December 3rd in History

This day in historyDecember 3 is the 337th day of the year (338th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 28 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 915Pope John X crowned Berengar I of Italy as Holy Roman Emperor.

old man with gray hair combed back and black coatIn 1755, Gilbert Charles Stuart (born Stewart) (December 3, 1755 – July 9, 1828) was born this day. He was an American painter from Rhode Island. Gilbert Stuart is widely considered to be one of America’s foremost portraitists. His best known work, the unfinished portrait of George Washington that is sometimes referred to as The Athenaeum, was begun in 1796 and never finished; Stuart retained the portrait and used it to paint 130 copies which he sold for $100 each. The image of George Washington featured in the painting has appeared on the United States one-dollar bill for over a century, and on various U.S. Postage stamps of the 19th century and early 20th century.

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 1799,War of the Second Coalition: Battle of Wiesloch, Austrian Lieutenant Field Marshal Sztáray de Nagy-Mihaly defeats the French at Wiesloch.

In 1800,  United States presidential election, 1800 The Elector College casts votes for President and Vice President that resulted in a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.

In 1800,  War of the Second Coalition: Battle of Hohenlinden, French General Moreau defeats the Austrian Archduke John near Munich decisively, coupled with First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte‘s victory at Marengo effectively forcing the Austrians to sign an armistice and ending the war.

John Carroll Gilbert Stuart.jpgIn 1815,  John Carroll, American archbishop (b. 1735) dies in Baltimore on December 3, 1815. His remains are interred in the crypt of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which can be visited by the public. He was a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as the first bishop and Archbishop in the United States. He served as the ordinary of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Maryland.

Carroll is also known as the founder of Georgetown University, (the oldest Roman Catholic university in the United States), and of St. John the Evangelist Parish of Rock Creek, (now Forest Glen), the first secular (diocesan) parish in the country. This means its clergy did not come from monastic orders.

In 1818,  Illinois becomes the 21st U.S. state.

In 1834,  The Zollverein (German Customs Union) begins the first regular census in Germany.

In 1854,  Eureka Stockade: In what is claimed by many to be the birth of Australian democracy, more than 20 gold miners at Ballarat, Victoria, Australia are killed by state troopers in an uprising over mining licences.

Robert Louis Stevenson Knox Series.jpg

Robert Louis Stevenson

In 1894,  Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist, poet, and essayist (b. 1850). Stevenson was talking to his wife and straining to open a bottle of wine when he suddenly exclaimed, “What’s that!” asking his wife “Does my face look strange?” and collapsed. He died within a few hours, probably of a cerebral haemorrhage. He was forty-four years old.

He was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer. His most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson now ranks among the 26 most translated authors in the world. His works have been admired by many other writers, including Jorge Luis Borges, Bertolt Brecht, Marcel Proust, Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James, Cesare Pavese, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, Vladimir Nabokov,  J. M. Barrie, and G. K. Chesterton, who said of him that he “seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins.”

In 1898,  The Duquesne Country and Athletic Club defeated 16–0, an all-star collection of early football players, in what is considered to be the very first all-star game for professional American football.

In 1901,  US President Theodore Roosevelt delivers a 20,000-word speech to the House of Representatives asking the Congress to curb the power of trusts “within reasonable limits”.

In 1904,  The Jovian moon Himalia is discovered by Charles Dillon Perrine at California’s Lick Observatory.

In 1910,  Modern neon lighting is first demonstrated by Georges Claude at the Paris Motor Show.

In 1912,  Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia (the Balkan League) sign an armistice with the Ottoman Empire, temporarily halting First Balkan War (the armistice expired on February 3, at which time hostilities resumed).

In 1919,  After nearly 20 years of planning and construction, including two collapses causing 89 deaths, the Quebec Bridge opens to traffic.

In 1925,  World War I aftermath: The final Locarno Treaty is signed in London, establishing post-war territorial settlements.

In 1927,  Putting Pants on Philip, the first Laurel and Hardy film, is released.

Ezra Meeker 1921.jpgIn 1928,  Ezra Meeker, American farmer and politician (b. 1830) dies in Seattle. He was an American pioneer who traveled the Oregon Trail by ox-drawn wagon as a young man, migrating from Iowa to the Pacific Coast. Late in life he worked to memorialize the Trail, repeatedly retracing the trip of his youth. Once known as the “Hop King of the World”, he was the first mayor of Puyallup, Washington.

Meeker was born in Butler County, Ohio, to Jacob and Phoebe Meeker. His family relocated to Indiana when he was a boy. He married Eliza Jane Sumner in 1851; the following year the couple, with Ezra’s brother and with their newborn son, set out for the Oregon Territory, where land could be claimed and settled on. Although they endured hardships on the Trail in the journey of nearly six months, the entire party survived the trek. Meeker and his family briefly stayed near Portland, then journeyed north to live in the Puget Sound region. They settled at what is now Puyallup in 1862, where Meeker grew hops for use in brewing beer. By 1887, his business had made him wealthy, and his wife built a large mansion for the family. In 1891 an infestation of hop aphids destroyed his crops and took much of his fortune. He later tried his hand at a number of ventures, and made four largely unsuccessful trips to the Klondike, taking groceries and hoping to profit from the gold rush.

Meeker became convinced that the Oregon Trail was being forgotten, and he determined to bring it publicity so it could be marked and monuments erected. In 1906–1908, although in his late 70s, he retraced his steps along the Oregon Trail by wagon, seeking to build monuments in communities along the way. His trek reached New York, and in Washington, D.C. he met President Theodore Roosevelt. He traveled the Trail again several times in the final two decades of this life, including by oxcart in 1910–1912 and by airplane in 1924. During another such trip, in 1928, Meeker fell ill but was succored by Henry Ford. On his return to Washington state, Meeker became ill again and died there on December 3, 1928 at age 97. Meeker wrote several books; his work has continued through the activities of such groups as the Oregon-California Trails Association.

In 1944,  Greek Civil War: Fighting breaks out in Athens between the ELAS and government forces supported by the British Army.

In 1959,  The current flag of Singapore is adopted, six months after Singapore became self-governing within the British Empire.

In 1960,  The musical Camelot debuted at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway, and would become associated with the Kennedy administration.

In 1964,  Berkeley Free Speech Movement: Police arrest over 800 students at the University of California, Berkeley, following their takeover and sit-in at the administration building in protest at the UC Regents’ decision to forbid protests on UC property.

In 1967,  At Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, a transplant team headed by Christiaan Barnard carries out the first heart transplant on a human (53-year-old Louis Washkansky).

In 1970,  October Crisis: In Montreal, Quebec, kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross is released by the Front de libération du Québec terrorist group after being held hostage for 60 days. Police negotiate his release and in return the Canadian government grants five terrorists from the FLQ’s Chenier Cell their request for safe passage to Cuba.

In 1971,  Indo-Pakistani War of 1971: Pakistan launches a pre-emptive strike against India and a full scale war begins claiming hundreds of lives.

In 1973,  Pioneer program: Pioneer 10 sends back the first close-up images of Jupiter.

In 1976,  An assassination attempt is made on Bob Marley. He is shot twice, but plays a concert two days later.

In 1979,  In Cincinnati, Ohio, 11 fans are suffocated in a crush for seats on the concourse outside Riverfront Coliseum before a Who concert.

In 1979,  Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini becomes the first Supreme Leader of Iran.

In 1982,  A soil sample is taken from Times Beach, Missouri that will be found to contain 300 times the safe level of dioxin.

In 1984,  Bhopal Disaster: A methyl isocyanate leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, kills more than 3,800 people outright and injures 150,000–600,000 others (some 6,000 of whom would later die from their injuries) in one of the worst industrial disasters in history.

In 1989,  Cold War: In a meeting off the coast of Malta, US President George H. W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev release statements indicating that the cold war between NATO and The Soviet Union may be coming to an end.

In 1990,  At Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Northwest Airlines Flight 1482 collides with Northwest Airlines Flight 299 on the runway, killing 7 passengers and 1 crew member aboard flight 1482.

In 1992,  UN Security Council Resolution 794 is unanimously passed, approving a coalition of United Nations peacekeepers led by the United States to form UNITAF, with the task of establishing peace and ensuring that humanitarian aid is distributed in Somalia.

In 1992,  The Greek oil tanker Aegean Sea, carrying 80,000 tonnes of crude oil, runs aground in a storm while approaching La Coruña, Spain, and spills much of its cargo.

In 1992,  A test engineer for Sema Group uses a personal computer to send the world’s first text message via the Vodafone network to the phone of a colleague.

In 1997,  In Ottawa, Canada, representatives from 121 countries sign The Ottawa treaty prohibiting manufacture and deployment of anti-personnel landmines. The United States, People’s Republic of China, and Russia do not sign the treaty, however.

In 1999,  NASA loses radio contact with the Mars Polar Lander moments before the spacecraft enters the Martian atmosphere.

In 1999,  Six firefighters are killed in the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire in Worcester, Massachusetts.

In 2005,  XCOR Aerospace makes first manned rocket aircraft delivery of US Mail in Mojave, California.

In 2007,  Winter storms cause the Chehalis River to flood many cities in Lewis County, Washington, also closing a 20-mile portion of Interstate 5 for several days. At least eight deaths and billions of dollars in damages are blamed on the floods.

In 2009,  A suicide bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia, claims the lives of 25 people, including three ministers of the Transitional Federal Government.

In 2012,  At least 475 people are killed after Typhoon Bopha, makes landfall in the Philippines.

In 2012,  In Northern Ireland, 15 police officers are injured during rioting at Belfast City Hall following a vote to change Belfast City Council‘s policy on flying the union flag.

In 2014,  The Japanese space agency, JAXA, launches the space explorer Hayabusa 2 from the Tanegashima Space Center on a six-year round trip mission to an asteroid to collect rock samples.

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