On This Day

Events in History on December 15

  • 533 Byzantine General Belisarius defeats the Vandals, under King Gelimer, at the Battle of Ticameron
  • 687 St Sergius I begins his reign as Catholic Pope succeeding Conon
  • 1124 Chancellor Haimeric selects pope (Lamberto becomes Honorius II)
  • 1167 Sicilian chancellor Stephen du Perche moves the royal court to Messina to prevent a rebellion.
  • 1256 Hulagu Khan captures and destroys Hashshashin stronghold at Alamut, in present-day Iran, part of the Mongol offensive on Islamic southwest Asia
  • 1467 Stephen III of Moldavia defeats Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, with the latter being injured thrice, at the Battle of Baia

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1488 Bartolomeu Dias returns to Portugal after becoming 1st known European to sail round the Cape of Good Hope

Portuguese Explorer Bartolomeu Dias
Portuguese Explorer
Bartolomeu Dias
  • 1569 Hunted by Queen Elizabeth I for treason in "The Rising of the North", Charles Neville, Earl of Westmorland, escapes to Scotland.
  • 1582 Leidse university names Rembert Dodoens professor of botany and medicine

Gregory Conquers Julius CaesarGregory Conquers Julius Caesar

1582 Spanish Netherlands, Denmark and Norway adopt the Gregorian calendar

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Pope Gregory XIII with the calendar that was to make his name
Pope Gregory XIII with the calendar that was to make his name
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  • 1586 Laevinus Torrentius, becomes bishop of Antwerp
  • 1593 State of Holland grants patent on windmill with a crankshaft
  • 1612 German Astronomer Simon Marius is 1st to observe Andromeda galaxy through a telescope
  • 1640 Duke of Braganca crowned King Johan IV of Portugal
  • 1660 Philippines: Andres Malongs rebels plunders Bagnotan
  • 1664 English colonize Connecticut
  • 1667 Brandenburg declares himself neutral in Devolutie War
  • 1680 Tax revolt on Terschelling due to tax on cereal
  • 1688 Lord Delamere sides with King James II [NS 12/25]
  • 1745 Battle at Kesseldorf: Prussia beats Saksen & Austria
  • 1791 1st US law school established at University of Pennsylvania

USABill of Rights

1791 US Bill of Rights ratified when Virginia gives its approval, becomes amendments 1-10 of the US constitution

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The bill of rights as it was created on September 25, 1789
The bill of rights as it was created on September 25, 1789
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  • 1792 1st life insurance policy issued in US (Philadelphia)
  • 1794 Revolutionary Tribunal abolished in France
  • 1810 1st Irish magazine in US, "Shamrock" published
  • 1820 1st General pharmacopoeia in US published, Boston
  • 1836 Patent Office burns in Washington, D.C.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1840 Napoleon Bonaparte receives a French state funeral in Paris 19 years after his death

French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte
French Emperor
Napoléon Bonaparte
  • 1854 1st street-cleaning machine in US 1st used in Philadelphia
  • 1859 GR Kirchoff describes chemical composition of the Sun
  • 1863 Skirmish at Bean's Station, Tennessee (Knoxville Campaign)
  • 1863 Romania's mountain railway, from Anina to Oravita, opens
  • 1864 Battle of Nashville, Tennessee
  • 1864 Raid on Stoneman: Abingdon & Glade Springs, Virginia
  • 1868 Shogunate rebels found Ezo Republic in Hokkaidō
  • 1874 1st reigning king to visit US is the King of Hawaii, received by President Grant
  • 1899 Battle at Colenso, South Africa (Boers-British army)
  • 1902 German agricultural tariffs are increased
  • 1903 NY Wall Street vendor Italo Marchiony [Marcioni] granted patent for a mound for making ice cream cones
  • 1905 The Pushkin House is established in St. Petersburg to preserve the cultural heritage of Alexander Pushkin
  • 1907 In Persia, the Shah leads a coup de'etat against the liberal Prime Minister Nasir ul-Mulk and imprisons him, but a popular uprising forces the Shah to restore Nasir ul-Mulk soon after
  • 1913 Nicaragua becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty
  • 1914 Battle of Lodz ends; Russians retreat toward Moscow
  • 1914 British fleet forfeits chance to destroy German fleet in North Sea
  • 1914 Serbian troops retake Belgrade in Austria-Hungary
  • 1916 Battle of Verdun: French launch major offensive against German lines after a six-day artillery bombardment
  • 1917 Moldavian Republic declares independence from Russia
  • 1917 World War I: An armistice is reached between the new Russian Bolshevik government and the Central Powers.
  • 1918 American Jewish Congress holds its 1st meeting
  • 1919 Edna St Vincent Millay's "Aria da Capo" premieres in NYC
  • 1919 Fiume (Rijeka) declares it's Independence
  • 1922 IVVV (association) peace congress on war forms in Hague
  • 1925 1st road with a depressed trough (Texas) opens to traffic
  • 1926 Fascist national symbol elevated in Italy
  • 1927 William Edward Hickman kidnaps 12 year-old Marion Parker in Los Angeles, whom he later kills
  • 1929 Swiss pilot Walter Mittelholzer is the first to fly over Mt. Kilimanjaro
  • 1934 Fokker F18 Snip flies to the Dutch West Indies
  • 1936 KVL-AM in Seattle Washington changes call letters to KEEN (now KING)
  • 1938 Groundbreaking begins for Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  • 1939 1st commercial manufacture of nylon yarn in Seaford, Delaware
  • 1939 Snip departs for 1st flight to Paramaribo and Curacao
  • 1941 Gas/electrical use restricted in Holland
  • 1941 German submarine U-127 sinks

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1941 Nazi's transfers 100 Czech citizens, Heinrich Himmler falls faint

Leading Nazi and Reichsführer of the SS Heinrich Himmler
Leading Nazi and Reichsführer of the SS
Heinrich Himmler
  • 1941 North Africa: allied assault up Italians Gazala-posing
  • 1941 USS Swordfish becomes 1st US sub to sink a Japanese ship
  • 1941 The American Federation of Labor adopts a no-strike policy in war industries.
  • 1942 Massachusetts issues 1st US vehicular license plate tabs
  • 1944 Hizbu'allah (Arm forces for Allah) forms

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1944 US Congress gives General Eisenhower his 5th star

34th US President & WWII General Dwight D. Eisenhower
34th US President & WWII General
Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • 1944 US troops land on Mindoro
  • 1945 John J "Cardinal" O'Connor, ordained as a priest
  • 1948 Former state department official Alger Hiss indicted in NYC for perjury

Music releaseTheater Premiere

1949 Albert Camus' play "The Just Assassins" ("Les Justes") premieres in Paris

Author Albert Camus
Albert Camus
  • 1950 NYC's Port Authority opens
  • 1952 Christine Jorgenson is the first known American to undergo a sex-change operation

BeatificationCatholic Encyclical

1952 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Orientales Ecclesias

260th Pope Pius XII
260th Pope
Pius XII
  • 1954 Fordham University scraps football team for financial reasons
  • 1954 Netherlands Antilles becomes co-equal part of Kingdom of Netherlands
  • 1956 Emergency crisis in North Ireland proclaimed after IRA strikes

Execution'The Banality of Evil'

1961 Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death for war crimes in Israel

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Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann sits in the dock at his 1961 trial in Jerusalem
Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann sits in the dock at his 1961 trial in Jerusalem
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Event of interestEvent of Interest

1961 JFK visits Puerto Rico

35th US President John F. Kennedy
35th US President
John F. Kennedy
  • 1961 L J Suenens appointed archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels
  • 1964 1st time 4 people in space
  • 1964 Canada's House of Commons votes 163 to 78 to approve the red Maple Leaf Flag
  • 1965 3rd cyclone of year kills 15,000 at the mouths of the Ganges River in Bangladesh
  • 1965 Gemini 6 launched; makes 1st rendezvous in space (with Gemini 7)
  • 1965 Queen Juliana opens Zeeland Bridge to Oosterschelde
  • 1966 Audouin Dollfus discovers 10th satellite of Saturn, Janus
  • 1966 John W Mecom Jr becomes 1st owner of New Orlean Saints
  • 1967 The Silver Bridge collapses over the Ohio River in the US, killing 46 people
  • 1969 San Francisco Fire Department replaces leather helmets with plastic ones
  • 1970 South Korean ferry Namyong-Ho sinks in Strait of Korea, 308 killed
  • 1970 Soviet Venera 7 is 1st spacecraft to land on another planet (Venus)
  • 1970 Illinois State Constitution is adopted at a special election.
  • 1971 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • 1973 American Psychiatric Association declares homosexuality is not a mental illness
  • 1973 American kidnap victim John Paul Getty III freed after ransom paid by oil tycoon grandfather John Paul Getty
  • 1976 Oil tanker Argo Merchant runs aground on the Nantucket Shoals, spilling 7.6 m million gallons of fuel oil - one of the largest oil spills at sea
  • 1976 Jamaica premier Manley wins elections
  • 1976 Samoa becomes a member of the UN
  • 1978 Saint Maarten Patriotic Movement (SPM) forms under W James

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1979 Deposed Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi leaves US for Panama

Last Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Last Shah of Iran
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
  • 1979 World Court in Hague rules Iran should release all US hostages

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1979 Chris Haney and Scott Abbott develop the board game Trivial Pursuit

Co-creator of Trivial Pursuit Chris Haney
Co-creator of Trivial Pursuit
Chris Haney
  • 1980 Premier Queddei troops conquers Chad capital N'djamena
  • 1980 ZBZ Sangha registered after 5 yrs of administrative hassles in Warsaw
  • 1981 NASA launches Intelsat V satellite, no. 503
  • 1982 Teamsters president Roy Williams and 4 others convicted of bribery
  • 1982 Sao Tome & Principe constitution approved
  • 1982 Spain reopens border with Gibraltar
  • 1983 Columbia flies to Kennedy Space Center via El Paso, Kelly AFB
  • 1983 Last 80 US combat soldiers in Grenada withdrew
  • 1983 Wendy Wasserstein's play "Isn't It Romantic" premieres in NYC
  • 1984 USSR launches Vega 1 for rendezvous with Halley's Comet
  • 1986 150 killed during race riot in Karachi

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1986 CIA director William J. Casey suffers a cerebral seizure

CIA Director William J. Casey
CIA Director
William J. Casey
  • 1986 Carnegie Hall reopens after a $50 million facelift
  • 1992 WNew AM (1130) NYC resigns air, replaced by WBBR
  • 1993 C-130 flies into a Philippines hill & explodes, 16 killed
  • 1993 Haitian premier Robert Malval resigns
  • 1993 Lee Aspen resigns as secretary of defense
  • 1993 Y-12 crashes at Phonesavanh, Laos: 18 killed

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1993 British Prime Minister John Major and Irish premier Reynolds signs Downing Street Declaration concerning Northern Ireland self determination

British Prime Minister John Major
British Prime Minister
John Major
  • 1994 John Bruton becomes Ireland's premier
  • 1994 Liberia militia kills 48 inhabitants of Monrovia
  • 1994 Palau becomes a member of the UN
  • 1995 Playboy goes back on sale after 36 year ban in Ireland
  • 2001 The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after 11 years and $27,000,000 to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean
  • 2005 Latvia amends its constitution to eliminate possibility of same-sex couples being entitled to marry.
  • 2005 Argentina's president Néstor Kirchner announces the early repayment of its external debt to the IMF.
  • 2005 Introduction of the F-22 Raptor into USAF active service.
  • 2005 The 2005 Atlantic Power Outage began.
  • 2006 First flight of the F-35 Lightning II.
  • 2009 Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner makes its maiden flight from Seattle, Washington.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2011 Former French President Jacques Chirac is convicted of diverting public funds, receives a two-year suspended prison sentence

President of France Jacques Chirac
President of France
Jacques Chirac
  • 2012 18 Asylum seekers drown in the Aegean Sea on the way to Greece from Turkey

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

2013 Michelle Bachelet is re-elected President of Chile

President of Chile Michelle Bachelet
President of Chile
Michelle Bachelet
  • 2013 China successfully lands its moon rover on the moon
  • 2015 1,000 schools closed in Los Angeles after a email threat, supposedly from jihadists
  • 2015 Mayor of Flint, Michigan declares state of emergency over contaminated water supplies amid calls for a criminal investigation
  • 2015 Fifth Republican presidential candidates debate in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 2016 Ceasefire declared in Aleppo to allow hundreds to be evacutated from last rebel held area
  • 2016 White supremacist Dylann Roof is found guilty of the Charleston Church Massacre which killed 9
  • 2018 Diplomats from 200 countries agree to a set of rules to implement the UN Paris Climate Agreement in Katowice, Poland
  • 2018 Egyptian Archaeologists announce discovery of 4,400 year old tomb of Fifth Dynasty priest in Saqqara pyramid complex near Cairo
  • 2018 Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announces establishment of independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, splitting from Russian Orthodox
  • 2018 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas
  • 2019 Longest ever UN climate talks end in Madrid with compromise deal on curbing carbon only, other targets deferred for a year
  • 2019 Protests against India's new citizenship bill that excludes Muslims, erupt across major cities, killing at least five
  • 2020 Russia revealed to have been behind massive cyberattack on US government agencies and private companies since the Spring
  • 2020 MacKenzie Scott announces she has given away more than $4 billion to 384 non profit organizations across the US