Forthcoming historic anniversaries, Dec 2008

You may wish to write about the following historical events. Dates are given 6 months in advance to allow you time for research and writing. Dates and facts are taken from a reliable source, but we cannot guarantee their accuracy. Please cross-check all information as part of your research and let us know of any errors.

400 years ago (9 Dec 1608)
Birth of John Milton, English poet (‘Paradise Lost’ etc)

200 years ago (4 Dec 1808)
Napoleon Bonaparte abolished the Spanish Inquisition

200 years ago (7 Dec 1808)
James Madison was elected 4th President of the United States

200 years ago (29 Dec 1808)
Birth of Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States

150 years ago (22 Dec 1858)
Birth of Giacomo Puccini, Italian composer

100 years ago (6 Dec 1908)
Birth of Baby Face Nelson, American bank robber

100 years ago (10 Dec 1908)
Birth of Olivier Messiaen, French composer, organist and ornithologist

100 years ago (17 Dec 1908)
Birth of Willard Frank Libby, American physical chemist who developed radiocarbon dating, Nobel Prize winner

100 years ago (25 Dec 1908)
Birth of Quentin Crisp, British writer (‘The Naked Civil Servant’)

100 years ago (31 Dec 1908)
Birth of Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian-Jewish architectural engineer who tracked down Nazi war criminals after surviving the Holocaust

90 years ago (14 Dec 1918)
British women over 30 voted in the General Election for the first time

80 years ago (10 Dec 1928)
Death of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, British architect and designer

75 years ago (5 Dec 1933)
Prohibition was repealed in the USA after more than 13 years

75 years ago (26 Dec 1933)
The Nissan Motor Company was founded in Tokyo, Japan

75 years ago (26 Dec 1933)
American inventor Edwin H. Armstrong received a patent for the FM radio

70 years ago (23 Dec 1938)
A coelacanth, thought to be extinct since the end of the Cretaceous period, was caught in the Bay of Chalumna off South Africa

60 years ago (21 Dec 1948)
Eire declared its independence as the Republic of Ireland

60 years ago (31 Dec 1948)
Death of Malcolm Campbell, British racing driver, speed record breaker

50 years ago (1 Dec 1958)
The Central African Republic became independent from France

50 years ago (5 Dec 1958)
Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) began operating in the UK, though initially only in the Bristol area. The Queen made the first call

50 years ago (5 Dec 1958)
Britain’s first motorway, the Preston bypass, was opened by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan

50 years ago (10 Dec 1958)
The first domestic passenger jet flight in the USA took place, flying from New York City to Miami

50 years ago (15 Dec 1958)
Death of Wolfgang Pauli, Austrian-Swiss-American theoretical physicist, Nobel Prize winner

50 years ago (18 Dec 1958)
The first satellite broadcast was made when US President Dwight Eisenhower delivered a goodwill message to the world via the SCORE satellite

50 years ago (21 Dec 1958)
Charles de Gaulle became President of France

40 years ago (17 Dec 1968)
Mary Bell, aged 11, was sentenced to life in detention for killing two small boys, Newcastle, UK

40 years ago (20 Dec 1968)
Death of John Steinbeck, American novelist

40 years ago (24 Dec 1968)
Apollo 8, with three American astronauts on board, became the first manned space mission to orbit the Moon

30 years ago (17 Dec 1978)
OPEC announced a 14.5% rise in oil prices by the end of 1979

25 years ago (5 Dec 1983)
Death of Robert Aldrich, American film director, writer and producer (‘The Dirty Dozen’, ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’ etc)

25 years ago (6 Dec 1983)
The first heart and lung transplant to be performed in Britain was carried out at Harefield Hospital, London by renowned surgeon Magdi Yacoub

25 years ago (8 Dec 1983)
Britain’s House of Lords agreed to allow television cameras to broadcast live debates from its chamber

25 years ago (8 Dec 1983)
Death of Slim Pickens (Louis B. Lindley, Jr.), American cowboy and actor

25 years ago (10 Dec 1983)
Argentina returned to democracy after seven years of military rule

25 years ago (13 Dec 1983)
Death of Mary Renault, British novelist

25 years ago (17 Dec 1983)
A car bomb exploded near Harrods department store, London, killing three police officers and three members of the public

25 years ago (25 Dec 1983)
Death of Joan Miró, Spanish artist

25 years ago (28 Dec 1983)
Death of Dennis Wilson, American musician (‘The Beach Boys’)

20 years ago (3 Dec 1988)
Junior health minister Edwina Currie said that most eggs produced in Britain were infected with salmonella. Egg sales fell by 60% overnight, causing severe financial problems for farmers

20 years ago (6 Dec 1988)
Death of Roy Orbison, American singer, guitarist and songwriter

20 years ago (12 Dec 1988)
Clapham rail disaster: Three trains were involved in a collision at Clapham, south London, killing 35 people and injuring 100 others

20 years ago (21 Dec 1988)
A Pan Am jet exploded and crashed onto the town of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 passengers and 11 people on the ground

15 years ago (3 Dec 1993)
Princess Diana announced that she was withdrawing from public life

15 years ago (5 Dec 1993)
American astronauts repaired the faulty Hubble space telescope by fitting corrective optics

15 years ago (15 Dec 1993)
British Prime Minister John Major and Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds made the ‘Downing Street Declaration’, aimed at achieving lasting peace in Northern Ireland

10 years ago (10 Dec 1998)
Six astronauts became the first visitors to enter the new international space station. (The first resident crew entered in November 2000)

10 years ago (16 Dec 1998)
Operation Desert Fox: American and British forces began a series of sustained air-strikes against Iraq after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein refused to co-operate with UN weapons inspectors

10 years ago (19 Dec 1998)
US President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice (Note: acquitted in February 1999)

For more historic anniversaries check out The Date-A-Base Book 2008 and The Date-A-Base Book 2009, each spanning a whole year and containing over 1,200 forthcoming anniversaries – more than twice as many entries per month than our standard lists featured here. For example, there are 48 events listed above for December 2008, but 120 events for the same month in the Date-A-Base Book 2008.

The Date-A-Base Books are a terrific source of ideas for all writers, journalists, film-makers, editors, researchers, producers, teachers, students, speakers and event planners. Just one article sale will pay for your copy many times over!

Dave Haslett, ideas4writers, www.ideas4writers.co.uk

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