It happened today – this day in history – December 21

1582: Flanders adopts Gregorian calendar, making tomorrow January 1, 1583.

1804: Birth of Benjamin Disraeli, first Earl of Beaconsfield and twice British Prime Minister.

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

1864: General Sherman conquers Savannah, Georgia.

1866: The Fetterman Massacre: Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians kill all 81 US Army soldiers in 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: The Trades Disputes Bill, legalizing peaceful picketing, and The Workingmen’s Compensation Act, broadening employers’ liability for accidents are passed by Parliament.

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

1923: Nepal becomes independent.

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

1933: Shirley Temple is signed to a studio contract aged 5.

1937: Premiere of Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, the first feature length animation.

1940: Death of author F Scott Fitzgerald from a heart attack aged 44.

1945: Death of General George S Patton from congestive heart failure aged 60.

1948: Eire (formerly the Irish Free State) declares its independence.

1958: Charles de Gaulle wins seven-year term as first President of the Fifth Republic of France.

1962: President John F Kennedy and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan meet in Bermuda and agree the UK will buy nuclear missiles from the US to form a multilateral Nato nuclear force.

1967: Louis Washanksy, recipient of the first heart transplant, died 18 days after the operation in South Africa.

1968: Apollo 8: The first manned Moon voyage is launched with Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders.

1970: Elvis Presley pulled up outside the White House requesting a meeting with President Nixon to discuss how the King of Rock and Roll could help 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: UN Security Council chooses Kurt Waldheim as general secretary.

1978: Serial killer John Wayne Gacy is arrested in Des Plaines, Illinois.

1988: Pan Am Flight 103 is destroyed mid air by a terrorist bomb, killing all 258 on board over Lockerbie, Scotland.

1991: The Soviet Union formally dissolves as 11 of 12 republics sign treaty forming Commonwealth of Independent States.

1995: Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control.

2005: Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish became the first gay celebrities to register their relationship as a civil partnership.

2012: “Gangnam Style” by Psy becomes the first video to reach one billion views on YouTube.

2014: Elton John and David Furnish formally converted their civil partnership to a marriage hosting a ceremony at their Windsor estate.

BIRTHDAYS: Jane Fonda, actress, 82; Albert Lee, guitarist, 76; Samuel L Jackson, actor, 71; Betty Wright, singer, 66; Chris Evert, former tennis champion, 65; Ray Romano, actor, 62; Kiefer Sutherland, actor, 53; Julie Delphy, actress, 50; Emmanuel Macron, president of France, 42.


Mick Ferris

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