Archives for: December 2013

December 31

1687 - The first Huguenots set sail from France for the Cape of Good Hope, where they would later create the South African wine industry with the vines they took with them on the voyage.  1695 - The window tax was imposed in Britain, which resulted in… more »

December 30

1460 - At the Battle of Wakefield, in England's Wars of the Roses, the Duke of York was defeated and killed by the Lancastrians.  1853 - The United States bought about 45,000 square miles of land from Mexico in a deal known as the Gadsden Purchase. … more »

December 29

1170 - St. Thomas à Becket, the 40th archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in his own cathedral by four knights acting on Henry II's orders.  1812 - The USS Constitution won a battle with the British ship HMS Java about 30 miles off the coast of… more »

December 28

1065 - Westminster Abbey was consecrated under Edward the Confessor.  1694 - Queen Mary II of England died after five years of joint rule with her husband, King William III.  1732 - "The Pennsylvania Gazette," owned by Benjamin Franklin, ran an ad for… more »

December 27

1703 - The Methuen Treaty was signed between Portugal and England, giving preference to the import of Portuguese wines into England.  1831 - Charles Darwin set out on a voyage to the Pacific aboard the HMS Beagle. Darwin's discoveries during the voyage… more »

December 26

1620 - The Pilgrim Fathers landed at New Plymouth, MA, to found Plymouth Colony, with John Carver as Governor.  1776 - The British suffered a major defeat in the Battle of Trenton during the American Revolutionary War.  1865 - The coffee percolator… more »

December 25

0800 - Charlemagne was crowned first Holy Roman Emperor in Rome by Pope Leo III.  1066 - William the Conqueror was crowned king of England.  1223 - St. Francis of Assisi assembled one of the first Nativity scenes, in Greccio, Italy.  1776 - Gen.… more »

December 24

1814 - The War of 1812 between the U.S. and Britain was ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium.  1818 - Franz Gruber of Oberndorf, Germany composed the music for "Silent Night" to words written by Josef Mohr.  1828 - William Burke… more »

December 23

1783 - George Washington returned home to Mount Vernon, after the disbanding of his army following the Revolutionary War.  1788 - Maryland voted to cede a 100-square-mile area for the seat of the national government. About two-thirds of the area became… more »

December 22

1715 - James Stuart, the "Old Pretender", landed at Petershead after his exile in France.  1775 - A Continental naval fleet was organized in the rebellious American colonies under the command of Ezek Hopkins.  1807 - The U.S. Congress passed the… more »

December 21

1620 - The "Mayflower", and its passengers, pilgrims from England, landed at Plymouth Rock, MA.  1849 - The first ice-skating club in America was formed in Philadelphia, PA.  1879 - Ibsen's "A Doll's House" was first performed in Copenhagen, Denmark,… more »

December 20

1606 - The "Susan Constant," "Godspeed" and "Discovery" set sail from London. Their landing at Jamestown, VA, was the start of the first permanent English settlement in America.  1699 - Peter the Great ordered that the Russian New Year be changed from… more »

December 19

1154 - Henry II became King of England.  1562 - The Battle of Dreux was fought between the Huguenots and the Catholics, beginning the French Wars of Religion.  1732 - Benjamin Franklin began publishing "Poor Richard's Almanac."  1776 - Thomas Paine… more »

December 18

1787 - New Jersey became the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.  1796 - The "Monitor," of Baltimore, MD, was published as the first Sunday newspaper.  1862 - The first orthopedic hospital was organized in New York City. It was called the… more »

December 17

1777 - France recognized American independence.  1791 - A traffic regulation in New York City established the first street to go "One Way."  1830 - South American patriot Simon Bolivar died in Colombia.  1895 - George L. Brownell received a patent… more »

December 16

1653 - Oliver Cromwell became lord protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.  1773 - Nearly 350 chests of tea were dumped into Boston Harbor off of British ships by Colonial patriots. The patriots were disguised as Indians. The act was to protest… more »

December 15

1654 - A meteorological office established in Tuscany began recording daily temperature readings.  1791 - In the U.S., the first ten amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, went into effect following ratification by the state… more »

December 14

1503 - Physician, astrologer and clairvoyant Nostradamus was born at St. Remy, Provence, France.  1798 - David Wilkinson of Rhode Island patented the nut and bolt machine.  1799 - The first president of the United States, George Washington, died at… more »

December 13

1577 - Five ships under the command of Sir Francis Drake left Plymouth, England, to embark on Drake's circumnavigation of the globe. The journey took almost three years.  1636 - The United States National Guard was created when militia regiments were… more »

December 12

1787 - Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.  1792 - In Vienna, 22-year-old Ludwig van Beethoven received one of his first lessons in music composition from Franz Joseph Haydn. 1800 - Washington, DC, was established as… more »

December 11

1282 - Llywelyn (Llewelyn ap Gruffydd) was killed in Cilmeri, central Wales.  1719 - The first recorded sighting of the Aurora Borealis was in New England.  1769 - Edward Beran of London patented venetian blinds.  1792 - France's King Louis XVI went… more »

December 10

1520 - Martin Luther publicly burned the papal edict. The papacy demanded that he recant or face excommunication. Luther refused and was formally expelled from the church in January 1521.  1768 - The Royal Academy of Arts was founded in London by… more »

December 9

1594 - Gustavus II of Sweden was born.  1608 - English poet John Milton was born in London.  1625 - The Treaty of the Hague was signed by England and the Netherlands. The agreement was to subsidize Christian IV of Denmark in his campaign in Germany. … more »

December 8

1765 - Eli Whitney was born in Westboro, MA. Whitney invented the cotton gin and developed the concept of mass-production of interchangeable parts.  1776 - George Washington's retreating army in the American Revolution crossed the Delaware River… more »

December 7

1431 - In Paris, Henry VI of England was crowned King of France.  1732 - The original Covent Garden Theatre Royal (now the Royal Opera House) was opened.  1787 - Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. constitution becoming the first of… more »

December 6

1774 - Austria became the first nation to introduce a state education system.  1790 - The U.S. Congress moved from New York to Philadelphia.  1865 - The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The amendment abolished slavery in the U.S. … more »

December 5

1492 - Christopher Columbus discovered Hispaniola (now Haiti).  1560 - Charles IX succeeded as King of France on the death of Francis II.  1766 - James Christie, founder of the famous auctioneers, held his first sale in London.  1776 - In… more »

December 4

1783 - Gen. George Washington said farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.  1791 - Britain's Observer newspaper was first published.  1812 - Peter Gaillard patented the power mower.  1867 - The National Grange of Husbandry was… more »

December 3

1818 - Illinois was admitted as the 21st state of the union.  1828 - Andrew Jackson was elected president of the United States.  1833 - Oberlin College in Ohio opened as the first truly coeducational school of higher education in the United States. … more »

December 2

1804 - Napoleon was crowned emperor of France at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.  1816 - The first savings bank in the U.S., the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society, opened for business.  1823 - U.S. President James Monroe outlined his doctrine… more »

December 1

1835 - Hans Christian Andersen published his first book of fairy tales.  1909 - The Pennsylvania Trust Company, of Carlisle, PA, became the first bank in the in the U.S. to offer a Christmas Club account.  1913 - Ford Motor Co. began using a new… more »