On This Day

What Happened in December 1878

Historical Events

  • Dec 3 Settlers arrive at Petach Tikvah, Israel

Historic Event

Dec 9 Joseph Pulitzer buys the St. Louis Dispatch for $2,500

Anglo-Zulu War

Dec 11 Anglo-Zulu War: British high commissioner Henry Bartle Frere presents an ultimatum to the Zulu Kingdom to submit to British rule or face war

  • Dec 12 Joseph Pulitzer begins publishing the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch"
  • Dec 18 French SS Byzantin sinks after collision in Dardanelles, 210 killed
  • Dec 18 John Kehoe, the last of the Molly Maguires, is executed in Pennsylvania
  • Dec 26 1st US store to install electric lights, Philadelphia

Catholic Encyclical

Dec 28 Pope Leo XIII publishes encyclical Quod apostolici muneris (socialism)


Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 5 Arrigo Pedrollo, Italian composer, born in Montebello Vicentino, Veneto, Italy (d. 1964)
  • Dec 7 Akiko Yosano, Japanese poet (Tangled Hair), born in Sakai, Ōsaka, Japan (d. 1942)
  • Dec 10 C. Rajagopalachari, India's freedom fighter and the first Governor General of independent India, born in Thorapalli, Madras Presidency, British India (d. 1972)
  • Dec 15 Hans Carossa, German writer, born in Tölz, Bavaria (d. 1956)

Joseph Stalin

Dec 18 Joseph Stalin, Dictator and General Secretary of the Soviet Union (1922-53), born in Gori, Tiflis Governorate, Russian Empire (d. 1953)

  • Dec 19 Anton Lajovic, Slovenian composer, born in Vače, Slovenia (d. 1960)
  • Dec 21 Jan Łukasiewicz, Polish logician, philosopher, professor, and author, born in Lembeck, Galacia (now Lviv, Ukraine) (d. 1956)
  • Dec 23 Stephen Timoshenko, Ukrainian-born mechanical engineer (d. 1972)
  • Dec 25 William Starling Burgess, American yacht designer (America's Cup yachts "Enterprise", "Rainbow", "Ranger") and aviation pioneer, born in Boston Massachusetts (d. 1947)
  • Dec 25 Louis Chevrolet, Swiss auto racer (co-founder Chevrolet Motor Car Company), born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland (d. 1941)
  • Dec 26 Isaiah Bowman, American geography/co-founder (Geographical Review)
  • Dec 30 William Aberhart, Canadian politician (d. 1943)
  • Dec 31 Horacio Quiroga, Uruguayan playwright, poet, and short story writer (Anaconda, El Crimen del Otro), born in Salto, Uruguay (d. 1937)
  • Dec 31 Elizabeth Arden, Canadian businesswoman, born in Woodbridge, Ontario (d. 1966)

Famous Weddings

Bram Stoker

Dec 4 Novelist Bram Stoker (31) weds Florence Balcombe (20) in Dublin, Ireland

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 10 Henry Wells, American businessman and founder (American Express Co & Wells Fargo & Co), dies at 72
  • Dec 14 Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, Grand Duchess of Hesse, dies at 35
  • Dec 19 Bayard Taylor, American author and poet (b. 1825)
  • Dec 25 Anna Claypoole Peale, American painter of miniatures, dies at 87
  • Dec 28 José Bernardo Alcedo, Peruvian composer, dies at 90