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On December 20th...
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1522 Suleiman the Magnificent accepted the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes.
1590 Ambroise Paré, the founder of scientific surgery, died.
1606 Colonists of the Virginia Company set sail from England.
1699 Peter the Great ordered the Russian New Year changed from September 1st to January 1st.
1790 The first successful U.S. cotton mill to spin yarn began operation in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
1803 France formally transferred the Louisiana Territory to the United States.
1812 Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm was published.
1860 South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union.
1868 Industrialist Harvey Firestone was born.
1879 Thomas Edison privately demonstrated his incandescent light bulb at Menlo Park.
1880 New York City's Broadway was lit by electricity.
1881 Baseball manager Branch Rickey was born.
1892 The pneumatic automobile tire was patented.
1893 Georgia became the first state to pass an anti-lynching law.
1894 Robert Gordon Menzies, two-time Prime Minister of Australia, was born.
1898 Actress Irene Dunne was born.
1901 Physicist Robert Van de Graaff was born.
1907 An explosion in a coal mine at Yolande, Alabama, killed 91 men.
1917 Physicist David Bohm was born.
1920 Bob Hope became an American citizen.
1922 Fourteen republics formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
1924 Canadian politician Judy Verlyn LaMarsh was born.
1927 South Korean President Kim Young Sam was born.
1932 Actor John Hillerman was born.
1941 The first battle of the American Volunteer Group, aka the "Flying Tigers," was fought in Kunming, China.
1944 The Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were disbanded.
1945 Drummer Peter Kriss was born.
1946 The film It's a Wonderful
Life premiered in New York, New York.
1948 Musician Alan Parsons was born.
1951 The first nuclear reactor to produce electric power began operation at the Argonne National Laboratory.
1954 Actor Michael Badalucco was born.
1955 Cardiff was proclaimed the capital city of Wales.
1956 Montgomery, Alabama, removed race-based seat assignments on its buses.
1957 The Boeing 707 flew for the first time.
1961 Playwright Moss Hart died.
1964 Roto-Rooter founder Samuel Blanc died.
1968 Novelist John Steinbeck died.
1971 Businessman Roy Disney died.
1973 Singer Bobby Darin died.
1976 Richard J. Daley, long-time Mayor of Chicago, died.
1982 Pianist Artur Rubinstein died.
1987 The ferry Dona Paz sank after colliding with the oil tanker Vector off the Philippines, killing 4,386 persons.
1989 U.S. troops invaded Panama.
1995 NATO began peacekeeping operations in Bosnia.
1996 Astronomer Carl Sagan died.
1999 Portugal returned Macau to China.
2001 Comedian Foster Brooks died.
2009 Actress Brittany Murphy died.
2010 Actor Steve Landesberg died.
2015 A landslide of construction waste buried 30 buildings in Shenzhen, China, and left 74 persons dead or missing.
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This page was last updated on December 20, 2018.