ON THIS DAY: December 17, 2017

December 17th is

Maple Syrup Day

Wright Brothers Day *


MORE! Charles Dickens, Penelope Fitzgerald and William Safire, click



Pagan: Saturnalia – gift-giving, gambling, hat-wearing, drinking and feasting in honor of the Roman god Saturn

Bhutan – National Day

Chile – Election Day

Mexico – Las Posadas
(Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem)


On This Day in HISTORY

497 BC – The first Saturnalia festival was celebrated in ancient Rome

Painting by Roberto Bompiani 1875  (this is pretty tame for Saturnalia, but most of the other works of art were X-rated)

1398 – Tamerlane, also called Amir Timur, wins the battle against Sultan Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah Tughluq, and sacks the city of Delhi in northern India, leaving it in ruins

1538 – Pope Paul III excommunicates Henry VIII of England

1616 – Sir Roger L’Estrange born, English Royalist and pamphleteer; An Account of the Growth of Knavery

1749 – Domenico Cimarosa born, Italian opera composer;  Il matrimonio segreto, Oreste 

1777 – American Revolution: France formally recognizes the United States

1778 – Humphry Davy born, English chemist and physicist

1790 – During repair work on the Mexico City Cathedral, workers discover the Aztec calendar stone

1797 – Joseph Henry born, American scientist who worked on electromagnets; served as First Secretary of the Smithsonian

1807 – John Greenleaf Whittier born, American Quaker poet, editor and abolitionist

1819 – Simón Bolívar declares the independence of Gran Colombia in Angostura, now Ciudad Bolívar in Venezuela

1843 – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is published


1865 – First performance of the Unfinished Symphony by Franz Schubert

1873 – Ford Madox Ford, English novelist, poet and editor; The Good Soldier

1874 – Mackenzie King born, Canadian economist and politician, longest-serving Canadian Prime Minister; led the country during WWII, mobilizing supplies and volunteers to support Britain

1892 –First performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in St. Petersburg

1894 – Edwin J. Cohn, American biochemist whose method of separating blood plasma proteins (blood fractionation) was used in lifesaving treatments of WWII soldiers

1894 – Arthur Fiedler born, American conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra

1900 – Dame Mary Cartwright born, British mathematician; first woman to earn a first in mathematics at Oxford; a pioneer in what is now called chaos theory

1903 – The Wright brothers make the first controlled powered, heavier-than-air flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

1903 – Ray Noble born, English bandleader, composer, “Love Is the Sweetest Thing”

1903 – Erskine Caldwell born, American novelist; Tobacco Road and God’s Little Acre

1910 – Sy Oliver, American Jazz composer-arranger-bandleader

1916 – Penelope Fitzgerald born, historical novelist, biographer and essayist; 1979 Book Prize for her novel Offshore, and the 1997 National Book Critics Circle Award for The Blue Flower, an historical novel which was her final work

1918 – 1,000 demonstrators from the Australian Workers’ Union, angry about taxation, wage and employment issues, march on Government House in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

1929 – William Safire born, American journalist and author, On Language, Safire’s Political Dictionary

1930 – Dorothy Rowe born, Australian psychologist and author, with a specialty in depression; Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison, Beyond Fear

1935 – First flight of the Douglas DC-3

1940 – María Elena Velasco born, one of Mexico’s few major women filmmakers, also an actress and screenwriter

1942 – Paul Butterfield born, American blues harmonica player and singer; The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

1943 – The ban on Chinese immigrants becoming U.S. citizens is lifted by repeal of the Act of 1882 and the introduction of the Magnuson Act

1944 – The U.S. Army announces the end of its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast. Japanese-Americans are released from detention camps

1945 – Jacqueline Wilson born, British children’s author; noted for Tracy Beaker series; won the Smarties Prize, and was the fourth British Children’s Laureate (2005-2007)

1947 – First flight of the Boeing B-47 Stratojet strategic bomber

1951 – The American Civil Rights Congress delivers “We Charge Genocide” to the United Nations

1953 – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decides to approve RCA’s color television specifications

1955 – Carl Perkins writes the song “Blue Suede Shoes”

1957 – The United States successfully launches the first Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile at Cape Canaveral FL

1959 – The film On the Beach premiered in New York City and in 17 other cities, the first motion picture to debut simultaneously in major cities around the world

1960 – Troops loyal to Emperor Haile Selassie in Ethiopia crush the coup that began December 13, returning power to their leader upon his return from Brazil.

1967 – Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappears while swimming near Portsea, Victoria, and is presumed drowned

1969 – The U.S. Air Force closes its Project “Blue Book” concluding that there is no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings

1978 – OPEC decides to raise oil prices by 14.5% by the end of 1979

1986 – Davina Thompson became the world’s first recipient of a heart, lungs, and liver transplant

1989 – The animated TV series The Simpsons premieres

1992 – U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

2003 – SpaceShipOne, piloted by Brian Binnie, makes its first powered and first supersonic flight

2005 – Anti-World Trade Organization protesters riot in Wan Chai, Hong Kong

2014 – The United States and Cuba re-establish diplomatic relations after severing relations 55 years before


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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