It happened today – on this day in history – December 21

1117: Archbishop of Centerbury Thomas Becket is born in London.

1804: Benjamin Disraeli is born in London.

1844: The Rochdale Pioneers commence business at their cooperative in Rochdale, the Cooperative movement.

1866: Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians kill all 81 US Army soldiers in Fetterman Massacre, the worst military disaster ever suffered by the U.S. Army on the Great Plains.

1891: The first game of basketball, based on rules created by James Naismith, is played by 18 students in Springfield, Massachusetts.

1898: Pierre and Marie Curie discover radium.

1906: Parliament passes the Trades Disputes Bill, legalising peaceful picketing, and the Workingmen’s Compensation Act, broadening employers’ liability for accidents.

1910: 344 miners die in an explosion in a coal mine in Hulton, Bolton.

1914: The first feature-length silent film comedy “Tillie’s Punctured Romance”, starring Charlie Chaplin and Marie Dressler, is released.

1923: Nepal proclaims independence.

1925: “Battleship Potemkin”, silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein, premieres in Moscow.

1929: Nicolai Poliakoff makes his first appearance as Coco the Clown for Bertram Mills Circus in Manchester.

1933: Fox Films signs Shirley Temple, aged 5, to a studio contract.

1937: The first full-length animated feature film, Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premieres.

1939: Adolf Hitler names Adolf Eichmann leader of “Referat IV B”, responsible for evictions and Jewish immigration.

1940: Author F Scott Fitzgerald dies from a heart attack aged 44.

1946: An earthquake in South Japan kills more than 1,000 people.

1948: Eire declares its independence.

1958: General Charles de Gaulle is elected President of France with an overwhelming majority.

1962: President Kennedy and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan agree the UK will buy Polaris missiles from the US to form a multilateral NATO nuclear force.


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1968: Launch of Apollo 8, the first manned trip to the moon (without landing) with astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders.

1969: Singles chart:

  1. Two Little Boys – Rolf Harris
  2. Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town – Kenny Rogers and the First Edition
  3. Sugar Sugar – The Archies
  4. Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presley
  5. Melting Pot – Blue Mink
  6. Yester Me, Yester You, Yesterday – Stevie Wonder
  7. All I Have To Do Is Dream – Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell
  8. Winter World Of Love – Engelbert Humperdinck
  9. Tracy – The Cufflinks
  10. Without Love (There Is Nothing) – Tom Jones

1970: Elvis Presley turned up at the White House requesting a meeting to discuss how the he could help Nixon fight drugs. The President agreed to give Presley a Narcotics Bureau badge – but only after learning that the chief of the narcotics bureau had turned down the same request earlier that day and told Presley the only person who could overrule his decision was the President.

1971: On his 53rd birthday, Kurt Waldheim becomes secretary general of the UN.

1977: The TUC General Council narrowly votes to reject firemen’s demands for a public campaign against a 10% limit on wage increases.

1978: Police in Des Plaines, Illinois, arrest serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

1988: A Pan Am jumbo jet with 258 passengers on board explodes mid air and crashes on to the town of Lockerbie in Scotland.

1989: US Vice President Dan Quayle sends out 30,000 Christmas cards with the word beacon spelled “beakon”.

1992: Blues singer and guitarist, Albert King dies from a heart attack in Memphis.

1995: Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control.

1999: The Spanish Civil Guard intercepts a van loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to use to blow up Torre Picasso in Madrid. On the same day, Barcelona and Brazil midfielder Rivaldo wins the Ballon d’Or.

2001: Met anti-terrorist police storm a cargo ship in the English Channel after an intelligence tip-off.

2012: ‘Gangnam Style’ by South Korean musician Psy became the first YouTube video to reach a billion views.

2013: Sports commentator David Coleman dies aged 87.

2014: On the ninth anniversary of their civil partnership, Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish marry at their Windsor estate.

2017: The UN General Assembly votes 128 to 9 to denounce the Trump administration’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

2018: Michael Buble – Love

2018: Album chart:

  1. The Greatest Showman – Film cast
  2. Love – Michael Buble
  3. Staying At Tamara’s – George Ezra
  4. Unchained Melodies – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  5. Odyssey – Take That
  6. Springsteen On Broadway – Bruce Springsteen
  7. SI – Andrea Bocelli
  8. 50 Years: Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac
  9. Christmas – Michael Buble
  10. You Know I Know – Olly Murs

2019: England World Cup legend Martin Peters dies from Alzheimer’s disease aged 76.

BIRTHDAYS: Phil Donahue, US TV show host, 85; Jane Fonda, actress, 83; Albert Lee, guitarist (Head Hands and Feet) 77; Samuel L Jackson, actor, 72; Chris Evert, tennis star, 66; Ray Romano, comedian/actor, 63; Kiefer Sutherland, actor, 54; Julie Delpy, actress, 51; Emmanuel Macron, French president, 43; Tom Payne, actor, 38; Kaitlyn Dever, actress, 24.