December 27th in History

This day in historyDecember 27 is the 361st day of the year (362nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are four days remaining until the end of the year.



In 36,  Two days after conquering the separatist Chengjia empire, Eastern Han general Wu Han orders the looting and burning of its capital Chengdu.

In 537, The Hagia Sophia is completed.

In 1512, The Spanish Crown issues the Laws of Burgos, governing the conduct of settlers with regard to native Indians in the New World. The Leyes de Burgos (“Laws of Burgos“), promulgated on 27 December 1512 in BurgosCrown of Castile (Spain), was the first codified set of laws governing the behavior of Spaniards in the Americas, particularly with regard to the Indigenous people of the Americas (‘native Caribbean Indians’). They forbade the maltreatment of the indigenous people and endorsed their conversion to Catholicism. The laws were created following the conquest and Spanish colonization of the Americas in the West Indies, where the common law of Castile was not fully applicable. The scope of the laws was originally restricted to the island of Hispaniola but was later extended to Puerto Rico and Jamaica. These laws authorized and legalized the colonial practice of creating Encomiendas, where Indians were grouped together to work under a colonial head of the estate for a salary, and limited the size of these establishments to between 40 and 150 people. They also established a minutely regulated regime of work, pay, provisioning, living quarters, hygiene, and care for the Indians in a reasonably protective and humanitarian spirit. Women more than four months pregnant were exempted from work.

In 1521,  The Zwickau prophets arrive in Wittenberg disturbing the peace and preaching the Apocalypse. Philip Melanchthon cannot silence them. Martin Luther is being held in protective custody at the Wartburg castle at this time. He is later released and is able, by his preaching, to regain the peace.

In 1655, Second Northern War/the Deluge: Monks at the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa are successful in fending off a month-long siege.

In 1657, The Flushing Remonstrance is signed.

In 1703, Portugal and England sign the Methuen Treaty which gives preference to Portuguese imported wines into England.

In 1771, Henri Pitot, French engineer, invented the Pitot tube (b. 1695) dies. He was a French hydraulic engineer and the inventor of the pitot tube. He became interested in studying the flow of water at various depths and was responsible for disproving the prevailing belief that speed of water increases with depth. In a pitot tube, the height of the fluid column is proportional to the square of the velocity. This relationship was discovered intuitively by Henri Pitot in 1732, when he was assigned the task of measuring the flow in the river Seine. He rose to fame with the design of Aqueduc de Saint-Clément near Montpellier and the extension of Pont du Gard in Nîmes. In 1724, he became a member of the French Academy of Sciences, and in 1740 a fellow of the Royal Society. The Pitot theorem of plane geometry is named after him.

In 1814, War of 1812: The American schooner USS Carolina is destroyed. It was the last of Commodore Daniel Patterson‘s makeshift fleet that fought a series of delaying actions that contributed to Andrew Jackson‘s victory at the Battle of New Orleans.

In 1831, Charles Darwin embarks on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, during which he will begin to formulate the theory of evolution.

Charles Lamb by Henry Hoppner Meyer.jpgIn 1834, Charles Lamb, English author (b. 1775) died of a streptococcal infection, erysipelas, contracted from a minor graze on his face sustained after slipping in the street, on 27 December 1834. He was 59. He was an English writer and essayist, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children’s book Tales from Shakespeare, which he produced with his sister, Mary Lamb (1764–1847). He also wrote a number of poems, and was part of a literary circle in England, along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, whom he befriended. He has been referred to by E. V. Lucas, his principal biographer, as “the most lovable figure in English literature”.

In 1836, The worst ever avalanche in England occurs at Lewes, Sussex, killing eight people.

In 1836, Stephen F. Austin, American soldier and politician (b. 1793) died of pneumonia at noon on December 27, 1836, at the home of George B. McKinstry right outside of what is now West Columbia, Texas. Austin’s last words were “The independence of Texas is recognized! Don’t you see it in the papers?…” Upon hearing of Austin’s death, Houston ordered an official statement proclaiming: “The Father of Texas is no more; the first pioneer of the wilderness has departed.” Austin was originally buried at Gulf Prairie Cemetery in Brazoria County, Texas. Austin’s body was moved, however, in 1910 to the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas. He was an American empresario born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Missouri. Known as the Father of Texas, he led the second, and ultimately successful, colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States. The capital of Texas, Austin in Travis County, Austin County, Austin Bayou, Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Austin College in Sherman, and a number of K-12 schools are named in his honor.

In 1845,  Ether anesthetic is used for childbirth for the first time by Dr. Crawford Long in Jefferson, Georgia.

In 1845, Journalist John L. O’Sullivan, writing in his newspaper the New York Morning News, argues that the United States had the right to claim the entire Oregon Country “by the right of our manifest destiny“.

In 1884,  The West Tennessee Whig reported that Sam Jones’ revival caused nearly 100 people to join various churches and hundreds more to quit swearing and drinking.

In 1911,Jana Gana Mana“, the national anthem of India, is first sung in the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress.

In 1918, The Great Poland Uprising against the Germans begins.

In 1922, Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō becomes the first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned in the world.

In 1923, Daisuke Namba, a Japanese student, tries to assassinate the Prince Regent Hirohito.

Gustave Eiffel 1888 Nadar.jpgIn 1923, Gustave Eiffel, French architect and engineer, co-designed the Eiffel Tower (b. 1832) died on 27 December 1923, while listening to Beethoven’s 5th symphony andante, in his mansion on Rue Rabelais in Paris, France. He was a French civil engineer and architect. A graduate of the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, he made his name with various bridges for the French railway network, most famously the Garabit viaduct. He is best known for the world-famous Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, France. After his retirement from engineering, Eiffel concentrated his energies on research into meteorology and aerodynamics, making important contributions in both fields.

In 1927, Show Boat, considered to be the first true American musical play, opens at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Broadway.

In 1929, Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin orders the “liquidation of the kulaks as a class“, ostensibly as an effort to spread socialism to the countryside.

In 1932, Radio City Music Hall, “Showplace of the Nation”, opens in New York City.

In 1938, Calvin Bridges, American geneticist and academic (b. 1889) dies. He was an American scientist, known for his contributions to the field of genetics. Along with Alfred Sturtevant and H.J. Muller, Bridges was part of the famous fly room of Thomas Hunt Morgan at Columbia University. Bridges wrote a masterful Ph.D. thesis on “Non-disjunction as proof of the chromosome theory of heredity.” It appeared as the first paper in the first issue of the journal Genetics in 1916. His work with sex linked traits in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster suggested that chromosomes contained genes. Later Nettie Maria Stevens was able to prove this hypothesis by examining the chromosomes of the fruit flies. Bridges wrote a couple of papers presenting the proof. He thanked her as “Miss Stevens” without stating what her contribution was nor referring to her PhD. Bridges’ best-known contribution among Drosophila researchers is his observation and documentation of the polytene chromosomes found in larval salivary gland cells. The banding patterns of these chromosomes are still used as genetic landmarks even by contemporary researchers.

In 1939, Erzincan, Turkey, is hit by an earthquake, killing 30,000.

In 1939, Winter War: Finland holds off a Soviet attack in the Battle of Kelja.

In 1942, The Union of Pioneers of Yugoslavia is founded.

In 1945, The World Bank and International Monetary Fund are created with the signing of an agreement by 29 nations.

In 1949, Indonesian National Revolution: The Netherlands officially recognizes Indonesian independence. End of the Dutch East Indies.

Harry Warner - Feb 1919 MPW.jpgIn 1958, Harry Warner, Polish-American film producer, co-founded Warner Bros. (b. 1881) died on July 27, 1958 from a cerebral occlusion. Some people close to Harry, however, believed he died of a broken heart; Harry’s wife Rea even stated, after Harry’s funeral took place, that “he didn’t die, Jack killed him.” He was a Polish-born American studio executive, one of the founders of Warner Bros., and a major contributor to the development of the film industry. Along with his three brothers (Albert, Sam and Jack) Warner played a crucial role in the film business and played a key role in establishing Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc, serving as the company president until 1956.

In 1966, The Cave of Swallows, the largest known cave shaft in the world, is discovered in Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

In 1968, Apollo program: Apollo 8 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.

In 1974, Vladimir Fock, Russian physicist and mathematician (b. 1898) dies. He was a Soviet physicist, who did foundational work on quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. He was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1922 he graduated from Petrograd University, then continued postgraduate studies there. He became a professor there in 1932. In 1919–1923 and 1928–1941 he collaborated with the Vavilov State Optical Institute, in 1924–1936 with the Leningrad Institute of Physics and Technology, in 1934–1941 and 1944–1953 with the Lebedev Physical Institute. His primary scientific contribution lies in the development of quantum physics, although he also contributed significantly to the fields of mechanics, theoretical optics, theory of gravitation, physics of continuous media. In 1926 he derived the Klein–Gordon equation. He gave his name to Fock space, the Fock representation and Fock state, and developed the Hartree–Fock method in 1930. He made many subsequent scientific contributions, during the rest of his life. Fock developed the electromagnetic methods for geophysical exploration in a book The theory of the study of the rocks resistance by the carottage method (1933); the methods are called the well logging in modern literature. Fock made significant contributions to general relativity theory, specifically for the many body problems.

In 1974, Amy Vanderbilt, American author (b 1908) dies from multiple fractures of the skull after falling or jumping from a second-floor window in her townhouse at 438 East 87th Street in New York.  She was an American authority on etiquette. In 1952 she published the best-selling book Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette. The book–later retitled Amy Vanderbilt’s Etiquette–has been updated and is still in circulation. The most recent edition (ISBN 0-385-41342-4) was edited by Nancy Tuckerman and Nancy Dunnan. Its longtime popularity has led to it being considered a standard of etiquette writing.  She is also the author or collector of cooking materials, including the 1961 book Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Cook Book illustrated by Andy Warhol. This cookbook’s illustrations are attributed to “Andrew Warhol”, and predate Andy Warhol’s first New York solo pop art exhibition. His illustrations are simple line drawings in pen and ink. Amy Vanderbilt descended from either an uncle or a brother of Cornelius Vanderbilt. She was born in Staten Island NY and worked as a part-time reporter for the Staten Island Advance when she was 16 while attending Curtis High School. She was educated in Switzerland and at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn before attending New York University. She worked in advertising and public relations, and published her famous book after five years of research. From 1954 to 1960 she hosted the television program It’s in Good Taste and from 1960 to 1962 she hosted the radio program The Right Thing to Do. She also worked as a consultant for several agencies and organizations, including the U.S. Department of State.

In 1978, Spain becomes a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.

In 1979, The Soviet Union invades the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.

Jack Swigert- Apollo 13.jpgIn 1982, Jack Swigert, American pilot, astronaut, and politician (b. 1931) died of respiratory failure at its Lombardi Cancer Center contributed to a malignant tumor in his right nasal passage. He was an American test pilot, mechanical engineer, aerospace engineer, United States Air Force pilot, and NASA astronaut, one of the 24 persons who have flown to the Moon.  Before joining NASA in 1966, Swigert was a civilian test pilot and fighter pilot in the Air National Guard. After leaving NASA, he was elected to Congress from Colorado’s new 6th district, but died before being sworn in.

In 1983, Pope John Paul II visits Mehmet Ali Ağca in Rebibbia‘s prison and personally forgives him for the 1981 attack on him in St. Peter’s Square.

In 1985, Palestinian guerrillas kill eighteen people inside the airports of Rome, Italy, and Vienna, Austria.

In 1989, The Romanian Revolution concludes, as the last minor street confrontations and stray shootings abruptly end in the country’s capital, Bucharest.

In 1996, Taliban forces retake the strategic Bagram Airfield which solidifies their buffer zone around Kabul, Afghanistan.

In 1997, Protestant paramilitary leader Billy Wright is assassinated in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.

In 2001, China is granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States.

In 2002, Two truck bombs kill 72 and wound 200 at the pro-Moscow headquarters of the Chechen government in Grozny, Chechnya, Russia.

In 2004, Radiation from an explosion on the magnetar SGR 1806-20 reaches Earth. It is the brightest extrasolar event known to have been witnessed on the planet.

In 2007, Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated in a shooting incident.

In 2007, Riots erupt in Mombasa, Kenya, after Mwai Kibaki is declared the winner of the presidential election, triggering a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis.

In 2008, Operation Cast Lead: Israel launches 3-week operation on Gaza.

In 2009, Iranian election protests: On the Day of Ashura in Tehran, Iran, government security forces fire upon demonstrators.

In 2009, A Committee to Recall U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, sponsored by the Sussex County Tea Party has announced plans to launch an effort to recall Senator Robert Menendez from his position in office. Helping to lead the charge is New Jersey Tea Parties United, the state’s grass-roots coalition of county and regional Tea Party groups representing several thousand members in support of fiscal responsibility, individual liberty and limited government. The Committee filed a formal Notice of Intention to Recall with the Secretary of State’s office on September 25, 2009.

Harry Carey, Jr. 1948.JPGIn 2012, Harry Carey, Jr., American actor, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1921) died of natural causes on December 27, 2012, in Santa Barbara, California, at the age of ninety-one. His entombment was at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. Henry George “Dobe” Carey, Jr. known as Harry Carey, Jr., was an American actor. He appeared in more than ninety films including several John Ford westerns as well as numerous television series. He was born in the Saugus neighborhood of Santa Clarita, California, the son of actor Harry Carey (1878–1947) and actress Olive Carey (1896–1988). His maternal grandfather was vaudeville entertainer George Fuller Golden. As a boy, he was nicknamed “Dobe”, short for adobe, because of the color of his hair. He served with the United States Navy during World War II. A respected character actor like his father, Carey appeared in several Westerns. He made four films with director Howard Hawks. The first was Red River, which featured both Carey and his father in separate scenes, followed by Monkey Business, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Rio Bravo. Carey is credited in Rio Bravo but his scenes were cut. Carey speculated that Hawks either did not like Carey’s outfit or cut the scene because Carey addressed Hawks as “Howard,” instead of “Mr. Hawks.”

Carey made eleven films with John Wayne, starting with Red River and ending with Cahill U.S. Marshal.

Carey collaborated frequently with director John Ford, a close friend, and became a regular in what was commonly called the John Ford Stock Company. He appeared in such notable Ford films as 3 Godfathers (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), Wagon Master (1950), Rio Grande (1950), The Long Gray Line (1955); Mister Roberts (1955), The Searchers (1956), Two Rode Together (1961), and Cheyenne Autumn (1964). Carey wrote a book about his experiences working with Ford titled Company of Heroes: My Life as an Actor in the John Ford Stock Company, published in 1994.

In 2012, U.S. Taxpayers Continue to Pay More Than One-Fifth of U.N. Budget – In one of its last actions of the year, the United Nations General Assembly on Christmas Eve agreed to extend for another three years the formula that has U.S. taxpayers contributing more than one-fifth of the world body’s regular budget. No member-state called for a recorded vote, and the resolution confirming the contributions that each country will make for the 2013-2015 period was summarily adopted. The assembly also approved a two-year U.N. budget of $5.4 billion. The U.S. has accounted for 22 percent of the total regular budget every year since 2000, and will now continue to do so for the next three years.

In 2015, In private, top Afghan and American officials have begun to voice increasingly grim assessments of the resurgent Taliban threat, most notably in a previously undisclosed transcript of a late October meeting of the Afghan National Security Council.

In 2016, Obama Administration Nearly Doubles Number of Refugee Arrivals So Far in FY 2017. The Obama administration has accepted 25,584 refugees into the United States in the two months and 26 days since FY 2017 began on October 1, according to the Department of State interactive website. That number is nearly double the 13,791 refugees accepted during the comparable period between October 1, 2015 and December 26, 2015 of the prior fiscal year (FY 2016).


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