December 2nd in History

SThis day in historyDecember 2 is the 336th day of the year (337th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 29 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 1244,  Pope Innocent IV arrives at Lyon for the First Council of Lyon

In 1409,  The University of Leipzig opens.

Outdoor statue of man in long cape holding a horse's reinsIn 1515,  Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, Spanish general (b. 1453) dies. He was Duke of Terranova and Santangelo, Andria, Montalto and Sessa, and a Spanish general who fought in the Conquest of Granada and the Italian Wars. He reorganized the emerging Spanish army and its tactics, and was regarded as the “father of trench warfare“. He was also called “The Great Captain” (Spanish: El gran capitán). Many influential men fought under him (including Francisco Pizarro‘s father), and he was admired by the generation of conquistadors which followed.

Córdoba was a pioneer of modern warfare. As a field commander, like Napoleon three centuries later, his goal was the destruction of the enemy army. Córdoba systematically pursued defeated armies after a victory to minimize future resistance. He helped found the first modern standing army (the nearly-invincible Spanish infantry which dominated European battlefields for most of the 16th and 17th centuries). The best generals of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Philip II of Spain were Córdoba’s pupils or were trained by them.

His influence on military tactics was profound. Wellington’s Torres Vedras campaign resembled Córdoba’s campaign at Barletta and the Battle of Assaye is comparable to his campaign at Garigliano. Córdoba directed the first battle in history won by gunpowder small arms (the Battle of Cerignola). At the end of the battle, he issued a call to prayer (toque de oracion, adopted later for all Western armies); when Córdoba saw the fields full of French bodies, he ordered the playing of three long tones and prayers for the fallen.

In 1697,  St Paul’s Cathedral is consecrated in London.

In 1738,  Richard Montgomery, Irish-American general (December 2, 1738 – December 31, 1775) was born. He was an Irish-born soldier who first served in the British Army. He later became a Major General in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and he is most famous for leading the failed 1775 invasion of Canada.

In 1755,  The second Eddystone Lighthouse is destroyed by fire.

In 1763,  Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, the first synagogue in what will become the United States.

In 1775,  The USS Alfred becomes the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag (the precursor to the Stars and Stripes); the flag is hoisted by John Paul Jones.

In 1804,  At Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself Emperor of the French, the first French Emperor in a thousand years.

In 1805,  Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Austerlitz – French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte defeat a joint RussoAustrian force.

Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, author of the Monroe Doctrine

In 1823,  Monroe Doctrine: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President James Monroe proclaims American neutrality in future European conflicts, and warns European powers not to interfere in the Americas. The Monroe Doctrine was a policy of the United States introduced on December 2, 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention. At the same time, the doctrine noted that the United States would neither interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries. The Doctrine was issued at a time when nearly all Latin American colonies of Spain and Portugal had achieved or were at the point of gaining independence from the Portuguese Empire and Spanish Empire; Peru consolidated their independence in 1824, and Bolivia would become independent in 1825, leaving only Cuba and Puerto Rico under Spanish rule. The United States, working in agreement with Britain, wanted to guarantee that no European power would move in.

In 1845,  Manifest Destiny: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President James K. Polk proposes that the United States should aggressively expand into the West.

In 1848,  Franz Josef I becomes Emperor of Austria.

In 1851,  French President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte overthrows the Second Republic.

In 1852,  Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte becomes Emperor of the French as Napoleon III.

John Brown by Levin Handy, 1890-1910.jpgIn 1859,  Militant abolitionist leader John Brown is hanged for his October 16th raid on Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Brown was a white American abolitionist who believed armed insurrection was the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States.

During the 1856 conflict in Kansas, Brown commanded forces at the Battle of Black Jack and the Battle of Osawatomie. Brown’s followers killed five slavery supporters at Pottawatomie. In 1859, Brown led an unsuccessful raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry that ended with the multi-racial group’s capture. Brown’s trial resulted in his conviction and a sentence of death by hanging.

Brown’s attempt in 1859 to start a liberation movement among enslaved African Americans in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (later part of West Virginia), electrified the nation. He was tried for treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia, the murder of five men and inciting a slave insurrection. He was found guilty on all counts and was hanged. Southerners alleged that his rebellion was the tip of the abolitionist iceberg and represented the wishes of the Republican Party to end slavery. Historians agree that the Harpers Ferry raid in 1859 escalated tensions that, a year later, led to secession and the American Civil War.

In 1867,  At Tremont Temple in Boston, British author Charles Dickens gives his first public reading in the United States.

In 1899,  Philippine–American War: The Battle of Tirad Pass, termed “The Filipino Thermopylae”, is fought.

In 1908,  Puyi becomes Emperor of China at the age of two

In 1917,  World War I: Russia and the Central Powers sign an armistice at Brest-Litovsk, and peace talks leading to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk begin.

In 1920,  Following more than a month of Turkish-Armenian War, the Turkish dictated Treaty of Alexandropol is concluded.

In 1927,  Following 19 years of Ford Model T production, the Ford Motor Company unveils the Ford Model A as its new automobile.

In 1930,  Great Depression: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President Herbert Hoover proposes a US$150 million public works program to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy.

In 1936,  John Ringling, American businessman, co-founded Ringling Brothers Circus (b. 1866) dies. He is the most well-known of the seven Ringling brothers, five of whom merged the Barnum & Bailey Circus with their own Ringling Brothers Circus to create a virtual monopoly of traveling circuses and helped shape the circus into what it is today. He was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 1987. John was born in McGregor, Iowa, the fifth son in a family of seven sons and a daughter born to German immigrants, Marie Salomé Juliar and August Ringling (a farmer and harness maker). The original family name was “Ruengling”. Five of those sons worked together to build a circus empire.

The Ringlings started their first show in 1870 as the “The Ringling Brothers United Monster Shows, Great Double Circus, Royal European Menagerie, Museum, Caravan, and Congress of Trained Animals”, charging a penny for admission. In 1882, it was known as “The Ringling Brothers Classic and Comic Concert Company”.

By 1889, the circus was large enough to travel on railroad cars, rather than animal-drawn wagons. Admission rose to 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children.

John Ringling died on December 2, 1936 in New York City. Once one of the world’s wealthiest men, he died with only $311 in the bank. At his death, he willed his Sarasota mansion, the museum, and his entire art collection to the state of Florida. The house, Cà d’Zan, and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art offer visitors a glimpse into the lifestyle of the Roaring 20s and a renowned art collection. Another of John’s legacies is the Ringling College of Art and Design, which asked to adopt his name because of the cultural influence of the museum and its collection. A museum devoted to the Ringling Brothers Circus has been established on the estate also.

After his death, the circus was operated by his nephew, John Ringling North, who sold the circus to Judge Roy Hofheinz of Houston and Washington DC promoters Irvin Feld and Israel Feld in 1967.

In 1991, John and Mable Ringling and his sister, Ida Ringling North, were exhumed from their original resting places and reburied at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, just in front and to the right of the Ca d’Zan. It is called the secret garden and John is buried between the two women.

In 1939,  New York City’s La Guardia Airport opens.

In 1942,  World War II: During the Manhattan Project, a team led by Enrico Fermi initiates the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

In 1943,  World War II: A Luftwaffe bombing raid on the harbour of Bari, Italy, sinks numerous cargo and transport ships, including the American SS John Harvey, which is carrying a stockpile of World War I-era mustard gas.

In 1947,  Jerusalem Riots of 1947: Riots break out in Jerusalem in response to the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine.

In 1954,  Cold War: The United States Senate votes 65 to 22 to censure Joseph McCarthy for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute”.

In 1954,  The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Taiwan, is signed in Washington, D.C.

In 1956,  The Granma reaches the shores of Cuba‘s Oriente province. Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and 80 other members of the 26th of July Movement disembark to initiate the Cuban Revolution.

In 1961,  In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declares that he is a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba is going to adopt Communism.

In 1962,  Vietnam War: After a trip to Vietnam at the request of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield becomes the first American official to comment adversely on the war’s progress.

In 1970,  The United States Environmental Protection Agency begins operations.

In 1971,  Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, and Umm Al Quwain form the United Arab Emirates.

In 1975,  The Pathet Lao seizes the Laotian capital of Vientiane, forces the abdication of King Sisavang Vatthana, and proclaims the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

In 1976,  Fidel Castro becomes President of Cuba, replacing Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado.

In 1980,  Salvadoran Civil War: Four U.S. nuns and churchwomen, Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, and Dorothy Kazel, are murdered by a military death squad.

In 1982,  At the University of Utah, Barney Clark becomes the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart.

In 1988,  Benazir Bhutto is sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.

In 1993,  Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is shot and killed in Medellín.

In 1993,  Space Shuttle program: STS-61NASA launches the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

In 1999,  Glenbrook Rail Accident: Seven passengers are killed when two trains collide near Sydney, New South Wales.

In 1999,  The United Kingdom devolves political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Executive.

In 2001,  Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

William P Lawrence.jpg

Official portrait of VADM William P. Lawrence, USN

In 2005,  William P. Lawrence, American admiral and pilot (b. 1930) dies. He was a decorated United States Navy Vice Admiral and Naval Aviator who served as Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy from 1978 to 1981.

Lawrence was a noted pilot who became the first Naval Aviator to fly twice the speed of sound in a naval aircraft and was also one of the final candidates for the Mercury space program. During the Vietnam War, Lawrence was shot down while on a combat mission and spent six years as a prisoner of war, from 1967 to 1973. During this time he became noted for his resistance to his captors. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Lawrence served as the school’s Superintendent from 1978 to 1981.

Lawrence’s parents and grandparents were from Tennessee. Lawrences father Robert Landy “Fatty” Lawrence attended Vanderbilt University, where he was a noted student-athlete who graduated in 1924. Lawrence was a native of Nashville, and attended local schools. When in the fourth grade, Lawrence composed a poem called Little Fly:

Little Fly
I saw a little fly up on the wall.
I said to him “Little fly, aren’t you afraid you’ll fall?”
He looked at me a minute, then winked his eye.
And then he shifted into second, and then into high.

Lawrence distinguished himself as a student athlete at Nashvilles West High School, and in 1947 turned down a scholarship at Yale University to attend the United States Naval Academy.

He was among the 591 Americans released as part of “Operation Homecoming.”

In 2007, As for greatly expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Republicans, as is far too often the case, are still quibbling over who and how much, rather than whether or not. The House last week passed (by a less-than-veto-proof majority) a slightly revised version of the expansion President Bush vetoed. The revised version limits health coverage for “the poor” to families of four making $62,000 or less—300 percent of the poverty level and $14,000 a year above the median household income. Another sticking point is the 156-percent increase in the tobacco tax, which brings the federal tax on cigarettes to $1 per pack.

Sounds like Congress should be recruiting smokers pretty aggressively or revenue might dry up. The Senate will take up the bill again next week.

In 2015,  San Bernardino attack: Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik kill 14 people and wound 22 at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.

In 2015, The Jackson (Tennessee) City Council approved changes regarding the size of residential trash cans and added a requirement that trash must also be placed in bags. The council approved wording which allows individual pick-up cans to be 20 gallons to 50 gallons, but must not weigh more than 75 pounds. Up to two of these size cans can be left for back-door pick-up. The cans previously had been limited to 32 gallons. The changes were recommended by Waste Management but prior to the city’s approval of Waste Management as the provider.

In 2015, The IRS Wants Organizations to Collect Donors’ Social Security Numbers. The Internal Revenue Service proposed changes that would give nonprofits the option to collect the Social Security numbers of donors who contribute $250 or more to an organization.

In 2016, Thirty-six people die in a fire at a converted Oakland, California, warehouse serving as an artist collective.

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