December is the twelfth and final month of the year. Its name is derived from the Latin word decem which means ten. It was originally the tenth month of the year. Later even as it became the twelfth month, it retained the name. It is the seasonal equivalent of June in the Southern Hemisphere. It marks the beginning of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere.

December 1

In 1918, Iceland was granted Independence by the Danish parliament.

In 1955, the modern American Civil Rights movement started when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man in a municipal bus.

In 1963, the beautiful north-eastern mountainous state of Nagaland came into being.

In 1965, Border Security Force was established.

In 1988, Benazir Bhutto was nominated to become the prime minister of Pakistan, the first woman to lead a Muslim nation.

December 2

In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of France.

In 1942, Physicists carried out the world’s first nuclear chain reaction at the University of Chicago.

In 1971, the United Arab Emirates was formed consisting of seven Arab Kingdoms. The area has some of the world’s largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas.

December 3

In 1967, the first successful heart transplant was performed by Dr Christian Barnard at Cape Town, South Africa.

In 1984, a powerful gas leak of methyl isocyanate at a Union Carbide Plant in Bhopal, India killed at least 3,000 people and injured more than 200,000.

In 1857, Polish novelist Joseph Conrad was born. He is known for his books Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim.

December 5

In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered Haiti.

In 1791, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died a pauper at the age of 35 in Vienna, Austria. He is considered one of the finest music composers who ever lived.

In 1901, Walt Disney was born in Chicago.

December 6

In 1877, Thomas Edison spoke the children’s verse “Mary had a Little lamb” while demonstrating his newly invented phonograph which recorded sounds.

In 1971, Bangladesh, which was formerly East Pakistan was recognized by India. Pakistan then broke off all diplomatic relations with India.

In 1992, the 16th century Babri Masjid at Ayodhya was demolished by kar sevaks an event that polarised India and led to communal riots in many parts of the country.

December 8

In 1941, a day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the United States and Britain declared war on Japan.

In 1980, Beatle musician John Lennon was assassinated in New York City.

In 1991, the USSR ceased to exist and a Commonwealth of Independent States was created.

December 10

In 1896, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel died at San Remo, Italy. He left a Will saying that income from his $9 million estate should be used for awards recognizing persons who make valuable contributions to humanity. This is the origin of the Nobel Prizes.

In 1948, The General Assembly of United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal declaration of Human Rights.

In 1830, poet Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst Massachusetts.

December 13

In 1642, New Zealand was discovered by Dutch navigator Abel Tasman of the Dutch East India Company.

In 1937, one of the worst atrocities of World War II started with the Japanese attacking the Chinese city of Nanking and killing an estimated 200,000 Chinese people.

In 1991, North and South Korea signed a treaty and ended the long Korean War.

In 2001, the Indian Parliament was attacked by terrorists.

December 14

In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first explorer to reach the South Pole.

In 1918, British women voted for the first time in a general election and were allowed to run for office.

In 1939, The League of Nations expelled Soviet Russia for its aggression against Finland.

In 1503, French physician Nostradamus was born. He is famous for his astrological predictions.

December 16

In 1773, The Boston Tea Party occurred as Colonial activists boarded British ships at Boston Harbor and dumped 342 containers of expensive tea into water.

In 1969, The British House of Commons voted 343-185 to abolish the death penalty in England.

In 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany. He created powerful, emotional music and is widely consider the greatest orchestral composer who ever lived.

In 1775, British novelist Jane Austen was born in Hampshire, England. She is best known for Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, and Emma.

December 17

In 1903, after three years of experimentation, Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved the first powered, controlled airplane flights.

In 1927, the revolutionaries Bhagat Singh and Shivaram Rajguru shot and killed assistant superintendent of police John Saunders.

In 1971, the war between India and Pakistan over East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) ended as 90,000 Pakistani troops surrendered.

December 19

In 1732, Benjamin Franklin first published Poor Richard’s Almanac containing weather predictions, humour, proverbs and epigrams, eventually selling nearly 10,000 copies per year.

In 1934, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the 12th President of India and the first woman to hold the office, was born at Nadgaon village in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district.

In 1998, The House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton, charging him with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice.

December 21

Winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere today is the beginning of summer.

In 1846, Anaesthesia was used for the first time in Britain during an operation at University College Hospital in London performed by Robert Liston who amputated the leg of a servant.

In 1972, East and West Germany established diplomatic ties, ending nearly two decades of Cold War hostility and paving the way for international recognition of East Germany.  

In 1988, Pan American Flight 103 exploded in mid-air as the result of a terrorist bomb and crashed into Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 passengers and crew members along with 11 persons on the ground were killed.

In 1879, Soviet Russia leader Josef Stalin (1879-1953) was born in the village of Gori in Georgia, Russia.

December 24

In 1914, the first-ever German air raid against Britain took place when a German monoplane dropped a single bomb on Dover, England, during the First World War.

In 1990, on Christmas Eve, the bells of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow rang for the first time since the death of Lenin.

December 25

Christmas Day, commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

In 1642, Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was born in Wools Thorpe, Lincolnshire, England. He was a mathematician, scientist and author.

In 1861, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, founder of the Banaras Hindu University and a leading light of the nationalist movement, was born in Allahabadin present-day Uttar Pradesh.

In 1876, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876-1948) was born in Karachi.

In 1924, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, 10th Prime Minister of India, was born.

December 26

In 2004, an estimated 230,000 persons were killed and 1.5 million left homeless when a magnitude 9.3 earthquake on the seafloor of the Indian Ocean set off a series of giant tsunami waves that smashed into the shorelines of a dozen countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and Somalia.

December 27

In 1945, The International Monetary Fund was established in Washington, D.C.

In 1996, a genocide trial began concerning the killing of an estimated 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda. In 1994, a bloody civil war had broken out between the two main ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsi.

In 1571, German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was born in Wurttemberg, Germany. He is considered the father of modern astronomy and discovered the elliptical (oval) shape of the orbits in which the earth and other planets travel around the Sun.

In 1822, French chemist-bacteriologist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was born in Dole, France. He developed the pasteurization process to kill harmful bacteria.

December 31

It is the last day of the year and is celebrated as New Year eve all over the world.

In 1879, Thomas Edison provided the first public demonstration of his electric incandescent lamp at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

In 1999, Indian Airlines Flight 814 was hijacked by armed gunmen and after a week on the eve of New Year negotiations between the hijackers and Indian authorities concluded on December 31 and the passengers were released — but India had to pay a heavy price. Three militants, Maulana Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Omar Syed Sheikh, who were jailed in Kashmir had to be released in exchange.


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