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Take a look at these important events in the month of December, that changed world history. 


December 1

1768 – The former slave ship Fredensborg sinks off Tromøy in Norway.

1822 – Peter I was crowned the Emperor of Brazil.

1824 – United States presidential election, 1824: Since no candidate received a majority of the total electoral college votes in the election, the United States House of Representatives is given the task of deciding the winner in accordance with the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1826 – French philhellene Charles Nicolas Fabvier forces his way through the Turkish cordon and ascends the Acropolis of Athens, which had been under siege.

1828 – Argentine general Juan Lavalle makes a coup against governor Manuel Dorrego, beginning the Decembrist revolution.

1834 – Slavery is abolished in the Cape Colony in accordance with the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.

December 2

1697 – St Paul's Cathedral is consecrated in London.

1755 – The second Eddystone Lighthouse is destroyed by fire.

1763 – Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, the first synagogue in what will become the United States.

1766 – Swedish parliament approves the Swedish Freedom of the Press Act and implements it as a ground law, thus being the first in the world with freedom of speech.

1804 – At Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself Emperor of the French, the first French Emperor in a thousand years.

1805 – War of the Third Coalition: Battle of Austerlitz – French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte decisively defeat a joint Russo-Austrian force.

1823 – Monroe Doctrine: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President James Monroe proclaims American neutrality in future European conflicts, and warns European powers not to interfere in the Americas. 

1845 – Manifest Destiny: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President James K. Polk proposes that the United States should aggressively expand into the West.

December 3

1775 – USS Alfred becomes the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag (the precursor to the Stars and Stripes); the flag is hoisted by John Paul Jones

1776 - Washington arrives at the banks of Delaware.

1799 – War of the Second Coalition: Battle of Wiesloch – Austrian Lieutenant Field Marshal Anton Sztáray defeats the French at Wiesloch.

1800 – War of the Second Coalition: Battle of Hohenlinden – French General Moreau decisively defeats the Archduke John of Austria near Munich. Coupled with First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte's earlier victory at Marengo, this will force the Austrians to sign an armistice and end the war.

1800 – United States presidential election: The Electoral College casts votes for president and vice president, resulting in a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.

1818 – Illinois becomes the 21st U.S. state.

1834 – The Zollverein (German Customs Union) begins the first regular census in Germany. 

1839 - Future President Abraham Lincoln advances to another stage in his legal career when he is admitted to practice law in the U.S. Circuit Court.

December 4

1674 – Father Jacques Marquette founds a mission on the shores of Lake Michigan to minister to the Illiniwek. (The mission would later grow into the city of Chicago.)

1676 – Battle of Lund: A Danish army under the command of King Christian V engages the Swedish army commanded by Field Marshal Simon Grundel-Helmfelt.

1745 – Charles Edward Stuart's army reaches Derby, its furthest point during the Second Jacobite Rising.

1783 – At Fraunces Tavern in New York City, U.S. General George Washington bids farewell to his officers.

1786 – Mission Santa Barbara is dedicated (on the feast day of Saint Barbara).

1791 – The first edition of The Observer, the world's first Sunday newspaper, is published.

1829 – In the face of fierce local opposition, British Governor-General Lord William Bentinck issues a regulation declaring that anyone who abets suttee in Bengal is guilty of culpable homicide. 

December 5

1757 – Seven Years' War: Battle of Leuthen – Frederick II of Prussia leads Prussian forces to a decisive victory over Austrian forces under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine.

1766 – In London, James Christie holds his first sale.

1775 – At Fort Ticonderoga, Henry Knox begins his historic transport of artillery to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

1815 – Foundation of Maceió, Brazil.

1831 – Former U.S. President John Quincy Adams takes his seat in the House of Representatives. 

December 6

1704 – Battle of Chamkaur: During the Mughal-Sikh Wars, an outnumbered Sikh Khalsa defeats a Mughal army.

1745 – Charles Edward Stuart's army begins retreat during the second Jacobite Rising.

1768 – The first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica is published.

1790 – The U.S. Congress moves from New York City to Philadelphia. 

December 7

1703 – The Great Storm of 1703, the greatest windstorm ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain, makes landfall. Winds gust up to 120 mph, and 9,000 people die.

1724 – Tumult of Thorn: Religious unrest is followed by the execution of nine Protestant citizens and the mayor of Thorn (Toruń) by Polish authorities.

1732 – The Royal Opera House opens at Covent Garden, London, England.

1776 – Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, arranges to enter the American military as a major general.

1787 – Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the United States Constitution. 

December 8

 1813 – Premier of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.

December 9

1775 – American Revolutionary War: British troops lose the Battle of Great Bridge, and leave Virginia soon afterward.

1793 – New York City's first daily newspaper, the American Minerva, is established by Noah Webster.

1824 – Patriot forces led by General Antonio José de Sucre defeat a Royalist army in the Battle of Ayacucho, putting an end to the Peruvian War of Independence.

1835 – Texas Revolution: The Texian Army captures San Antonio, Texas. 

December 10

1665 – The Royal Netherlands Marine Corps is founded by Michiel de Ruyter

1684 – Isaac Newton's derivation of Kepler's laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, is read to the Royal Society by Edmond Halley.

1799 – France adopts the meter as its official unit of length.

1817 – Mississippi becomes the 20th U.S. state. 

December 11

1688 – Glorious Revolution: James II of England, while trying to flee to France, allegedly throws the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames.

1789 – The University of North Carolina is chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly.

1792 – French Revolution: King Louis XVI of France is put on trial for treason by the National Convention.

1815 – The U.S. Senate creates a select committee on finance and a uniform national currency, the predecessor of the United States Senate Committee on Finance.

1816 – Indiana becomes the 19th U.S. state. 

December 12

1781 – American Revolutionary War: Second Battle of Ushant – A British fleet led by HMS Victory defeats a French fleet.

1787 – Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the United States Constitution, five days after Delaware became the first. 

December 13

 1758 – The English transport ship Duke William sinks in the North Atlantic, killing over 360 people.

1769 – Dartmouth College is founded by the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, with a royal charter from King George III, on land donated by Royal Governor John Wentworth.

December 14

1751 – The Theresian Military Academy is founded as the first military academy in the world.

1782 – The Montgolfier brothers' first balloon lifts off on its first test flight.

1799 - George Washington dies at Mount Vernon.

1812 – The French invasion of Russia comes to an end as the remnants of the Grande Armée are expelled from Russia.

1814 – War of 1812: The Royal Navy seizes control of Lake Borgne, Louisiana.

1819 – Alabama becomes the 22nd U.S. state.

1836 – The Toledo War unofficially ends. 

December 15

1778 – American Revolutionary War: British and French fleets clash in the Battle of St. Lucia.

1791 – The United States Bill of Rights becomes law when ratified by the Virginia General Assembly. 

December 16

1689 – Convention Parliament: The Declaration of Rights is embodied in the English Bill of Rights.

1707 – Last recorded eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan.

1761 – Seven Years' War: After a four-month siege, the Russians under Pyotr Rumyantsev take the Prussian fortress of Kołobrzeg.

1773 – American Revolution: Boston Tea Party – Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawk Indians dump hundreds of crates of tea into Boston harbor as a protest against the Tea Act.

1811 – The first two in a series of four severe earthquakes occur in the vicinity of New Madrid, Missouri.

1826 – Benjamin W. Edwards rides into Mexican-controlled Nacogdoches, Texas, and declares himself ruler of the Republic of Fredonia.

1838 – Great Trek: Battle of Blood River – Voortrekkers led by Andries Pretorius and Sarel Cilliers defeat Zulu impis, led by Dambuza (Nzobo) and Ndlela kaSompisi in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. 

December 17

1718 – War of the Quadruple Alliance: Great Britain declares war on Spain.

1777 – American Revolution: France formally recognizes the United States.

1790 – Discovery of the Aztec calendar stone.

1807 – Napoleonic Wars: France issues the Milan Decree, which confirms the Continental System.

1812 – War of 1812: U.S. forces attack a Lenape village in the Battle of the Mississinewa.

1813 – The Sûreté Nationale, the national police force of France, is founded, headed by Eugène François Vidocq.

1819 – Simón Bolívar declares the independence of Gran Colombia in Angostura (now Ciudad Bolívar in Venezuela).

1835 – Great Fire of New York: Fire levels lower Manhattan.

1837 – A fire in the Winter Palace of Saint Petersburg kills 30 guards. 

December 18

1777 – The United States celebrates its first Thanksgiving, marking the recent victory by the Americans over British General John Burgoyne in the Battle of Saratoga in October.

1787 – New Jersey becomes the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

1793 – Surrender of the frigate La Lutine by French Royalists to Lord Samuel Hood; renamed HMS Lutine, she later becomes a famous treasure wreck. 

December 19

1675 – The Great Swamp Fight, a pivotal battle in King Philip's War, gives the English settlers a bitterly won victory.

1776 – Thomas Paine publishes one of a series of pamphlets in The Pennsylvania Journal entitled "The American Crisis".

1777 – American Revolutionary War: George Washington's Continental Army goes into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

1796 – French Revolutionary Wars: Two British frigates under Commodore Horatio Nelson and two Spanish frigates under Commodore Don Jacobo Stuart engage in battle off the coast of Murcia.

1828 – Nullification Crisis: Vice President of the United States John C. Calhoun pens the South Carolina Exposition and Protest, protesting the Tariff of 1828. 

December 20

1745 - Bonnie Prince Charlie's army meets de Esk

1780 - England declares war on the Netherlands

1783 - Virginia cedes western land to the federal government

1803 – The Louisiana Purchase is completed at a ceremony in New Orleans. when France surrenders New Orleans to the United States.

1808 – Peninsular War: The Siege of Zaragoza begins.

1820 - Missouri imposes a $1 bachelor tax on unmarried men between 21 & 50

1823 - Franz Schuberts "Ballet-Musik aus Rosamunde," premieres in Vienna

1830 - England, France, Prussia, Austria & Russia recognize Belgium

1832 – HMS Clio under the command of Captain Onslow arrives at Port Egmont under orders to take possession of the Falkland Islands.

1836 - Jackson submits the Indian treaty to Congress.

December 21

1708 - French forces seize control of the eastern shore of Newfoundland after winning a victory at St. John’s.

1790 - Samuel Slater opens the first cotton mill in the United States (in Rhode Island).

1799 - William Wordsworth moves into Dove Cottage

1826 – American settlers in Nacogdoches, Mexican Texas, declare their independence, starting the Fredonian Rebellion.

1832 – Egyptian–Ottoman War: Egyptian forces decisively defeat Ottoman troops at the Battle of Konya. 

December 22

1715 - James Stuart, the "Old Pretender", landed at Petershead after his exile in France. 

1731 - Dutch people revolt against the meat tax

1772 - Moravian missionary constructs 1st schoolhouse west of Allegheny

1769 – Sino-Burmese War: The war ends with an uneasy truce.

1775 - Continental Congress creates a Continental Navy.

1775 - Esek Hopkins takes command of the Continental Navy — a total of seven ships.

1783 - Washington resigns his military commission

1788 – Nguy?n Hu? proclaims himself Emperor Quang Trung, in effect abolishing on his own the Lê dynasty.

1790 – The Turkish fortress of Izmail is stormed and captured by Alexander Suvorov and his Russian armies.

1807 – The Embargo Act, forbidding trade with all foreign countries, is passed by the U.S. Congress, at the urging of President Thomas Jefferson.

1808 – Ludwig van Beethoven conducts and performs in concert at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, with the premiere of his Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony, Fourth Piano Concerto (performed by Beethoven himself), and Choral Fantasy (with Beethoven at the piano).

1810 - British frigate Minotaur sinks killing 480

1815 - Spaniards execute Mexican revolutionary priest Jos? Maria Morelos

1829 - The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad opens the first passenger railway line.  

1832 - HMS Beagle/Charles Darwin reaches Barneveldt Islands


December 23

1688 – As part of the Glorious Revolution, King James II of England flees from England to Paris, France after being deposed in favor of his nephew, William of Orange, and his daughter Mary.

1783 – George Washington resigns as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland.

1788 - Maryland voted to cede a 100-square-mile area for the seat of the national government. About two-thirds of the area became the District of Columbia.

1793 – The Battle of Savenay: a decisive defeat of the royalist counter-revolutionaries in War in the Vendée during the French Revolution.

1823 – A Visit from St. Nicholas, also known as The Night Before Christmas, is published anonymously. Dr. Clement C. Moore is the author.

1829 - Prince Wurttemberg explores the West

1834 - English architect Joseph Hansom patented his 'safety cab', better known as the Hansom cab


December 24

1777 – Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, is discovered by James Cook.

1810 – The Plot of the rue Saint-Nicaise fails to kill Napoleon Bonaparte.

1814 – The Treaty of Ghent is signed ending the War of 1812.

1818 – The first performance of "Silent Night" takes place in the church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.

1826 – The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy begins that night, wrapping up the following morning. 

December 25

 1776 – George Washington and the Continental Army cross the Delaware River at night to attack Hessian forces serving Great Britain at Trenton, New Jersey, the next day.

1809 – Dr. Ephraim McDowell performs the first ovariotomy, removing a 22-pound tumor.

1814 – Rev. Samuel Marsden holds the first Christian service on land in New Zealand at Rangihoua Bay.

1815 – The Handel and Haydn Society, the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States, gives its first performance.

1826 – The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy concludes after beginning the previous evening.

1837 – Second Seminole War: American general Zachary Taylor leads 1100 troops against the Seminoles at the Battle of Lake Okeechobee.

December 26

 1776 – American Revolutionary War: In the Battle of Trenton, the Continental Army attacks and successfully defeats a garrison of Hessian mercenaries.

1790 – Louis XVI of France gives his public assent to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy during the French Revolution.

1793 – Second Battle of Wissembourg: France defeat Austria.

1793 – The wedding of Prince Friedrich Ludwig of Prussia and Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz takes place.

1799 – Four thousand people attend George Washington's funeral where Henry Lee III declares him as "first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

1805 – Austria and France sign the Treaty of Pressburg.

1806 – Battles of Pultusk and Golymin: Russian forces hold French forces under Napoleon.

1811 – A theater fire in Richmond, Virginia kills the Governor of Virginia George William Smith, and the president of the First National Bank of Virginia Abraham B. Venable.

1825 – Advocates of liberalism in Russia rise up against Czar Nicholas I and are put down in the Decembrist revolt in Saint Petersburg.

December 27

1703 – Portugal and England sign the Methuen Treaty which gives preference to Portuguese imported wines into England.

1814 – War of 1812: The American schooner USS Carolina is destroyed. It was the last of Commodore Daniel Patterson's makeshift fleet that fought a series of delaying actions that contributed to Andrew Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans.

1831 – Charles Darwin embarks on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, during which he will begin to formulate the theory of evolution.

1836 – The worst-ever avalanche in England occurs at Lewes, Sussex, killing eight people. 

December 28

1768 – King Taksin's coronation was achieved through conquest as a king of Thailand and established Thonburi as a capital.

1781 - British post troops on John’s Island

1793 - Thomas Paine is arrested in France for treason.

1795 – The construction of Yonge Street, formerly recognized as the longest street in the world, begins in York, Upper Canada (present-day Toronto).

1824 – The Bathurst War comes to an end with the surrender of the Wiradjuri.

1832 – John C. Calhoun becomes the first Vice President of the United States to resign.

1835 – Osceola leads his Seminole warriors in Florida into the Second Seminole War against the United States Army.

1836 – South Australia and Adelaide are founded.

1836 – Spain recognizes the independence of Mexico with the signing of the Santa María–Calatrava Treaty.

December 29

1778 – American Revolutionary War: 3,000 British soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell capture Savannah, Georgia.

1786 – French Revolution: The Assembly of Notables is convened.

1812 – The USS Constitution under the command of Captain William Bainbridge, captures the HMS Java off the coast of Brazil after a three-hour battle.

1835 – The Treaty of New Echota is signed, ceding all the lands of the Cherokee east of the Mississippi River to the United States. 

December 30

1702 – Queen Anne's War: James Moore, Governor of the Province of Carolina, abandons the Siege of St. Augustine.

1813 – War of 1812: British soldiers burn Buffalo, New York.

1816 – The Treaty of St. Louis (1816) between the United States and the united Ottawa, Ojibwa, and Potawatomi Indian tribes is proclaimed.

1825 – The Treaty of St. Louis between the United States and the Shawnee Nation is proclaimed. 

December 31

1687 – The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.

1696 – A window tax is imposed in England, causing many householders to brick up windows to avoid the tax.

1711 - The Duke of Marlborough was dismissed as commander-in-chief. 

1757 – Empress Elizabeth I of Russia issues her ukase incorporating Königsberg into Russia.

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

1775 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Quebec: British forces repulse an attack by Continental Army General Richard Montgomery.

1775 - George Washington orders recruiting officers to accept free blacks into the army.

1790 – Efimeris, 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.

1831 – Gramercy Park is deeded to New York City.