On This Day … 18 December

Events

  • 218 BC – Second Punic War: Battle of the Trebia: Hannibal’s Carthaginian forces defeat those of the Roman Republic.
  • 1271 – Kublai Khan renames his empire “Yuan” (元 yuán), officially marking the start of the Yuan dynasty of Mongolia and China.
  • 1499 – A rebellion breaks out in Alpujarras in response to the forced conversions of Muslims in Spain.
  • 1622 – Portuguese forces score a military victory over the Kingdom of Kongo at the Battle of Mbumbi in present-day Angola.
  • 1777 – The United States celebrates its first Thanksgiving, marking the recent victory by the American rebels over British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga in October.
  • 1793 – Surrender of the frigate La Lutine by French Royalists to Lord Samuel Hood; renamed HMS Lutine, she later becomes a famous treasure wreck.
  • 1916 – World War I: The Battle of Verdun ends when the second French offensive pushes the Germans back two or three kilometres, causing them to cease their attacks.
  • 1939 – World War II: The Battle of the Heligoland Bight, the first major air battle of the war, takes place.
  • 1944 – World War II: XX Bomber Command responds to the Japanese Operation Ichi-Go offensive by dropping five hundred tons of incendiary bombs on a supply base in Hankow, China.
  • 1958 – Project SCORE, the world’s first communications satellite, is launched.
  • 1972 – Vietnam War: President Richard Nixon announces that the United States will engage North Vietnam in Operation Linebacker II, a series of Christmas bombings, after peace talks collapsed with North Vietnam on the 13th.
  • 1981 – First flight of the Russian heavy strategic bomber Tu-160, the world’s largest combat aircraft, largest supersonic aircraft and largest variable-sweep wing aircraft built.
  • 2005 – The Chadian Civil War begins when rebel groups, allegedly backed by neighbouring Sudan, launch an attack in Adré.

People (Births)

  • 1507 – Ōuchi Yoshitaka, Japanese daimyō (d. 1551).
  • 1662 – James Douglas, 2nd Duke of Queensberry, Scottish colonel and politician, Secretary of State for Scotland (d. 1711).
  • 1825 – Charles Griffin, American general (d. 1876).
  • 1873 – Francis Burton Harrison, American general and politician, 6th Governor-General of the Philippines (d. 1957).
  • 1875 – Matt McGrath, Irish-American hammer thrower (d. 1941).
  • 1878 – Joseph Stalin, Georgian-Russian marshal and politician, 4th Premier of the Soviet Union (d. 1953).
  • 1884 – Emil Starkenstein, Czech pharmacologist, co-founded clinical pharmacology (d. 1942).
    • He was killed in the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp along with a few hundred refugees from Amsterdam after an incident in which a Dutch Jew resisted a Nazi patrol.
  • 1890 – Edwin Howard Armstrong, American engineer, invented FM radio (d. 1954).
  • 1896 – Gerald Barry, English colonel and cricketer (d. 1977).
  • 1912 – Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., American general and pilot (d. 2002).
  • 1920 – Robert Leckie, American soldier and author (d. 2001).
  • 1922 – Jack Brooks, American colonel, lawyer, and politician (d. 2012).
  • 1923 – Edwin Bramall, Baron Bramall, English field marshal and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Greater London (d. 2019).
  • 1934 – Boris Volynov, Russian colonel, engineer, and astronaut.
  • 1940 – John Cooper, English sprinter and hurdler (d. 1974).
  • 1950 – Sarath Fonseka, Sri Lankan general and politician.
  • 1954 – Willi Wülbeck, German runner.
  • 1955 – Bogusław Mamiński, Polish runner.
  • 1963 – Pierre Nkurunziza, Burundian soldier and politician, President of Burundi.
  • 1973 – Fatuma Roba, Ethiopian runner.
  • 1977 – Claudia Gesell, German runner.
  • 1988 – Lizzie Deignan, English cyclist.

People (Deaths)

  • 1829 – Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, French soldier, biologist, and academic (b. 1744).
  • 1843 – Thomas Graham, 1st Baron Lynedoch, Scottish-English general and politician (b. 1748).
  • 1919 – John Alcock, English captain and pilot (b. 1892).
  • 1980 – Alexei Kosygin, Russian soldier and politician, 8th Premier of the Soviet Union (b. 1904).
  • 1982 – Hans-Ulrich Rudel, German colonel and pilot (b. 1916).
  • 1998 – Lev Dyomin, Russian colonel, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1926).
  • 2012 – Mustafa Ould Salek, Mauritanian colonel and politician, President of Mauritania (b. 1936).
  • 2014 – Donald J. Albosta, American soldier and politician (b. 1925).
  • 2014 – Gideon Ben-Yisrael, Israeli soldier and politician (b. 1923).
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