Historic anniversaries in December 2011

You might like to write about the following historic anniversaries. Dates are given 6 months in advance to allow you time for research and writing.

The list presented here is just a fraction of that available in The Date-A-Base Book 2011. For example, there are 60 anniversaries listed below, but 175 anniversaries for the same month in the book, which also covers the whole of 2011. The Date-A-Base Book 2012 is also available.

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

250 years ago (1 Dec 1761)
Birth of Marie Tussaud, French artist known for her wax sculptures, founder of Madame Tussaud’s wax museum in London

200 years ago (16 Dec 1811)
A series of massive earthquakes – the greatest in U.S. history – occurred in the Mississippi river valley near New Madrid, Missouri

200 years ago (21 Dec 1811)
Birth of Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury (1868-82)

175 years ago (27 Dec 1836)
An avalanche hit Lewes, Sussex, UK, killing 8 people – the biggest avalanche ever recorded in Britain

175 years ago (28 Dec 1836)
The province of South Australia was proclaimed, and the city of Adelaide was founded

150 years ago (8 Dec 1861)
Birth of William C. Durant, American car manufacturer, founder of General Motors, co-founder of Chevrolet

150 years ago (14 Dec 1861)
Death of Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom

150 years ago (15 Dec 1861)
Birth of Charles Duryea, American car pioneer, invented (with his brother Frank) one of the first cars to be built in the USA, and founded the Duryea Motor Wagon Company to manufacture it commercially

100 years ago (5 Dec 1911)
Birth of Wladyslaw Szpilman, Polish pianist and composer. Roman Polanski’s award-winning film ‘The Pianist’ is based on his autobiography, which describes how he survived the Holocaust

100 years ago (9 Dec 1911)
Birth of Broderick Crawford, American actor

100 years ago (10 Dec 1911)
Death of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, British botanist and explorer

100 years ago (11 Dec 1911)
Birth of Naguib Mahfouz, Egyptian novelist and screenwriter, winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature

100 years ago (11 Dec 1911)
Birth of Val Guest, prolific British film director and screenwriter, best known for his science fiction films, including ‘The Quatermass Xperiment’ and ‘The Day the Earth Caught Fire’

100 years ago (14 Dec 1911)
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team became the first people to reach the South Pole, beating Robert Falcon Scott’s rival British team by over a month. (Scott and his team perished on the return journey)

100 years ago (14 Dec 1911)
Birth of Spike Jones, American musician and bandleader known for his novelty recordings and satirical arrangements of popular songs

100 years ago (15 Dec 1911)
Birth of Stan Kenton, American jazz pianist, bandleader, composer, educator, promoter and record company executive. (Note: many sources give his date of birth as 19th February 1912, but this is incorrect)

100 years ago (29 Dec 1911)
Birth of Klaus Fuchs, German-born physicist and spy. Convicted in 1950 of supplying British and U.S. atomic research secrets to the USSR

90 years ago (6 Dec 1921)
The Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in London. It ended the Irish War of Independence and established the Irish Free State (which formally came into effect on 6th December 1922)

80 years ago (9 Dec 1931)
The constitution of the Second Spanish Republic was adopted

80 years ago (11 Dec 1931)
The Statute of Westminster was issued, granting equal status and legislative independence to the British dominions of Australia, Canada, Ireland, Newfoundland, New Zealand and South Africa

75 years ago (2 Dec 1936)
Death of John Ringling, American circus founder (Ringling Brothers)

75 years ago (5 Dec 1936)
The Soviet Union adopted a new constitution, also known as the ‘Stalin Constitution’

75 years ago (11 Dec 1936)
King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom abdicated to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson, a divorcee. His younger brother, the Duke of York, became King George VI

75 years ago (30 Dec 1936)
The United Automobile Workers (UAW) staged the first sit-down strike in the USA. This led to the unionisation of the U.S. car industry

70 years ago (7 Dec 1941)
World War II: Japan launched a surprise bomb attack on Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, and other U.S. bases in the Pacific

70 years ago (26 Dec 1941)
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill that established the 4th Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day in the USA, and designated it a federal holiday

65 years ago (11 Dec 1946)
UNICEF, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, was established in New York City

60 years ago (11 Dec 1951)
American baseball star Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement

60 years ago (16 Dec 1951)
The popular crime show ‘Dragnet’ was first shown on NBC TV in the USA

60 years ago (20 Dec 1951)
EBR-1 (Experimental Breeder Reactor 1) became the first nuclear reactor to generate electricity, at Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho, USA

60 years ago (24 Dec 1951)
Libya declared its independence from the United Kingdom

50 years ago (2 Dec 1961)
Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared that he was a Marxist-Leninist and stated that Cuba would adopt Communism

50 years ago (4 Dec 1961)
Birth control pills became available on the NHS in Britain

50 years ago (9 Dec 1961)
Tanganyika (now merged with Zanzibar to form Tanzania) gained its independence from the United Kingdom

50 years ago (11 Dec 1961)
Vietnam War: 32 U.S. Army helicopters and 400 troops arrived in Saigon. This was the USA’s first direct military support for South Vietnam’s battle against the Vietcong

50 years ago (11 Dec 1961)
Motown Records scored its first number one hit on the U.S. Billboard charts with ‘Please Mr. Postman’ by The Marvelettes

50 years ago (13 Dec 1961)
Death of Grandma Moses, American folk artist

50 years ago (16 Dec 1961)
Birth of Bill Hicks, American stand-up comedian

50 years ago (24 Dec 1961)
Death of Frank Richards, prolific British writer, creator of ‘Billy Bunter’

40 years ago (2 Dec 1971)
The United Arab Emirates was founded

40 years ago (3-16 Dec 1971)
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. A short-lived but intense war where more than a million Bangladeshis lost their lives (perhaps up to 3 million). At the end of the war Bangladesh was created

40 years ago (4 Dec 1971)
The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) exploded a bomb in McGurk’s Bar, Belfast, Northern Ireland, killing 15 people. This was the first major atrocity of the Troubles in Northern Ireland

40 years ago (4 Dec 1971)
The Montreux Casino in Switzerland was destroyed by fire when a fan set off a flare gun during a concert by Frank Zappa. Deep Purple’s famous song ‘Smoke on the Water’ is all about this incident

30 years ago (13 Dec 1981)
Martial law was imposed in Poland. Pro-democracy organisations including Solidarity were made illegal. (Martial law ended in 1983)

30 years ago (14 Dec 1981)
Israel annexed the Golan Heights, formerly part of Syria, which it had occupied since 1967

30 years ago (19 Dec 1981)
Penlee Lifeboat Disaster, Cornwall, UK. The Penlee lifeboat attempted to rescue the crew of the stranded cargo ship ‘Union Star’ in heavy seas. The lifeboat was wrecked and the crews of both the Union Star and the lifeboat were killed – 16 people in total

30 years ago (28 Dec 1981)
Birth of Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American test-tube baby

25 years ago (1 Dec 1986)
The Guinness share-trading scandal began in Britain when the government ordered an enquiry into the company’s affairs and raided its headquarters. It became one of the biggest trials of the 20th century

25 years ago (1 Dec 1986)
Death of Lee Dorsey, American R&B singer

25 years ago (2 Dec 1986)
Death of Desi Arnaz, Cuban-born American actor, bandleader and television producer, best known for his role in the television series ‘I Love Lucy’ with his real-life wife Lucille Ball

25 years ago (23 Dec 1986)
The experimental American plane ‘Voyager’, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, became the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refuelling

25 years ago (29 Dec 1986)
Death of Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, British Prime Minister (1957-63)

20 years ago (4 Dec 1991)
Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) went out of business

20 years ago (10 Dec 1991)
The Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union, was agreed by the leaders of 12 European nations. It was signed on 7th February 1992 and came into effect on 1st November 1993

20 years ago (26 Dec 1991)
The Soviet Union was officially dissolved

10 years ago (2 Dec 2001)
Enron, the world’s largest energy trading corporation, collapsed

10 years ago (6 Dec 2001)
Death of Sir Peter Blake, New Zealand yachtsman and environmentalist

10 years ago (16 Dec 2001)
Death of Stuart Adamson, British singer, songwriter and guitarist (Big Country, The Skids)

10 years ago (22 Dec 2001)
British man Richard Reid (the ‘shoe bomber’) attempted to blow up a transatlantic flight from Paris to Miami using explosives hidden in his shoes. (A U.S. court sentenced him to life imprisonment in January 2003)

10 years ago (26 Dec 2001)
Death of Sir Nigel Hawthorne, British actor, best known for playing Sir Humphrey Appleby in the television shows ‘Yes, Minister’ and ‘Yes, Prime Minister’

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The Date-A-Base Book 2011

You’ll find lots more anniversaries in The Date-A-Base Book 2011, which covers the whole of 2011 and lists over 1,900 forthcoming newsworthy and notable anniversaries – more than twice as many entries per month than our standard list above. Over the course of the year you’ll get to hear about hundreds of anniversaries that other writers won’t know about, giving you a huge advantage!

The Date-A-Base Book 2011 is a terrific source of ideas for all writers, journalists, film-makers, editors, researchers, producers, teachers, students, speakers and event planners.
Click here for more details and the complete listing for January 2011

The Date-A-Base Book 2012 is also available and features more than 2,250 newsworthy and notable anniversaries which will occur during 2012.

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Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers for just £49.95 and you’ll receive The Date-A-Base Books for 2011 & 2012 (plus all future editions) as well as The Fastest Way to Write Your BookThe Fastest Way to Get Ideas, our complete 5,000+ collection of writing ideas, unlimited use of our forums and writing engines, and much more (total value more than £157)
Click here for full details

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