Forthcoming historic anniversaries, Dec 2009

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.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research – just in case! Please let us know of any errors you find.

A greatly expanded list of anniversaries (over 100 per month) is available in The Date-A-Base Book 2009, which covers the whole year from January to December 2009, and The Date-A-Base Book 2010, which covers the whole of 2010. More details below.

200 years ago (24 Dec 1809)
Birth of Kit Carson, American frontiersman, trapper, soldier and folk hero

200 years ago (29 Dec 1809)
Birth of William Gladstone, British Prime Minister (1868-74, 1880-85, 1886, 1892-94)

150 years ago (2 Dec 1859)
Death of John Brown, American militant abolitionist leader, hanged for his raid on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia in October 1859

150 years ago (2 Dec 1859)
Birth of Georges Seurat, French artist, founder of the French school of Neo-Impressionism (Pointillism)

150 years ago
(8 Dec 1859)
Death of Thomas de Quincey, British writer, intellectual and critic (‘Confessions of an English Opium-Eater’)

150 years ago (16 Dec 1859)
Death of Wilhelm Grimm, German folklorist, philologist and writer of folk songs and fairy tales with his brother Jacob (‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’)

100 years ago (9 Dec 1909)
Birth of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., American film and television actor, and WWII naval officer who was an expert in military deception. (His films include ‘Catherine the Great’, ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’, ‘Gunga Din’)

100 years ago (17 Dec 1909)
Death of King Léopold II of Belgium, succeeded by his nephew Albert I

100 years ago (22 Dec 1909)
Birth of Patricia Hayes, British actress, especially in film and television comedies, particularly noted for her role as ‘Edna, the Inebriate Woman’

100 years ago (26 Dec 1909)
Death of Frederic Remington, American artist, illustrator and sculptor, noted for his realistic scenes of life in the American West

100 years ago (31 Dec 1909)
Manhattan Bridge in New York City opened to traffic

80 years ago (11 Dec 1929)
Architects unveiled the design for the Empire State Building

75 years ago (30 Dec 1934)
Birth of Del Shannon, American rock and roll singer, songwriter & guitarist

70 years ago (13 Dec 1939)
World War II: Battle of the River Plate – a naval battle in the South Atlantic. The British defeated the Germans by using misinformation, tricking them into scuttling their battleship ‘Admiral Graf Spee’

60 years ago (8 Dec 1949)
Chinese Civil War: with the Communists now in control of China, the Chinese Nationalist government evacuated to Taipei, Taiwan

60 years ago (13 Dec 1949)
Jerusalem became the capital of Israel

60 years ago (27 Dec 1949)
Indonesia became independent from the Netherlands

50 years ago (1 Dec 1959)
12 countries, including the UK and the USA, signed the Antarctic Treaty, setting aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve free from military activity

50 years ago (21 Dec 1959)
Birth of Florence Griffith-Joyner (‘Flo-Jo’), American sprinter who broke the world record for the 100m and 200m and won 3 Olympic gold medals

40 years ago (1 Dec 1969)
The US Government held its first draft lottery since WWII to determine the order in which men were selected for war service in Vietnam

40 years ago (18 Dec 1969)
The British Government abolished the death penalty for murder

30 years ago (11 Dec 1979)
The Zimbabwe-Rhodesian Parliament dismissed itself and handed power back to Britain until democratic elections could be held. (The country became fully independent as Zimbabwe in April 1980)

30 years ago (20 Dec 1979)
The British Government announced that council tenants would be given the right to buy their homes under a new Housing Act (effective Oct 1980)

30 years ago (24 Dec 1979)
The first European rocket ‘Ariane 1’ was successfully launched

30 years ago (25 Dec 1979)
The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in a bid to halt the civil war, support the Marxist government, and protect Soviet interests

25 years ago (3 Dec 1984)
A poisonous gas leak at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India killed thousands of people and left 120,000 with long-term health problems

25 years ago (15 Dec 1984)
Death of Lennard Pearce, British actor (played Grandad in ‘Only Fools and Horses’)

25 years ago (19 Dec 1984)
Ted Hughes was appointed Britain’s poet laureate

25 years ago (19 Dec 1984)
Britain and China signed an accord that would return Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty on 1st July 1997

25 years ago (20 Dec 1984)
The largest underground fire ever recorded occurred when a freight train carrying 1.1 million litres of petrol derailed in the Summit tunnel in the Pennines, near Todmorden, UK

25 years ago (28 Dec 1984)
Rajiv Gandhi won a massive victory in the Indian general election after being persuaded to stand for his assassinated mother’s Congress Party

25 years ago (28 Dec 1984)
Death of Sam Peckinpah, American film director and screenwriter, noted for explicit action and violence, particularly Westerns. (Films include ‘The Wild Bunch’, ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid’, ‘Straw Dogs’)

25 years ago (31 Dec 1984)
The halfpenny coin was withdrawn from circulation and ceased to be legal tender in Britain

20 years ago (1 Dec 1989)
Mikhail Gorbachev became the first Soviet leader to visit the Vatican and meet the Pope

20 years ago (3 Dec 1989)
US President George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev announced the end of the Cold War at a meeting in Malta

20 years ago (17 Dec 1989)
‘The Simpsons’ premiered on the Fox network in the USA

20 years ago (22 Dec 1989)
The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin was reopened, effectively reuniting East and West Germany

20 years ago (22 Dec 1989)
Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausçescu was overthrown in a revolutionary coup and executed (on 25th December) for crimes against the state

15 years ago (2 Dec 1994)
The Australian Government agreed to pay A$13,500,000 in reparations to Aborigines who were displaced by nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s

15 years ago (11 Dec 1994)
Russian troops invaded Chechnya

10 years ago (1 Dec 1999)
An international team of scientists announced that they had mapped an entire human chromosome. (All chromosomes were mapped by April 2003)

10 years ago (2 Dec 1999)
The UK devolved political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive Committee

10 years ago (3 Dec 1999)
Death of Madeline Kahn, award-winning American stage and film actress (‘Blazing saddles’, ‘Paper Moon’, and other roles)

10 years ago (12 Dec 1999)
Death of Joseph Heller, American novelist and playwright (‘Catch-22’)

10 years ago (17 Dec 1999)
Death of Grover Washington, Jr., American jazz-funk saxophonist

10 years ago (19 Dec 1999)
Death of Desmond Llewelyn, British actor (played Q in James Bond films)

10 years ago (26 Dec 1999)
Death of Curtis Mayfield, American soul, funk and R&B singer, songwriter, musician and record producer

10 years ago (28 Dec 1999)
Death of Clayton Moore, American TV actor (‘The Lone Ranger’)

10 years ago (31 Dec 1999)
Boris Yeltsin announced his resignation as Russian President, and said that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would take over with immediate effect

cover09_3d_120_transFor more historic anniversaries see The Date-A-Base Book 2009, which covers the whole of 2009 and contains over 1,200 forthcoming anniversaries – twice as many entries per month than our standard lists featured above. For example, there are 49 anniversaries listed above for December 2009, but 100 anniversaries for the same month in the Date-A-Base Book 2009. Over the course of the year you’ll get to hear about hundreds of significant forthcoming anniversaries that other writers just won’t know about – giving you a huge advantage!

The Date-A-Base Book 2009 is an excellent 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 (many!) times over.

The Date-A-Base Book 2010And the 2010 edition is now available too. The 2010 edition covers whole of 2010 and is 30% bigger, featuring more than 1,600 anniversaries!

Dave Haslett, www.ideas4writers.co.uk

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