On This Day

On This Day in History for December 29

Events in History


1170 English Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket assassinated before the high altar of Canterbury Cathedral by four knights

Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket
Archbishop of Canterbury
Thomas Becket
  • 1503 Battle of Garigliano: Spanish army under Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba defeats French forces in Italy, giving Spain control of the Kingdom of Naples
  • 1539 St Jacob's Church burns after being hit by lightning
  • 1541 Isabella of Poland and King Ferdinand of Austria sign Treaty of Gyalu

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1558 Charles V, King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, buried in El Escorial, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain

Holy Roman Emperor Charles V
Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1653 Dutch painter Jan Vermeer becomes a member of the Guild of Saint Luke for painters in Delft

Painter Jan Vermeer
Jan Vermeer
  • 1705 Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon's play "Idoménée" premieres in Paris
  • 1708 Great Alliance occupies Gent
  • 1778 British troops occupy Savannah, Georgia
  • 1782 1st nautical almanac in US published by Samuel Stearns, Boston
  • 1786 French Revolution: The Assembly of Notables is convoked
  • 1812 The USS Constitution under the command of Captain William Bainbridge, captures the HMS Java off the coast of Brazil after a three hour battle
  • 1813 British burn Buffalo, New York during War of 1812

USATrail of Tears

1835 Treaty of New Echota is signed between the US government and representatives of a minority Cherokee political faction to cede all lands of the Cherokee east of the Mississippi River to the United States

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The Trail of Tears, painting by Robert Lindneux, 1942
The Trail of Tears, painting by Robert Lindneux, 1942
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  • 1837 Canadian militia destroy Caroline, a US steamboat docked at Buffalo
  • 1837 Steam-powered threshing machine patented in Winthrop, Maine
  • 1841 King and Grand Duke Willem II installs Order of Eikenkroon
  • 1845 Texas admitted as 28th state of the Union
  • 1848 Gas lights 1st installed at White House (Polk's administration)
  • 1851 1st American Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) chapter opened in Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1852 Emma Snodgrass arrested in Boston for wearing pants
  • 1860 The first British seagoing iron-clad warship, HMS Warrior is launched

Victory in battleVictory in Battle

1862 Battle of Chichasaw Bayou: confederate armies defeat General William T. Sherman

  • 1862 Bowling ball invented
  • 1867 1st telegraph ticker used by a brokerage house, Groesbeck & Co, New York
  • 1876 11 passenger cars crash in a ravine near Ashtabula, Ohio, 92 die

USAWounded Knee Massacre

1890 US 7th Cavalry massacre 200+ captive Sioux at Wounded Knee, South Dakota

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Mass grave for the dead after the massacre
Mass grave for the dead after the massacre
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  • 1891 Edison patents "transmission of signals electrically" (radio)
  • 1895 Dr L S Jameson begins failed raid on Johannesburg
  • 1899 British fleet seizes German Imperial Mail Steamer Bundesrath accused of carrying contraband
  • 1900 General Viljoen surprise attack British garrison to Helvetia
  • 1903 French Equatorial Africa separates into Gabon, Chad and Ubangi-Shari
  • 1908 Patent granted for a 4-wheel automobile brake, Clintonville, Wisconsin
  • 1911 Proclamation restores "Dei Gratia" from Canada's coins

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

1911 Sun Yat-sen elected 1st President of the Republic of China

Father of Modern China Sun Yat-sen
Father of Modern China
Sun Yat-sen
  • 1911 Mongolia gains independence from the Qing dynasty
  • 1920 The Netherlands and Venezuela recover diplomatic relations
  • 1920 Yugoslav government bans communist party

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

1921 Mackenzie King is sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister of Canada

10th Prime Minister of Canada Mackenzie King
10th Prime Minister of Canada
Mackenzie King
  • 1922 Dutch Constitution proclaimed
  • 1922 Revised Netherlands Law proclaims suffrage
  • 1926 Vatican puts French fascist Charles Maurras' work on the index
  • 1926 Victoria (1107) beat NSW (221 & 230) by an innings 656 runs

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1929 Dutch colonial authorities arrest Sukarno and other key PNI leaders in Java

1st President of Indonesia Sukarno
1st President of Indonesia
  • 1930 Fred P. Newton completes longest swim ever (1826 miles), when he swam in the Mississippi River from Ford Dam, Minnesota, to New Orleans
  • 1931 Identification of heavy water publicly announced, HC Urey
  • 1931 Victoria score 7 for 435 in second innings to beat NSW
  • 1934 Federico Garcia Lorca's "Yerma" premieres in Madrid
  • 1934 Japan renounces Wash Naval Treaty of 1922 and London Treaty of 1930
  • 1937 Constitution of Ireland (Irish: Bunreacht na hÉireann) is enacted and Irish free state is named Eire
  • 1937 Pan Am starts service between San Francisco and Auckland, New Zealand
  • 1938 Construction on Lake Washington Floating Bridge, Seattle, begins
  • 1939 First flight of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber prototype

'Hitler Will Have to Break Us or Lose the War''Hitler Will Have to Break Us or Lose the War'

1940 Worst German air raid on London as over 10,000 bombs including the 1st incendiary bombs are dropped on the city as part of the Blitz

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Buckingham Palace is bombed. Churchill, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth inspect the damage. Photo: NPA Rota
Buckingham Palace is bombed. Churchill, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth inspect the damage. Photo: NPA Rota
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  • 1944 Belgian Walloon Nazi collaborator Léon Degrelle sentenced to death

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1944 General Eisenhower's train returns to Versailles

34th US President & WWII General Dwight D. Eisenhower
34th US President & WWII General
Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • 1947 Ship carrying Jewish immigrants driven away from Palestine
  • 1948 Canada recognizes Israel
  • 1948 US State Department announces work on placing objects into Earth orbit
  • 1949 Hungary nationalized its industries
  • 1952 1st transistorized hearing aid offered for sale (Elmsford NY)
  • 1954 Kingdom of Netherlands, with Netherlands & Netherlands Antilles as autonomous parts, comes into being
  • 1958 TV soap "Young Dr Malone" debuts
  • 1959 Saul Levitt's "Andersonville Trial" premieres in NYC
  • 1966 Pirate Radio Phoenix, 1st transmission (Worcester, Massachusetts)
  • 1967 Turkish-Cypriot government forms in Cyprus
  • 1968 Israeli commandos destroy 13 Lebanese airplanes
  • 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act (United States) signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon
  • 1972 Eastern Tristar Jumbo Jet crashes near Everglades killing 101
  • 1972 Life magazine ceases publication
  • 1972 President of Sinn Féin Ruairi O Bradaigh is arrested and held under new legislation in Republic of Ireland
  • 1974 Murray Schisgal's "All Over Town" premieres in NYC
  • 1975 11 killed, 75 hurt by terrorist bomb at LaGuardia Airport in NYC
  • 1977 Ronald Ribman's "Cold Storage" premieres in NYC

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1978 Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi asks Shapour Bahktiar to form a civilian government

Last Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Last Shah of Iran
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
  • 1978 Spain constitution goes into effect
  • 1980 Shuttle STS-1 moves from Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center (Florida) to Launch Complex 39A
  • 1983 US formally notifies UNESCO that it will withdraw from the organization on the Jan 1, 1985, in protest over perceived anti-Western bias, efforts to restrict press freedom and wasteful management methods
  • 1984 5th United Negro College Fund

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

1984 Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi claims victory in parliamentary elections

Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi
Indian Prime Minister
Rajiv Gandhi
  • 1988 Victorian Post Office Museum in Australia closes

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1989 Václav Havel is selected to be president of Czechoslovakia by the Federal Assembly shortly after the Velvet Revolution

Politician and Author Václav Havel
Politician and Author
Václav Havel
  • 1989 Riots break-out after Hong Kong decides to forcibly repatriate Vietnamese refugees.
  • 1991 12th United Negro College Fund
  • 1991 Boeing 747-200F of China Airlines crash into mountain at Taipei
  • 1992 Governor Cuomo grants Jean Harris (Scarsdale Diet Dr killer) clemency
  • 1993 Todd Bridges arrested for transporting methamphetamine (speed)
  • 1994 B737-400 flies into a mountain at Edremit East Turkey, 54 killed
  • 1994 Bangladesh government of Zia resigns
  • 1994 Last Dutch electro-magnetic telephone exchange shuts down
  • 1997 Carquest Bowl 8: Georgia Tech beats West Virginia, 35-30
  • 1997 Hong Kong begins slaughtering all its chickens to prevent bird flu
  • 1997 Orville Lynn Majors, 36, arrested for many deaths under his care
  • 1997 Russia signs agreement to build a $3B nuclear power plant in China
  • 1998 Leaders of the Khmer Rouge apologize for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed over a million people
  • 2001 Mesa Redonda shopping center fire, Lima, Peru, at least 291 killed.
  • 2012 200 people are executed by the Syrian army in Homs
  • 2012 21 security personnel are killed by Pakistani Taliban near Peshawar
  • 2012 5 people are killed in a Tupolev Tu-204 plane crash in Moscow
  • 2013 Chaparrastique volcano erupts in El Salvador

Birthdays in History

  • 1586 Francisco de Moncada, 3rd Marquis of Aitona, Spanish diplomat, soldier, and writer, born in Valencia, Spain (d. 1635)

Person of interestElizabeth of Russia

1709 Elizabeth of Russia [Elizaveta Petrovna], Empress of Russia (1741-62) and daughter of Peter the Great, born in Kolomenskoye, Moscow, Russia (d. 1762)

Empress of Russia Elizabeth of Russia
Empress of Russia
Elizabeth of Russia
  • 1721 Madame De Pompadour, mistress of French King Louis the 15th
  • 1776 Charles Macintosh, Scottish chemist and inventor (waterproof fabric), born in Glasgow, Scotland (d. 1843)
  • 1788 Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, Danish antiquarian (named the stone/iron/bronze ages), born in Copenhagen, Denmark (d. 1865)
  • 1792 Sir Archibald Alison, 1st Baronet, Scottish historian (History of Europe), born in Shropshire, England (d. 1867)
  • 1796 Johann Christian Poggendorff, German physicist, born in Hamburg, Germany (d. 1877)

Person of interestCharles Goodyear

1800 Charles Goodyear, US chemist and manufacturing engineer (vulcanized rubber), born in New Haven, Connecticut (d. 1860)

Chemist and Inventor Charles Goodyear
Chemist and Inventor
Charles Goodyear

Person of interestAndrew Johnson

1808 Andrew Johnson, 17th US President (Unionist: 1865-69), born in Raleigh, North Carolina (d. 1875)

17th US President Andrew Johnson
17th US President
Andrew Johnson
  • 1808 Györg Apponyi, Hungarian politician, born in Pozsony, Kingdom of Hungary (d. 1899)
  • 1809 Albert Pike, US attorney, soldier, writer, and freemason (Brigadier-General in the Confederate Army), born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 1891)

Person of interestWilliam Gladstone

1809 William Ewart Gladstone, British statesman and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (Liberal: 1868-74, 1880-86, 1892-94), born in Liverpool, England (d. 1898)

British Prime Minister William Gladstone
British Prime Minister
William Gladstone
  • 1816 Carl Ludwig, German physician and physiologist, born in Witzenhausen, Germany (d. 1895)
  • 1831 Adam Badeau, American author, Union Army officer, and diplomat, born in NYC, New York (d. 1895)
  • 1833 John James Ingalls, US politician (Rep-Ks), born in Middleton, Massachusetts (d. 1900)
  • 1843 Elisabeth of Wied [pseudonym Carmen Sylva], Queen consort of Romania and poet, born in Neuwied, Germany (d. 1916)
  • 1856 Thomas J Stieltjes, Dutch mathematician (Stieltjes integral), born in Zwolle, Netherlands (d. 1894)
  • 1859 Venustiano Carranza, Mexican revolutionary and President of Mexico (1915-20), born in Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila, Mexico (d. 1920)
  • 1866 Joseph Limburg, Dutch lawyer & politician, born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 1940)
  • 1879 Billy Mitchell, United States Army general (father of the US Air Force), born in Nice, France (d. 1936)
  • 1888 Joseph Beran, Czech Roman Catholic prelate, born in Pilsen, Czech Republic (d. 1969)
  • 1896 David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican social realist painter & muralist (Lib of Chile), born in Chihuahua, Mexico (d. 1974)
  • 1899 Nie Rongzhen, People's Liberation Army Chief of General Staff, born in Chongqing, China (d. 1992)
  • 1907 James Gardner, British museum & exhibition designer, born in Hendon, London (d. 1995)
  • 1908 Gerben Sonderman, Dutch test pilot (Fokker), born in Drachten, Netherlands (d. 1955)
  • 1910 Ronald Coase, British economist (Nobel Prize in Economics 1991), born in Willesden, London (d. 2013)
  • 1913 Laurence Gower, English lawyer & academic, born in Forest Gate, London (d. 1997)
  • 1914 Albert Tucker, Australian artist, born in Melbourne, Australia (d. 1999)
  • 1915 Charles L. Harness, American sci-fi author (Paradox Men, Wolfhead), born in Colorado City, Texas (d. 2005)
  • 1915 John P W Meefout, Dutch sculptor (Laying Woman)
  • 1915 Robert Ruark, American writer (Something of Value), born in Wilmington, North Carolina (d. 1965)

Person of interestTom Bradley

1917 Tom Bradley, Mayor of Los Angeles (D-1973-93), born in Calvert, Texas (d. 1998)

American Politician Tom Bradley
American Politician
Tom Bradley
  • 1919 Pieter Terpstra, Dutch journalist & writer (De dei is forroun/Havank-T), born in Leeuwarden, Netherlands (d. 2006)
  • 1920 Syd Dernley, British hangman (1949-54), born in Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire (d. 1994)
  • 1921 Dobrica Cosic, Serbian writer and President 1992-93), born in Velika Drenova, Kingdom of Yugoslavia (d. 2014)
  • 1921 Robert C. Baker, American inventor & professor (invented the chicken nugget), born in Newark, New York (d. 2006)
  • 1922 William Gaddis, American novelist, born in NYC, New York (d. 1998)
  • 1928 John Kennedy Sr., Australian Rules Football coach (Australian Football Hall of Fame legend; VFL Premiership 1961, 71, 76; Hawthorn FC; North Melbourne FC), born in Melbourne, Australia (d. 2020)
  • 1931 Prince Gu of Korea, Korean royalty, born in Tokyo Prefecture, Japan (d. 2005)
  • 1939 Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Maldivian politician & Islamic scholar, born in Malé, Maldives
  • 1940 Brigitte Kronauer, German author (The Scheik of Aachen), born in Essen, Germany
  • 1943 JHR Maij-Wegge, Dutch politician, born in Drenthe, Netherlands
  • 1945 Adje Roland, Dutch radio disc jockey, born in Rhenen, Netherlands
  • 1946 Paul Trible, American attorney & politician (Sen-R-Va), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • 1953 Stanley "Tookie" Williams, American gangster, born in Shreveport, Louisiana (d. 2005)
  • 1954 Prince Takamado of Japan, born in Tokyo, Japan (d. 2002)
  • 1958 Nancy J. Currie-Gregg, U.S. Army officer and astronaut (STS 57, 70, sk: 88), born in Wilmington, Delaware
  • 1960 Thomas Lubanga, Congolese war criminal, born in Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • 1961 Robert Tewdwr Moss, British journalist, born in Congleton, United Kingdom (d. 1996)

Person of interestCarles Puigdemont

1962 Carles Puigdemont [i Casamajó], Catalan politician and nationalist (President of Catalonia, 2016-17), born in Amer, Catalonia, Spain

President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont
President of Catalonia
Carles Puigdemont
  • 1963 Francisco Bustamante, Filipino billiard player, born in Tarlac, Philippines
  • 1967 Ashleigh Banfield, Canadian journalist, born in Winnipeg, Canada
  • 1970 Yaroslav Ihorovych Pustovyi, Ukrainian cosmonaut, born in Kostroma, Ukraine
  • 1979 Ariel Schrag, American cartoonist, born in Berkeley, California
  • 1994 Princess Kako of Akishino of Japan, born in Tokyo, Japan

Weddings in History

LoveWedding of Interest

1954 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin (24) weds Joan Archer

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin
  • 1994 Billionaire J. Paul Getty Jr marries Victoria Holdsworth in Barbados

Deaths in History

  • 721 Empress Gemmei of Japan (b. 661)
  • 1141 Yue Fei, Chinese general, executed

MurderThomas Becket

1170 Thomas Becket, English Archbishop of Canterbury, assassinated by 4 knights of King Henry II at 52

Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket
Archbishop of Canterbury
Thomas Becket
  • 1563 Sebastian Castellio, French theologian (b. 1515)
  • 1619 Antoine Arnauld, French lawyer (Philippica), dies
  • 1634 John Albert Vasa, Polish bishop, dies at 22
  • 1661 Antoine Gérard de Saint-Amant, French poet (b. 1594)
  • 1689 Olfert Dapper, Amsterdam historian/geographer, buried
  • 1689 Thomas Sydenham, English physician and author of "Observationes Medicae", dies at 65
  • 1731 Brook Taylor, English mathematician, discoverer of Taylor's Theorem, dies at 46
  • 1737 Joseph Saurin, French mathematician (b. 1659)
  • 1785 Johan Herman Wessel, Norwegian poet (b. 1742)
  • 1815 Saartjie Baartman, Hottentot Venus, dies in Paris
  • 1821 Jean-Baptiste Dumonceau, Dutch general, dies at 61
  • 1825 Jacques-Louis David, French Neoclassical painter (Death of Marat), dies at 77
  • 1877 Willem Sassen, Dutch attorney general on Curacao (Affair-S), dies
  • 1890 Big Foot, Sioux Indian chief, dies at Wounded Knee
  • 1891 Leopold Kronecker, German mathematician (Tensor of Kronecker), dies at 68
  • 1894 Christina Rossetti, English poet (Winter Rain, Passing Away) dies at 64
  • 1897 William James Linton, American wood engraver and political reformer. (b. 1812)
  • 1905 Martin Wiberg, Swedish computer pioneer, dies at 79

MurderGrigori Rasputin

1916 Grigori Rasputin, Russian monk and confidant of Russian Tsar Nicholas II, assassinated by conservative Russian aristocrats at 47

  • 1919 William Osler, Canadian physician and author (circulatory system), dies at 70
  • 1924 Carl Spitteler, Swiss writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1845)
  • 1925 Félix E Vallotton, Swiss painter/writer (Chaste Susanne), dies at 60
  • 1926 Rainer Maria Rilke, Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist (Ana, The City, Duino Elegies), dies at 51
  • 1929 Wilhelm Maybach, German automobile designer (b. 1846)
  • 1933 Joh Georghe Duca, premier of Romania, murdered
  • 1937 Don Marquis, American author (b. 1878)
  • 1942 Frank Dawson Adams, Canadian geologist, dies at 83
  • 1943 William Henry Singer, American painter and collector (Singer Museum, Laren), dies at 75
  • 1947 Joseph Cuvelier, Belgian historian and general archivist, dies at 78
  • 1956 Martin Albertz, German theologist (Jesus Christ's Church) and resistance fighter against the Nazi regime, dies at 73
  • 1960 Eden Phillpotts, English novelist, poet and playwright (Red Madymaynes), dies at 98
  • 1960 Philippe Panneton, Canadian physician, diplomat and writer (Trente arpents), dies at 65
  • 1964 Bernard von Brentano, German writer (Big Cats), dies at 63
  • 1968 Austin Farrer, English theologian and philosopher (b. 1904)
  • 1970 William King Gregory, American palaeontologist (mammalian teeth, evolutionary theory), dies at 94
  • 1975 Euell Gibbons, American outdoorsman and proponent of natural diets (b. 1911).
  • 1980 Nadezhda Mandelstam, Russian writer (b. 1899)
  • 1981 Guido Provoost, Belgian historian, dies at 41
  • 1981 Miroslav Krleža, Croatian writer (b. 1893)
  • 1984 Sidney Garfield, American physician and pioneer of health maintenance organizations (Kaiser Permanente), dies at 78
  • 1986 Andrei Tarkovsky, Soviet director (Solaris, Stalker), dies at 54

Person of interestHarold Macmillan

1986 Harold Macmillan, British Conservative politician and Prime Minister (1957-63), dies at 92

British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
British Prime Minister
Harold Macmillan
  • 1991 Julia McCarthy, dies of cancer at 64
  • 1992 LH Ruitenberg, vicar/editor in chief (Reform Netherlands), dies at 87
  • 1995 Hope Clara Chenhalls, food inspector, dies at 85
  • 1995 Madeleine Barot, French activist and theologian, dies at 86
  • 1995 Nello Celio, President of Switzerland (1972), dies at 81
  • 1995 Philip Idenburg, Dutch statistician, dies at 94
  • 1996 Alma Birk, journalist/politician, dies at 77
  • 1996 Oswald Szemerényi, Hungarian linguist, dies at 83
  • 1996 Peggy (Margaret McCrorie) Herbison, politician, dies at 89
  • 1996 Robert Morris, American lawyer, dies at 81
  • 1996 William Thomas Pennar Davies, poet author/theologian, dies at 85
  • 1996 Daniel Mayer, French journalist and resistance fighter, dies at 87
  • 1998 Jean-Claude Forest, writer and illustrator of comics (Barbarella) (b. 1930)
  • 1999 Leon Radzinowicz, British criminologist (b. 1906)
  • 2004 Julius Axelrod, American biochemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1912)
  • 2005 Gerda Boyesen, Norwegian-born body psychotherapist (b. 1922)
  • 2007 Kevin Greening, British radio presenter (b. 1962)
  • 2008 Kees [Cornelis Pieter] van Dijk, Dutch minister of the Interior, dies at 77
  • 2009 Akmal Shaikh, British drug trafficker, executed by lethal injection in the People's Republic of China (b. 1956)
  • 2009 David Levine, American artist (New York Review of Books caricatures), dies at 83
  • 2014 Ivor Richardson, New Zealand judge (NZ Court of Appeals), dies at 84
  • 2017 John C. Portman Jr., American architect (Ivan Allen Award-1964), dies at 93
  • 2020 Pierre Cardin, Italian-French fashion designer, dies at 98