December 18 in history


On December 18:

1271  Kublai Khan renamed his empire “Yuan” (元 yuán), officially marking the start of the Yuan Dynasty of Mongolia and China.


1620 – The Mayflower landed in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts with 102 Pilgrims on board.

MayflowerHarbor.jpgMayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882)

1642  Abel Tasman and his men had the first known European encounter with Maori.

First contact between Maori and Europeans

1707 Charles Wesley, English Methodist hymnist, was born.

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


1778 Joseph Grimaldi, English clown, was born.

1849 Henrietta Edwards, Canadian women’s rights activist, was born.

1863 Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, was born.

1878 Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union, was born.

1888 – Richard Wetherill and his brother in-law discovered the ancient Indian ruins of Mesa Verde.


Cliff Palace

1890  Edwin Armstrong, American inventor (FM radio) was born.

1898  Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat set the new land speed record going 39.245 mph (63.159 km/h), in a Jeantaud electric car. This is the first recognised land speed record.

1900 The Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook Narrow-gauge (2 ft 6 in or 762 mm) Railway (now the Puffing Billy Railway) in Victoria opened.

 The Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge.

1905 – Irving Kahn, American financial analyst and investor, was born.

1908  Celia Johnson, English actress, was born.

1910 – Eric Tindill, New Zealand cricketer and rugby player, was born.

1912 The Piltdown Man, later discovered to be a hoax, was found in the Piltdown Gravel Pit, by Charles Dawson.


1913 Willy Brandt, Chancellor of Germany, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1916  Betty Grable, American actress, was born.

1935  Jacques Pépin, French chef, was born.

Jacques Pépin 2006.JPG

1938 Chas Chandler, English musician (The Animals), was born.

1943  Keith Richards, English guitarist (The Rolling Stones), was born.


1946  Steve Biko, South African anti-apartheid activist, was born.


1946 – Steven Spielberg, American film director, was born.


1963 Brad Pitt, American actor, was born.

A Caucasian male in his mid-40s with brown hair. He is wearing a black suit and white shirt with a black bow-tie.

1966 Saturn‘s moon Epimetheus was discovered by Richard L. Walker.

The planet Saturn

1969  Home Secretary James Callaghan‘s motion to make permanent the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965, which had temporarily suspended capital punishment in England, Wales and Scotland for murder (but not for all crimes) for a period of five years, was carried by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

1973 Soyuz 13, crewed by cosmonauts Valentin Lebedev and Pyotr Klimuk, was launched.

1987  Larry Wall released the first version of the Perl programming language.

1997  HTML 4.0 was published by the World Wide Web Consortium.

1999 NASA launched into orbit the Terra platform carrying five Earth Observation instruments, including ASTER, CERES, MISR, MODIS and MOPITT.

TERRA am1.jpg

2006 – The first of a series of floods struck Malaysia. The death toll of all flooding was at least 118, with over 400,000 people displaced.

Kota Tinggi was severely flooded between December 2006 and January 2007. Kota Tinggi means high city/fort in Malay.

2009 – The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference closed with the signing of the Copenhagen Accord.

COP15 Logo.svg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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