ON THIS DAY: December 31, 2017

December 31st is

Champagne Day

Make Up Your Mind Day

Universal Hour of Peace *

World Healing Day


MORE! Arthur Guinness, Selma Burke and Guy Lombardo, click



Global – New Year’s Eve

Australia – Sydney: Harbour Bridge
New Year’s Eve Fireworks Display

Azerbaijan – Solidarity Day
of World Azerbaijanis

East Timor –
National Heroes Day

Japan – Ōmisoka Hatsumōde
(New year’s eve/visits to shrines)

Montserrat –
New Year’s Festival Day

Scotland – Hogmanay

Switzerland – Geneva:
Restoration Day

United Kingdom – Allendale,
Northumberland: Baal Fire Festival


On This Day in HISTORY

1225 – The Lý dynasty of Vietnam ends after 216 years by the enthronement of the boy emperor Trần Thái Tông, husband of the last Lý monarch, Lý Chiêu Hoàng, starting the Trần dynasty

1491 – Jacques Cartier born, French navigator and explorer

1493 – Eleonora Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino, born; she was largely responsible for the internal government of Urbino during her husband’s exile from 1521 to 1538, and a notable patron of the arts, including the Italian painter Titian


Eleonora Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino (detail) by Titian

1514 – Andreas Vesalius born, Belgian anatomist, physician, and author

1600 – The British East India Company was incorporated by royal charter, created to compete in the East Indian spice trade

1687 – The first Huguenots set sail from France for the Cape of Good Hope, taking vines with them that would become the foundation of the South African wine industry

1695 – The British window tax is imposed, resulting in many windows being bricked up

1711 – In spite of his military successes for England, the Duke of Marlborough is dismissed as commander-in-chief, in part due to a falling-out between his wife Sarah and Queen Anne, who dismissed her from court

John Churchill 1st Duke of Marlborough by Adriaen van der Werff

1759 – Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness

1790 – Efmeris, the oldest Greek newspaper of which issues have survived till today, is published for the first time

1796 – The incorporation of Baltimore as a city

1805 – Marie d’Agoult born in Germany, French historian and author who used the pen name Daniel Stern to publish her three volume Histoire de la révolution de 1848, and several other works, including her novels Nélida and Mes souvenirs; after divorce from her husband, the Comte d’Agoult in 1835, she lived with Franz Liszt – they had three children together but never married

Marie d’Agoult by Henri Lehmann

1813 – Geneva’s re-establishment as a republic is proclaimed. Over 15 years after Napoleon annexed the city, the last French troops leave on December 30

1841 – Alabama becomes the first state to issue dental licenses

1853 – A New Years Eve dinner party for 21 scientists is held inside a life size model of an Iguanodon dinosaur on the grounds of the Crystal Palace in London. Sculptor Benjamin W. Hawkins teamed up with paleontologist Richard Owen to create more than 2 dozen life-size models of dinosaurs for a special exhibit

1857 – Britain’s Queen Victoria decides to make Ottawa the capital of Canada

1862 – U.S. President Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union

1869 – Henri Matisse born, French painter and sculptor

Dance II – 1910 by Henri Matisse

1877 – U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes is the first U.S. President to celebrate his silver (25th) wedding anniversary in the White House

1878 – ‘Elizabeth Arden’ – Canadian businesswoman Florence Nightingale Graham is born, founder of Elizabeth Arden, Inc

1880 – George Catlett Marshall born, U.S. Army Chief of Staff (1939-1945), U.S. Secretary of State (1947-1949), spearheaded the post-WWII European recovery plan,  known as the Marshall Plan, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953

1891 – New York’s new Immigration Depot opens on Ellis Island, with improved facilities to cope with the massive numbers of arrivals

1897 – Brooklyn NY spent its last day as a separate entity before becoming part of New York City

1900 – Selma Burke born, sculptor, part of Black Renaissance under Augusta Savage, created artwork for “Roosevelt dime,” established Selma Burke Art Center (1970s)

Selma Burke with WPA project, 1935

1905 – Jule Styne born, English-American composer

1905 – Helen Dodson Prince born, American astronomer; pioneer in work on solar flares, also studied the spectroscopy of 25 Orionis; during WWI, worked at MIT on radar

1908 – Simon Wiesenthal born, Ukrainian-Austrian Nazi hunter and author

1909 – Jonah Jones born, American trumpet player and saxophonist

1914 – Mary Logan Reddick born, African-American neuroembryologist; noted for worked on embryo chick blastoderm, transplanting tissues, nerve cell differentiation and time-lapse microscopy; first female biology instructor at Morehouse College in 1939; she was a full professor and chair of the biology department at the University of Atlanta (1953- 1966)

1917 – During WWI, sugar rationing begins in Britain

1919 – Carmen Contreras-Bozak born in Puerto Rico, first Hispanic American to serve in the U.S. Women’s Army Corp (WAC) and one of the first to go overseas, working as an interpreter and also transmitting encoded messages (1942-1945)

1923 – In London, the BBC first broadcasts the chimes of Big Ben

1925 – Daphne Oram born, British composer and pioneer in electronic music

1926 – Valerie Pearl born, British historian noted for work on the English Civil War; Lecturer in History at Somerville College, Oxford

1929 – Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians play “Auld Lang Syne” as their New Year’s Eve song for the first time

1930 – Odetta Holmes born, known simply as Odetta, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, civil and human rights activist, “The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement”

1937 – Tess Jaray born, British painter-printmaker; has completed a number of major public art projects, including the terrazzo pattern design for the London Victoria train station and the forecourt of the new British Embassy in Moscow; Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects

1938 – The Harger ‘Drunkometer’, the first alcohol breath testing device, was introduced in Indiana

1940 – During a dispute between the radio networks and ASCAP (the American Society of Composers and Publishers), the radio industry was banned for ten months from playing any ASCAP-licensed music

1943 – John Denver born, American singer-songwriter-guitarist

1946 – U.S. President Truman proclaims the end of WWII hostilities

1949 – Ellen Datlow born, American scifi/fantasy/horror anthologist and author; fiction editor of Omni magazine (1981-1998); honored in 2014 with the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement

1955 – General Motors becomes the first U.S. corporation to earn over a billion dollars in a single year

1960 – The farthing coin, used in Britain since the 13th century, ceases to be legal tender

1961 – The U.S. Marshall Plan expires after distributing over $12 billion in foreign aid

1965 – Julie Doucet born, Canadian underground cartoonist and artist; best known for  Dirty Plotte, My New York Diary and The Madame Paul Affair

1972 – Joey McIntyre born, American singer-songwriter, New Kids on the Block

1974 – Private U.S. citizens are allowed to buy/own gold for the first time in 40 years

1978 – Taiwanese diplomats struck their colors for the last time from their Washington DC embassy flagpole, marking the end of diplomatic relations with the U.S.

1979 – Year-end oil prices are 88% higher than at the start of 1979

1990 – Titleholder Garry Kasparov of the U.S.S.R. wins the world chess championship match against his countryman Anatoly Karpov

1995 – Dr. Barbara Condron of the School of Metaphysics launched the first Universal Hour of Peace * on October 24, to mark the 50th anniversary of the United Nations and the autumnal equinox – it is now celebrated annually from 11:30 PM on December 31 to 12:30 AM on January 1

1999 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin resigns and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is designated acting president

1999 – The world’s oldest person, Sarah Knauss, dies at age 119 years. She was born September 24, 1880

2004 – In Taiwan, the Taipei 101 skyscraper opens to the public

2009 – Both a ‘blue moon’ and a lunar eclipse occur

2011 – NASA puts the first of two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory satellites in orbit around the Moon


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 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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6 Responses to ON THIS DAY: December 31, 2017

  1. Malisha says:

    I remember the fuel crisis of the 1970s so peripherally! I was working as a bartender, nights, in the city. It was owned by mid-level Italian Mafia, and one of the cooks was working there so that his parole officer would be satisfied with his rehabilitation. The boss had told him that he could stay home and still remain on the books and be able to prove his full-time employment but he worked because he liked it. He started to teach me how to cook Italian food; I loved that! Then he became very friendly and finally made a great show of his affection: “Malisha, bring me your car. I’ll get the tank filled up in less than an hour and bring it back to you the same day; you’ll never have to buy gas again and no waiting in line, ever.” I said, “Oh thanks Eddie, but I don’t have a car.” He stared at me, as if I had said, “I am a third-generation Martian blue-backed caterpillar.” Silence. Finally he formed a sentence: “Who took your car? I’ll kill them!”

    • wordcloud9 says:

      Your story is a little bit scary – that’s a man you don’t want to be on the bad side of. Having a source for gas at that time? That was a BIG favor.

      I was better off than a lot of people because I had a compact car that got fairly good gas mileage, but the lines were endless. Here in Southern California, it’s so hard to have a job AND a life if you don’t have a car. Without wheels, you’ll spend at least two and a half hours, and usually much more, just getting back and forth to work. Of course, nobody had a life during the gas crisis, and it was before cell phones and ipads, so you couldn’t call or text anybody to chat while you waited. On the plus side, I got a lot of reading done waiting in line.

  2. Hogmanay in Glasgow. One of the few places on earth that could teach the denizens of New Orleans how to have a street party.

    This is the drum and pipe group Clanadonia playing on a Glasgow street, Hogmanay 2014. The wild looking guy with the long beard is Tu-Bardh Stormcrow Wilson, leader of Clanadonia. Tu-Bardh taught our Celtic Lassie how to play the bodhran.

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