first human heart transplant in Cape Town, South Africa.

1984...An explosion at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, leads to the worse industrial accident in history. Two hundred die and another 200,000 are injured when toxic gas covers the city.

1989...At a meeting in the Island city of Malta, President Bush and Soviet leader Gorbachev issue statements suggesting the Cold War will be coming to an end.


 December 4th

The Mary Celeste

The Mary Celeste

1872...American sailing vessel, the Mary Celeste, is boarded by the crew of a  British brig near the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was seaworthy, under sails, and full of cargo and supplies, but not a soul was found on board.

1945...In an overwhelming vote of 65-7, the United States Senate approves full US participation in the United Nations.

1952...A heavy smog begins to hover over London.  The problem is exacerbated by cold temperatures, causing residents to burn extra coal. It last for five days and kills somewhere between four and ten thousand people.


 December 5th

Anwar-al Sadat

Anwar al-Sadat

1933...With the signing of the 25th Amendment, the 18th Amendment is repealed and Prohibition is over. Some states choose to be "dry states" and they pass temperance laws.

1945...Five Naval bombers leave Florida on training flight.  They report that their compasses are not working.  They never return.  A rescue plane is sent to find them.  It never returns.  Thus begins the Legend of the Bermuda Triangle.

1977...President Anwar al-Sadat of Egypt breaks all ties with Syria, Libya, Algeria and South Yemen.  These countries signed the Declaration of Tripoli, in which they pledge to freeze their relationship with the Egypt because President Sadat recognizes the State of Israel.


 December 6th

The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument

1884...The Washington Monument is completed when worker places a  pyramid on top of the granite and marble blocks. The monument stands 555 feet high and is now the tallest structure in the world.

1917...A horrific explosion occurs in the Harbor of Halifax after the Mont- Blanc, a French munitions ship collides with another vessel. The explosion kills 1,800 people, injures 9,000, blinds 200 and destroys part of Halifax. 

1992...A football record is set by Jerry Rice, of the San Francisco 49ers, as he catches his 101st career touchdown reception. The record was previously held by Steve Largent.


 December 7

The USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor

The USS Arizona - Pearl Harbor

1787...Delaware becomes the first state in the USA.

1805...The Louis and Clark expedition builds a small fortress on the Pacific Coast (Oregon) to spend the winter.  They call it Fort Clatsop, after the Native American Tribe. The men did not appreciate the weather, as they could not stay dry. With the exception of twelve days, it rained continually for three months.

1941...Japanese war planes attack Pearl Harbor.  The surprise attack occurs at 7:55,  catching Americans unprepared. The planes bomb the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor and the airfields on the Island of Oahu, which forces Americans into WWII.

1988...An earthquake devastates Armenia, killing close to 60,000 people and leaving 500,000 homeless.


 December 8th

John Lennon

John Lennon

1940...The Chicago Bears play against the Washington Redskins for the  NFL Championship and beat them 73-0, the largest defeat in NFL history.  The Bears were motivated to beat them after a prior loss when the Redskin coach, George Marshall, called the team "quitters" and "cry babies."

1941...Jeanette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, casts the sole vote against the US declaration of war against Japan.

1980...A former member of the rock group The Beatles, John Lennon, is shot and killed by an obsessed fan in New York City. 

1993...NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) is signed into law by President Bill Clinton.  The trade pact, between the US, Canada and Mexico, eliminated all tariffs and trade restrictions between the three countries.


 December 9th

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred Lord Teenyson

1854...The Charge of the Light Brigade, a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, is published.  The poem commemorates the brave charge of 600 British Calvary into Russian artillery during the Crimean War.

1958...Retired candy entrepreneur Robert Welch, founds the John Birch Society.  The Society is dedicated to fighting Communism in America.

1990...Lech Walesa, founder of the Polish Solidarity Union, becomes the first elected Polish President in a landslide election.


 December 10th

John Jay

John Jan

1778...John Jay is elected President of the Continental Congress.  John Jay was the former chief justice of the New York Supreme Court.  He was later appointed as the first chief Justice of the United States.

1869...The Wyoming territorial legislators pass a bill granting women the right to vote.

1901...The first Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden. The traditional gold medal is still awarded today, but the money has increased.  Today it is1.4 million dollars.

1963...Nineteen year old Frank Sinatra, Jr. is kidnapped from his hotel room in Lake Tahoe, CA. He was freed after the demands of a $240,000 ransom were met.





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