What Happened on December 31

Significant Events

  • 406 80,000 Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine at Mainz, beginning invasion of Gallia
  • 1744 English astronomer James Bradley announces discovery of Earth's nutation motion (wobble)
  • 1775 Battle of Quebec in American Revolutionary War; Americans defeated trying to take British stronghold
  • 1861 22,990mm of rain falls in Cherrapunji Assam in India in 1861, a world record
  • 1890 Ellis Island (NYC) opens as a US immigration depot
  • 1958 Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista tells his Cabinet he is fleeing the country
More Historical Events

December 31 in Film & TV

  • 1923 BBC begins using Big Ben chime ID

December 31 in Music

  • 1879 Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera "Pirates of Penzance" premieres in NYC

December 31 in Sport

  • 1989 Jockey Kent Desormeaux sets record with 598 wins in a year

Did You Know?

First New Year's Eve celebration held in Times Square (then Longacre Square), in New York City

On December 31, 1904

Would You Believe?

This date is skipped altogether in Kiribati as the Phoenix Islands and Line Islands change time zones from UTC-11 to UTC+13 and UTC-10 to UTC+14, respectively.

On December 31, 1994

Famous Weddings

  • 1910 Editor Maxwell Perkins (26) weds Louise Saunders at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in North Plainfield, New Jersey
  • 1940 Actress Bette Davis (32) weds New England innkeeper Arthur Farnsworth at 15,000-acre ranch in Lake Montezuma, Arizona
  • 1950 Heavyweight boxing champ Rocky Marciano (27) weds Barbara Cousins in Brockton
  • 1955 Actor Gregory Peck (39) weds philanthropist Veronique Passani (23)
  • 1973 MLB executive Tony La Russa (29) weds Elaine Coker
More Weddings & Divorces