On This Day … 19 December


  • 1562: The Battle of Dreux takes place during the French Wars of Religion.
  • 1606: The ships Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery depart England carrying settlers who founded, at Jamestown, Virginia, the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States.
  • 1675: The Great Swamp Fight, a pivotal battle in King Philip’s War, gives the English settlers a bitterly won victory.
  • 1776: Thomas Paine publishes one of a series of pamphlets in The Pennsylvania Journal entitled “The American Crisis”.
  • 1777: American Revolutionary War: George Washington’s Continental Army goes into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
  • 1796: French Revolutionary Wars: Two British frigates under Commodore Horatio Nelson and two Spanish frigates under Commodore Don Jacobo Stuart engage in battle off the coast of Murcia.
  • 1941: World War II: Adolf Hitler appoints himself as head of the Oberkommando des Heeres.
  • 1941: World War II: Limpet mines placed by Italian divers heavily damage HMS Valiant and HMS Queen Elizabeth in Alexandria harbour.
  • 1945: John Amery, British Fascist, is executed at the age of 33 by the British Government for treason.
  • 1946: Start of the First Indochina War.
  • 1984: The Sino-British Joint Declaration, stating that China would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the United Kingdom would restore Hong Kong to China with effect from July 1, 1997 is signed in Beijing, China by Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher.

People (Births)

  • 1817: James J. Archer, American lawyer and general (d. 1864).
  • 1906: Leonid Brezhnev, Ukrainian-Russian marshal, engineer, and politician, 4th Head of State of the Soviet Union (d. 1982).

People (Deaths)

  • 1819: Thomas Fremantle, British admiral and politician (b. 1765).
  • 1899: Henry Ware Lawton, American general (b. 1843).
  • 1986: Werner Dankwort, Russian-German colonel and diplomat (b. 1895).
  • 1999: Desmond Llewelyn, Welsh soldier and actor (b. 1914).
  • 2012: Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, Israeli general and politician, 22nd Transportation Minister of Israel (b. 1944).
  • 2014: Igor Rodionov, Russian general and politician, 3rd Russian Minister of Defence (b. 1936).

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