On This Day

Deaths in History on December 15

  • 1025 Basilius II, the Bulgarendoder, Byzantine emperor (976-1025), dies
  • 1072 Alp Arslan, Turkish sultan in Persia (b. 1029)
  • 1230 Ottokar I, king of Bohemia (1197-1230), dies
  • 1263 King Haakon IV of Norway (b. 1204)

Person of interestAfonso de Albuquerque

1515 Afonso de Albuquerque, Portuguese admiral, Duke of Goa and Viceroy of Portuguese India, dies at sea in sight of Goa at around 62

Admiral and Duke of Goa Afonso de Albuquerque
Admiral and Duke of Goa
Afonso de Albuquerque
  • 1576 Joachim Hopperus, Frisian lawyer and politician, dies at 53
  • 1598 Philip van Marnix, Flemish ruler of St Aldegonde/poet, dies at 58
  • 1621 Charles d'Albert, duc of Luynes, French courtier, favourite of Louis XIII and Constable of France, dies at 43
  • 1626 Adriaen de Vries, Dutch sculptor/painter, dies at about 70
  • 1673 Margaret Cavendish, English poet, playwright and philosopher (early science fiction work The Blazing World), dies at about 50

Person of interestJan Vermeer

1675 Jan Vermeer, Dutch painter (Girl with a Pearl Earring), dies at 43

Painter Jan Vermeer
Jan Vermeer
  • 1683 Izaak Walton, English biographer and author (The Compleat Angler), dies at 90
  • 1688 Gaspar Fagel, lawyer/Neth grand pensionary (1672-88), dies at 54
  • 1699 Henrik A van Reede tot Drakenstein, Dutch botanist, dies at about 63
  • 1712 Sidney 1st earl of Godolphine, English minister of Finance, dies at 67
  • 1715 George Hickes, English linguist (Old German Philology), dies at 73

  • 1753 Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, English architect, dies at 59

Person of interestAnthony Wayne

1796 Anthony Wayne, American Military Leader (Legion of the United States), dies of gout at 51

Military Leader Anthony Wayne
Military Leader
Anthony Wayne
  • 1816 Charles Stanhope, 3rd earl Stanhope, English radical politician and scientist, dies at 63
  • 1817 Maria Walewska [Leszczinska], lover of emperor Napoleon I, dies
  • 1826 William Browser, revolting slave, executed in NYC
  • 1831 Paulus Roelof Cantz'laar, Dutch naval officer and colonial governor, dies at 60
  • 1839 Matthijs I van Bree, Flemish court-painter, dies at 66
  • 1855 Jacques Charles François Sturm, French mathematician (b. 1803)
  • 1880 Carlo Boncompagni di Mombello, Italian minister of Justice, dies at 76
  • 1885 Ferdinand II, German prince of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry and King of Portugal (1837-53), dies at 69
  • 1885 Robert Toombs, American lawyer and 1st Confederate States Secretary of State, dies at 75

Person of interestSitting Bull

1890 Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa-Sioux chief who helped led his people to victory in the Battle of the Little Big Horn, killed by US Police aged 58 or 59

Lakota Sioux Chief Sitting Bull
Lakota Sioux Chief
Sitting Bull
  • 1896 John GR Acquoy, Dutch theologist/church historian, dies at 67
  • 1924 T. Frank Appleby, American politician (U.S. House of Representatives - (R) New Jersey, 1921-23), dies at 60
  • 1934 Maggie L. Walker, African-American teacher and businesswoman (1st female Bank President), dies at 69
  • 1946 Konrad Haebler, German historian (Hundert Kalenderinkunabeln), dies at 89
  • 1947 Arthur Machen, Welsh author (b. 1863)

Person of interestSardar Patel

1950 Vallabhbhai Patel, Indian freedom fighter and statesman, dies at 75

Indian Freedom Fighter and Politician Sardar Patel
Indian Freedom Fighter and Politician
Sardar Patel
  • 1951 Eric Drummond, British 1st Secretary-General of the League of Nations (1919-33), dies at 75
  • 1952 Potti Sreeramulu, Indian revolutionary known as the Father of Andhra for conducting a 56 day hunger strike in support of a separate Telugu-speaking state, fasts to death at 51, sparking rioting and 3 days later Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to declare an intention to form Andhra Pradesh state

  • 1958 Wolfgang Pauli, Swiss-American theoretical physicist (Pauli inhibition, Nobel 1945), dies at 58
  • 1968 Antonio J. Barrette, French Canadian politician, premier of Quebec, dies at 69
  • 1971 Paul Pierre Lévy, French mathematician (b. 1886)
  • 1977 Wilfred Kitching, the 7th General of The Salvation Army (b. 1893)
  • 1980 Rudolph Cleveringa, Dutch anti-nazi lawyer and professor of Law at Leiden University, dies at 86
  • 1984 Frank Spedding, Canadian Chemist whose uranium extraction process helped make possible the first atomic bomb, dies at 82
  • 1985 Forrest C. Shaklee, American chiropractor and founder (Shaklee Products), dies at 91
  • 1987 Septima Poinsette Clark, American educator and civil rights activist, dies at 89
  • 1994 Henry Phelps Brown, British historian and economist, dies at 88
  • 1995 Manuel Gutiérrez Mellado, Deputy Prime Minister of Spain (1976-81) and Minister of Defense (1977-79), dies at 83
  • 1996 Gerald Moverley, first Bishop of the Diocese of Hallam in Yorkshire, dies at 74
  • 1996 Guiseppe Dossetti, politician/priest, dies at 83
  • 1997 Pananayiotis Taki Vatikiotis, Middle Eastern scholar, dies at 69
  • 2003 George Fisher, American political cartoonist (b. 1923)
  • 2004 Pauline Gore, mother of Al Gore (b. 1912)
  • 2005 Heinrich Gross, Austrian physician (b. 1914)
  • 2005 William Proxmire, American politician (Sen-D-WI, 1957-88), dies at 90
  • 2007 Julia Carson, U.S. Congresswoman from Indiana (b. 1938)
  • 2008 León Febres Cordero, Ecuador's former President (b. 1931)
  • 2009 Oral Roberts, American television evangelist and author (b. 1918)
  • 2010 Eugene Victor Wolfenstein, American political scientist (b. 1940)

Person of interestChristopher Hitchens

2011 Christopher Hitchens, English author and journalist (Vanity Fair, New Statesman) dies of oesophageal cancer aged 62

Author, Journalist and Orator Christopher Hitchens
Author, Journalist and Orator
Christopher Hitchens
  • 2013 Harold Camping, American evangelist and founder of Family Radio, dies at 92
  • 2017 Don Hogan Charles, American photographer and first African-American photographer hired by The New York Times, dies at 79