On This Day … 14 December


  • 835: Sweet Dew Incident: Emperor Wenzong of the Tang dynasty conspires to kill the powerful eunuchs of the Tang court, but the plot is foiled.
  • 1542: Princess Mary Stuart becomes Queen of Scots at the age of one week on the death of her father, James V of Scotland.
  • 1751: The Theresian Military Academy is founded in Wiener Neustadt, Austria.
  • 1812: The French invasion of Russia comes to an end as the remnants of the Grande Armée are expelled from Russia.
  • 1814: War of 1812: The Royal Navy seizes control of Lake Borgne, Louisiana.
  • 1836: The Toledo War unofficially ends.
  • 1903: The Wright brothers make their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
  • 1913: Haruna, the fourth and last Kongō-class ship, launches, eventually becoming one of the Japanese workhorses during World War I and World War II.
  • 1918: Friedrich Karl von Hessen, a German prince elected by the Parliament of Finland to become King Väinö I, renounces the Finnish throne.
  • 1918: The 1918 United Kingdom general election occurs, the first where women were permitted to vote.
  • 1939: Winter War: The Soviet Union is expelled from the League of Nations for invading Finland.
  • 1940: Plutonium (specifically Pu-238) is first isolated at Berkeley, California.
  • 1941: World War II: Japan signs a treaty of alliance with Thailand.
  • 1955: Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Ceylon, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nepal, Portugal, Romania and Spain join the United Nations through United Nations Security Council Resolution 109.
  • 1971: Bangladesh Liberation War: Over 200 of East Pakistan’s intellectuals are executed by the Pakistan Army and their local allies. (The date is commemorated in Bangladesh as Martyred Intellectuals Day.).
  • 1981: Arab–Israeli conflict: Israel’s Knesset ratifies the Golan Heights Law, extending Israeli law to the occupied Golan Heights.
  • 1992: War in Abkhazia: Siege of Tkvarcheli: A helicopter carrying evacuees from Tkvarcheli is shot down, resulting in at least 52 deaths, including 25 children. The incident catalyses more concerted Russian military intervention on behalf of Abkhazia.
  • 1995: Yugoslav Wars: The Dayton Agreement is signed in Paris by the leaders of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • 1998: Yugoslav Wars: The Yugoslav Army ambushes a group of Kosovo Liberation Army fighters attempting to smuggle weapons from Albania into Kosovo, killing 36.
  • 2003: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf narrowly escapes an assassination attempt.
  • 2013: A reported coup attempt in South Sudan leads to continued fighting and hundreds of casualties.
  • Forty-seven Ronin Remembrance Day (Sengaku-ji, Tokyo)

People (Births)

  • 1775: Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, Scottish admiral and politician (d. 1860).
  • 1832: Daniel H. Reynolds, American general, lawyer, and politician (d. 1902).
  • 1883: Morihei Ueshiba, Japanese martial artist, developed aikido (d. 1969).
  • 1895: George VI of the United Kingdom (d. 1952).
  • 1896: Jimmy Doolittle, American general and pilot, Medal of Honour recipient (d. 1993).
  • 1914: Karl Carstens, German lieutenant and politician, 5th President of the Federal Republic of Germany (d. 1992).
  • 1922: Junior J. Spurrier, American sergeant, Medal of Honour recipient (d. 1984).
  • 1953: Mikael Odenberg, Swedish soldier and politician, 29th Swedish Minister for Defence.

People (Deaths)

  • 1624: Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, English politician, Lord High Admiral (b. 1536).
  • 1799: George Washington, American general and politician, 1st President of the United States (b. 1732).
  • 1912: Belgrave Edward Sutton Ninnis, English lieutenant and explorer (b. 1887).
  • 1929: Henry B. Jackson, 74, British admiral (b. 1855).
  • 1947: Stanley Baldwin, English lieutenant and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1867).
  • 1994: Orval Faubus, American soldier and politician, 36th Governor of Arkansas (b. 1910).
  • 1995: G. C. Edmondson, American soldier and author (b. 1922).
  • 2012: John Graham, English general (b. 1923).
  • 2015: Terry Backer, American soldier and politician (b. 1954).

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