On This Day

What Happened in December 1872

Historical Events

  • Dec 3 English Assyriologist George Smith reads his translation of The Great Flood from the "Epic of Gilgamesh" to the Society of Biblical Archaeology, with striking similarities to the later flood of Noah in "Genesis"
  • Dec 5 Ship the Mary Celeste is discovered mysteriously abandoned by her crew in the Atlantic Ocean
  • Dec 7 HMS Challenger sets sail on 3½ year world oceanographic cruise
  • Dec 11 Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback takes office as the first African American US Govenor in Louisiana

Historic Event

Dec 21 Phileas Fogg completes his round the world trip in 80 days, in Jules Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days"

  • Dec 26 4th largest snowfall in NYC history (18")

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 5 Harry Nelson Pillsbury, American chess player, born in Somerville, Massachusetts (d. 1906)
  • Dec 6 Mikulas Moyzes, Slovak composer, born in Zvolenská Slatina, Slovakia (d. 1944)

Michael Joseph Savage

Dec 6 Michael Joseph Savage, Australian-born New Zealand politician and first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand (1935-40), born in Tatong, Australia (d. 1940)

  • Dec 7 Johan Huizinga, Dutch culture historian (Homo Ludens), born in Groningen, Netherlands (d. 1945)
  • Dec 10 Johann Babtist Thaller, German composer, born in Röhrmoos, Germany (d. 1952)
  • Dec 10 Ludwig Klages, German philosopher (study of graves), born in Hannover, Germany (d. 1956)
  • Dec 16 Anton Ivanovich Denikin, Russian general (d. 1947)
  • Dec 20 Lorenzo Perosi, Italian priest and sacred oratorio composer, born in Tortona, Italy (d. 1956)
  • Dec 21 Albert Payson Terhune, American novelist (Lad, a Dog), born in Newark, New Jersey (d. 1942)
  • Dec 21 Sidney Ainsworth, British silent film actor (Not in the News, The Rajah's Tunic), born in Manchester, England (d. 1922)
  • Dec 22 Camille Guérin, French veterinarian and bacteriologist, born in Poitiers, France (d. 1961)
  • Dec 26 Norman Angell, British politician/cowboy/journalist, Nobel laureate (1933), (d. 1967)

Pío Baroja

Dec 28 Pío Baroja y Nessi, Spanish Basque writer, author of over 100 novels (The Struggle for Life, Zalacain the Adventurer), born in San Sebastián, Basque Country (d. 1956)

Famous Weddings

Brigham Young

Dec 8 Religious leader Brigham Young (71) weds his fifty-fifth wife Hannah Tapfield in Salt Lake City, Utah

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 11 Kamehameha V, Hawaiian king (1863-72), dies at 42
  • Dec 12 Willem Anne Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Dutch politician, dies at 72
  • Dec 12 Edwin Forrest, American actor and philanthropist, dies at 66
  • Dec 13 Helena Beeloo, a maid, murdered by Henry Jut at the Hague, Netherlands
  • Dec 13 W T van der Kouwen-ten Cate, murdered by Henry Jut at the Hague, Netherlands
  • Dec 21 Ambrose R. Wright, American Civil War General, dies at 46
  • Dec 24 William John Macquorn Rankine, Scottish mechanical engineer and physicist, dies at 52
  • Dec 28 James Van Ness, Mayor of San Francisco (1855-1856) (b. 1808)
  • Dec 31 Aleksis Kivi, Finnish writer and poet (Kanervala), dies at 38