ON THIS DAY: December 22, 2018

December 22nd is

Be a Lover of Silence Day

Date Nut Bread Day

Forefathers Day *

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MORE! Jean Racine, Sarada Devi and Lech Wałęsa, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Macau – Dongzhi (Solstice) 

Nepal – Urdhyauli Parva
(Harvest Festival)

Pakistan – Kalash Valleys: Chaumos
(harvest celebration – goat sacrifice)

Zimbabwe – National Unity Day

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On This Day in HISTORY

AD 69 – Emperor Vitellius is captured and murdered at the Gemonian stairs in Rome


Mort de Vitellius by Charles-Gustave Houez, 1874


244 – Diocletian born, a low-status Roman from Dalmatia who will rise from the ranks to become the Roman cavalry commander under Emperor Carus, and be proclaimed Emperor after Carus and his son Numerian are killed in battle in Persia

609 – Muhammad announces he was visited by the angel Gabriel, and received his first revelation from God, while praying in seclusion in Hira, a mountain cave

880 – Luoyang, eastern capital of the Tang dynasty near the Yellow River, is captured by rebel leader Huang Chao during the reign of Emperor Xizong (873-888)



1183 – Chagatai Khan born, second son of Genghis Khan; Khan of the Mongol Chagatai Khanate (1226-1242)

1639 – Jean Racine born, major French dramatist, known for his use of Classical themes, La Thébaïde, Iphigénie, Phèdre



1666 – Guru Gobind Singh born, Indian Sikh warrior, guru and poet

1696 – James Oglethorpe born, English general and politician, first Colonial Governor of Georgia

1723 – Carl Friedrich Abel born, German viol player and composer



1715 – James Stuart, the “Old Pretender” lands at Petershead after his exile in France

1769 –Forefathers’ Day * is celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts, for the first time

1775 – A Continental naval fleet is organized in the rebellious American colonies under the command of Ezek Hopkins

1788 – Nguyễn Huệ proclaims himself Emperor Quang Trung (1788-1792), effectively ending the Lê dynasty



1807 – The Embargo Act, forbidding trade with European nations during the Napoleonic Wars, is passed by Congress, at the urging of President Thomas Jefferson in an attempt to stem violations of U.S. neutrality by American merchants, and push Great Britain and France toward making peace

1808 – Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor is first performed, for Prince Lobkotwitz of Bohemia, Beethoven’s patron



1823 – Jean-Henri Fabre born, French naturalist, entomologist, botanist and author; noted for his Souvenirs Entomologiques, a series of texts on insects and arachnids, written in an engaging style very different from the usual dry prose of academics, drawing criticism from other scientists but popularizing entomology



1823 – Thomas W. Higginson born, American Unitarian minister, militant abolitionist,  Union officer, and woman’s rights advocate who was a close friend and supporter of Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell; one of the ‘Secret Six’ who funded John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry; during the Civil War, he was a colonel in command of the First South Carolina Volunteers, the first federally authorized Union regiment of black freedmen (1862-1864); he became a correspondent of Emily Dickinson after she wrote to him about his “Letter to a Young Contributor” published in the April 1862 issue of Atlantic Monthly; Higginson was the author of Woman and Her Wishes (1853), and  Army Life in a Black Regiment (1870)



1851 – India’s first freight train is operated in Roorkee, India

1853 – Teresa Carreño born, Venezuelan-American pianist-conductor-composer



1853 – Sarada Devi born, Indian mystic and spiritual consort of Saradamani Mukhopadhyay, who became the leader of the Ramakrishna movement after his death; she paved the way for Indian women to take up the monastic life



1856 –Frank B. Kellogg born, American statesman, co-author of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, officially called the 1928 General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy, for which he was awarded the 1929 Nobel Peace Prize

1858 – Giacomo Puccini born, Italian opera composer



1864 – During the American Civil War, Union General William T. Sherman sent a message to President Lincoln from Georgia, which read, “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah”

1869 – Edwin Arlington Robinson born, American poet, winner of three Pulitzers



1876 – Filippo Tommaso Marinetti born in Egypt; Italian editor, art theorist, poet and founder of the Futurist movement, an artistic and social movement emphasizing speed, technology, youth and violence; he was one of the first affiliates of the Italian Fascist Party, and co-author of the Fascist Manifesto, but he later opposed some of its policies, walking out of the 1920 Fascist Party Congress in disgust; attacked traditional Italian cooking, especially pasta, claiming it caused lassitude, pessimism and lack of virility

1876 – Thomas Mokopu Mofolo born in Khojane, Basutoland, Basuto author who wrote mostly in the Sesotho, about the customs and spirit of the African people. His first novel,  published in 1907, Moeti oa bochabela (The Traveler of the East), was also the first novel written in Southern Sotho. Best known for Chaka, published in 1925, a novel about the notable Zulu monarch Shaka kaSenzangakhona



1877 – The “American Bicycling Journal” goes on sale for the first time

1883 – Edgard Varèse born, French-American composer



1887 – Srinivasa Ramanujan born, Indian math prodigy; with almost no formal training, he made substantial contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions, and solutions to mathematical problems considered to be unsolvable

1891 – Asteroid 323 Brucia is the first asteroid discovered using photography

1894 – The United States Golf Association is formed in New York City

1894 – French army officer Alfred Dreyfus is convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of anti-Semitism. Dreyfus is eventually vindicated

1895 – German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen made the first X-ray, of his wife’s hand

1905 – Kenneth Rexroth born, American poet



1910 – U.S. Postal savings stamps are issued for the first time, but will be discontinued in 1914

1926 – Roberta Leigh born as Rita Lewin, British author of children’s stories, science fiction, romance novels and murder mysteries; also an artist, composer and television producer; screenwriter for Space Patrol and Paul Starr, two marionette space adventure series during the 1960s, and The Solarnauts, a live-action scifi series

1937 – The Lincoln Tunnel opens to traffic in New York City

1938 – Marjorie Courtney-Latimer and Prof. J.L.B. Smith of Rhodes University identify the first coelacanth found after it had been thought extinct 50 million years



1939 – Gloria Jacobs, aged 17, becomes the first girl to hold a world pistol record when her shooting earns 299 out of a possible 300 points

1944 – During the Battle of the Bulge, Germany demands the Americans surrender at Bastogne, Belgium; Brigadier Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe reportedly replied: “Nuts!”

1944 – Dame Mary Archer born, British chemist and scientist, who specialized in solar power conversion; chair of the British National Energy Foundation (1988-2000); president of the UK Solar Energy Society (UK-ISES)



1945 –Frances Lannon born, British historian and academic specializing in Spanish history; a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society; appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE – 2016); Women and Images of Women in the Spanish Civil War, Privilege, Persecution, and Prophecy: the Catholic Church in Spain



1945 – Diane Sawyer born, American TV journalist; CBS reporter and correspondent (1978-1981); 60 Minutes correspondent (1984-1989); co-anchor of Good Morning America (1999-2009) and Primetimenewsmagazine (1989-1998 and since 2000); 2009 Peabody Award for “A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains” and inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1997



1949 – Brothers Maurice and Robin Gibb born, British singers-songwriters, the Bee Gees

1952 – Sandra Kalniete born, Latvian politician and diplomat, Member of the European Parliament for Latvia since 2009; European Commissioner for Agriculture and Fisheries (2004); Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs (2002-2004)

1956 – At the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, Colo is born, the first gorilla born in captivity



1956 – The last British and French troops leave Egypt

1957 – Carole James born, Canadian politician and public administrator; Deputy Premier of British Columbia since 2017; Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly for Victoria-Beacon Hill since 2005; Leader of the Opposition in the  Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (2005-2011); Leader of the British Columbia New Democratic Party (2003-2011)


1964 – The first test flight of the SR-71 (Blackbird) takes place at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California



1965 – In the United Kingdom, a 70 mph speed limit is applied to all rural roads including motorways for the first time

1968 – Cultural Revolution: the People’s Daily posts the instructions of Mao Zedong that “The intellectual youth must go to the country, and will be educated from living in rural poverty.”

1974 – Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli vote to become the independent nation of Comoros, but the island of Mayotte remains under French administration

1976 – Aya Takano born, Japanese Superflat and manga artist, scifi essayist; her female figure are often androgynous, floating through alternate realities



1978 – The pivotal Third Plenum of the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is held in Beijing, with Deng Xiaoping reversing Mao-era policies to pursue a program for Chinese economic reform

1983 – Egyptian President Mubarak meets with PLO leader Yasser Arafat

1989 – Romania’s hard-line Communist ruler, Nicolae Ceausescu, is overthrown in a popular uprising which began on December 16th

1990 – Lech Wałęsa was sworn in as Poland’s first popularly elected president



2001 – Hamid Karzai assumes his position as head of the post-Taliban government in Afghanistan, along with 30 other Afghans, including two women, as part of the interim government

2005 – The UN General Assembly sets the goal of cutting in half the proportion of the world’s people whose income is less than one dollar a day, and the proportion of people suffering from hunger by 2015; by 2008, in the least developed countries, 35% of the population consumes fewer than the minimum calories needed to lead a healthy active life, but in several sub-Saharan countries 60% of the population is undernourished

2005 – Astronomers announce the discovery of two more rings encircling planet Uranus

2010 – President Barack Obama signs the law repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” allowing gays for the first time in U.S. history to serve openly in America’s military



2016 – A study finds the VSV-EBOV vaccine against the Ebola virus between 70-100% effective, the first vaccine proven successful against the disease

2017 – The UN Security Council votes 15–0 in favor of additional sanctions on North Korea, including measures to slash the country’s petroleum imports by up to 90%

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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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