This Day in History

December 14


567      Constantinople is devastated by a major earthquake severely damaging the Hagia Sophia as well as the walls of the city   1450
1287      St. Lucia's flood—storm tide breaks down a dike in the Netherlands—killing 50,000 to 80,000 people   730
1542      six-day old Mary Stuart becomes Mary, Queen of Scots, when her father James V dies at the age of 30   475
1546      Tycho Brahe, astronomer, born   471
1591      John of the Cross (born Juan de Yepes Alvarez), counter-reformer and poet, dies in Andalusia, Spain, age 49   426
1751      Theresian Military Academy founded in Lower Austria—oldest military academy   266
1788      German composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach dies, age 74   229
1799      George Washington, first U.S. president (1789-1797) and "Father of His Country," dies in his Mt. Vernon home, age 67   218
1819      Alabama becomes the 22nd state   198
1861      husband and consort of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, dies in Windsor Castle, age 42   156
1862      Confederate Richard Kirkland takes water to wounded Union soldiers on the battlefield of Fredericksburg—neither side fires   155
1873      Swiss paleontologist and geologist Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz dies in Cambridge, Massachusetts, age 66   144
1896      Glasgow Underground Railway is opened by the Glasgow District Subway Company   121
1900      Max Planck presents his derivation of the black-body radiation law at a meeting of the Berlin Academy of Sciences   117
1911      Norwegian Roald Amundsen and his expedition reaches the South Pole   106
1939      Soviet Union is expelled from the League of Nations five years after joining   78
1940      Plutonium is first produced using the cyclotron at Berkeley, CA   77
1943      American physician John Harvey Kellogg dies in Battle Creek, Michigan, age 91   74
1962      first flyby of Venus, Mariner 2   55
1972      Apollo 17 astronauts lift off moon—last manned lunar mission of the Apollo program   45
1984      Rams running back Eric Dickerson ends season with NFL season record of 2105 rushing yards   33
1989      Russian nuclear physicist and Soviet dissident Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov dies in Moscow, age 68   28
1993      American film, television, and stage actress Myrna Loy (born Myrna Adele Williams) dies in New York City, age 88   24
1995      Dayton Agreement is signed in Paris ending the three and half year long war in Bosnia   22
2001      German writer and academic Winfried Georg Sebald dies in Norfolk, UK, age 57   16
2003      JAXA's Mars probe Nozomi closest encounter with that planet   14
2004      Millau Viaduct over the River Tarn in the Massif Central mountains, France, inaugurated—world's tallest bridge   13
2009      NASA launches WISE, mid-infrared survey satellite   8
2011      Soviet rocket designer Boris Evseyevich Chertok dies in Moscow, age 99   6
2012      gunman kills 27 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut   5
2013      American author of romance novels Janet Anne Haradon Dailey dies, age 69   4
2013      British-Irish stage and film actor Peter Seamus O'Toole dies in London, age 81   4
2013      British statistician, decision theorist and leading advocate of Bayesian statistics Dennis Victor Lindley dies, age 90   4
2013      China's Chang'e 3 lands on the moon and deploys rover Yutu (Jade Rabbit)   4
2013      19-year old Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston becomes the youngest Heisman Trophy winner   4
2014      Bess Myerson, first Jewish Miss America (1945), dies, age 90   3
2016      Yahoo reveals a major cyber attack in August 2013 stole information for one billion users—largest data hack to date   1
2016      American physicist and co-founder of Fermilab Edwin L Goldwasser dies in Urbana, Illinois, age 97   1

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

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