Famous and Fascinating Women in History

Frontiersmen and Women

The World's Greatest Composers

Famous Women Spies

Great Authors of the World

Generals and other Noteworthy People from the Civil War

The Presidents of the United States

The First Ladies of the United States

Homes and Monuments of and to Famous People

Historical People and Events by Month for Each Day of the Year!

Famous Figures in Black History

The Calvert Family and the Lords Baltimore

Understanding the American Revolution and its People

Everything Beatles!

Everything Maryland!





Historical People and Events for December

by John T. Marck


December 1

The First Navigation Act, passed by the English Parliament to govern colonial trade, stated that all goods carried to and from England must be transported by British ships manned mostly by British sailors, 1660

The Trail of Tears occurred, whereby the 14,000 Cherokee Indians remaining in Georgia and southeastern Tennessee were forcibly removed from their lands by 7,000 soldiers, and herded into Oklahoma. This phrase of the Trail of Tears was the final tragic act in the enforcement of the fraudulent treaty of New Echota in 1835. Along the way, 4,000 Cherokees died. In the end, 7 million acres of Cherokee land had been seized by whites, 1838

Midshipman Philip Spencer was hanged for mutiny for his part in an uprising aboard the naval training brigadier Somers, 1842

Theodore Roosevelt was the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize, 1906

Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus, 1955

The United States Government held its first draft lottery since WWII, 1969

December 2

The Monroe Doctrine was announced, 1823

John Brown was hanged for his part in raiding Harpers Ferry, 1859

The Thirteenth Amendment was adopted, prohibiting slavery when Alabama became the 27th state to ratify it, ensuring the necessary two-thirds vote, 1865

First Lady Jane Pierce died in Andover, Massachusetts, 1863

The Samoan Partition Treaty was signed at Washington, D.C., with Germany and England. It partitioned the Samoan Island between the United States and Germany, with the U.S. receiving Tutuila and Pago Pago, its harbor, 1899

The first successful artificial heart transplant was completed at the University of Utah Medical Center. The recipient was Barney C. Clark, age 61, 1982

December 3

The first American flag was raised aboard the "USS Alfred," 1775

Illinois was admitted to the Union, 1818 (21st)

The treason trial of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, began in Richmond, Virginia. Before Circuit Court Judges Salmon P. Chase and John C. Underwood. The charges were dropped on February 15, 1869 after President Andrew Johnson's amnesty proclamation, 1868

"Camelot" opened on Broadway, 1960

December 4

General Washington bade farewell to his troops, 1783

Queen Victoria prohibited exports to the United States, 1861

United States Gemini 7 was launched from Cape Kennedy on a 14-day, 206-orbit mission and rendezvous in space with Gemini 6, 1965

December 5

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died at the age of 35, 1791

President Martin Van Buren was born in Kinderhook, New York, 1782

The first depiction of the United States flag in England was the work of John Singleton Copley, who painted the Stars and Stripes flying over a ship in the background of his portrait of Elkanah Watson, who was a well-known sponsor of agricultural fairs in the U.S., 1783

President Grant, apologized before Congress, ascribing his errors while president to inexperience, saying further that his failures were "errors in Judgement, not intent," 1876

National Prohibition ended, 1933

The Medal of Honor was presented to Captain Roger H.C. Donlon, U.S. Army, for heroism in South Vietnam, the first person to receive the medal since the Korean War, 1964

December 6

Construction of Washington Monument was completed,1884

Jefferson Davis died at age 71 in New Orleans, Louisiana , 1889

The first broadcast of an official presidential address occurred when President Calvin Coolidge gave his second annual address to Congress. The transmission was so clear that technicians in St. Louis, Missouri telephoned Washington, D.C., to ask about the occasional rustling noise, which turned out to be caused by the president turning the pages of his address, 1923

Gerald Ford sworn in as vice president, following the resignation of Spiro Agnew,1973

December 7

Delaware was admitted to the Union, 1797 (1st)

Japanese warplanes attacked United States at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 1941

United States Apollo 17 launched, 1972

December 8

A huge submarine net made of steel, that was placed underwater across the Narrows in New York harbor at the beginning of the war, was removed, 1919

United States entered World War II, 1941

A treaty was enacted which prohibited nuclear weapons in space, 1966

John Winston Yoko Lennon, former member of the Beatles, was shot and killed outside his Dakota apartment in New York by a deranged man, 1980

December 9

Noah Webster established New York's first daily newspaper, 1793

The first Red Cross Christmas seals were sold for a campaign against tuberculosis, raising $135,000, 1907

China declared war on Germany, Italy, Japan, 1941

December 10

Mississippi was admitted to the Union, 1817 (20th)

The first Women's Suffrage law in the U.S. was granted in Wyoming Territory, 1869

The first college basketball game was held, 1896

December 11

The University of North Carolina was chartered in Chapel Hill, N.C., as a state university, 1789

Indiana was admitted to the Union, 1816 (19th)

Incandescent stage lighting was first used in the U.S. at the Bijou Theater in Boston at a performance of Iolanthe, by Gilbert and Sullivan, 1883

United States & Britain declared war on Japan, 1941

United States, Germany & Italy declared war, 1941

December 12

Pennsylvania was admitted to the Union, 1787 (2nd)

Joseph Rainey became the first black in the House of Representatives, 1870

The first motel opened in the United States, The Motel Inn, in San Luis Obispo, California, 1925

December 13

The first savings bank in the United States was organized in Boston as The Provident Institution for Savings, 1817

First Lady Mary Lincoln was born Mary Ann Todd in Lexington, Kentucky, 1818

Confederates won the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg, 1863

United States First Army attacked the Roer River Dam, 1944

December 14

The first military encounter of the American Revolution occurred, when on the report of news carried by Paul Revere that the British intended to station a garrison at Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Major John Sullivan led a band of militia to Fort William and Mary, broke into its arsenal, and carried off arms and ammunition, 1774

President George Washington died at his home, Mount Vernon, 1799

Alabama was admitted to the Union, 1819 (22nd)

First Lady Julia Grant died in Washington, D.C., 1902

December 15

The Bill of Rights went into effect, 1791

Sitting Bull, chief of the Sioux Indians, was killed in a skirmish with U.S. soldiers along the Grand River in South Dakota, 1890

The movie, "Gone With The Wind" premiered, 1939

The plane carrying Bandleader Glenn Miller was lost, 1944

December 16

The Boston Tea Party occurred, 1773

The first patent for a process of shaping brass into bowls was issued to Hiram Hayden of Waterbury, Connecticut. Dishes of brass, fastened to spinning dies, were pressed to the shape of the die, 1852

"Variety" magazine was first printed, 1905

World War II Battle of the Bulge, which was the last major German offensive of the war began, when German forces broke through Allied defenses in the Ardennes. The German drive was intended to seize Antwerp and split the Allies in the west. Bad weather hampered the Allied air and supply operations. U.S. forces, located at Bastogne, although surrounded, did not surrender. The American resistance stiffened after the massacre of U.S. prisoners at Malmedy on December 17. When the weather improved, the Allied air operations resumed and the German Tiger tank columns halted for lack of fuel, and were destroyed, 1944

December 17

France recognized American independence, 1777

The first one-way street was created in New York City, 1791

Orville and Wilbur Wright's first successful manned powered flight occurred near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, 1903

December 18

New Jersey was admitted to the Union, 1787 (3rd)

The first celestial photograph was taken, 1839

The Crittenden Compromise, a last minute attempt to persuade the southern states to remain in the union, was proposed by Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky, 1860

Japan was allowed to join the United Nations, 1956

December 19

Benjamin Franklin first published his "Poor Richard's Almanac" 1732

The first issue of "The Crisis," by Thomas Paine, which was a series of pamphlets written to bolster the morale of the Continental Army, was issued, 1776

George Washington and the Continental Army arrived at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1777

First Lady Emily Donelson died at her home at Tulip Grove Plantation, 1836

The University of Oklahoma was opened at Norman, Oklahoma, 1893

Nelson Rockefeller was sworn in as vice president of the United States, 1974

December 20

Louisiana Purchase was formally completed, 1803

"Dreamgirls" opened on Broadway, 1981

United States troops invaded Panama, 1989

December 21

Bluebeard was executed, 1440

Mayflower Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1620

General George S. Patton died in Heidelberg of injuries from a car accident, 1945

The first gorilla was born in captivity, 1956

Reduction of the voting age in national elections to 18 years was ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court, 1970

A bill authorizing a federal bailout for Chrysler Corporation by providing $1,500,000,000 in federal loan guarantees was passed by Congress, 1980. (Signed into law on January 7, 1980 by President James Carter).

December 22

The Embargo Act that barred foreign trade went into effect, 1807

First Lady, "Lady Bird" Johnson was born Claudia Alta Taylor in Karnack, Texas , 1912

Wake Island fell to the Japanese after a heroic fifteen-day stand by 400 U.S. marines, 1941

The crew of the "USS Pueblo" was released, 1968

December 23

Washington resigned as commander-in-chief, at Old Senate Chamber, State House, Annapolis, MD., 1783

"A Visit From St. Nicholas" (The Night Before Christmas) by Clement C. Moore, was published in New York, 1823

The state of Maryland gave ten square miles for the District of Columbia, 1788

December 24

The Methodist Church was organized in America at a conference in Baltimore, Maryland, 1784

The Treaty of Ghent was signed, ending the War of 1812, 1814

The Ku Klux Klan was established, 1865

Henry Ford completed his first successful gasoline engine, 1894

General Dwight D. Eisenhower was named Supreme Commander of Allied forces for the invasions of Europe, 1943

December 25

The first recorded Christmas was celebrated in Rome, A.D. 336

"Silent Night" was performed for the first time at the Church of St. Nikolaus, Oberndorff, Austria, 1818

George Washington crossed the Delaware River, 1776

December 26

Stephen Girard, one of the wealthiest men in the U.S. died, leaving his fortune to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the founding of Girard College, and elementary and secondary school for poor, male white orphans, 1831

Wake Forest College was chartered in Wake Forest, N.C. It had been founded under Baptist auspices in 1834, 1838

New York City was blanketed with 25.8 inches of snow, 1947

President Harry S. Truman died in Kansas City, Missouri, 1972

The end of the Soviet Union began, 1991

December 27

"Show Boat" opened on Broadway at the Ziegfeld Theatre, 1927

Radio City Music Hall opened in New York, 1932

The World War II Battle of the Bulge ended, 1944

"Howdy Doody" with host Bob Smith, made its TV debut on NBC, 1947

December 28

John C. Calhoun became the first vice president of the U.S. to resign, 1832

Iowa was admitted to the Union, 1846 (29th)

President Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia, 1856

First Lady Edith Wilson died at her home in Washington, D.C., 1961

December 29

President Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, 1808

Texas was admitted to the Union, 1845 (28th)

First Lady Angelica Van Buren died, 1877

December 30

The Gadsden Purchase, negotiated by James Gadsden, U.S. Minister to Mexico, was signed. It provided that the U.S. acquire 29,644 sq. miles of territory, comprising the southernmost portions of present-day Arizona, and New Mexico, 1853

The Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company, the first oil company in the United States was formed in New Haven, Connecticut, 1855

The "USS Monitor" was lost off Cape Hatteras, 1862

Vladimir I. Lenin established the U.S.S.R., 1922

"Kiss Me Kate" opened on Broadway, 1948

December 31

The Battle of Murfreesboro began during the Civil War, 1862

Thomas Edison gave his first public demonstration of the incandescent lamp, 1879

The Manhattan Bridge, the third span across the East River in New York City was opened to traffic, 1910


Copyright 1993-2022 by John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying pictures, photographs, and line art, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author.