Dec 20, 1860. South Carolinas legislature voted to secede from the US, the first state to do so. Within six weeks, five more states seceded. On Feb 4, 1861, representatives from the six states met at Montgomery, AL, to establish a government and on Feb 9 Jefferson Davis was elected president of the Confederate States of America. By June 1861, 11 stateshad seceded.
Dec 20, 1606. Three small ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, commanded by Captain Christopher Newport, departed London, England, bound for America, where the royally chartered Virginia Companys approximately 120 persons established the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States at Jamestown, VA, May 14, 1607.
Dec 21, 1913. The first crossword puzzle was compiled by Arthur Wynne and published in a supplement to the New York World.
Dec 21, 1988. Pan Am World Airways Flight 103 exploded in midair and crashed into the heart of Lockerbie, Scotland, the result of a terrorist bombing. The 259 passengers and crew members and 11 persons on the ground were killed in the disaster. The tragedy raised questions about security and the notification of passengers in the event of threatened flights. In the resultant investigation it was revealed that government agencies andthe airline had known that the flight was possibly the target of a terrorist attack.
On 21 December 1620, the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, present-day Massachusetts, aboard the Mayflower.
Dec 21 Mar 20, 2017. In the Northern Hemisphere winter beginstoday with the winter solstice, at 5:44 AM, EST. Note that in the Southern Hemisphere today is the beginning of summer. Between the equator and Arctic Circle the sunrise and sunset points on the horizon are farthest south for the year and daylight length is minimum (ranging from 12 hours, 8 minutes, at the equator to zero at the Arctic Circle).
Dec 22, 1952. Named by a three-year-old after watching a test broadcast of the opening sequence (a hand ringing a bell), Ding Dong School was one of the first childrens educational series. Miss Frances (Dr. Frances Horwich, head of Roosevelt Colleges education department at Chicago) was the host of this weekday show.
Dec 22, 1858. Italian composer of such operas as La Boheme, Tosca and Madama Butterfly. Born at Lucca, Tuscany, Italy, he died Nov 29, 1924, at Brussels, Belgium.
On 23 Dec 23, 1913. Established pursuant to authority contained in the United States Federal Reserve Act of Dec 23, 1913, the system serves as the nation’s central bank, with the responsibility for execution of monetary policy. It contributes to the strength and vitality of the US economy, in part by influencing the lending and investing activities of commercial banks and the cost and availability of money and credit.
The Christmas-time non holiday” of Festivus
Dec 23, 1805. The founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was born at Sharon, VT. He was assassinated by an armed mob on June 27, 1844, at Carthage, IL.
Dec 23, 1975. The Congress of the US passed Public Law 94 168, known as the Metric Conversion Act of 1975. This act declares that the SI (International System of Units) will be this countrys basic system of measurement and establishes the United States Metric Board, which is responsible for the planning, coordination and implementation of the nations voluntary conversion to SI. (Congress had authorized the metric system as a legal system of measurement in the US by an act passed July 28, 1866. In 1875, the US became one of the original signers of the Treaty of the Metre, which established an international metric system.)
Dec 23, 1947. John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley of Bell Laboratories shared the 1956 Nobel Prize for their invention ofthe transistor, which led to a revolution in communications and electronics. It was smaller, lighter, more durable and more reliable and generatedless heat than the vacuum tube that had been used up to that time.
Dec 25. Christian festival commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Most popular of Christian observances, Christmas as a Feast of the Nativity dates from the fourth century. Although Jesuss birth date is not known, the Western church selected Dec 25 for the feast, possibly to counteract the non-Christian festivals of that approximate date. Many customs from non-Christian festivals (Roman Saturnalia, Mithraic suns birthday, Teutonic yule, Druidic and other winter solstice rites) have been adopted as part of the Christmas celebration (lights, mistletoe, holly and ivy, holiday tree, wassailing and gift giving, for example). Some Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas Jan 7 based on the old calendar (Julian). Theophany (recognition of the divinity of Jesus) is observed on this date and also on Jan 6, especially by the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Dec 25, 1821. Clarissa Harlowe Barton, American nurse and philanthropist, founder of the American Red Cross, was born at Oxford, MA. In 1881, she became first president of the American Red Cross (founded May21, 1881). She died at Glen Echo, MD, Apr 12, 1912.
Dec 25, 1776. One of the most famous events of the American Revolution happened on a bleak Christmas night, during driving snow. GeneralGeorge Washington led 2,400 men across the Delaware River at McConkeys Ferry, Bucks County, PA, to conduct a surprise attack on Hessian troops at Trenton, NJ. Local fishermen conducted the troops across the river, finally assembling at 3: 00 AM on the other side. Washington achieved victory at Trenton, a key event that changed the course of the war to the rebelling colonists favor.
Dec 26. Ordinarily observed on the first day after Christmas. Alegal holiday in Canada, the United Kingdom and many other countries. Formerly (according to Robert Chambers) a day when Christmas gift boxes were regularly expected by a postman, the lamplighter, the dustman and generally by all those functionaries who render services to the public at large, without receiving payment therefore from any individual. When Boxing Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the Monday or Tuesday immediately following may be proclaimed or observed as a bank or public holiday.
Dec 26, 1792. English mathematician, born at Teignmouth, England. He developed the principles on which modern computers are designed. Babbage died at London, England, Oct 18, 1871.
Dec 26. Dingle Peninsula. Masked revelers and musicians go fromdoor to door asking for money. Traditional day and night of public merrymaking.
December 26th is Saint Stephen’s Day – he was one of the seven deacons named by the apostles to distribute alms. Died during first century. Feast day is Dec 26 and is observed as a public holiday in Austria and the Republic of Ireland.
Dec 26 Jan 1, 2016. African-American family observance created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga in recognition of traditional African harvest festivals. This seven-day festival stresses unity of the black family,with a harvest feast (karamu) on the first day and a day of meditation on the final one. Kwanzaa means first fruit in Swahili.
Dec 26. A day dedicated to whiners, especially those who return Christmas gifts and need lots of attention. People are encouraged to be happy about what they do have, rather than unhappy about what they dont have.
Dec 26, 1898. French scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discovered the element radium, for which they later won the Nobel Prize in Physics.