Today in History – Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015


Today is Sunday, Dec. 20, the 354th day of 2015. There are 11 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1192 – Richard I the Lion-heart, king of England, is captured in Vienna.

1582 – The Gregorian calendar is adopted in France.

1694 – Frederick of Brandenburg restores Schweibus to the Holy Roman Empire.

1712 – The Swedes defeat the Danes at Gadebusch, Poland.

1790 – The first successful cotton mill in the United States begins operating in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

1803 – New Orleans flies the American flag for the first time, signaling a transfer of ownership as the Louisiana Territory is handed over to the United States, which purchased it from France.

1830 – The London conference of Britain, France, Austria, Prussia and Russia agrees with Belgium on separation from Holland.

1852 – British forces annex Pegu, lower Burma, in war with Burmese.

1860 – South Carolina becomes the first U.S. state to secede from the Union.

1879 – Inventor Thomas Edison privately demonstrates his incandescent light in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

1880 – Electric lights are installed throughout Broadway’s theater section.

1922 – Fourteen republics merge to form the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

1928 – Britain recognizes the Nanking government (Kuomintang) of China.

1954 – France sends 20,000 troops to Algeria to put down an independence movement.

1957 – European Nuclear Energy Agency is founded; Elvis Presley receives army draft notice.

1960 – The Viet Cong, the armed wing of the National Liberation Front, is founded in South Vietnam.

1963 – The Berlin Wall opens for the first time to West Berliners, who are allowed one-day visits to relatives in the Eastern sector for the holidays.

1971 – President Aga Khan resigns after Pakistan loses control over East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.

1973 – Spain’s Premier Luis Carrero Blanco is killed when assassins bomb his car in Madrid.

1986 – Up to 30,000 students march for democracy through streets of Shanghai in China’s largest demonstration since the Cultural Revolution.

1987 – More than 3,000 people are killed when the Dona Paz, a Philippine passenger ship, collides with the tanker Vector off Mindoro island, setting off a double explosion.

1989 – Some 12,000 U.S. troops arrive in Panama to overthrow the government of Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega.

1991 – South Africa’s government, the African National Congress and other parties begin talks on rewriting the country’s Constitution.

1997 – Two days after winning the presidential election in South Korea, President Kim Dae-jung pardons former Presidents Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, two ex-military dictators who tried to kill him when he was a dissident.

2005 – The first full session of Afghanistan’s new parliament almost breaks down in an uproar after a woman lawmaker demands that all warlords — some of whom are lawmakers — be brought to justice.

2009 – China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, lauds the outcome of a historic U.N. climate conference that ended with a nonbinding

agreement that urges major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts — but does not require it.

2011 – Around 10,000 women march through central Cairo demanding Egypt’s ruling military step down in an unprecedented show of outrage over soldiers who abused them during a fierce crackdown on activists.

2013 – One-time oil baron Mikhail Khodorkovsky goes from being a prisoner locked away for a decade in the remote depths of northern Russia to being a free man in Berlin after getting a surprise pardon from President Vladimir Putin.

2014 – Kurdish fighters advance on the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, pushing into the contested, refugee-packed Sinjar mountains and gaining ground in the embattled Syrian border town of Kobani.

Today’s Birthdays:

Leopold von Ranke, German historian (1795-1886); Branch Rickey, U.S. baseball executive (1881-1965); Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, Australian statesman (1894-1978); W. Eugene Smith, U.S. photojournalist (1918-1978); George Roy Hill, U.S. film director (1922-2002); Kim Young-sam, former president of

South Korea (1927-2015); Uri Geller, Israeli psychic/illusionist (1946–); Jonah Hill, (1983–).

Thought For Today:

You can keep the things of bronze and stone and give me one man to remember me just once a year — Damon Runyon, American writer (1884-1946).

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