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This Day in History - December 15

December 15

37 – Emperor of Rome, blamed for the Great Fire of Rome, Nero Claudius Caesar, is born

533 – The Vandals under King Gelimer are defeated by Byzantine General Belisarius at the Battle of Ticameron

1256 – Hulagu Khan captures and destroys the Hashshashin stronghold at Alamut, in what is now Iran

1488 – The first known European to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, Bartolomeu Dias, returns to Portugal

1612 – German astronomer Simon Marius becomes the first to observe the Andromeda galaxy through a telescope

1791 – Virginia becomes the last state to ratify the Bill of Rights, making the first ten amendments to the Constitution law

1832 – Designer of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, is born

1840 – Napoleon Bonaparte is given a French state funeral, 19 years after his death, in Paris

1862 – Nathan Bedford Forrest crosses the Tennessee River at Clifton with 2,500 men, on their way to raid the communications around Vicksburg, Mississippi

1862 – Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler turns his command over to Nathaniel Banks

1864 – The Battle of Nashville begins

1883 – Developer of the syphilis diagnostic test, William H. Hinton is born

1890 – The US Army soldiers and Indian police attempt to arrest Sitting Bull at his cabin in Standing Rock, South Dakota, but shoot and kill him

1892 – American oilman and art collector J. Paul Getty is born

1896 – The gasoline-powered motor buggy is patented by Stephen M. Balzer

1903 – The British parliament places a 15-year ban on whale hunting in Norway

1907 – Brazilian architect who designed the UN Headquarters building, Oscar Neimeyer is born

1911 – A psychiatrist and comic strip writer, Nicholas P. Dallis is born

1915 – Allied forces begin a full retreat from the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, ending an invasion of the Ottoman Empire

1916 – New Zealand-English Nobel Prize-winning physicist and molecular biologist, Maurice Wilkins is born

1916 – The French defeat the Germans in the Battle of Verdun

1919 – Owner of New York farm that became the site of the famous Woodstock Music Festival, Max Yasgur is born

1920 – China and Austria are admitted on the League Council

1923 – German-Israeli firearm designer who created the Uzi submachine gun, Uziel Gal is born

1924 – The Soviet Union warns the US against repeated entry of ships into Soviet waters

1928 – Austrian/New Zealander, painter and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser is born

1933 – Actor, screenwriter and producer Tim Conway is born

1936 – Writer George Orwell delivers his manuscript for his book The Road to Wigan Pier, before leaving for the civil war in Spain

1938 – Washington sends its fourth note to Berlin demanding amnesty for Jews

1939 – Gone With the Wind premiers in Atlanta, Georgia

1942 – Singer, songwriter, drummer and producer Dave Clark is born

1944 – The battle for Luzon begins

1944 – Captain Glenn Miller and wildly successful American trombonist and bandleader, boarded an aircraft to serve his country as the leader of the USAAF dance band, which would go missing over the English Channel en route to France on its way to offer a congratulatory performance to the American troops who helped liberate Paris

1945 – General Douglas MacArthur orders the end to Shintoism as Japan’s established religion-a religion that claimed the emperor was divine

1946 – Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh sends a note to the new French Premier, Leon Blum, requesting peace talks

1950 – Indian activist, politician and First Deputy Prime Minister of India, Vallabhbhai Patel dies

1961 – Adolf Eichmann, the former German Gestapo official accused of a major role in the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews, is sentenced by a Jerusalem court to be hanged

1964 – Canada adopts its national flag

1965 – The US drops 12 tons of bombs on an industrial center near Haiphong Harbor, North Vietnam

1966 – Cartoon pioneer and movie producer Walt Disney dies

1967 – President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the meat bill in the presence of Upton Sinclair, the author of the controversial book The Jungle

1972 – The Commonwealth of Australia orders equal pay for women

1973 – The American Psychiatric Association votes to remove homosexuality from its official list of psychiatric disorders

1973 – Sandy Hawley becomes the first jockey to win 500 races in a single year

1973 – Jean Paul Getty III, the grandson of American billionaire J. Paul Getty, is found in Italy alive after having been kidnapped.  Getty originally had refused to pay for his grandson’s $17 million ransom, but decided to cooperate when the boy’s severed right ear was sent to a newspaper in Rome, although he claimed all he could raise was $2.7 million

1976 – The oil tanker MV Argo Merchant causes one of the worst marine oil spills in history, running aground near Nantucket, Massachusetts

1978 – US President Jimmy Carter announces the US will sever all relations with Taiwan and recognize the People’s Republic of China

1979 – Actor Adam Brody is born

1979 – Canadian wrestler Eric Young is born

1981 – A suicide car bomber kills 61 people at the Iraqi embassy in Beirut, Lebanon including Iraq’s ambassador to Lebanon

1986 – South Korean singer, songwriter and actor Junsu is born

1988 – Singer James Brown begins his prison sentence for his earlier actions when he marched into an insurance seminar armed with guns and ordered everyone to leave, then tried to outrun police.  Brown served three years for assault and battery with intent to kill

1989 – A popular uprising begins with a demonstration and leads to the downfall of Nicolae Ceausescu, in Romania

1993 – Schindler’s List opens in theaters

1993 – A joint resolution, known as The Downing Street Declaration, issued by the UK and the Republic of Ireland affirms the UK would transfer Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland only if a majority of Northern Ireland’s people approved

1998 – The US House of Representatives’ Committee recommends the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for high crimes and misdemeanors involving his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky

1999 – Flooding and mudslides kill thousands in Venezuela and leave 350,000 people homeless

2001 – The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after an 11-year, $27 million project to fortify it without eliminating its famed lean

2005 – F-22 Raptor Stealth fighter begins service with the US Air Force

2009 – The maiden flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner occurs

2010 – American baseball player Bob Feller dies

2011 – English-American journalist and author Christopher Hitchens dies

2013 – American broadcaster and author Harold Camping dies


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.


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