Historic World Events / December (page 4)

December

List historic world events in December

Slavery abolished in America

Slavery abolished in America

Following its ratification by the requisite three-quarters of the states earlier in the month, the 13th Amendment is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution, ensuring that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Before the American Civil War, Abraham …

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USSR established

USSR established

In post-revolutionary Russia, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is established, comprising a confederation of Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, and the Transcaucasian Federation (divided in 1936 into the Georgian, Azerbaijan, and Armenian republics). Also known as the Soviet Union, the new communist state was the successor to the Russian Empire …

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Joseph Conrad’s birthday

Joseph Conrad’s birthday

On this day in 1857, Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski–later known as Joseph Conrad–is born in Poland. Conrad spent his early childhood in northern Russia, where his father, a Polish poet and patriot, had been exiled. His parents both died of tuberculosis when he was 12. An uncle raised Joseph for …

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The Battle of the Falkland Islands

The Battle of the Falkland Islands

A month after German naval forces led by Admiral Maximilian von Spee inflicted the Royal Navy’s first defeat in a century by sinking two British cruisers with all hands off the southern coast of Chile, Spee’s squadron attempts to raid the Falkland Islands, located in the southern Atlantic Ocean, only …

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Somerset Maugham sails for Pago Pago

Somerset Maugham sails for Pago Pago

On this day in 1916, W. Somerset Maugham departs on a voyage to Pago Pago. Characters he meets on the voyage, including a prostitute and a missionary, inspire the story “Miss Thompson,” which is published in his 1923 story collection, The Trebling of a Leaf. The story becomes the play …

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First human heart transplant

First human heart transplant

On December 3, 1967, 53-year-old Lewis Washkansky receives the first human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. Washkansky, a South African grocer dying from chronic heart disease, received the transplant from Denise Darvall, a 25-year-old woman who was fatally injured in a car accident. Surgeon …

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Heavy rain leads to mudslides in Venezuela

Heavy rain leads to mudslides in Venezuela

Flooding and mudslides caused by extremely heavy rains on this day in 1999 kill thousands in Venezuela. Another 350,000 people, mostly the very poor, were left homeless from the terrible storm. In the Caracas metropolitan area, about 80 percent of the population was impoverished in the late 1990s. Most of …

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Stuntman Stan Barrett breaks the sound barrier

Stuntman Stan Barrett breaks the sound barrier

On December 17, 1979, Hollywood stuntman Stan Barrett blasts across a dry lakebed at California’s Edwards Air Force Base in a rocket- and missile-powered car, becoming the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound on land. He did not set an official record, however. The radar scanner …

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Truman declares state of emergency

Truman declares state of emergency

In the wake of the massive Chinese intervention in the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman declares a state of emergency. Proclaiming that “Communist imperialism” threatened the world’s people, Truman called upon the American people to help construct an “arsenal of freedom.”In November, the stakes in the Korean War dramatically …

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Treaty of Paris ends Spanish-American War

Treaty of Paris ends Spanish-American War

In France, the Treaty of Paris is signed, formally ending the Spanish-American War and granting the United States its first overseas empire. The Spanish-American War had its origins in the rebellion against Spanish rule that began in Cuba in 1895. The repressive measures that Spain took to suppress the guerrilla …

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