Today in History – Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015

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Today is Wednesday, Dec. 23, the 357th day of 2015. There are eight days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1588 – Henry, Duke of Guise and leader of militant Catholics who wanted a Spanish princess on the French throne, is assassinated on King Henry III’s orders at Blois, France.

1601 – Irish rebels Tyrone and O’Donnell are routed near Kinsale by British forces.

1698 – George Lewis becomes Elector of Hanover on the death of Ernest Augustus.

1728 – Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI and Frederick William of Prussia sign Treaty of Berlin.

1783 – George Washington resigns as commander in chief of the Continental Army after the American Revolution and returns to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

1832 – The French take Antwerp, forcing Holland to recognize Belgium’s independence.

1861 – Sultan of Turkey agrees to unification of Moldavia and Wallachia as Romania.

1876 – The first constitution in a Muslim country is passed in Turkey, but power remains largely in the hands of the sultan.

1920 – French and British approve convention fixing boundaries of Syria and Palestine.

1941 – U.S. forces on Wake Island in the Pacific surrender to Japanese in World War II.

1947 – The transistor is invented at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey. This made equipment miniaturization possible and ushered in a tidal wave of electronic miracles including the personal computer.

1948 – Japanese Premier Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese World War II leaders are executed in Tokyo.

1950 – A treaty in which Vietnam becomes a sovereign nation within the French Union is signed in Saigon.

1968 – Eighty-two crew members of the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo are released by North Korea, 11 months after they were captured.

1972 – Earthquake strikes Managua, Nicaragua, killing 10,000.

1986 – The experimental U.S. airplane, Voyager, lands in California’s Mojave Desert after becoming the first aircraft to circumnavigate the globe nonstop without refueling.

1990 – Slovenes vote overwhelmingly in favor of secession from Yugoslavia.

1993 – The Rhine sweeps to its greatest height in 67 years, flooding Cologne’s old town and menacing the new Parliament building in Bonn. The death toll in European flooding reaches six.

1994 – Bosnia’s Serbs and the Muslim-led government agree to a cease-fire in their war.

1995 – A fire in Dabwali, India, kills 540 people, including 170 children, during a year-end party being held near a children’s school.

1997 – Gunmen charge into a village of rebel sympathizers in Chiapas, Mexico, and kill 45 people, including 15 children.

1998 – South Korean police use water cannon and tear gas to evict a group of monks from the Chogye temple, after the monks threw firebombs and rocks at them. The clash ends a 40-day standoff between rival monks at the spiritual home to eight million Buddhists.

2003 – An explosion at a natural gas field near Chongqing in China’s Sichuan province kills at least 198 people. The explosion reportedly occurred when a pocket of natural gas and hydrogen sulfide was accidentally drilled open.

2006 – U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to impose the first set of sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment amid suspicions Tehran wants to build nuclear weapons.

2011 —Two car bombers blow themselves up outside the heavily guarded compounds of Syria’s intelligence agencies, killing at least 44 people and wounding dozens more in a brazen attack on the powerful security directorates.

2012 — Egypt’s opposition says it will keep fighting the Islamist-backed constitution after the Muslim Brotherhood, the main group supporting the charter, claims it passed with a 64 percent “yes” vote in a referendum.

2014 — Russia successfully tests a new, heavy-load space rocket after a long and strenuous development, built to replace the Soyuz, the work horse of the fleet.

Today’s Birthdays:

James Gibbs, Scottish architect (1682-1754); Richard Arkwright, English inventor (1732-1792); Sarah Breedlove Walker, U.S. philanthropist (1867-1919); Joseph Smith, U.S. founder of the Mormon Church (1805-1844); Jose Greco, Spanish dancer-choreographer (1918-2000); Silvia, queen of Sweden (1944–); Akihito, emperor of Japan (1933–); Eddie Vedder, U.S. musician (1964–).

Thought For Today:

Christmas is the season when you buy this year’s gifts with next year’s money — Anonymous.

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