On This Day … 04 December


  • 771 – Austrasian king Carloman I dies, leaving his brother Charlemagne king of the now complete Frankish Kingdom.
  • 1110 – The Kingdom of Jerusalem captures Sidon.
  • 1259 – Kings Louis IX of France and Henry III of England agree to the Treaty of Paris, in which Henry renounces his claims to French-controlled territory on continental Europe (including Normandy) in exchange for Louis withdrawing his support for English rebels.
  • 1676 – The Danish army under the command of King Christian V engages the Swedish army commanded by the Swedish king Charles XI at the Battle of Lund, to this day it is counted as the bloodiest battle in Scandinavian history and a turning point in the Scanian War.
  • 1745 – Charles Edward Stuart’s army reaches Derby, its furthest point during the Second Jacobite Rising.
  • 1783 – At Fraunces Tavern in New York City, US General George Washington bids farewell to his officers.
  • 1791 – The first edition of The Observer, the world’s first Sunday newspaper, is published.
  • 1861 – The 109 Electors of the several states of the Confederate States of America unanimously elect Jefferson Davis as President and Alexander H. Stephens as Vice President.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Sherman’s March to the Sea: At Waynesboro, Georgia, forces under Union General Judson Kilpatrick prevent troops led by Confederate General Joseph Wheeler from interfering with Union General William T. Sherman’s campaign destroying a wide swath of the South on his march to the Atlantic Ocean from Atlanta.
  • 1872 – The crewless American brigantine Mary Celeste, drifting in the Atlantic, is discovered by the Canadian brig Dei Gratia.
    • The ship has been abandoned for nine days but is only slightly damaged. Her master Benjamin Briggs and all nine others known to have been on board are never accounted for.
  • 1893 – First Matabele War: A patrol of 34 British South Africa Company soldiers is ambushed and annihilated by more than 3,000 Matabele warriors on the Shangani River in Matabeleland.
  • 1918 – US President Woodrow Wilson sails for the World War I peace talks in Versailles, becoming the first US president to travel to Europe while in office.
  • 1939 – World War II: HMS Nelson is struck by a mine (laid by U-31) off the Scottish coast and is laid up for repairs until August 1940.
  • 1942 – World War II: Carlson’s patrol during the Guadalcanal Campaign ends.
  • 1943 – World War II: In Yugoslavia, resistance leader Marshal Josip Broz Tito proclaims a provisional democratic Yugoslav government in-exile.
  • 1943 – World War II: US President Franklin D. Roosevelt closes down the Works Progress Administration, because of the high levels of wartime employment in the United States.
  • 1945 – By a vote of 65-7, the United States Senate approves United States participation in the United Nations.
    • The UN had been established on 24 October 1945.
  • 1967 – Vietnam War: US and South Vietnamese forces engage Viet Cong troops in the Mekong Delta.
  • 1971 – The Indian Navy attacks the Pakistan Navy and Karachi.
  • 1971 – The PNS Ghazi, a submarine belonging to the Pakistan Navy, sinks during the course of the Indo-Pakistani Naval War of 1971.
  • 1981 – South Africa grants independence to the Ciskei “homeland” (not recognised by any government outside South Africa).
  • 1983 – US Navy aircraft from USS John F. Kennedy and USS Independence attack Syrian Missile sites in Lebanon in response to an F-14 being fired on by an SA-7.
    • One A-6 Intruder and A-7 Corsair are shot down.
    • One American pilot was killed, one was rescued and one is captured.
  • 1984 – Sri Lankan Civil War: Sri Lankan Army soldiers kill 107–150 civilians in Mannar.
  • 1992 – Somali Civil War: President George H. W. Bush orders 28,000 US troops to Somalia in Northeast Africa.
  • Navy Day (India).

People (Births)

  • 1580 – Samuel Argall, English adventurer and naval officer (d. 1626).
  • 1647 – Daniel Eberlin, German soldier and composer (d. 1715).
  • 1881 – Erwin von Witzleben, Polish-German field marshal (d. 1944).
  • 1892 – Francisco Franco, Spanish general and dictator, Prime Minister of Spain (d. 1975).
  • 1912 – Pappy Boyington, American colonel and pilot, Medal of Honour recipient (d. 1988).
  • 1932 – Roh Tae-woo, South Korean general and politician, 6th President of South Korea.
  • 1949 – Jock Stirrup, Baron Stirrup, English air marshal and politician.
  • 1960 – Glynis Nunn, Australian heptathlete and hurler.
  • 1977 – Darvis Patton, American sprinter.
  • 1981 – Brian Vandborg, Danish cyclist.
  • 1982 – Nathan Douglas, English triple jumper.
  • 1990 – Igor Sjunin, Estonian triple jumper.

People (Deaths)

  • 1845 – Gregor MacGregor, Scottish soldier and explorer (b. 1786).
  • 1850 – William Sturgeon, English physicist, invented the electric motor (b. 1783).
  • 1976 – W.F. McCoy, Irish soldier, lawyer, and politician (b. 1886).
  • 2005 – Errol Brathwaite, New Zealand soldier and author (b. 1924).
  • 2006 – Ross A. McGinnis, American soldier, Medal of Honour recipient (b. 1987).
  • 2012 – Jack Brooks, American colonel, lawyer, and politician (b. 1922).
  • 2012 – Anthony Deane-Drummond, English general (b. 1917).
  • 2016 – Patricia Robins, British writer and WAAF officer (b. 1921).

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