On December 15:
37 Nero, Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, was born.
1791 The United States Bill of Rights became law when ratified by the Virginia General Assembly.
1832 Gustave Eiffel, French engineer and architect (Eiffel tower), was born.
1863 The mountain railway from Anina to Oravita in Romania was used for the first time.
1891 James Naismith introduced the first version of basketball, with thirteen rules, a peach basket nailed to either end of his school’s gymnasium, and two teams of nine players.
As I See It
, J. Paul Getty’s Autobiography
1906 – The London Underground‘s Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway opened.
1915 – World War I: Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig replaced John French, 1st Earl of Ypres as Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force.
1930 Edna O’Brien, Irish novelist and short story writer, was born.
1933 – Donald Woods, South African journalist and anti-apartheid activist, was born.
1939 Cindy Birdsong, American singer (The Supremes), was born.
The Supremes Jean Terrell (left), Cindy Birdsong (center), Mary Wilson (right) circa 1970
1939 Gone with the Wind received its première at Loew’s Grand Theater in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
1944 The Finance Act (No. 3) abolished the Chinese poll tax, introduced in 1881, which was described by Minister of Finance Walter Nash as a ‘blot on our legislation’.
1951 The towering Belmont railway viaduct, which bridged a deep gully at Paparangi, northeast of Johnsonville, Wellington, built in 1885 by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company, was demolished by Territorial Army engineers.
1955 Jens Olsen’s World Clock started by Swedish King Frederick IX and Jens Olsen’s youngest grandchild Birgit.
The back of Jens Olsen’s World Clock
1965 Gemini 6A, crewed by Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford, was launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida. Four orbits later, it achieved the first space rendezvous with Gemini 7.
1973 John Paul Getty III, grandson of American billionaire J. Paul Getty, was found alive near Naples, Italy, after being kidnapped by an Italian gang on July 10, 1973.
1978 President Jimmy Carter announced that the United States will recognize the People’s Republic of China and cut off all relations with Taiwan.
1997 The Treaty of Bangkok was signed allowing the transformation of Southeast Asia into a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.
2000 The 3rd reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was shut down due to foreign political pressure.
2001 The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened after 11 years and $27,000,000 to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean.
2006 First flight of the F-35 Lightning II.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.