On This Day

Historical Events on December 31

Assassination Attempt

192 Roman Emperor Commodus survives poisoning attempt by his mistress only to be strangled in the bath in assassination plot

  • 406 80,000 Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine at Mainz, beginning invasion of Gallia
  • 535 Byzantine General Belisarius completes the conquest of Sicily, defeating Ostrogothic garrison of Syracuse, and ending his consulship for the year
  • 765 Coffin of Ho-tse Shen-hui interred in a stupa built in China
  • 870 Skirmish at Englefield: Ethelred of Wessex beats Danish invasion army
  • 1229 James I of Aragon the Conqueror enters Medina Mayurqa (Palma) consummating Christian conquest of the island of Majorca
  • 1492 100,000 Jews expelled from Sicily
  • 1502 Cesare Borgia (son of pope Alexander VI) occupies Urbino
  • 1564 Willem van Orange demands freedom of conscience/religion
  • 1600 British East India Company chartered
  • 1604 Admiral Steven van der Haghen's fleet reaches Bantam

Treaty of Interest

1621 Hungarian King Bethlen Gabor and Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II sign the Treaty of Mikulov

  • 1660 James II of England is named Duke of Normandy by Louis XIV of France.
  • 1669 France & Brandenburg sign secret treaty
  • 1670 France & England sign Boyne-treaty
  • 1680 Amsterdam opera at Leidsegracht opens
  • 1687 1st Huguenots depart France to Cape of Good Hope
  • 1688 Pro-James II-earl of Devonshire occupies Nottingham [OS=Dec 21]
  • 1695 A window tax is imposed in England, causing many shopkeepers to brick up their windows to avoid the tax.

Gregory Conquers Julius Caesar

1700 Frisia and Groningen adopt Gregorian calendar, tomorrow is 1/12/1701

Historic Event

1711 John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, fired as English army commander

Scientific Discovery

1744 English astronomer James Bradley announces discovery of Earth's nutation motion (wobble)

  • 1756 Russia joins the Alliance of Versailles
  • 1758 British expeditionary army occupies Goree (Dakar) Senegal
  • 1775 Battle of Quebec in American Revolutionary War; Americans defeated trying to take British stronghold
  • 1776 Rhode Island establishes wage & price controls to curb inflation: Limit is 70 cents a day for carpenters, 42 cents for tailors
  • 1779 British fleet beat Dutch Merchant vessels
  • 1781 Bank of North America, 1st US bank opens
  • 1783 Import of African slaves banned by all of the Northern US states
  • 1805 End of French Republican calendar; France returns to Gregorianism
  • 1831 Gramercy Park is deeded to New York City
  • 1841 Alabama becomes 1st state to license dental surgeons

Historic Event

1857 Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa as new capital of Canada

  • 1859 Dutch colony in Dutch Indies counts 4,800 slaves
  • 1861 22,990mm of rain falls in Cherrapunji Assam in India in 1861, a world record
  • 1862 -Jan 20th) Battle of Stone's River (Battle of Murfreesboro), Tennessee in US Civil War

Historic Event

1862 President Abraham Lincoln signs act admitting West Virginia to the Union

  • 1862 Skirmish at Parker Cross Roads, Tennessee
  • 1862 Union ironclad ship "Monitor" sank off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
  • 1870 J D Schneiter patents rocket mail in France, (not done)
  • 1879 Cornerstone laid for Honolulu's Iolani Palace (only royal palace in US)
  • 1879 Edison gives 1st public demonstration of his incandescent lamp
  • 1879 Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera "Pirates of Penzance" premieres in NYC
  • 1897 Brooklyn's last day as a city, it incorporates into NYC (1/1/1898)
  • 1901 In the first election under their new constitution, Cuba elects a Congress and their first president, Tomas Estrada Palma
  • 1904 First New Year's Eve celebration held in Times Square, New York City
  • 1906 French, British and Italian treaty concerning rights on Abyssinia
  • 1906 Australasian Championships Men's Tennis, Christchurch, NZ: All-NZ final; Antony Wilding beats Francis Fisher 6-0, 6-4, 6-4
  • 1907 For 1st time, a ball drops at Times Square to signal the New Year
  • 1907 Gustav Mahler conducts the Metropolitan Opera, in New York City
  • 1910 US tobacco industry produced 9 billion cigarettes in 1910

Nobel Prize

1911 Marie Curie receives her second Nobel Prize, this time in Chemistry, for her work with radioactivity

  • 1917 Dutch Social-democratic trade union NVV counts 159,450 members
  • 1918 Kid Gleason replaces Pants Rowland as Chicago White Sox manager; reach World Series but lose in the "Black Sox" betting scandal; Gleason not involved
  • 1920 Victorian all-rounder Roy Park makes Test cricket debut for Australia v England in 2nd Test in Melbourne; bowled by Harry Howell for a first ball 'golden duck' in his first and only Test innings
  • 1920 International Lawn Tennis Challenge, Auckland, NZ: Bill Johnson & Bill Tilden (US) beat Norman Brookes & Gerald Patterson (Australasia) 6-4, 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 for an unassailable 3-0 lead; ends 5-0
  • 1921 Last San Francisco firehorses retired
  • 1921 Australasian Championships Men's Tennis, Perth: Australian Rhys Gemmell beats countryman Alf Hedeman 7-5, 6-1, 6-4
  • 1923 1st transatlantic radio broadcast of a voice, Pittsburgh-Manchester
  • 1923 BBC begins using Big Ben chime ID
  • 1923 Harry Tierney and Joseph McCarthy's musical "Kid Boots," premieres in New York City

Historic Event

1924 Italian Fascist Mussolini orders the suppression of opposition newspapers

  • 1925 14th congress of CPSU decides to accelerate industry
  • 1927 Ponsford scores 336 against SA, giving him 1146 for month

Catholic Encyclical

1929 Pope Pius XI publishes encyclical Divini illius magistri

  • 1930 Pontifical encyclical Casti connubii against mixed marriages
  • 1930 US tobacco industry produced 123 billion cigarettes in 1930
  • 1932 John P O'Brien sworn-in as mayor of NYC
  • 1934 Helen Richey becomes 1st woman to pilot an airmail transport
  • 1935 CPH becomes Dutch Communist Party
  • 1935 Charles Darrow patents the board game Monopoly, goes on to be the 1st millionaire game designer
  • 1938 Dr R N Harger's "drunkometer", 1st breath test, introduced in Indiana
  • 1938 Dutch national debt hits ƒ3,986,629,805.70
  • 1939 Dutch national debt hits ƒ4,218,553,180.99
  • 1941 Young Park (2) in the Bronx named in honor of Samuel Young
  • 1942 Battle of the Barents Sea between British Navy and German Kriegsmarine off North Cape, Norway

Music History

1943 NYC's Times Square greets Frank Sinatra at Paramount Theater

  • 1944 48 people die in a train accident in Ogden, Utah
  • 1944 Japanese army evacuates harbor city Akyab
  • 1944 World War II: Hungary declares war on Germany.

Sports History

1945 Before the biggest Adelaide Oval crowd of the season, batting maestro Don Bradman scores his first post-WWII century; 112 for South Australia v Australian Services

United Nations Charter

1945 Ratification of United Nations Charter completed

  • 1946 French troops leave Lebanon

Historic Event

1946 US President Harry Truman officially proclaims end of WW II

  • 1948 Dutch police actions up Java gone on strike
  • 1949 18 countries recognize Republic Indonesia
  • 1950 American thoroughbred jockeys Bill Shoemaker and Joe Culmone end the year tied, leading the nation with record 388 wins
  • 1951 1st battery to convert radioactive energy to electricity announced

Davis Cup

1952 Davis Cup Men's Tennis, Memorial Drive, Adelaide: Vic Seixas beats Ken McGregor in 4 sets but Australia retains title for third straight year; beats US, 4-1 in Adelaide

Sports History

1952 Danny Nardico stops former world middleweight champion Jake LaMotta in 7 rounds in a light heavyweight non-title bout in Coral Gables, Florida; LaMotta is knocked down for the only time in his career, his corner stopping fight after the round

  • 1953 Hulan Jack sworn in as Manhattan Borough president
  • 1953 WFBC (now WYFF) TV channel 4 in G'ville-Spartanburg, SC (NBC) begins
  • 1953 Bill Shoemaker shatters record, riding 485 winners in a year
  • 1953 42nd Davis Cup: Australia beats USA in Melbourne (3-2)
  • 1955 "Vamp" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 60 performances

Historic Event

1955 The General Motors Corporation becomes the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year.

  • 1957 AAU awards Bobby Morrow, James Sullivan Memorial Trophy
  • 1958 47th Davis Cup: USA beats Australia in Brisbane (3-2)

Historic Event

1958 Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista tells his Cabinet he is fleeing the country

  • 1958 International Geophyscial Year ends
  • 1958 Bill Shoemaker 1st jockey to win national riding championship 4X
  • 1961 "lrma La Douce" closes at Plymouth Theater NYC after 527 performances
  • 1961 The Beach Boys play their debut gig under that name
  • 1961 Failed coup by Syrian group in Lebanon

NFL Championship

1961 National Football League Championship, City Stadium, Green Bay: Green Bay Packers shutout NY Giants 37-0; first of 5 NFL titles won in 7-season span by Packers and head coach, Vince Lombardi

  • 1961 Marshall Plan expires after distributing more than $12 billion
  • 1962 "Match Game" debuts on NBC with host Gene Rayburn
  • 1962 American Basketball League announces suspension of operation
  • 1962 Dutch leave New Guinea
  • 1962 Katanga becomes part of Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 1962 Ohio ends suit against Reds when they agree to stay in Cin for 10 yrs
  • 1963 Dear Abby show premieres on CBS radio (runs 11 years)

Music History

1963 Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir play music together for the 1st time, Dana Morgan's Music Store in Palo Alto, California

  • 1964 Donald Campbell (UK) sets world water speed record (276.33 mph)
  • 1964 Indonesia proclaims expelled from the UN
  • 1966 Monkee's "I'm a Believer" hits #1 & stays there for 7 weeks
  • 1966 Pirate Radio 390 (Radio Invicata) off England, resumes transmitting
  • 1966 Test Cricket debut of Bishen Singh Bedi, India v WI Calcutta, 2-92
  • 1966 Toboggan Chutes begin operation in Cleveland Metroparks

Historic Event

1967 Evel Knievel fails in his attempt to jump the Caesar's Palace Fountain, Las Vegas, breaking his pelvis, femur, wrist, hip and both ankles

  • 1967 "Henry, Sweet Henry" closes at Palace Theater NYC after 80 performances
  • 1967 1st NBA game at Great Western Forum, LA Lakers beat Houston 147-118

Sports History

1967 AFL Championship, Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland: Oakland Raiders beat Houston Oilers 40-7; George Blanda 4 field goals for Raiders in club's 1st AFL Championship

  • 1967 NFL Championship, Lambeau Field, Green Bay: Green Bay Packers beat Dallas Cowboys, 21-17; "The Ice Bowl", -13°F
  • 1968 1st supersonic airliner flown (Russian TU-144)
  • 1968 NY Jets win AFL championship
  • 1969 Congo-Brazzaville becomes People's republic, under major Ngouabi

Historic Event

1970 Congress authorizes Eisenhower dollar coin

Music History

1970 Paul McCartney files a lawsuit to dissolve The Beatles

  • 1970 President Allende nationalizes Chilean coal mines
  • 1970 Would have been start of Aust/Eng Test Cricket at MCG, washed out
  • 1971 KAID TV channel 4 in Boise, ID (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • 1971 Lt Gen Robert E Cushman, Jr, USMC, ends term as deputy director of CIA
  • 1971 Edmund Compton, then Northern Ireland Ombudsman, is replaced by John Benn
  • 1972 Leap second day; also in 1973-79, 1987
  • 1972 AFC Championship, Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh: Miami Dolphins beat Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-7

Historic Event

1972 Martin McGuinness is arrested and held under the new Republic of Ireland legislation

  • 1972 Australian Open Women's Tennis: Margaret Court beats Evonne Goolagong Cawley 6-4, 7-5 for her record 11th and final Australian singles crown
  • 1972 NFC Championship, RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.: Washington Redskins beat Dallas Cowboys 26-3

Sports History

1973 Johan Cruyff chosen European Football Player of theYear

Australian Open Women's Tennis

1973 Australian Open Women's Tennis: Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley beats Chris Evert 7-6, 4-6, 6-0 for her first of 4 home singles titles

  • 1974 Gold legal in US, Franklin Mint strikes Panama's Gold 100 balboa coin
  • 1974 Lindsey Buckingham & Stevie Nicks join Fleetwood Mac
  • 1974 New York Yankees sign Cy Young Award winner Jim "Catfish" Hunter for 5 years for a record $3.75 million from the Oakland A's
  • 1974 Popular Electronics displays Altair 8800 computer

Australian Open Women's Tennis

1974 Australian Open Women's Tennis: Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley retains her title; beats Martina Navratilova of Czechoslovakia 6-3, 6-2

  • 1974 Ballon d'Or: Ajax forward Johan Cruyff wins back-to-back awards, and his 3rd overall, for best European football player ahead of Bayern Munich defender Franz Beckenbauer and Legia Warsaw midfielder Kazimierz Deyna
  • 1976 TV soap "Somerset" ends 6 year run
  • 1976 The Cars played their 1st gig
  • 1977 "Bubbling Brown Sugar" closes at ANTA Theater NYC after 766 performances
  • 1977 "Man of La Mancha" closes at Palace Theater NYC after 124 performances
  • 1977 Amir Sheikh Jabir al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah becomes leader of Kuwait
  • 1977 Cambodia drops diplomatic relations with Vietnam
  • 1977 Donald Woods, a banned anti-Apartheid white editor flees South Africa

Historic Event

1977 Ted Bundy escapes from jail in Colorado

  • 1977 WFAT (Brooklyn New York pirate radio station) begins broadcasting on 1620 AM

Australian Men's Tennis Open

1977 Australian Open Men's Tennis: American Vitas Gerulaitis wins his first and only Grand Slam event; beats Englishman John Lloyd 6-3, 7-6, 5-7, 3-6, 6-2

  • 1977 Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o is imprisoned for co-writing a play critical of the Kenyan government
  • 1978 "Magic Show" closes at Cort Theater NYC after 1859 performances
  • 1978 "Runaways" closes at Plymouth Theater NYC after 199 performances
  • 1978 CIA director, Admiral Stansfield Turner retires from the Navy
  • 1978 Iran shah names Chapour Bakhtiar premier
  • 1978 Taiwan's final day of diplomatic relations with US
  • 1978 The Runaways' band's last ever concert at the Cow Plalce in Daly City, California
  • 1979 Winterland Rock Concert Hall in San Francisco closes after 556 concerts
  • 1980 After being struck by an orange thrown from the crowd West Indian fast bowler Sylvester Clarke knocks out a spectator with a brick during 4th Test against Pakistan in Multan

Music Concert

1980 Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band's "The River Tour" concert at Nassau Coliseum (Uniondale, New York) clocks in at almost 4 hours

  • 1980 A Jewish owned hotel in Nairobi Kenya is bombed killing 18
  • 1980 NY Islanders greatest shutout margin (9-0) vs Chicago Black Hawks
  • 1980 Senegal president Leopold Senghor resigns
  • 1981 CNN Headline News debuts
  • 1981 Lt Jerry Rawlings becomes head of Ghana, suspends constitution
  • 1981 Netherlands unemployment stands at record 475,000
  • 1982 CBS Mystery Theater final episode on radio after 8 years
  • 1982 NBC radio cancels almost all of its network daily features
  • 1982 TV soap "Doctors" ends 19 year run
  • 1983 Brunei gains complete independence from Britain
  • 1983 Jose Happart installed as mayor of Voeren, Belgium
  • 1983 Nigeria's National Assembly dissolves after military coup

Appointment of Interest

1983 Benjamin Ward appointed 1st African American NY City Police Commissioner by Mayor Ed Koch

Coup d'état

1983 President Shagari of Nigeria is overthrown in a military coup and Major General Muhammadu Buhari is installed as Head of State

  • 1984 Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen loses his arm in a car crash
  • 1984 NYC subway gunman Bernhard Goetz surrenders to police in NH
  • 1984 Test Cricket debut of Mohammad Azharuddin, v England at Calcutta
  • 1984 US leaves UNESCO
  • 1986 Dupont Plaza Hotel fire in San Juan, Puerto Rico kills 97
  • 1986 Russian TU-144 flies for 1st time faster than sound
  • 1986 WIS-AM in Columbia SC changes call letters to WVOC (now WOMG)

The 1988 Fog Bowl

1988 "The Fog Bowl", a heavy, dense fog rolls over Soldier Field in Chicago during second quarter of the Bears vs Eagles NFC Divisional Playoff Game, cuts visibility to 15-20 yards (Bears win 20-12)

Sports History

1988 Pittsburgh NHL center Mario Lemieux accounts for all his team's goals in Penguins 8-6 win over the NJ Devils; famously scores 5 goals, each in a different way: even strength, power play, shorthanded, penalty shot and empty net; also 3 assists

  • 1989 "Me & My Girl" closes at Marquis Theater NYC after 1420 performances
  • 1989 "Threepenny Opera" closes at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC after 65 performances
  • 1989 Jockey Kent Desormeaux sets record with 598 wins in a year
  • 1990 Iraq begins a military draft of 17 year olds
  • 1990 Sci-Fi Channel on cable TV begins transmitting
  • 1990 United Somali Congress seizes Presidential Palace
  • 1991 CPN, Communist Party of Netherland, last day of existence
  • 1991 Daniel R McCarthy elected NY Yankee managing general partner
  • 1991 Dow Jones closes at record high 3168.83
  • 1991 J Donald Crump resigned as CFL Commissioner