ON THIS DAY: December 21, 2018

December 21st is

Crossword Puzzle Day *

Humbug Day

Short Story Day *

Flashlight Day *

Ribbon Candy Day *

Short Girl Appreciation Day

Look on the Bright Side Day

International Dalek Remembrance Day *


MORE! Namik Nadal, María Cadilla and Arthur Wynne, click



Celebrated by Pagans and Celts:
Northern Hemisphere – Winter Solstice (aka Yule)
Southern Hemisphere – Summer Solstice (aka Litha)

Guatemala – Chichicastenango:
Santo Tomas/Palo Volador (dance of the fliers)

Sāo Tomé e Príncipe –
Dia de Sāo Tomé e Príncipe

United Kingdom – Brighton & Hove:
Burning the Clocks


On This Day in HISTORY

69 – The Roman Senate formally declares Vespasian emperor of Rome, the last in the ‘Year of the Four Emperors’ after the brief reigns of Galba, Otho and Vitellius during the civil war set off by the suicide of Nero

1118 – Thomas Becket born, English archbishop and saint

1237 – The city of Ryazan, southeast of Moscow, is sacked by the Golden Horde of Mongol ruler Batu Khan

1361 – Reconquista, Battle of Linuesa: The forces of the Emirate of Granada are defeated by the combined forces of the Kingdoms of Castile and Jaén

1598 –  Battle of Curalaba: The Mapuche, led by cacique (chief) Pelentaru, launch a night attack on Spanish troops under governor Martín García Óñez de Loyola  in southern Chile, killing the governor and all but one of his soldiers, who was left for dead, and a priest. This begins a full revolt under the leadership of the Mapuche toqui (war leader) Paillamucha

1603 – Roger Williams born, English minister, theologian, and politician, founded the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He was a staunch advocate for religious freedom, separation of church and state, fair dealings with American Indians, and he was one of the first abolitionists

1620 – Plymouth Colony: William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims land on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth MA

1728 – Hermann Raupach born, German harpsichordist and composer

1795 – Jack Russell born, English priest, hunter, and dog breeder

1804 – Benjamin Disraeli born, British prime minister (1868 and 1874-1880)

1805 – Thomas Graham born, Scottish chemist noted for his pioneering work in dialysis and the diffusion of gases

1826 – The Fredonian Rebellion, which lasted just over month, is the first attempt by Anglo settlers in Texas to secede from Mexico; led by empresario Haden Edwards, they declare independence from Mexican Texas and create the Republic of Fredonia near Nacogdoches on land the Mexican government had granted to Edwards in 1825, which included areas that had been previously settled

1830 – Bartolomé Masó born, Cuban freedom fighter and politician; in 1851, he gave a speech protesting the execution of Narciso López, leader of an expedition attempting to free Cuba from Spanish rule, on the garrote. After the speech, he was under surveillance by the colonial authorities; he fought in the Ten Years’ War, and was imprisoned by the Spanish in 1878, but was later released, and fought in the Cuban War of Independence  (1895-1898), and was chosen as vice president of the “Republic in Arms,” and became the first president of the revolutionary government (1897-1898)

1840 – Namik Nadal born, Ottoman Turkish writer, intellectual, reformer, journalist, playwright, and political activist, influential in formation of the Young Turks and their struggle for governmental reform in the Ottoman Empire

1841 – Thomas Bracken born in Ireland, New Zealand poet, journalist and politician who wrote “God Defend New Zealand” the country’s English-language National Anthem

1844 – The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers commences business at its cooperative in Rochdale, England, establishing its ‘Rochdale Principles’ as the operational principles for cooperatives which continue to be used worldwide today

1850 –Zdeněk Fibich born, Czech composer and poet

1860 – Henrietta Szold born, American Jewish leader; founder of Hadassah (American women’s Zionist organization)

1861 – Medal of Honor: Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor, is signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln

1866 – Maud Gonne born, Irish nationalist, political activist and suffragette; when the poet William Butler Yeats fell in love with her, she did not return his feelings

1872 – HMS Challenger, a scientific expedition commanded by Captain George Nares, sails from Portsmouth, England, to travel 70,000 nautical miles (130,000 km) surveying and exploring; Report Of The Scientific Results of the Exploring Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873-76 catalogs over 4,000 previously unknown species

Challenger’s laboratory

1872 – Albert Payson Terhune born, American journalist, author of a series of collie stories beginning with Lad: A Dog

1879 – World premiere of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark – with a tacked-on happy ending

1883 – The Royal Canadian Dragoons and the Royal Canadian Regiment, the first Permanent Force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army, are formed

1884 – María Cadilla Colón de Martínez born, Puerto Rican writer, educator, women’s rights activist, and one of the first Puerto Rican women to earn a doctorate, from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, in 1933; taught history and literature at the University of Puerto Rico, and collected Puerto Rico’s folklore; wrote La Campesina de Puerto Rico (The Farmwoman of Puerto Rico) and Hitos de la Raza (Milestones of the Race)

1892 – Dame Rebecca West born, English journalist who covered the Nuremberg trials, and novelist, The Return of the Soldier

1898 –Marie and Pierre Curie discover the radioactive element radium

1899 – Flashlight Day * – In January 1899, a U.S. patent was issued to British Inventor David Misell for a primitive version of the modern flashlight – his company gave a number of them to the New York Police Department, and the police responded highly favorably, which helped make the new kind of light popular – celebrated on the shortest day of the year as a reminder to check and replace your batteries to be prepared for wintertime emergencies

1905 – Käte Fenchel born, German Jewish mathematician, noted for her work on Non-abelian groups; because of gender discrimination, she was not allowed at first to study pure mathematics at the University of Bern, and had to enroll in mathematics education classes.  When Adolf Hitler came to power, she lost her job. Newly married to Werner Fenchel, another mathematician and also a Jew, she fled with him to Denmark, and when the Nazis invaded there, to Sweden. They returned to Denmark after the war

1907 – The Chilean Army opens fire in a massacre of 2,000 striking saltpeter miners and their wives and children in Iquique, Chile. The miners were striking to protest their terrible working conditions and low wages

1913 – Arthur Wynne’s “word-cross”, the first crossword puzzle, is published in the New York World

1914 – Marie Dressler, Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand and Mack Swain appear in the first six-reel, feature-length comedy, entitled “Tillie’s Punctured Romance”

1917 – Andre Eglesky born in Russia, American ballet dancer who was a leading dancer with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and premier danseur with George Balanchine’s American Ballet (later renamed New York City Ballet)

1917 – Henrich Böll born, one of Germany’s foremost writers after WWII; 1972 Nobel Prize for Literature; Billiards at Half-past Nine, The Bread of Those Early Years, The Clown, The Safety Net

1920 – Adele Goldstine born, American mathematician and computer programmer; wrote the first computer manual, for ENIAC the first electronic digital computer, and worked on the project to program ENIAC to perform fifty different stored instructions

1921 – Alicia Alonso born, Cuban ballerina and choreographer, founded the Cuban National Ballet

1922 – Cécile DeWitt-Morette born, French mathematician and physicist; founder of the summer school at Les Houches in the French Alps; attendees at the school included over 20 students who went on to be Nobel Laureates

1925 – Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin premieres in Moscow

1932 – U. R. Ananthamurthy born, Indian author, Samskara

1937 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premieres, the world’s first full-length animated feature

1937 – Jane Fonda born, American actress, producer, and controversial political activist

1940 – Frank Zappa born, American singer-songwriter- producer; Mothers of Invention

1948 – Ireland becomes an independent republic

1958 – Charles de Gaulle is elected president of France

1959 – Florence Griffith Joyner (“Flo-Jo”) born, Olympic track and field champion, won 3 gold medals and a silver at 1988 Summer games, dubbed “World’s Fastest Woman”

1960 – Sherry Rehman born, Pakistani politician and diplomat; since 2015, representative of Sindh in the Senate of Pakistan; Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. (2011-2013); Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan (2007-2011)

1962 – Rondane National Park is established as Norway’s first national park

1963 – International Dalek Remembrance Day * – the first time that the Daleks appeared on Doctor Who

1967 – Louis Washkansky, the first man to undergo a heart transplant, dies 18 days after  surgery in Cape Town, South Africa

1968 – NASA’s Apollo 8 is launched from the Kennedy Space Center, placing its crew on a lunar trajectory for the first orbit of another celestial body by a manned spacecraft

1971 –Kurt Waldheim is chosen to succeed U Thant as UN secretary general (1972-1981); but his Nazi war record, uncovered when he successfully ran for President of Austria in 1986, causes international controversy

1973 – UN convenes the Geneva Conference on the Arab-Israeli conflict; no agreement is reached, but military disengagements between Israel and Egypt and between Israel and Syria are signed the following year

1991 –Eleven of the 12 former Soviet republics proclaim the birth of the Commonwealth of Independent States

1995 – The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control

1996 – After two years of denials, U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich admitted violating House ethics rules

1997 – Nigeria’s deputy head of state, Lieutenant General Oladipo Diya, and eleven others are arrested and accused of plotting to overthrow General. Sani Abacha

1998 – The first vaccine for Lyme disease is approved

1998 – Ribbon Candy Day * – Judy Pancoast of New Hampshire, Ribbon Candy has a special meaning. “My father’s birthday was December 21st, and since it was so close to Christmas all he ever wanted for his birthday was a box of ribbon candy. He passed away in the spring of 1998. As his birthday approached I began to feel sad, thinking that I had no one to give a box of ribbon candy to that year. Then it dawned on me – I could honor my Daddy by giving away boxes of ribbon candy in his name on his birthday”

2010 – Short Story Day * is launched, to celebrate the art and refinement of the short story form on the shortest day of the year

2014 – Osama Mehmood, spokesman the South Asia branch of Al Queda, condemned the slaughter by the Taliban of 149 people, 132 of them children, at a school in Peshawar, reaffirming Al Queda’s opposition to the U.S. and the government of Pakistan, but that the murders had “crossed the limit.”


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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4 Responses to ON THIS DAY: December 21, 2018

  1. Malisha says:

    What a relief, when I found out that Daleks were fictional people. I saw “Dalek Remembrance Day” and couldn’t figure out who Dalek was. Then I began to worry that there was some giant, significant piece of current history that I had completely missed. Only when I came to the entry and its description did I realize the “Daleks” never actually existed in the real world. Still, I am worried that Trump might try to start trouble with or over them.

  2. wordcloud9 says:

    Malisha –
    You are obviously not a Dr. Who fan – but Trump probably isn’t either, so we’ll hope nobody mentions them to him!

Comments are closed.