On This Day

What Happened in December 1868

Historical Events

Historic Event

Dec 2 1st British government of Benjamin Disraeli resigns

Appointment of Interest

Dec 3 1st blacks on US trial jury appointed for Jefferson Davis trial

  • Dec 5 1st American bicycle college opens (NY)

Historic Event

Dec 7 Jesse James gang robs bank in Gallatin Missouri, kills 1

  • Dec 9 1st British government of Gladstone forms

Palace of Westminster

Dec 9 The first traffic lights are installed outside the Palace of Westminster in London. Resembling railway signals, they use semaphore arms and are illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps.

  • Dec 15 Shogunate rebels found Ezo Republic in Hokkaidō

Historic Event

Dec 25 Despite bitter opposition, US President Andrew Johnson grants unconditional pardon to all persons involved in Southern rebellion (Civil War)


Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 2 Francis Jammes, French poet and writer (Jammisme), born in Tournay, Hautes-Pyrénées, France (d. 1938)
  • Dec 4 Richard Nicolaas Roland Holst, Dutch artist and painter, born in Amsterdam, Netherlands (d. 1938)
  • Dec 4 Jesse Burkett, American Baseball HOF left fielder (NL batting champion 1895-96, 1901; 240 hits in 1896 MLB record for 15 years; Cleveland Spiders, St. Louis Perfectos/Cardinals), born in Wheeling, West Virginia (d. 1953)
  • Dec 5 Arnold Sommerfeld, German physicist, born in Königsberg, Prussia (d. 1951)
  • Dec 9 Fritz Haber, German physicist and chemist (Nobel 1918), born in Breslau, Prussia (d. 1934)
  • Dec 10 Louis Victor Saar, Dutch-American composer, born in Rotterdam (d. 1937)
  • Dec 11 Ernst Henrik Ellberg, Swedish composer, born in Söderhamn, Sweden (d. 1948)
  • Dec 14 Richard Batka, Austrian music critic and composer, born in Prague, Czech Republic (d. 1922)

Harvey Firestone

Dec 20 Harvey Firestone, American industrialist and founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company ("where the rubber meets the road"), born in Columbiana, Ohio (d. 1938)

  • Dec 24 Emanuel Lasker, German World Chess Champion (1894-21), born in Barlinek, Poland (d. 1941)
  • Dec 25 Eugenie Besserer, American actress (Jazz Singer), born in Watertown, New York (d. 1934)
  • Dec 28 Marie van Regteren Altena, Dutch painter (Amsterdam's Joffers)

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 6 August Schleicher, German linguist (b. 1821)
  • Dec 13 Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius, German botanist and explorer, dies at 74
  • Dec 24 Adolphe d'Archiac, French paleontologist and geologist, dies at 66
  • Dec 25 Linus Yale Jr., American portrait painter and inventor (Yale cylinder lock), dies at 47