On This Day … 10 December


  • 1317 – The “Nyköping Banquet” – King Birger of Sweden treacherously seizes his two brothers Valdemar, Duke of Finland and Eric, Duke of Södermanland, who were subsequently starved to death in the dungeon of Nyköping Castle.
  • 1508 – The League of Cambrai is formed by Pope Julius II, Louis XII of France, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor and Ferdinand II of Aragon as an alliance against Venice.
  • 1652 – Defeat at the Battle of Dungeness causes the Commonwealth of England to reform its navy.
  • 1665 – The Royal Netherlands Marine Corps is founded by Michiel de Ruyter
  • 1684 – Isaac Newton’s derivation of Kepler’s laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, is read to the Royal Society by Edmond Halley.
  • 1768 – The first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica is published.
  • 1799 – France adopts the metre as its official unit of length.
  • 1861 – American Civil War: The Confederate States of America accept a rival state government’s pronouncement that declares Kentucky to be the 13th state of the Confederacy.
  • 1861 – Forces led by Nguyễn Trung Trực, an anti-colonial guerrilla leader in southern Vietnam, sink the French lorcha L’Esperance.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Sherman’s March to the Sea: Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union Army troops reach the outer Confederate defences of Savannah, Georgia.
  • 1877 – Russo-Turkish War: The Russian Army captures Plevna after a 5-month siege. The garrison of 25,000 surviving Turks surrenders.
    • The Russian victory is decisive for the outcome of the war and the Liberation of Bulgaria.
  • 1898 – Spanish–American War: The Treaty of Paris is signed, officially ending the conflict.
  • 1906 – US President Theodore Roosevelt wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the mediation of the Russo-Japanese War, becoming the first American to win a Nobel Prize.
  • 1936 – Abdication Crisis: Edward VIII signs the Instrument of Abdication.
  • 1941 – World War II: The Royal Navy capital ships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse are sunk by Imperial Japanese Navy torpedo bombers near British Malaya.
  • 1941 – World War II: Battle of the Philippines: Imperial Japanese forces under the command of General Masaharu Homma land on Luzon.
  • 1942 – World War II: Government of Poland in exile send Raczyński’s Note (the first official report on the Holocaust) to 26 governments who signed the Declaration by United Nations.
  • 1949 – Chinese Civil War: The People’s Liberation Army begins its siege of Chengdu, the last Kuomintang-held city in mainland China, forcing President of the Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek and his government to retreat to Taiwan.
  • 1963 – Zanzibar gains independence from the United Kingdom as a constitutional monarchy, under Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah.
  • 1978 – Arab-Israeli conflict: Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin and President of Egypt Anwar Sadat are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • 1979 – Kaohsiung Incident: Taiwanese pro-democracy demonstrations are suppressed by the KMT dictatorship, and organizers are arrested.
  • 1983 – Democracy is restored in Argentina with the inauguration of President Raúl Alfonsín.
  • 1984 – United Nations General Assembly recognises the Convention against Torture.
  • 1989 – Mongolian Revolution: At the country’s first open pro-democracy public demonstration, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj announces the establishment of the Mongolian Democratic Union.
  • 1994 – Rwandan genocide: Maurice Baril, military advisor to the UN Secretary-General and head of the Military Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, recommends that UNAMIR stand down.
  • 1995 – The Israeli army withdraws from Nablus pursuant to the terms of Oslo Accord.
  • 2014 – Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein was killed after the suppression of a demonstration by Israeli forces in the village (Turmus’ayya) in Ramallah.
  • 2017 – ISIL is defeated in Iraq.
  • Alfred Nobel Day or Nobeldagen (Sweden).
  • Victory Day (Iraq).

People (Births)

  • 1883 – Giovanni Messe, Italian field marshal and politician (d. 1968).
  • 1891 – Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis, English field marshal and politician, 17th Governor General of Canada (d. 1969).
  • 1906 – Jules Ladoumègue, French runner (d. 1973).
  • 1915 – Nicky Barr, Australian rugby player, soldier, and pilot (d. 2006).
  • 1927 – Danny Matt, German-Israeli general (d. 2013).
  • 1945 – Mukhtar Altynbayev, Kazakhstani general and politician, 3rd Defence Minister of Kazakhstan.
  • 1961 – Mark McKoy, Canadian hurdler and sprinter.
  • 1978 – Anna Jesień, Polish hurdler.
  • 1997 – Viktoriia Savtsova, Ukrainian Paralympic swimmer.

People (Deaths)

  • 1736 – António Manoel de Vilhena, Portuguese soldier and politician (b. 1663).
  • 1850 – Józef Bem, Polish general and physicist (b. 1794).
  • 1867 – Sakamoto Ryōma, Japanese samurai and politician (b. 1836).
  • 1896 – Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist and engineer, invented Dynamite and founded the Nobel Prize (b. 1833).
  • 1939 – John Grieb, American gymnast and triathlete (b. 1879).
  • 1941 – Colin Kelly, American captain and pilot (b. 1915).
  • 1944 – John Brunt, English captain, Victoria Cross recipient (b. 1922).
  • 1945 – Theodor Dannecker, German captain (b. 1913).
  • 1957 – Napoleon Zervas, Greek general (b. 1891).
  • 1974 – Toshinari Shōji, Japanese general (b. 1890).
  • 1994 – Alex Wilson, Canadian-American sprinter (b. 1905).
  • 1999 – Franjo Tuđman, Croatian general and politician, 1st President of Croatia (b. 1922).
  • 2006 – Augusto Pinochet, Chilean general and dictator, 30th President of Chile (b. 1915).
  • 2009 – Vladimir Teplyakov, Russian soldier and physicist (b. 1925).

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