Dec 14, 1799: George Washington dies
George Washington, the American revolutionary leader and first president of the United States, dies of acute laryngitis at his estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia. He was 67 years old.
George Washington was born in 1732 to a farm family in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His first direct military experience came as a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia colonial militia in 1754, when he led a small expedition against the French in the Ohio River valley on behalf of the governor of Virginia. Two years later, Washington took command of the defenses of the western Virginian frontier during the French and Indian War. After the war's fighting moved elsewhere, he resigned from his military post, returned to a planter's life, and took a seat in Virginia's House of Burgesses.
During the next two decades, Washington openly opposed the escalating British taxation and repression of the American colonies. In 1774, he represented Virginia at the Continental Congress. After the American Revolution erupted in 1775, Washington was nominated to be commander in chief of the newly established Continental Army. Some in the Continental Congress opposed his appointment, thinking other candidates were better equipped for the post, but he was ultimately chosen because as a Virginian his leadership helped bind the Southern colonies more closely to the rebellion in New England.
With his inexperienced and poorly equipped army of civilian soldiers, General Washington led an effective war of harassment against British forces in America while encouraging the intervention of the French into the conflict on behalf of the colonists. On October 19, 1781, with the surrender of British General Charles Lord Cornwallis' massive British army at Yorktown, Virginia, General Washington had defeated one of the most powerful nations on earth.
After the war, the victorious general retired to his estate at Mount Vernon, but in 1787 he heeded his nation's call and returned to politics to preside over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The drafters created the office of president with him in mind, and in February 1789 Washington was unanimously elected the first president of the United States.
As president, Washington sought to unite the nation and protect the interests of the new republic at home and abroad. Of his presidency, he said, "I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn in precedent." He successfully implemented executive authority, making good use of brilliant politicians such as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in his cabinet, and quieted fears of presidential tyranny. In 1792, he was unanimously reelected but four years later refused a third term.
In 1797, he finally began a long-awaited retirement at his estate in Virginia. He died two years later. His friend Henry Lee provided a famous eulogy for the father of the United States: "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."
Dec 14, 1911: Amundsen reaches South Pole
Norwegian Roald Amundsen becomes the first explorer to reach the South Pole, beating his British rival, Robert Falcon Scott.
Amundsen, born in Borge, near Oslo, in 1872, was one of the great figures in polar exploration. In 1897, he was first mate on a Belgian expedition that was the first ever to winter in the Antarctic. In 1903, he guided the 47-ton sloop Gjöa through the Northwest Passage and around the Canadian coast, the first navigator to accomplish the treacherous journey. Amundsen planned to be the first man to the North Pole, and he was about to embark in 1909 when he learned that the American Robert Peary had achieved the feat.
Amundsen completed his preparations and in June 1910 sailed instead for Antarctica, where the English explorer Robert F. Scott was also headed with the aim of reaching the South Pole. In early 1911, Amundsen sailed his ship into Antarctica's Bay of Whales and set up base camp 60 miles closer to the pole than Scott. In October, both explorers set off--Amundsen using sleigh dogs, and Scott employing Siberian motor sledges, Siberian ponies, and dogs. On December 14, 1911, Amundsen's expedition won the race to the Pole and returned safely to base camp in late January.
Scott's expedition was less fortunate. The motor sleds broke down, the ponies had to be shot, and the dog teams were sent back as Scott and four companions continued on foot. On January 18, 1912, they reached the pole only to find that Amundsen had preceded them by over a month. Weather on the return journey was exceptionally bad--two members perished--and a storm later trapped Scott and the other two survivors in their tent only 11 miles from their base camp. Scott's frozen body was found later that year.
After his historic Antarctic journey, Amundsen established a successful shipping business. He later made attempts to become the first explorer to fly over the North Pole. In 1925, in an airplane, he flew within 150 miles of the goal. In 1926, he passed over the North Pole in a dirigible just three days after American explorer Richard E. Byrd had apparently done so in an aircraft. In 1996, a diary that Byrd had kept on the flight was found that seemed to suggest that the he had turned back 150 miles short of its goal because of an oil leak, making Amundsen's dirigible expedition the first flight over the North Pole.
In 1928, Amundsen lost his life while trying to rescue a fellow explorer whose dirigible had crashed at sea near Spitsbergen, Norway.
Dec 14, 1939: USSR expelled from the League of Nations
On this day, the League of Nations, the international peacekeeping organization formed at the end of World War I, expels the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in response to the Soviets' invasion of Finland on October 30.
Although the League of Nations was more or less the brainchild of President Woodrow Wilson, the United States, which was to have sat on the Executive Council, never joined. Isolationists in the Senate--put off by America's intervention in World War I, which they felt was more of a European civil war than a true world war--prevented American participation. While the League was born with the exalted mission of preventing another "Great War," it proved ineffectual, being unable to protect China from a Japanese invasion or Ethiopia from an Italian one. The League was also useless in reacting to German remilitarization, which was a violation of the Treaty of Versailles, the document that formally set the peace terms for the end of World War I.
Germany and Japan voluntarily withdrew from the League in 1933, and Italy left in 1937. The true imperial designs of the Soviet Union soon became apparent with its occupation of eastern Poland in September of 1939, ostensibly with the intention of protecting Russian "blood brothers," Ukrainians and Byelorussians, who were supposedly menaced by the Poles. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia were then terrorized into signing "mutual assistance" pacts, primarily one-sided agreements that gave the USSR air and naval bases in those countries. But the invasion of Finland, where no provocation or pact could credibly be adduced to justify the aggression, resulted in worldwide reaction. President Roosevelt, although an "ally" of the USSR, condemned the invasion, causing the Soviets to withdraw from the New York World's Fair. And finally, the League of Nations, drawing almost its last breath, expelled it.
Dec 14, 1961: Kennedy announces intent to increase aid to South Vietnam
In a public exchange of letters with South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, President John F. Kennedy formally announces that the United States will increase aid to South Vietnam, which would include the expansion of the U.S. troop commitment. Kennedy, concerned with the recent advances made by the communist insurgency movement in South Vietnam wrote, "We shall promptly increase our assistance to your defense effort."
Kennedy's chief military adviser, Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, and Special Assistant for National Security Affairs Walt W. Rostow had just returned from a fact-finding trip to Saigon and urged the president to increase U.S. economic and military advisory support to Diem. The military support was to include intensive training of local self-defense troops by American military advisers. Additionally, Taylor and Rostow advocated a significant increase in airplanes, helicopters, and support personnel. In a secret appendix to their report, Taylor and Rostow recommended the deployment of 8,000 American combat troops, which could be used to support the South Vietnamese forces in combat operations against the insurgents. To overcome Diem's resistance to foreign troops--which he saw as a potential Viet Cong propaganda windfall--Taylor and Rostow suggested that the forces were to be called a "flood control team." Kennedy, who wanted to stop the communists but also wanted to be cautious about the degree of involvement, accepted most of the recommendations, but did not commit U.S. combat troops.
In return for the support, Kennedy requested that Diem liberalize his regime and institute land reform and other measures to win the support of his people. Diem initially refused, but consented when he was threatened with a reduction in the promised aid. In the long run, however, his reforms did not go far enough and the increased American aid proved insufficient in stemming the tide of the insurgency. Diem was murdered during a coup by his own generals in November 1963. Shortly thereafter, Kennedy was assassinated. At the time of his death, there were more than 16,000 U.S. advisers in South Vietnam. Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, rapidly escalated the war, which resulted in the commitment of U.S. ground forces and eventually more than 500,000 American troops in Vietnam.
Dec 14, 2012: Gunman kills students and adults at Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school
On this day in 2012, a 20-year-old man shoots and kills his mother at their Newtown, Connecticut, home then drives to nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he kills 20 first graders and six school employees before turning a gun on himself. The Sandy Hook tragedy was the second-deadliest mass-shooting in the United States, following the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, in which a gunman killed 32 students and teachers before committing suicide.
Shortly after 9:30 a.m., Adam Lanza shot through a plate-glass window next to Sandy Hook’s locked front entrance in order to gain access to the school. Hearing the noise, the school principal and school psychologist went to investigate and were shot and killed by Lanza, who was armed with a semiautomatic rifle, two semiautomatic pistols and multiple rounds of ammunition. Lanza also shot and wounded two other Sandy Hook staff members. He then entered two first-grade classrooms, where he gunned down two teachers and 15 students in one room and two teachers and five students in the other room. The children Lanza murdered, 12 girls and 8 boys, were 6 and 7 years old. Twelve first-graders from the two classrooms survived. When Lanza heard the police closing in on him, he killed himself in a classroom at approximately 9:40 a.m.
Police soon learned that sometime earlier that morning, before arriving at Sandy Hook, Lanza had shot and killed his 52-year-old mother at the home they shared. She owned the weapons her son used in his deadly rampage.
Investigators determined that Lanza, who had attended Sandy Hook as a boy, acted alone in planning and carrying out the attack, but they were unable to find a motive for his actions or discover why he had targeted Sandy Hook. In November 2013, the Connecticut State’s Attorney released a report noting that Lanza had "significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and to interact with others." However, mental-health professionals who had worked with him "did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior," according to the report.
In the aftermath of the shootings, President Barack Obama called for new gun-safety measures; however, his primary legislative goal, expanded background checks for gun buyers, was blocked by the U.S. Senate.
The community of Newtown, which has some 27,000 residents and is located about 45 miles southwest of Connecticut’s capital, Hartford, eventually decided to tear down Sandy Hook Elementary School. It was razed in the fall of 2013; a new school will be built on the same site.
Dec 14, 1946: Stan Smith is born
On this day in 1946, the American tennis champion Stan Smith is born in Pasadena, California. A three-time All-American at the University of Southern California (USC), Smith captured the NCAA singles title in 1968 and the doubles title in 1967 and 1968. With his USC doubles partner, Bob Lutz, Smith went on to form one of the most successful teams of all time, winning more than 50 titles, including the U.S. Open four times (1968, 1974, 1978 and 1980) and the Australian Open once in 1970.
Smith also had an impressive singles career, and is particularly known for his stellar performance for the U.S. Davis Cup team. Over an 11-year Cup career, Smith contributed significantly to seven U.S. victories (1968-72 and 1978-9). He won the clinching point for his team 16 times--three times in singles, and 13 times in doubles (with Lutz and Erik van Dillen). In 1971, Smith was the runner-up at Wimbledon, where he lost in five sets to John Newcombe of Australia. Later that year, he took the U.S. Open singles title, beating the Czech player Jan Kodes in a four-set match that was the first to end in a tie-breaker. Smith’s 1972 Wimbledon victory, over the volatile Ilie Nastase, is remembered as one of the great Grand Slam finals. Also in 1972, Smith scored each of the three U.S. points in a match against Romania, beating Nastase and Ion Tiriac in singles and teaming with van Dillen to defeat a Nastase-Tiriac team in doubles, for a fifth straight U.S. Davis Cup victory.
Early in his career, Smith was drafted into the U.S. Army, and served a two-year tour of duty (1970-72). During this time, he continued to focus on his tennis, and was used by the Army on recruitment tours and visits to hospitals to build morale. Ranked in the world top ten for six straight years from 1970, Smith ended the 1972 season ranked number one in the world. His career spanned the amateur and open eras of tennis, and he won more than 100 titles overall in singles and doubles. After retiring from tennis, Smith became active in the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and eventually opened his own training academy in Hilton Head, South Carolina. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987.
Here's a more detailed look at events that transpired on this date throughout history:
644 - Osman ibn Affan appointed 3rd kalief of islam
867 - Adrian II begins his reign as Catholic Pope
872 - John VIII elected as Catholic Pope
1124 - Theobald Buccapecus elected Pope Coelestinus II (he refuses)
1287 - Zuider Zee seawall collapses with loss of 50,000 lives
1542 - Princess Mary Stuart succeeds her father James V and becomes Queen Mary I of Scotland at 6 days old
1575 - Polish Parliament selects Istvan Bathory as king of Poland
1582 - Zealand/Brabant Neth adopt Gregorian calendar, tomorrow is 12/25
1600 - Olivier van Noort sinks Sp galleon San Diego at Bay of Manila, 350 die
1656 - Artificial pearls 1st manufactured by M Jacquin in Paris made of gypsum pellets covered with fish scales
1702 - The Forty-seven Ronin, under the command of Ōishi Kuranosuke, avenge the death of their master.
1708 - Prosper Jolyot's "Electre," premieres in Paris
1774 - Portsmouth, New Hampshire militiamen successfully attacked arsenal of Ft William & Mary
1782 - Charleston, SC evacuated by British
1793 - 1st state road authorized, Frankfort, Ky to Cincinnati
1798 - David Wilkinson of Rhode Island patents a nut & bolt machine
1819 - Alabama admitted to Union as 22nd state
1825 - Decembrist uprising in Russia against Tsar Nicholas I begins
1836 - The Toledo War unofficially ends.
Queen of Scotland Mary StuartQueen of Scotland Mary Stuart 1849 - 1st chamber music group in US gives their 1st concert (Boston)
1863 - Battle of Bean's Station-Confederacy repulses Union in Tenn
1882 - Henry Morton Stanley returns to Brussels from the Congo
1889 - American Academy of Political & Social Science organized, Phila
1894 - Day One 1st Test Cricket Aus v Eng Aust 5-346 (Giffen 161, Gregory 85)
1894 - Test Cricket debut of Joe Darling, Ernie Jones, Archie MacLaren
1896 - The Glasgow Underground Railway is opened by the Glasgow District Subway Company.
1900 - Quantum Mechanics: Max Planck presents a theoretical derivation of his black-body radiation law.
1901 - 1st table tennis tournament is held (London Royal Aquarium)
1903 - Reg Foster completes 287 England v Australia on Test Cricket debut
1907 - The schooner Thomas W. Lawson runs aground and founders near the Hellweather's Reef within the Scilly Isles in a gale. The pilot and 15 seamen die.
1911 - South Pole 1st reached, by Norwegian Roald Amundsen
1913 - Greece formally takes possession of Crete
1914 - Lisandro de la Torre and others found the Democratic Progressist Party (Partido Demócrata Progresista, PDP) at the Hotel Savoy, Buenos Aires.
1915 - Jack Johnson is 1st black world heavyweight boxing champion
1917 - UFA, Universal Film AG, forms in Germany
Composer Giacomo PucciniComposer Giacomo Puccini 1918 - Giacomo Puccini's opera "Il Trittico," premieres in NYC
1920 - Jack Dempsey KOs Bill Brennan in 12 for heavyweight boxing title in NYC
1923 - Gerard K "Simon" van het Reve, Dutch writer (Evenings)
1924 - Chiang Kai-shek occupies Hankou
1924 - Respighi's symphony "Pini di Roma," premieres in Paris
1926 - Danish Madsen government, forms
1927 - Iraq gains independence from Britain, but British troops remain
1928 - 2nd Test Cricket Australia v England starts with Bradman 12th man
1929 - Alexander Zaimis elected pres of Greece
1930 - NY Giants defeat Notre Dame 22-0 in a charity game
1931 - 1st assembly of Anton Musserts NSB in Utrecht
1932 - French government of Herriot falls
1933 - Josephine Baker performs in Amsterdam
1934 - 1st streamlined steam locomotive introduced (Albany NY)
1935 - Test Cricket debut of "Chuck" Fleetwood-Smith v South Africa, Durban
Heavyweight Boxing Champion Jack DempseyHeavyweight Boxing Champion Jack Dempsey 1937 - Japanese troops conquer/plunder Nanjing
1938 - AL permits Cleveland & Philadelphia to play night games
1938 - Major leagues agrees on standard ball
1938 - Major leagues disagree on increasing rosters from 23 to 25
1938 - Will Harridge is elected to a 10-year-term as AL president
1939 - Soviet Union attacks Finland-League of Nations drops Soviet Union
1941 - 1st NFL division playoff, Bears beat Packers 33-14
1941 - Premier Winston Churchill travels to US on board HMS Duke of York
1941 - U-557 torpedoes British cruiser Galatea
1944 - Begin(ning) Liese-Aktion: werving of labor force for Germany
1944 - Congress establshes rank of General of Army (5-star General)
1944 - German occupiers forbid use of electricity in parts of Holland
1945 - Elmer Rice' "Dream Girl," premieres in NYC
1946 - "Three to Make Ready" closes at Adelphi Theater NYC after 323 perfs
1946 - Togo made a trusteeship territory of UN
Soldier, author, journalist, politician Winston ChurchillSoldier, author, journalist, politician Winston Churchill 1946 - UN General Assembly votes to establish UN HQs in NYC
1947 - Cleveland Browns beat NY Yankees 14-3 in AAFC championship game
1947 - The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is founded in Daytona Beach, Florida.
1950 - "Bless You All" opens at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC for 84 perfs
1950 - UN Gen Assembly establishes High Comm for Refugees (Nobel 1954)
1950 - Baseball owners choose Lou Perini (Braves), Phil Wrigley (Cubs), Del Webb (Yankees), & Ellis Ryan (Indians) to select new commissioner
1952 - KROD (now KDBC) TV channel 4 in El Paso, TX (CBS) begins broadcasting
1952 - R H Shodhan scores 110 on Test Cricket debut v Pakistan, Calcutta
1952 - Uprising of captives in Pongam South Korea, 82 die
1953 - Brooklyn Dodgers sign pitcher Sandy Koufax
1954 - WOAY TV channel 4 in Oak Hill-Beckley, WV (ABC) begins broadcasting
1955 - Dutch Reformed Church condemns woman/wife as vicar
1955 - Tappan Zee Bridge in NY opens to traffic
1956 - Paul-Henri Spaak appointed secretary-general of NATO
1957 - "Most Happy Fella" closes at Imperial Theater NYC after 678 perfs
1957 - "Rumple" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 45 performances
1959 - Archbishop Makarios proclaimed president of Cyprus
1959 - J B Jordan in F-104C sets world altitude record, 31,513m
1960 - Australia v West Indies 1st Test Cricket at the Gabba ends in a tie
1960 - Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) forms
1960 - Washington Senators joins American League
1961 - Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" is 1st country song to get a gold record
1962 - Mariner 2 makes 1st US fly-by of another planet (Venus)
1962 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1963 - Verne Gagne beats The Crusher in Minneapolis, to become NWA champ
1964 - Michael Brown meets Rene Fladen, then writes "Walk Away Rene"
1965 - "La Grusse Valise" opens at 54th St Theater NYC for 7 performances
1967 - DNA created in a test tube
1969 - "La Strada" opens/closes at Lunt Fontanne NYC for 1 performance
1969 - Bishen Bedi takes 7-98 (career-best) v Australia at Calcutta
1969 - Jackson Five made their 1st appearance on "Ed Sullivan Show"
1971 - Golden Gate Bridge lights out all night due to power failure
1971 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1972 - Eugene Cernan & Harrison Schmitt leave the Moon
1972 - Willy Brandt re-elected West German chancellor
1974 - Islander Glenn Resch's 1st shut-out opponent-Kings 3-0
1974 - Viv Richards scores 1st Test Cricket ton 192 v India 20 fours 6 sixes
1975 - "Treemonisha" closes at Uris Theater NYC after 64 performances
1975 - 6 So Moluccan terrorists surrender, holding 23 hostages for 12 days
1975 - WCPR (Brooklyn New York pirate radio station) begins broadcasting on 1620 AM
1976 - Dutch 1st Chamber condemns Dutch Liberal/social dem abortion laws
1977 - "Saturday Night Fever,"starring John Travolta, premieres in NYC
1977 - Egypt & Israel reps gather in Cairo for 1st formal peace conference
1977 - Red Sox trade Fergie Jenkins to Rangers for John Poloni & cash
1977 - Test Cricket debut of Abdul Qadir, v England at Lahore
1977 - War criminal Pieter Menten sentenced in Amsterdam to 15 years
1978 - "Ballroom" opens at Majestic Theater NYC for 116 performances
1978 - China PR performs nuclear test at Lop Nor PRC
1978 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
1979 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1980 - "Onward Victoria" opens/closes at Martin Beck NYC for 1 performance
1980 - Anders Kailur scores on 6th Islander penalty shot
1980 - At 2 PM EST there is 10 minutes of silence in memory of John Lennon
1980 - Minnesota Vikings pass for 456 yards against Cleveland Browns, winning 28-24
1980 - Nancy Lopez/Curtis Strange wins LPGA J C Penney Golf Classic
1980 - New Orleans Saints end 14 game losing streak, beat NY Jets 21-20
1980 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
1981 - Israel annexes Golan Heights (seized from Syria in war of 1967)
1982 - Marcel Dionne, LA, becomes 9th NHLer to score 500 goals
1983 - "Peg" opens at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC for 5 performances
1984 - Sportscaster Howard Cosell retires from Monday Night Football
1985 - US Foreign Minister George Shultz arrives in West Berlin
1986 - Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan & Jeana Yeager, took off from Edwards AFB, California on 1st non-stop, non-refueled flight around world
1987 - Allan Border scores 205 v NZ to become Australia's top rungetter
1987 - Chrysler pleads no contest to selling driven vehicles as new
1988 - CBS' $1.1 B bid wins exclusive 1990-94 major-league baseball rights
1988 - NBA's Miami Heat wins 1st game ever, 89-88 (Clippers), after 17 loses
1988 - Spanish General strike to protest austerity measures
1988 - US agrees to talk to Palestine Liberation Org (1st time in 13 yrs)
Musician Louis JordanMusician Louis Jordan 1990 - Louis Jordan's revue "Five Guys Named Moe," premieres in London
1990 - Right to Die case permits Nancy Cruzan to have her feeding tube removed, she dies 12 days later
1991 - 57th Heisman Trophy Award: Desmond Howard, Michigan (WR)
1991 - Ferry boat Salem Express sinks in Red Sea, 476 killed
1992 - Lennox Lewis given WBC title, when Riddick Bowe refused to fight him
1993 - Moslem fundamentalists murder 12 Kroates/Bosnians in Algeria
1995 - "Les Miserables" opens at Cable Hall, Helsinki
1995 - AIDS patient Jeff Getty recieves baboon bone marrow transplant
1995 - Yugoslav Wars: The Dayton Agreement is signed in Paris by leaders of various governments.
1996 - 12th Soap Opera Digest Awards
1996 - 62nd Heisman Trophy Award: Danny Wuerffel, Florida (QB)
1997 - "View From the Bridge," opens at Criterion Theater NYC
1997 - Diners Club Senior Golf Match
1997 - Juli Inkster & Dottie Pepper win LPGA Diners Club Matches
1997 - Phoenix Coyote Mike Gartner is 5th NHLer to score 700 goals
Heavyweight Boxing Champion Lennox LewisHeavyweight Boxing Champion Lennox Lewis 2003 - President of Pakistan Pervez Musharaf narrowly escapes an assassination attempt.
2003 - President George W. Bush announces the capture of Saddam Hussein.
2004 - The Millau viaduct, the highest bridge in the world, near Millau, France is officially opened.
2008 - President George W. Bush made his fourth and final (planned) trip to Iraq as president and almost struck by two shoes thrown at him by Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi during a farewell conference in Baghdad.
2012 - 28 people, including 20 children, are shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut
2012 - Australian Joel Parkinson wins the 2012 ASP World Tour
2012 - Gene Wolfe wins the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award
1503 - Physician, astrologer and clairvoyant Nostradamus was born at St. Remy, Provence, France. 1798 - David Wilkinson of Rhode Island patented the nut and bolt machine. 1799 - The first president of the United States, George Washington, died at the age 67. 1819 - Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state. 1896 - Gen. James H. Doolittle, who led the first air raid on Japan during World War II, was born. 1900 - Professor Max Planck of Berlin University revealed his revolutionary Quantum Theory. 1903 - Orville Wright made the first attempt at powered flight. The engine stalled during take-off and the plane was damaged in the attempt. Three days later, after repairs were made, the modern aviation age was born when the plane stayed aloft for 12 seconds and flew 102 feet. 1911 - Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the South Pole. He reached the destination 35 days ahead of Captain Robert F. Scott. 1918 - For the first time in Britain women (over 30) voted in a General Election. 1939 - The Soviet Union was dropped from the League of Nations. 1945 - Josef Kramer, known as "the beast of Belsen," and 10 others were executed in Hamelin for the crimes they committed at the Belsen and Auschwitz Nazi concentration camps. 1946 - The U.N. General Assembly voted to establish the United Nation's headquarters in New York City. 1959 - Archbishop Makarios was elected Cyprus' first president. 1962 - The U.S. space probe Mariner II approached Venus. It transmitted information about the planet's atmosphere and surface temperature. 1975 - Six South Moluccan terrorists surrendered to police after holding 23 people hostage for 12 days on a train near the Dutch town of Beilen. 1981 - Israel annexed the Golan Heights, seized from Syria in war in 1967. 1983 - The U.S. battleship New Jersey fired on Syrian positions in Lebanon for the first time after American F-14 reconnaissance flights were fired on. 1984 - Howard Cosell retired from the NFL's Monday Night Football. 1985 - Wilma Mankiller became the first woman to lead a major American Indian tribe as she formally took office as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of OKlahoma. 1986 - The experimental aircraft Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, took off from California on the first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world. The trip took nine days to complete. 1987 - Chrysler pled no contest to federal charges of selling several thousand vehicles as new when Chrysler employees had driven the vehicles with the odometer disconnected. 1988 - CBS won the exclusive rights to major league baseball's 1990-94 seasons for $1.1 billion. 1988 - The first transatlantic underwater fiber-optic cable went into service. 1990 - After 30 years in exile, ANC president Oliver Tambo returned to South Africa. 1993 - A judge in Colorado struck down the state's voter-approved Amendment Two prohibiting gay rights laws, calling it unconstitutional. 1993 - The United Mine Workers approved a five-year contract that ended a strike that had reached seven states and involved some of the nation's biggest coal operators. 1995 - The presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia signed the Dayton Accords to end fighting in Bosnia. 1995 - AIDS patient Jeff Getty received the first-ever bone-marrow transplant from a baboon. 1997 - Iran's newest president, Mohammad Khatami, called for a dialogue with the people of the United States. The preceding Iranian leaders had reviled the U.S. as "The Great Satan." 1997 - Mike Gartner (Phoenix Coyotes) became only the fifth player in National Hockey League (NHL) history to score 700 career goals. 1997 - Cuban President Fidel Castro declared Christmas 1997 an official holiday to ensure the success of Pope John Paul II's upcoming visit to Cuba. 1998 - Hundreds of Palestinian leaders renounced a call for the destruction of Israel. 1999 - U.S. and German negotiators agreed to establish a $5.2 billion fund for Nazi-era slave and forced laborers. 1999 - Charles M. Schulz announced he was retiring the "Peanuts" comic strip. The last original "Peanuts" comic strip was published on February 13, 2000. 2000 - It was announced that American businessman Edmond Pope would be released from a Russian prison for humanitarian reasons. Pope had been sentenced to 20 years in prison after his conviction on espionage charges. 2001 - European Union leaders agreed to dispatch 3,000-4,000 troops to join an international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan. 2001 - The first commercial export, since 1963, of U.S. food to Cuba began. The 24,000 metric tons for corn were being sent to replenish what was lost when Hurricane Michelle struck on November 4.
1799 George Washington died at age 67. 1819 Alabama became the 22nd state in the United States. 1911 Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the South Pole, beating an expedition led by Robert F. Scott. 1939 The Soviet Union was dropped from the League of Nations. 1967 DNA synthesized for the first time. 1981 Israel formally annexed the Golan Heights. 1985 Wilma Mankiller became the first woman to lead a major American Indian tribe as she took office as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. 1989 Nobel Peace laureate Andrei D. Sakharov died in Moscow at age 68. 2012 Adam Lanza, age 20, forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 26 people. The victims included 20 children between the ages of six and seven.
The following links are to web sites that were used to complete this blog entry: