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This Day in History - December 22

December 22

1135 – Stephen of Blois is crowned King of England

1666 – Indian guru, Guru Gobind Singh is born

1772 – Construction of the first schoolhouse west of the Allegheny Mountains begins in Schoenbrunn, Ohio by Moravian missionaries

1775 – The Continental Congress creates a Continental Navy, naming Esek Hopkins, Esq. to be commander in chief

1790 – The Turkish fortress of Izmail, thought to be impenetrable, is stormed and captured by Suvorov and the Russian army during the Russo-Turkish War

1807 – In an effort to keep the US out of the European Wars, Congress halts trading completely by passing the Embargo Act

1808 – Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 aka the Fifth Symphony, premiers in Vienna

1829 – The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad opens the first passenger railway line

1849 – Writer Fyodor Dostoevsky is led before a firing squad after having been sentenced to death for alleged antigovernment activities.  At the very last moment, he was reprieved, and sent instead into exile

1856 – US Secretary of State Frank Kellogg is born

1858 – Italian operatic composer Giacomo Puccini is born

1864 – Union General William T. Sherman presents the city he captured after his famous March to the Sea, Savannah, Georgia, to President Abraham Lincoln as a Christmas gift

1880 – English author George Eliot dies

1882 – Edward H. Johnson, an associate of Thomas Edison and the VP of the Edison Electric Light Company, becomes the first person to decorate a Christmas tree with electric lights in his home in New York City

1883 – First black to be elected to the US House of Representatives, Arthur Wergs Mitchell is born

1884 – Cattleman John Chisum who was a prominent figure in the Old West, owning a massive cattle ranch and being the key figure in the Lincoln County War of 1878-81, dies.  It was Chisum who hired Billy the Kid and turned him into a gunslinger so that he could murder supporters of the House, a large general store owned by two Irishmen who Chisum blamed for cattle rustlers stealing his herd.  The House won the Lincoln County War for having better political connections and Billy the Kid turned against Chisum for refusing to pay him for his murderous work, by joining in the cattle rustling against him

1885 – Samurai Ito Hirobumi becomes the first Prime Minister of Japan

1887 – Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan is born

1891 – Asteroid 323 Brucia, named after Catherine Wolfe Bruce, an American patron of astronomy, is discovered by Max Wolfe through the use of astrophotography-the first of its kind

1894 – French officer Alfred Dreyfus is convicted of treason by a military court-martial and sentenced to life in prison for allegedly passing military secrets to the Germans, although the evidence presented in the case was known to be unreliable and the trial itself was no less than a debacle, which is why the event is known as the “Dreyfus Affair”

1900 – The first car to be produced under the name “Mercedes” is delivered to buyer Emil Jellinek, the Austrian car racer and auto dealer

1912 – Wife of US President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson is born

1917 – Representatives for Russian and Germany begin peace talks at Brest-Litovsk, near the Polish border

1918 – The last of the food restrictions from World War I are lifted

1921 – Country singer who died in plane crash along with Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins aka Harold Hawkins, is born

1929 – Soviets depart from Manchuria after reaching a truce with the Chinese over the Eastern Railway dispute

1937 – The Lincoln Tunnel opens, under the Hudson River and connecting New Jersey to New York City

1939 – Two express trains collide in Magdeburg, Germany killing over 100

1941 – Japanese troops land on the coast of Lingayen Gulf on Luzon, the Philippines

1941 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrives in Washington, D.C. to discuss a unified Anglo-American war strategy and future peace with President Franklin Roosevelt

1942 – The Soviets drive the Germans back 15 miles at the Don River

1942 – German anthropologist Franz Boas dies

1943 – American politician and 25th US Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, is born

1944 – General Anthony McAuliffe responds to a German surrender request with the word, “Nuts!” during the Battle of the Bulge

1945 – Journalist and anchor of ABC World News, Diane Sawyer, is born

1945 – The US recognizes Tito’s government in Yugoslavia

1946 – Musician, vocalist and songwriter Rick Nielsen is born

1949 – Singers, songwriters Robin and Maurice Gibb are born

1951 – Author Charles de Lint is born

1951 – 6th Duke of Westminster, Major-General Gerald Grosvenor, is born

1956 – Colo, a western lowland gorilla, becomes the first gorilla ever to be born in captivity at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio

1965 – The EF-105F Wild Weasel makes its first kill over Vietnam

1966 – The US announces its allocating 900,000 tons of grain to fight famine in India

1968 – Julie Nixon and David Eisenhower, both progeny of US presidents, marry in New York City

1971 – The UN General Assembly votes to ratify the UN Security Council’s nomination of Austrian diplomat Kurt Waldheim to lead the UN

1971 – The Soviet Union accuses China of backing US policies in Vietnam

1971 – The Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Baltimore Bullets for their 27th straight victory, breaking the previous record for the longest winning streak in professional sports

1978 – John Wayne Gacy confesses to killing over two-dozen boys and young men and then burying them under his home in Chicago.  At the time, Gacy was the worst serial killer in modern history, raping, torturing and killing his young victims

1979 –Hollywood studio chief and producer Darryl Zanuck dies

1984 – Bernhard Goetz shoots four young black men on the New York City subway, when they were panhandling.  Three recovered, but Darrell Cabey, 18, suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed for life.  Goetz was acquitted of attempted murder charges but served 250 days for illegal gun possession.  Cabey won a civil suit against him for $43 million, forcing Goetz to declare bankruptcy

1989 – A 42-year communist rule is ended with the Romanian government of Nicolae Ceausescu is overthrown

1989 – American singer, songwriter and actress Jordin Sparks is born

1989 – Irish and French author, director, Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett dies

1989 – The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin reopens for the first time in nearly 30 years

1990 – Lech Walesa is sworn in as president of Poland

1992 – The Archives of Terror are discovered in a police station near the capital of Paraguay, detailing the records of tens of thousands of Latin Americans who had been imprisoned, tortured and/or killed by the security services of several South American governments

1997 – Hussein Farrah Aidid relinquishes his title of President of Somalia

2001 – Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, takes over an interim government

2001 – A passenger on American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris, Richard Reid, unsuccessfully attempts to destroy the plane in flight by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes

2002 – English singer, songwriter, guitarist and actor Joe Strummer dies

2008 – Around 1.1 billion gallons of coal fly ash slurry bury the eastern part of Tennessee after an ash dike breaks at a solid waste containment area in Roane County

2010 – US President Barack Obama repeals the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, preventing homosexuals from speaking of their sexual orientation in the US military

2014 – English singer, songwriter Joe Cocker 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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