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On December 31st...

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New Year's Eve

1378 Pope Callistus III was born.

English East India Company1600 The English East India Company was chartered by Queen Elizabeth, under the title of "The Governor and Company of Merchants of London, trading into the East Indies."

1705 Catherine of Braganza, consort of King Charles II of England, died.

1738 British General Charles Cornwallis was born.

1775 The Battle of Quebec (Canada) was fought.
1775
U.S. General Richard Montgomery died.

1781 The Bank of North America opened.

1815 Union Army General George Gordon Meade was born.

1830 Ismail Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, was born.

1831 Gramercy Park was deeded to New York City, New York.

1841 Alabama became the first U.S. state to license dental surgeons.

1857 Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the new capital of Canada.

USS Monitor1862 The USS Monitor sank in a storm.
West Virginia1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union.
1862 The Battle of Stone's River (Tennessee) began.

1864 George M. Dallas, U.S. Vice-President under James Knox Polk, died.

1869 Painter Henri Matisse was born.

1870 J. D. Schneiter patented rocket mail in France.

1878 Businesswoman Elizabeth Arden was born.

George C. Marshall1880 George Catlett Marshall, U.S. Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, was born.

1884 U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stanley Reed was born.

1890 Ellis Island opened as a U.S. immigration depot.

1892 Actor Jason Robards was born.

1901 Tomas Estrada Palma was elected the first President of Cuba.

1902 Boers and the British Army signed a peace treaty.

1904 The first New Year's Eve celebration was held in Times Square, then known as Longacre Square, in New York, New York.

Frank Marshall Davis1905 Frank Marshall Davis, journalist and poet, was born.
Guy Mollet1905 Guy Mollet, Prime Minister of France, was born.

1907 For the first time, a ball dropped at Times Square to signal the new year.

1908 "Nazi hunter" Simon Wiesenthal was born.

1923 The first transatlantic radio broadcast of a voice was made, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Manchester, England.

1934 Helen Richey became the first woman to pilot an airmail transport.

1935 Charles Darrow patented the Monopoly game.

1937 Actor Anthony Hopkins was born.

1938 The first pressurized airliner, the Boeing 307 Stratoliner, made its maiden flight.

1943 Singer John Denver was born.
1943 Actor Ben Kingsley was born.

1944 A train accident in Ogden, Utah, killed 48 persons.
1944 Hungary declared war on Germany.

1945 Ratification of the United Nations Charter was completed.

1946 French troops left Lebanon.
1946
U.S. President Harry Truman officially proclaimed the end of World War II.
1946
Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg was born.

1947 Actor Tim Matheson was born.

1948 Singer Donna Summer was born.

1950 Musician George Thorogood was born.
1950 Austrian President Karl Renner died.

1958 Cuban rebels captured Santa Clara.
1958
Actress Bebe Neuwirth was born.

1959 Actor Val Kilmer was born.

1961 The Green Bay Packers shut out the New York Giants 37-0 in the NFL Championship game.

Katanga1962 Katanga became part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
1962
"Match Game" debuted on NBC-TV.

Rhodesia and Nyasaland1963 The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was formally dissolved.
1963 The "Dear Abby" show premiered on CBS Radio.

1968 The first supersonic airliner, a Russian TU-144, was test flown.

1970 The U.S. Congress authorized an Eisenhower dollar coin.

1972 Baseball player Roberto Clemente died.

1977 Amir Sheikh Jabir al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah became the leader of Kuwait.

1980 Leopold Senghor resigned as President of Senegal.

1981 CNN Headline News debuted.
1981 Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings became head of Ghana.

Brunei1983 Brunei gained complete independence from the United Kingdom.
Nigeria1983 The government of Nigeria was overthrown by a military coup.

1985 Singer Ricky Nelson died.

1986 Fire at the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, killed 97 persons.

1988 The Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles played the NFC Divisional Playoff Game in a dense fog.

1990 The Sci-Fi Channel debuted.
1990 Matthew Perkins, founder of Perkins Restaurant and Bakery, died.

1993 Barbra Streisand did her first live public concert in 20 years.
1993
U.S. Senator Alan Cranston died.

1995 Cartoonist Bill Watterson ended his "Calvin & Hobbes" comic strip.
1995 Gymnast Gabby Douglas was born.

1997 Surgeons successfully separate Zambian Siamese twins joined at the head.
1997
Pianist Floyd Cramer died.

Panama Canal1999 The United States formally transferred sovereignty over the Panama Canal to Panama.
Boris Yeltsin1999 Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia.
1999 U.S. government official Elliot Richardson died.

2000 Alan Cranston, former U.S. Senator from California, died.

2004 The 1,670-foot-high Taipei 101 was officially opened.

2014 A stampede of New Year's revellers on Shanghai's Bund Riverfront left 36 persons dead and 47 wounded.
2014 Beji Caid Essebsi was sworn in as Tunisia's first ever freely elected President.

2016 Actor William Christopher died.

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The Robinson Library >> On This Day

This page was last updated on December 31, 2017.