Wednesday, December 14, 2011
December 14 in History
* 557 – Constantinople is severely damaged by an earthquake. * 1287 – St. Lucia's flood: The Zuider Zee sea wall in the Netherlands collapses, killing over 50,000 people. * 1542 – Princess Mary Stuart becomes Mary, Queen of Scots. * 1751 – The Theresian Military Academy is founded as the first Military Academy in the world. * 1782 – The Montgolfier brothers' first balloon lifts off on its first test flight. * 1812 – The French invasion of Russia comes to an end as the remnants of the Grande Armée are expelled from Russia. * 1814 – War of 1812: The Royal Navy seizes control of Lake Borgne, Louisiana. * 1819 – Alabama becomes the 22nd U.S. state. * 1836 – The Toledo War unofficially ends. * 1896 – The Glasgow Underground Railway is opened by the Glasgow District Subway Company. * 1900 – Quantum Mechanics: Max Planck presents a theoretical derivation of his black-body radiation law. * 1902 – The Commercial Pacific Cable Company lays the first Pacific telegraph cable, from Ocean Beach, San Francisco to Honolulu, Hawaii. * 1903 – The Wright brothers make their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. * 1907 – The schooner Thomas W. Lawson runs aground and founders near the Hellweather's Reef within the Scilly Isles in a gale. The pilot and 15 seamen die. * 1909 – New South Wales Premier Charles Wade signed the Seat of Government Surrender Act 1909, formally completing the transfer of State land to the Commonwealth to create the Australian Capital Territory. * 1911 – Roald Amundsen's team, comprising himself, Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting, becomes the first to reach the South Pole. * 1913 – Haruna, the fourth and last ship of the Kongō-class, launches, eventually becoming one of the Japanese workhorses during World War I and World War II. * 1914 – Lisandro de la Torre and others found the Democratic Progressive Party (Partido Demócrata Progresista, PDP) at the Hotel Savoy, Buenos Aires. * 1918 – Friedrich Karl von Hessen, a German prince elected by the Parliament of Finland to become King Väinö I, renounces the Finnish throne. * 1918 – President of Portugal Sidónio Pais is assassinated. * 1939 – Winter War: The Soviet Union is expelled from the League of Nations for invading Finland. * 1941 – World War II: Japan signs treaty of alliance with Thailand. * 1946 – The United Nations General Assembly votes to establish its headquarters in New York City. * 1955 – Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nepal, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sri Lanka join the United Nations. * 1958 – The 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition becomes the first expedition to reach The Pole of Relative Inaccessibility in the Antarctic. * 1961 – The United Republic of Tanzania joins the United Nations. * 1962 – NASA's Mariner 2 becomes the first spacecraft to fly by Venus. * 1963 – Baldwin Hills Reservoir wall bursts, killing five people and damaging hundreds of homes in Los Angeles. * 1964 – American Civil Rights Movement: Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States – The United States Supreme Court rules that the U.S. Congress can use the Constitution's Commerce Clause power to fight discrimination. * 1971 – Over 200 of East Pakistan's (now Bangladesh) intellectuals are massacred by the Pakistani Army and their local allies. * 1972 – Apollo program: Eugene Cernan is the last person to walk on the moon, after he and Harrison Schmitt complete the third and final Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) of the Apollo 17 mission. This is the last manned mission to the moon of the 20th century. * 1981 – Arab-Israeli conflict: Israel's Knesset passes The Golan Heights Law, extending Israeli law to the area of the Golan Heights. * 1983 – The 3rd Congress of the Communist Youth of Greece starts. * 1988 – The ET3 television network is launched in Thessaloniki, Greece. * 1992 – War in Abkhazia: During the Siege of Tkvarcheli, a helicopter carrying evacuees from Tkvarcheli, Abkhazia, is shot down, resulting in at least 52 deaths, 25 of which are children. The incident catalyses more concerted Russian military intervention on behalf of Abkhazia. * 1994 – Construction begins on the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River. * 1995 – Yugoslav Wars: The Dayton Agreement is signed in Paris by leaders of various governments. * 1999 – Kiribati, Nauru and Tonga join the United Nations. * 1999 – Torrential rains cause flash floods in Vargas, Venezuela, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths, the destruction of thousands of homes, and the complete collapse of the state's infrastructure. * 2003 – President of Pakistan Pervez Musharaf narrowly escapes an assassination attempt. * 2004 – The Millau viaduct, the tallest bridge in the world, near Millau, France is officially opened. * 2004 – Cuba and Venezuela found the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. * 2006 – American spy satellite USA-193 is launched. * 2008 – President George W. Bush makes his fourth and final (planned) trip to Iraq as president and is almost struck by two shoes thrown at him by Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi during a news conference in Baghdad. * 2009 – The Tino Rangatiratanga flag representing the Māori people was officially recognized by the government of New Zealand.