December 6th in History

This day in historyDecember 6 is the 340th day of the year (341st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 25 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 963,  Pope Leo VIII is appointed to the office of Protonotary and begins his papacy as antipope of Rome.

In 1060,  Béla I is crowned king of Hungary.

In 1240,  Mongol invasion of Rus’: Kiev under Daniel of Galicia and Voivode Dmytro falls to the Mongols under Batu Khan.

In 1534,  The city of Quito in Ecuador is founded by Spanish settlers led by Sebastián de Belalcázar.

In 1648,  Colonel Thomas Pride of the New Model Army purges the Long Parliament of MPs sympathetic to King Charles I of England, in order for the King’s trial to go ahead; came to be known as “Pride’s Purge“.

In 1704,  Battle of Chamkaur: During the Mughal-Sikh Wars, an outnumbered Sikh Khalsa defeats a Mughal army.

In 1745,  Charles Edward Stuart‘s army begins retreat during the second Jacobite Rising.

In 1768,  The first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica is published.

In 1790,  The U.S. Congress moves from New York City to Philadelphia.

In 1846,  American and Californio forces clash at the Battle of San Pasqual

In 1861, The Ladies Soldiers Aid Society is organized to work at Confederate hospital located at West Tennessee College (Old Union University).

In 1865,  The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, banning slavery.

In 1877,  The first edition of The Washington Post is published.

Erastus Brigham Bigelow.jpg

Erastus Brigham Bigelow

In 1879,  Erastus Brigham Bigelow, American businessman (b. 1814) dies. He was an American inventor of weaving machines. Erastus Bigelow was born in West Boylston, Massachusetts. He was the son of a cotton weaver, and it was his parents’ desire that he should become a physician, but, his father’s business not being successful, he was unable to continue his studies, and so turned his attention to inventing.  He showed an inventive genius at the early age of 14, when he invented a machine to manufacture piping cord, for which he received $100. Before he had reached the age of 18, he had devised a handloom for suspender webbing. His work on Stenography, a short manual on shorthand writing, was written and published about this time. In 1838, he invented a power loom for weaving knotted counterpanes, and later a power loom to weave coach lace and took his brother, Horatio, in with him.

In 1884,  The Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., is completed.

President-Jefferson-Davis.jpgIn 1889,  Jefferson Davis, American general and politician, President of the Confederate States of America (b. 1808) passes. He was an American soldier and politician, and was the President of the Confederate States of America (the former seceded southern states of the United States of America) during the American Civil War, 1861 to 1865. He took personal charge of the Confederate war plans but was unable to find a strategy to defeat the more populous and industrialized Union. His diplomatic efforts failed to gain recognition from any foreign country. At home he paid little attention to the collapsing Confederate economy; the government printed more and more paper money to cover the war’s expenses, leading to runaway inflation and devaluation of the Confederate Dollar.

Davis was born in Kentucky to a moderately prosperous farmer and grew up on his brother’s large cotton plantations in Mississippi and Louisiana. His brother Joseph secured his appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; after he graduated he served six years as a lieutenant in the United States Army. He fought in the first Mexican–American War (1846-1848), as the colonel of a volunteer regiment. He served as the U.S. Secretary of War, 1853 to 1857, under Democratic 14th President Franklin Pierce, (1804-1869), and as a Democratic U.S. senator from Mississippi. An operator of a large cotton plantation in Mississippi with over 100 slaves, he was well known for his support of slavery in the Senate. He argued against secession, but did agree that each state was sovereign and had an unquestionable right to secede from the Union. Davis lost his first wife, Sarah Knox Taylor, to malaria after three months of marriage, and the disease almost killed him as well. He suffered from ill health for much of his life. He had six children with his second younger wife, Varina Howell Davis, but only two survived him.

Many historians attribute the Confederacy’s weaknesses to the leadership of President Davis. His preoccupation with detail, reluctance to delegate responsibility, lack of popular appeal, feuds with powerful state governors, favoritism toward old friends, inability to get along with people who disagreed with him, neglect of civil matters in favor of military ones, and resistance to public opinion all worked against him. Historians agree he was a much less effective war leader than his Union counterpart Abraham Lincoln.

After Davis was captured in 1865, he was accused of treason but was not tried and was released after two years. While not disgraced, Davis had been displaced in ex-Confederate affection after the war by his leading general, Robert E. Lee. Davis wrote a memoir entitled The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, which he completed in 1881. By the late 1880s, he began to encourage reconciliation, telling Southerners to be loyal to the Union. Ex-Confederates came to appreciate his role as a Southern patriot and he became a hero of the Lost Cause in the New South.

In 1897,  London becomes the world’s first city to host licensed taxicabs.

In 1904,  Theodore Roosevelt articulated his “Corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine, stating that the U.S. would intervene in the Western Hemisphere should Latin American governments prove incapable or unstable.

In 1907,  A coal mine explosion at Monongah, West Virginia, kills 362 workers.

In 1916,  World War I: The Central Powers capture Bucharest.

In 1917,  Finland declares independence from Russia.

The Halifax explosionIn 1917,  Halifax Explosion: A munitions explosion near Halifax, Nova Scotia kills more than 1,900 people in the largest artificial explosion up to that time. The Halifax Explosion was a maritime disaster in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives bound for Bordeaux, France, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows, at the north-west tip of Halifax Harbour. When a fire on board the French ship ignited her cargo, around 2,000 people were killed by the blast, debris, fires and collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured. Nearly all structures within an 800-metre (half-mile) radius, including the entire community of Richmond, were obliterated. A pressure wave snapped trees, bent iron rails, demolished buildings, grounded vessels, and scattered fragments of Mont-Blanc for kilometres. A tsunami created by the blast wiped out the community of Mi’kmaq First Nations people who had lived in the Tufts Cove area for generations. The blast was the largest man-made explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons, releasing the equivalent energy of roughly 2.9 kilotons of TNT (12,000 GJ). There are several memorials to the victims of the explosion in the North End of Halifax.

In 1917,  World War I: USS Jacob Jones is the first American destroyer to be sunk by enemy action when it is torpedoed by German submarine SM U-53.

In 1921,  The Anglo-Irish Treaty is signed in London by British and Irish representatives.

In 1922,  One year to the day after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the Irish Free State comes into existence.

In 1928,  The government of Colombia sends military forces to suppress a month-long strike by United Fruit Company workers, resulting in an unknown number of deaths.

In 1933,  U.S. federal judge John M. Woolsey rules that James Joyce‘s novel Ulysses is not obscene.

In 1941,  World War II: The United Kingdom and Canada declare war on Finland in support of the Soviet Union during the Continuation War.

In 1947,  The Everglades National Park in Florida is dedicated.

In 1953,  Vladimir Nabokov completes his controversial novel Lolita.

In 1956,  A violent water polo match between Hungary and the USSR takes place during the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, against the backdrop of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

In 1957,  Project Vanguard: A launchpad explosion of Vanguard TV3 thwarts the first United States attempt to launch a satellite into Earth orbit.

In 1967,  Adrian Kantrowitz performs the first human heart transplant in the United States.

In 1969,  Meredith Hunter is killed by Hells Angels during a Rolling Stones concert at the Altamont Speedway in California.

In 1971,  Pakistan severs diplomatic relations with India following New Delhi’s recognition of Bangladesh.

In 1973,  The Twenty-fifth Amendment: The United States House of Representatives votes 387 to 35 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States. (On November 27, the Senate confirmed him 92 to 3.)

In 1975,  The Troubles: Fleeing from the police, a Provisional IRA unit takes a couple hostage in Balcombe Street, London, beginning a six-day siege.

In 1977,  South Africa grants independence to Bophuthatswana, although it is not recognized by any other country.

In 1978,  Spain approves its latest constitution in a referendum.

In 1982,  The Troubles: The Irish National Liberation Army bombed a pub frequented by British soldiers in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland. It killed eleven soldiers and six civilians.

In 1988,  The Australian Capital Territory is granted self-government.

Orbison with Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis for a televised 1977 Christmas special

In 1988,  Roy Orbison, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (Traveling Wilburys) (b. 1936) died of a heart attack at the age of 52. He had spent the day flying model airplanes with his sons; then, after having dinner at his mother’s home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. He also known by the nickname the Big O, was an American singer-songwriter, best known for his trademark sunglasses, distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark emotional ballads. Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly/country and western band in high school until he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis. His greatest success came with Monument Records between 1960 and 1964, when 22 of his songs placed on the Billboard Top 40, including “Only the Lonely“, “Crying“, and “Oh, Pretty Woman“. His career stagnated through the 1970s, but several covers of his songs and the use of “In Dreams” in David Lynch‘s film Blue Velvet (1986) revived his career. His life was marred by tragedy, including the death of his first wife and his two eldest sons in separate accidents. In 1988, he joined the supergroup Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne and also released a new solo album.

In 1989,  The École Polytechnique massacre (or Montreal Massacre): Marc Lépine, an anti-feminist gunman, murders 14 young women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.

In 1989,  John Payne, American actor, singer, and producer (b. 1912) died in Malibu, California, of congestive heart failure, aged 77. Payne was a Republican and in October 1960 he was one of many conservative notables who drove in the Nixon-Lodge Bumper Sticker Motorcade in Los Angeles. He  was an American film actor who is mainly remembered from film noir crime stories and 20th Century Fox musical films, and for his leading roles in Miracle on 34th Street and the NBC Western television series The Restless Gun. Payne, like former Daniel Boone series star Fess Parker, became wealthy through real estate investments in Southern California.

In 1991,  In Croatia, forces of the Yugoslav People’s Army bombard Dubrovnik after laying siege to the city since May.

In 1992,  The Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India, is demolished, leading to widespread riots causing the death of over 1,500 people.

In 1997,  A Russian Antonov An-124 cargo plane crashes into an apartment complex near Irkutsk, Siberia, killing 67.

In 2005,  Several villagers are shot dead during protests in Dongzhou, China.

In 2005,  An Iranian Air Force C-130 military transport aircraft crashes into a ten-floor apartment building in a residential area of Tehran, killing all 84 on board and 44 more on the ground.

Mars gullies

In 2006,  NASA reveals photographs taken by Mars Global Surveyor suggesting the presence of liquid water on Mars.

In 2008,  The 2008 Greek riots break out upon the killing of a 15-year-old boy, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, by a police officer.

In 2014, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday evening: “More than 300 protesters marched through Berkeley Saturday night, chanting, tossing bottles and smashing windows as police tried with mixed success to control the violence….Windows were broken and wine bottles smashed at a Trader Joe’s store near Martin Luther King and University Avenue while masked looters broke into a Radio Shack store and grabbed merchandise.”

In 2014, Research by The Jackson Sun into one of the state’s largest economic development programs, called FastTrack, found that the Southwest Tennessee Development District, which includes Jackson-Madison County, ranked last among nine development districts in the state in support from the program in 2013 and the first three quarters of 2014. Apparently West Tennessee is not politically in step with the rest of the state.

In 2015,  Venezuelan elections are held. For the first time in 17 years the United Socialist Party of Venezuela loses its majority in parliament.

In 2017, Donald Trump‘s administration officially announces the recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel.

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