Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in December 2016 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time to find markets, and research and write your articles.
For more details about how to do this, grab a free copy of our ebook: Ditch Your Day Job – the easiest way to make a living as a writer.
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.
The listing below is a small sample of the entries for December from The Date-A-Base Book 2016. There are 277 anniversaries for December in the book (five times more than are listed here). The book covers the whole of 2016 from January to December and features more than 3,450 anniversaries in total.
Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over – and the book also explains how to get your articles published.
If you need to work further ahead, The Date-A-Base Book 2017 is also available.
250 years ago (5 Dec 1766)
British auctioneer James Christie held his first sale, in London. He went on to found Christie’s, the world’s oldest auction house.
250 years ago (29 Dec 1766)
Birth of Charles Macintosh, Scottish chemist. Known for his invention of a method for waterproofing fabric. The mackintosh waterproof coat is named after him.
200 years ago (2 Dec 1816)
The Philadelphia Savings Fund Society was founded. It was the first savings bank in the USA.
200 years ago (4 Dec 1816)
James Monroe was elected as the 5th President of the United States. (Inaugurated 4th March 1817.)
200 years ago (8 Dec 1816 – or 1813?)
Birth of August Belmont, German-born American banker, diplomat and horse breeder/trainer who helped establish thoroughbred horse racing in the USA. The annual Belmont Stakes horse race is named after him.
200 years ago (11 Dec 1816)
Indiana became the 19th state of the USA.
150 years ago (1 Dec 1866)
Death of Sir George Everest, Welsh surveyor and geographer after whom Mount Everest is named. Noted for his important role in the trigonometric survey of India.
125 years ago (15 Dec 1891)
The sport of basketball was invented by James Naismith, a physical education instructor, in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. The first game was played on 21st December.
125 years ago (26 Dec 1891)
Birth of Henry Miller, controversial American writer. Known for his semi-autobiographical novels that were frequently banned because of their explicit content. Best known for Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Black Spring and The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy.
100 years ago (7 Dec 1916)
David Lloyd George became British Prime Minister.
100 years ago (17 Dec 1916)
Birth of Penelope Fitzgerald, Booker Prize-winning British novelist, poet, essayist and biographer. Her novels include The Bookshop, Offshore and The Blue Flower.
100 years ago (18 Dec 1916)
Birth of Betty Grable, American film actress and dancer. Best known for her 1940s musicals. The favourite pin-up of U.S. servicemen during WWII – her image was painted on the sides of numerous bomber planes.
100 years ago (20 Dec 1916)
World War I – the Battle of Verdun (France) ended. French victory.
100 years ago (25 Dec 1916)
Death of Saint Albert Chmielowski, Polish saint. Founder of the Albertine Brothers and Sisters. Pope John Paul II wrote a play about him in 1949 called Our God’s Brother (long before he became pope) and he canonised him in 1989.
100 years ago (30 Dec 1916)
Death of Grigori (also spelled Grigory) Rasputin, Russian mystic and healer. A favourite of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra after healing their son, a haemophiliac, who was bleeding from an injury and expected to die. He became a powerful influence on the Russian court. (Murdered by a group of noblemen.)
90 years ago (7 Dec 1926)
The Italian Government passed the bachelors tax (effective from 1st January 1927) in an effort to combat the falling marriage rate. The funds were used to establish a national maternity and child welfare assistance plan. (The marriage rate did not increase and the tax was doubled in November 1928 and increased again in 1934 and 1936.)
80 years ago (2 Dec 1936)
Death of John Ringling, American circus founder (Ringling Brothers).
80 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.
80 years ago (18 Dec 1936)
The first live giant panda to be taken out of China arrived in San Francisco, California, USA. Named Su Lin, it had been captured as a 9-week-old cub by American socialite Ruth Harkness. She sold it to Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. (It died of pneumonia in 1938, by which time she had already brought over a second panda.)
80 years ago (24 Dec 1936)
American physicist and physician John H. Lawrence administered the first radioisotope for medical treatment at the University of California, Berkeley. He used radioactive phosphorus-32 to treat a woman suffering from leukaemia. He became renowned for his pioneering treatment and is now known as the father of nuclear medicine.
80 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.
75 years ago (1 Dec 1941)
The Civil Air Patrol was founded in the USA as a civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.
75 years ago (5 Dec 1941)
World War II – the Battle of Moscow – the Soviet counter-attack. Soviet forces commanded by Georgy Zhukov launched a massive counter-offensive which drove the Germans out of Moscow, ending Operation Barbarossa (the German invasion of the Soviet Union.)
75 years ago (6 Dec 1941)
World War II: the Allies and Axis nations all began to declare war on each other. For a detailed timeline see: http://worldatwar.net/timeline/other/diplomacy39-45.html
75 years ago (7 Dec 1941)
World War II – the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Japan launched a surprise bomb attack on Pearl Harbor and other U.S. bases in the Pacific, and declared war on the USA and UK. Canada declared war on Japan. (The USA, UK, Netherlands and New Zealand declared war on Japan the following day. The War in Europe had now became a World War.)
75 years ago (12 Dec 1941)
Holocaust: German leader Adolf Hitler announced his plan to the exterminate the Jews at a meeting with senior Nazi Party officials at the Reich Chancellery in Berlin.
75 years ago (20 Dec 1941)
World War II: the Flying Tigers (officially the 1st American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force) took part in their first combat mission in Kunming, China. (They were later involved in the Burma Campaign. They had the highest kill ratio of all the Allied air forces in the Pacific Theatre. They were disbanded on 4th July 1942.)
75 years ago (26 Dec 1941)
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill that confirmed the date of Thanksgiving Day in the USA as the fourth Thursday in November.
70 years ago (11 Dec 1946)
UNICEF, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, was established in New York City, USA.
70 years ago (19 Dec 1946 – 1 Aug 1954)
First Indochina War (also called the French Indochina War) The Vietnamese fought the French, who opposed Vietnamese independence. Viet Minh victory.
70 years ago (20 Dec 1946)
Frank Capra’s film It’s A Wonderful Life premièred in New York City, USA. (Released: 7th January 1947.)
60 years ago (2 Dec 1956)
Cuban Revolution: 82 members of the 26th of July Movement landed in Cuba after sailing from Mexico with the aim of overthrowing Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship. Their members included Fidel and Raúl Castro and Che Guevara. (They ousted Batista on 1st January 1959 and established a revolutionary socialist state. In October 1965 the 26th of July Movement became the Communist Party of Cuba, which continues to govern Cuba.)
60 years ago (12 Dec 1956)
The IRA began its Border Campaign in Northern Ireland. The campaign of guerrilla warfare aimed to overthrow British rule and establish a united Ireland. (The Campaign was officially called off on 26th February 1962, though it had long since petered out.)
60 years ago (17 Dec 1956)
Suez Crisis: petrol rationing was introduced in Britain. Motorists were limited to 200 miles per month; businesses to 300; and farmers, religious ministers and essential local authority workers to 600. Doctors, surgeons, midwives and disabled drivers were exempt from rationing. (Rationing ended on 14th May 1957.)
50 years ago (15 Dec 1966)
Death of Walt Disney, pioneering American film and television producer. Co-founder (with his brother Roy) of the Walt Disney Company. Creator of popular characters including Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Creator of Disneyland.
50 years ago (16 Dec 1966)
The UN declared apartheid a crime against humanity.
40 years ago (1 Dec 1976)
The Sex Pistols made their infamous appearance on Thames Television’s Today show, in which the host, Bill Grundy (who later claimed he was drunk), encouraged their foul language. The show was only broadcast in London, but made national headlines and the band became household names. Grundy was suspended and the incident effectively ended his career. (The Sex Pistols’ first national tour was due to begin on 3rd December but only about 7 of the scheduled 20 concerts took place as organisers and local authorities banned them from appearing and cancelled the gigs.)
40 years ago (2 Dec 1976)
Fidel Castro became President of Cuba.
30 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.
30 years ago (17 Dec 1986)
Davina Thompson became the world’s first recipient of a heart, lung and liver transplant, at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, UK.
30 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 (4 Dec 1991)
Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) went out of business.
25 years ago (5 Dec 1991)
A month after his death, British newspaper proprietor Robert Maxwell’s business empire collapsed with massive debts and allegations of fraud and misappropriation of pension funds.
25 years ago (6 Dec 1991)
Croatian War of Independence: during the Siege of Dubrovnik, Yugoslav People’s Army forces bombarded the Old Town, causing massive damage to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and provoking international condemnation. 13 civilians were killed. (This incident led to Serbia and Montenegro’s diplomatic and political isolation, and the international recognition of Croatia’s independence.)
25 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.
25 years ago (26 Dec 1991)
The Soviet Union was officially dissolved. The 12 remaining Soviet republics became independent states.
20 years ago (5 Dec 1996)
The General Motors EV1 was released. It was the first modern electric car from a major manufacturer. (It was only available to lease, not to buy. It was discontinued in 1999.)
20 years ago (9 Dec 1996)
The United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme was implemented in Iraq.
20 years ago (10 Dec 1996)
South African President Nelson Mandela signed a new constitution, completing the transition from white minority rule to full democracy. (Effective from 4th February 1997.)
10 years ago (30 Dec 2006)
Death of Saddam Hussein, President/dictator of Iraq (1979-2003). (Executed for war crimes.)
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