December 21 in history

69 – The Roman Senate declared Vespasian as Roman emperor, the last in the Year of the Four Emperors.

640 – Muslim Arabs captured Babylon Fortress in the Nile Delta  after a seven-month siege.

1140 – Conrad III of Germany besieged Weinsberg.

1361 – The Battle of Linuesa was fought in the context of the Spanish Reconquista between the forces of the Emirate of Granada and the combined army of the Kingdom of Castile and of Jaén resulting in a Castilian victory.

1118  Thomas Becket, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of Canterbury was born  (d. 1170).

1598  Battle of Curalaba: The revolting Mapuche, led by cacique Pelentaru, inflicted a major defeat on Spanish troops in southern Chile.

1620 William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims landed on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

1682 Calico Jack Rackham, English pirate, was born (d. 1720).

1804 Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1881).

1815  Thomas Couture, French painter and teacher, was born (d. 1879).

1843 Thomas Bracken, Irish-born New Zealand poet, was born (d. 1898).

1844 – The Rochdale Pioneers commenced business at their cooperative in Rochdale, England, starting the Cooperative movement.

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

1872  HMS Challenger, commanded by Captain George Nares, sailed from Portsmouth.

1883 The first Permanent Force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army were formed: The Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment.

1892  Rebecca West, British writer, was born  (d. 1983).

1905  Anthony Powell, British author, was born (d. 2000).

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

1917  Heinrich Böll, German writer and Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1985).

1937 – Jane Fonda, American actress, was born.

1937  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated film, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre.

1946 Carl Wilson, American musician (The Beach Boys), was born (d. 1998).

1958 Charles de Gaulle was elected President of France when his Union des Démocrates pour la République party gained 78.5% of the vote.

1962 – Rondane National Park was established as Norway‘s first national park.

1964 More than 170 years of New Zealand whaling history came to a close when J. A. Perano and Company caught its last whale off the coast near Kaikoura.

NZ whalers harpoon their last victim

1967  Louis Washkansky, the first man to undergo a heart transplant, died 18 days after the transplant.

1968 Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. At 2h:50m:37s Mission elapsed time (MES), the crew performed the first ever manned Trans Lunar Injection and became the first humans to leave Earth’s gravity.

1971 New Zealand Railways (NZR) launched a new tourist-oriented steam passenger venture, the Kingston Flyer.

Full steam ahead for Kingston Flyer

1979 Lancaster House Agreement: An independence agreement for Rhodesia was signed in London by Lord Carrington, Sir Ian Gilmour, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and S.C. Mundawarara.

1988  A bomb exploded on board Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, killing 270.

1992 – A Dutch DC-10, flight Martinair MP 495, crashed at Faro Airport, killing 56 people.

1994 – Mexican volcano Popocatepetl, dormant for 47 years, erupted.

1995 – The city of Bethlehem passed from Israeli to Palestinian control.

1999 – The Spanish Civil Guard intercepted a van loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to use to blow up Torre Picasso in Madrid.

2004 – Iraq War: A suicide bomber killed 22 at the forward operating base next to the main U.S. military airfield at Mosul, the single deadliest suicide attack on American soldiers.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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