This Day in History — December 19

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

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Today is the 353rd day of 2018. There are 12 days left in the year.


1972: Apollo 17 spacecraft splashes down on target in Pacific Ocean, ending US Apollo programme of landing men on Moon.


1547: Great Britain passes a vagabond law.

1793: A young Napoleon Bonaparte takes Toulon, France, from the British and Spanish in his first major military victory.

1795: Austria signs armistice with France.

1842: The United States recognises independence of Hawaii.

1843: Charles Dickens' classic Yuletide tale, A Christmas Carol, is first published in England.

1885: Germany's dispute with Spain over Caroline Islands in Pacific is settled in favour of Spain.

1907: A coal mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania, kills 239 workers.

1909: A civil war starts in Honduras.

1915: British troops begin withdrawal from Suvla and Anzac troops from Gallipoli during Turkish campaign in World War I.

1932: The British Broadcasting Corp begins transmitting overseas with its “Empire Service” to Australia.

1941: German dictator Adolf Hitler dismisses his chief of staff and takes personal command of the German army after military setbacks.

1946: War breaks out in Indochina as troops under Ho Chi Minh launch widespread attacks against the French.

1951: The New Treaty of Friendship is signed between Oman and Britain, recognising full independence of the sultanate.

1955: Sudan's Parliament declares independence.

1961: Goa and two other Portuguese-controlled enclaves on India's west coast fall to forces of the Indian government.

1962: Senegal's President Leopold Senghor takes charge of government in Dakar after ouster of the West African nation's premier.

1966: UN General Assembly endorses a draft treaty banning the use of weapons of mass destruction in space.

1978: Indian Parliament ousts former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from her newly elected seat and orders her jailed for contempt and breach of privilege.

1984: Prime ministers Margaret Thatcher of Britain and Zhao Ziyang of China sign a joint declaration spelling out the terms for Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997.

1990: Albanian authorities formally recognise the country's first non-communist party.

1998: As US forces bomb Iraq, the US House of Representatives impeaches President Bill Clinton for obstructing justice and lying under oath about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

1999: Survivors wander through streets covered with rocks and mud as the death toll from massive mudslides and flooding in Venezuela surpasses 5,000.

2001: Jobless Argentines unleash their anger over a deep economic tailspin in a burst of looting and violence that targets supermarkets and shops on the fringes of Buenos Aires.

2002: US Secretary of State Colin Powell says Iraq is in “material breach” of UN Security Council resolutions for alleged omissions in a declaration of its weapons programmes.

2003: Libya agrees to abandon its programmes pursuing internationally banned weapons, including chemical, biological and nuclear weapons as well as long-range missiles. It agrees to respect the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

2010: Police in Denmark and Sweden say they thwarted a terrorist attack possibly hours before it was to begin, arresting five men they say planned to shoot as many people as possible in a Copenhagen building housing the newsroom of a paper that published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

2011: North Koreans march by the thousands to their capital's landmarks to mourn Kim Jong Il, many crying uncontrollably in grief over the death of their “Dear Leader”.

2012: French President Francois Hollande announces a new era with Algeria — a strategic partnership among equals — during a visit to the North African nation that was once a prized colony in the French empire.

2013: Egypt's military-backed authorities step up their crackdown on liberal icons of the 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak with security forces storming the headquarters of a rights group and arresting six activists.


Su Tung-p'o, Chinese poet (1036-1101); Sir Ralph Richardson, British actor (1902-1983); Leonid I Brezhnev, Soviet Communist Party chief (1906-1982); Jean Genet, French writer (1910-1986); Edith Piaf, French singer (1915-1963); Robert Urich, US actor (1946-2002); Jennifer Beals, US actress (1963- ); Jake Gyllenhaal, US actor (1980- ).

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