Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Today in History....December 18

* 1620, passengers on the British ship Mayflower come ashore at modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, to begin their new settlement

* 1777, the new United States celebrates its first national day of thanksgiving, commemorating the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga after the surrender of General John Burgoyne and 5,000 British troops in October 1777. In proclaiming the first national day of thanksgiving, Congress wrote, "It is therefore recommended to the Legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES, to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for solemn THANKSGIVING and PRAISE; That at one Time and with one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor…"

* 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified by Georgia, fulfilling the two-thirds requirement for ratification, and banning slavery in the United States

* 1892, the first performance of Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker is held at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg

* 1916, the Battle of Verdun, the longest engagement of World War I, ends on this day after ten months and close to a million total casualties suffered by German and French troops

* 1932, the Chicago Bears defeated the Portsmouth Spartans 9-0 in the first ever NFL Championship Game. Because of a blizzard, the game was moved from Wrigley Field to the Chicago Stadium, the field measuring 80 yards long

* 1941, Japanese troops land in Hong Kong and a slaughter ensues

* 1944, during World War II: 77 B-29 Superfortress and 200 other aircraft of U.S. Fourteenth Air Force bomb Hankow, China, a Japanese supply base

* 1966, Saturn's moon Epimetheus is discovered by Richard L. Walker

* 1972, Nixon announces start of "Christmas Bombing" of North Vietnam

* 1987, Larry Wall releases the first version of the Perl programming language

* 1996, the Oakland, California school board passes a resolution officially declaring "Ebonics" a language or dialect

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