ON THIS DAY: December 20, 2017

December 20th is

Games Day *

Go Caroling Day

Louisiana Purchase Day *

Sangria Day

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MORE! Vespasian, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Macau – SARE Day
(Special Administrative Region Established)

Maldives – Islam Day

Panama – Day of Mourning *

Réunion – Abolition Day

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On This Day in HISTORY

69 – Vespasian, former general under Nero, enters Rome to become Emperor, founding the Flavian dynasty, later, he builds Flavian Amphitheatre, aka the Roman Colosseum



1192 – Richard I of England, aka Richard the Lionheart, is captured and imprisoned in Dürnstein Castle by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after the Third Crusade; Pope Celestine III excommunicated Duke Leonard for detaining a crusader, who transferred Richard to captivity by Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, who demanded a ransom of 100,000 pounds of silver to release him (Henry was also excommunicated by the ransom, and Richard was finally released in February of 1194

1699 – Peter the Great orders the Russian New Year changed from September 1st to January 1st

1786 – Pietro Raimondi born, Italian composer



1803 – The U.S. Senate ratifies a treaty to purchase Louisiana Territories from France for $15 million, and the Louisiana Purchase is completed at a ceremony in New Orleans

1820 – The state of Missouri enacts legislation to tax bachelors aged 21 to 50 one dollar per year for being unmarried

1859 (?) – Elsie de Wolfe born, a pioneer and the most famous name in American interior design from the early 1900s into the 1930s, influencing the change from dark and cluttered Victorian interiors to a lighter brighter, color palette, more open space in furniture placement, with window coverings which allow much more natural light into a room



1860 – After refusing to collect federal import tariffs, South Carolina is the first state to attempt to secede from the United States, but a Compromise Tariff passed by Congress defuses the immediate crisis

1861 – Ivana Kobilca born, the most prominent Slovene woman painter


Slovenščina: Gosja pastirica  by Ivana Kobilca


1864 – Confederate forces evacuate Savannah GA as Union General William T. Sherman continues his “March to the Sea”

1873 – Kan’ichi Asakawa born, Japanese historian, author, and peace advocate, The Origin of Feudal Land-Tenure in Japan (1914)

1873 – Mehmet Akif Ersoy, Turkish poet and politician, wrote the lyrics for the Turkish National Anthem

1880 – New York’s Broadway becomes known as the “Great White Way” after it is lighted by electricity

1901 – Robert Van de Graaff born, American physicist and engineer; designed the high-voltage Van de Graaf generator, often used to teach electrostatics

1902 – Sidney Hook born, American Pragmatist philosopher; The Hero in History

1904 –Yevgenia Ginzburg born, Russian journalist and author who was accused of being a Trotskyist and served an 18 year sentence, mostly in a harsh Kolyma valley camp in the Gulag; she was recommended by Anton Walter, an exiled German doctor, for a nursing position, which probably saved her life; they were later married; her many vigorous appeals to authorities finally got her case reconsidered after the death of Joseph Stalin; her memoir, Journey into the Whirlwind, was smuggled out of the USSR, and published in Italy and Germany

1911 – Hortense Calisher born, American novelist and memoirist; second woman president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1987)



1915 – The last Australian troops are evacuated from Gallipoli, after 19,441 Australians were wounded, and 8,709 died under heavy artillery fire and harsh winter conditions

1917 – Cheka, the first of a succession of Soviet ‘state security’ agencies (secret police), is instituted by a decree from Vladimir Lenin – thousands of dissidents, deserters, or other people are arrested, tortured and executed by Cheka groups during the ‘Red Terror’

1918 – Jean Marchand born, Canadian politician and trade unionist; a leader of the Catholic Workers Confederation of Canada during the 1949 Asbestos Strike in Quebec; Member of Canadian Parliament for Quebec West (1965-1968), and for Langelier (1968-1976); Senator for De la Vallière (1976-1983)

1922 – Beverly Pepper born, American sculptor, noted for her monumental works



1924 – Judy LaMarsh born, Canadian politician, lawyer and writer; as Secretary of State, she was the second woman to serve as a Canadian federal Cabinet Minister; campaigned for the Canada Pension Plan and Medicare

1924 – Adolf Hitler is released from Landsberg Prison, where he was serving a sentence for a failed coup attempt in Munich the year before – he dictated the first volume of Mein Kampf during his imprisonment

1933 – The film Flying Down to Rio debuts in New York, the first time Fred Astaire and Gingers Rogers dance together on film



1941 – First battle of the American Volunteer Group, dubbed the “Flying Tigers” – in Kunming, China

Pilots in the American Volunteer Group, the “Flying Tigers”


1946 – The film It’s a Wonderful Life has a preview showing at an NYC charity event



1948 – Carol Smart born, British feminist sociologist, criminologist and author: Women, Crime and Criminology (1976) remains a key feminist critique of the field

1948 – Alan Parsons born, English songwriter-engineer-record producer, The Alan Parsons Project



1951 – The EBR-1 in Arco, Idaho is the first nuclear power plant to generate electricity, which powers four light bulbs

1951 – Marta Russell born, American author, graphic artist and disability rights activist; diagnosed as an infant with Cerebral Palsy; Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract (1998) and in 2016, reissued in a Kindle edition

1954 – Sandra Cisneros born, Mexican-American novelist and short story writer; notable for The House on Mango Street and Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories; 2015 National Medal of Arts recipient, and numerous literary awards



1955 – Cardiff is proclaimed the capital city of Wales, United Kingdom

1957 – The initial production version of the Boeing 707 makes its first flight



1960 – Nalo Hopkinson born in Jamaica, Canadian speculative fiction author and editor; Brown Girl in the Ring, Midnight Robber, Skin Folk, The New Moon’s Arms and Salt Roads, winner of 2004 Gaylactic Spectrum Award for positive exploration of queer issues in speculative fiction

1963 – The Berlin Wall is opened for the first time to West Berliners, who were allowed one-day visits to relatives in the Eastern sector for the holidays

1967 – The band Jethro Tull is formed



1971 – The international aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) is founded by Dr. Bernard Kouchner and a group of journalists in Paris, France

1973 –Maarja Kangro born, Estonian poet, librettist, short story writer and translator

1975 – Games Day * is started by the Games Workshop

1981 – The musical Dreamgirls premieres on Broadway



1989 – Panama Day of Mourning * – U.S. invasion of Panama, “Operation Just Cause,” deposes General Manuel Noriega

1995 – NATO begins peacekeeping in Bosnia

1999 – Macau is handed over to China by Portugal

1999 – The Vermont Supreme Court rules homosexual couples are entitled to the same benefits and protections as wedded couples

2001 – The U.S. Congress passes a $20 billion package to finance “the war against terrorism” in Afghanistan

2002 – Trent Lott resigns as Senate Republican leader two weeks after igniting a political firestorm with racially charged remarks

2007 – Queen Elizabeth II becomes oldest ever monarch of the UK, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days


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About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 45 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 and a bewildered Border Collie.
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