This Day in History


  • 2011 Sol Líneas Aéreas Flight 5428 crashed in Prahuaniyeu, Argentina, killing all 22 people on board. The crash was caused by severe icing of the airframe.
  • 1995 Died: Alexander Godunov, Russian-American dancer and actor whose defection caused a diplomatic incident between the US and the USSR.
  • 1991 Northern Somalia proclaimed independence as the Republic of Somaliland. The independence of Somaliland is not recognized by the international community.
  • 1990 In France, a SNCF TGV Atlantique train achieved a new rail world speed record of 320.2 mph (515.3 km/h). The record was broken in 2007 by another TGV train.
  • 1987 Born: Luisana Lopilato, Argentine actress, model, and singer best known for her role as Mía Colucci on the television series Rebelde Way.
  • 1980 Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington, United States, killing 57 people. The eruption ash in 11 US states and 5 Canadian provinces.
  • 1980 Died: Ian Curtis, English singer-songwriter and musician who is best known as the lead singer of the rock band Joy Division. Curtis committed suicide.
  • 1975 Died: Leroy Anderson, American composer who is considered to be one of the greatest American masters of light orchestral music.
  • 1974 India successfully carried out its first nuclear weapon explosion under project Smiling Buddha, becoming the sixth nation to perform a nuclear test.
  • 1970 Born: Tina Fey, American actress, comedian, producer, and writer. She is best known for her work on the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live.
  • 1965 Died: Eli Cohen, Israeli spy who is best known for his espionage work in Syria, where he even became the Chief Adviser to the Minister of Defense.
  • 1920 Born: Pope John Paul II (born Karol Józef Wojtyła), pope of the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005. He was the first non-Italian pope since 1523.
  • 1912 The first Indian film, Shree Pundalik was released in Mumbai. It was produced and directed by Dadasaheb Torne, who is considered the “Father of Indian cinema”.
  • 1912 Born: Richard Brooks, American director, screenwriter, novelist, and producer. Among his best-known works are Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Elmer Gantry.
  • 1911 Died: Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer and conductor of Jewish decent. He is considered to be one of the leading conductors of his generation.
  • 1911 Born: Big Joe Turner (born Joseph Vernon Turner Jr.), American blues shouter who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
  • 1910 Died: Pauline Viardot, French mezzo-soprano, composer and pedagogue. She created her compositions mainly as private pieces for her students.
  • 1909 Died: George Meredith, English novelist, essayist, and poet of the Victorian era. One of his best known works is the 1879 novel The Egoist.
  • 1901 Born: Vincent du Vigneaud, American biochemist who was awarded the 1955 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the first synthesis of oxytocin.
  • 1891 Born: Rudolf Carnap, German and American philosopher who was an advocate of logical positivism and a major member of the Vienna Circle.
  • 1872 Born: Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, logician, historian mathematician, writer, political activist and social critic. He was awarded the 1950 Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • 1868 Born: Nicholas II of Russia, the last Emperor of Russia. He was abdicated at the end of the 1917 February Revolution and executed in 1918.
  • 1843 In Edinburgh, the Free Church of Scotland separated from the established Church of Scotland. This schism is known as the Disruption of 1843.
  • 1804 The French Senate proclaimed Napoleon Bonaparte Emperor of the French. His coronation took place on December 2 at Notre Dame de Paris.
  • 1800 Died: Alexander Suvorov, Russian general and national hero of Russia. He is one of the few generals in world history who never lost a battle.
  • 1799 Died: Pierre Beaumarchais, French playwright, publisher, diplomat, and revolutionary. He is primarily remembered for his Figaro plays.
  • 1781 Died: Túpac Amaru II (born José Gabriel Túpac Amaru), Peruvian-Indian leader of the 1780 indigenous uprising against the Spanish rule.
  • 1652 The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations became the first colony in English-speaking North America to abolish slavery.
  • 1565 The Great Siege of Malta began, in which the Ottoman Empire invaded the island of Malta but failed to conquer it. It lasted until September 11, 1565.
  • 1048 Born: Omar Khayyám, Persian poet, philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician. He is primarily remembered for his short poems called rubāʿī.
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