Today in History: 31st December – A Journey Through Time

today in History

Greetings, history enthusiasts! It’s 31st December, and I’m Laila, ready to take you on an intriguing journey through time. In this Article, we’ll be exploring the keyword ‘Today in History,’ uncovering remarkable events, stories, and facts that have shaped the world we live in today.

Year Event
406 Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.
535 Byzantine general Belisarius completes the conquest of Sicily, defeating the Gothic garrison of Palermo (Panormos), and ending his consulship for the year.
870 Battle of Englefield: The Vikings clash with ealdorman Æthelwulf of Berkshire. The invaders are driven back to Reading (East Anglia), many Danes are killed.
1225 The Lý dynasty of Vietnam ends after 216 years by the enthronement of the boy emperor Trần Thái Tông, husband of the last Lý monarch, Lý Chiêu Hoàng, starting the Trần dynasty.
1229 James I of Aragon the Conqueror enters Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma, Spain) thus consummating the Christian reconquest of the island of Majorca.
1501 The First Battle of Cannanore commences.
1600 The British East India Company is chartered.
1660 James II of England is named Duke of Normandy by Louis XIV of France.
1687 The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.
1757 Empress Elizabeth I of Russia issues her ukase incorporating Königsberg into Russia.
1759 Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness.
1775 American Revolutionary War: Battle of Quebec: British forces repulse an attack by Continental Army General Richard Montgomery.
1790 Efimeris, the oldest Greek newspaper of which issues have survived till today, is published for the first time.
1796 The incorporation of Baltimore as a city.
1831 Gramercy Park is deeded to New York City.
1853 A dinner party is held inside a life-size model of an iguanodon created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen in south London, England.
1857 Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa, then a small logging town, as the capital of Canada.
1862 American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln signs an act that admits West Virginia to the Union, thus dividing Virginia in two.
1862 American Civil War: The Battle of Stones River begins near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
1878 Karl Benz, working in Mannheim, Germany, filed for a patent on his first reliable two-stroke gas engine, and he was granted the patent in 1879.
1879 Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
1906 Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar signs the Persian Constitution of 1906.
1907 The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in Manhattan.
1944 World War II: Hungary declares war on Nazi Germany.
1944 World War II: Operation Nordwind, the last major German offensive on the Western Front begins.
1946 President Harry S. Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II.
1951 The Marshall Plan expires after distributing more than US$13.3 billion in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.
1955 General Motors becomes the first U.S. corporation to make over US$1 billion in a year.
1961 RTÉ, Ireland’s state broadcaster, launches its first national television service.
1963 The Central African Federation officially collapses, subsequently becoming Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.
1965 Jean-Bédel Bokassa, leader of the Central African Republic army, and his military officers begins a coup d’état against the government of President David Dacko.
1968 The first flight of the Tupolev Tu-144, the first civilian supersonic transport.
1981 A coup d’état in Ghana removes President Hilla Limann’s PNP government and replaces it with the Provisional National Defence Council led by Flight lieutenant Jerry Rawlings.
1983 The AT&T Bell System is broken up by the United States Government.
1983 In Nigeria a coup d’état led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari ends the Second Nigerian Republic.
1985 United Kingdom founds a member state of UNESCO.
1986 Arson at the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico kills 97 people and injures 140.
1991 All official Soviet Union institutions have ceased operations by this date 5 days after the Soviet Union is officially dissolved.
1992 Czechoslovakia is peacefully dissolved in what is dubbed by media as the Velvet Divorce, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
1994 This date is skipped altogether in Kiribati as the Phoenix Islands and Line Islands change time zones from UTC−11:00 to UTC+13:00 and UTC−10:00 to UTC+14:00, respectively.
1994 The First Chechen War: Russian army began a New Year’s storming of Grozny.
1998 The European Exchange Rate Mechanism freezes the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and establishes the value of the euro currency.
1999 First President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, resigns from office, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President and successor.
1999 The United States Government hands control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.
1999 Indian Airlines Flight 814 hijacking ended after seven days with the release of 190 survivors at Kandahar Airport, Afghanistan.
2004 The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).
2009 Both a blue moon and a lunar eclipse occur.
2010 Tornadoes touch down in midwestern and southern United States, including Washington County, Arkansas; Greater St. Louis, Sunset Hills, Missouri, Illinois, and Oklahoma, with a few tornadoes in the early hours. A total 36 tornadoes touched down, resulting in the deaths of nine people and $113 million in damages.
2011 NASA succeeds in putting the first of two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory satellites in orbit around the Moon.
2014 A New Year’s Eve celebration stampede in Shanghai kills at least 36 people and injures 49 others.
2015 A fire broke out at the Downtown Address Hotel in Downtown Dubai, United Arab Emirates located near the Burj Khalifa 2 hours before the fireworks display was due to commence. 16 injuries were reported; one had a heart attack, another suffered a major injury, and fourteen others with minor injuries,

As you’ve seen, history is a treasure trove of fascinating tales and significant moments. Whether it’s a scientific breakthrough, a political milestone, a cultural revelation, or a gripping story of human resilience, ‘Today in History’ brings to light the events that have left an indelible mark on our world.

Before we wrap up this historical journey, let’s reflect on the importance of understanding the past. History isn’t just a subject for textbooks; it’s a source of inspiration, knowledge, and wisdom. By studying the triumphs and trials of those who came before us, we gain a deeper appreciation for the present and a better sense of direction for the future.

So, as we bid adieu to our excursion through time on 31st December, remember that history is alive, and its lessons are eternally relevant. Stay curious, keep exploring, and let the past be your guide to a brighter future.

Don’t forget to check back for more captivating ‘Today in History’ posts on this blog. The past is an open book, waiting for you to turn its pages and discover its many secrets. Until next time, happy time traveling!

Laila is a seasoned content writer at USInsightNews, renowned for her captivating storytelling and incisive analysis. Outside of her professional endeavors, Laila can be found exploring new literary works, immersing herself in nature, and advocating for the power of education in empowering communities.

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