Historic World Events / December (page 5)

December

List historic world events in December

Prohibition ends

Prohibition ends

The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and bringing an end to the era of national prohibition of alcohol in America. At 5:32 p.m. EST, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, achieving the requisite three-fourths majority of states’ approval. Pennsylvania and …

Read More »

Yuan Shih-kai accepts Chinese throne

Yuan Shih-kai accepts Chinese throne

With war raging in Europe, conflict also reigns in the Far East between two traditional enemies, Japan and an internally-divided China. On December 11, 1915, the first president of the new Chinese republic, Yuan Shih-kai, who had come to power in the wake of revolution in 1911 and the fall …

Read More »

Frank Sinatra Jr. endures a frightening ordeal

Frank Sinatra Jr. endures a frightening ordeal

Frank Sinatra Jr., who was kidnapped in Lake Tahoe, California, on December 8, is allowed to talk to his father briefly. The 19-year-old man, who was trying to follow in his father’s footsteps by pursuing a singing career, was abducted at gunpoint from his hotel room at Harrah’s Casino and …

Read More »

Apollo 8 returns to Earth

Apollo 8 returns to Earth

Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, returns safely to Earth after an historic six-day journey. On December 21, Apollo 8 was launched by a three-stage Saturn 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, Jr., and William Anders aboard. On Christmas Eve, the …

Read More »

Fire breaks out in Chicago theater

Fire breaks out in Chicago theater

A fire in the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, Illinois, kills more than 600 people on this day in 1903. It was the deadliest theater fire in U.S. history. Blocked fire exits and the lack of a fire-safety plan caused most of the deaths. The Iroquois Theater, designed by Benjamin Marshall …

Read More »

Britain agrees to return Hong Kong to China

Britain agrees to return Hong Kong to China

In the Hall of the People in Beijing, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang sign an agreement committing Britain to return Hong Kong to China in 1997 in return for terms guaranteeing a 50-year extension of its capitalist system. Hong Kong–a small peninsula and group of …

Read More »

Situation in Cambodia worsens

Situation in Cambodia worsens

In Cambodia, communist fighters renew their assaults on government positions, forcing the retreat of Cambodian government forces from Kompong Thmar and nearby Ba Ray, six miles northeast of Phnom Penh. Premier Lon Nol and his troops had been locked in a desperate battle with the communist Khmer Rouge and their …

Read More »

Earthquake devastates Armenia

Earthquake devastates Armenia

In the Soviet Union, an earthquake of a 6.9 magnitude on the Richter scale hits northwestern Armenia, affecting an area 50 miles in diameter. The initial earthquake was followed four minutes later by a powerful 5.8 magnitude aftershock. More than 20 towns and 342 villages were affected, and 58 of …

Read More »

Tasman discovers New Zealand

Tasman discovers New Zealand

Dutch navigator Abel Tasman becomes the first European explorer to sight the South Pacific island group now known as New Zealand. In his sole attempt to land, several of Tasman’s crew were killed by warriors from a South Island tribe, who interpreted the Europeans’ exchange of trumpet signals as a …

Read More »