On This Day…

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218 BC – Second Punic War: Battle of the Trebia – Hannibal’s Carthaginian army heavily defeat Roman forces on Italian soil

1271 – Kublai Khan renames his empire “Yuan” (元 yuán), marking the start of the Yuan Dynasty of China

1603 – First fleet of the Dutch East India Company under Admiral Steven van der Haghen departs for the East-Indies

1642 – Abel Tasman’s expedition sails around Farewell Spit and into Golden Bay, first sighting local Māori in New Zealand

1865 – By proclamation of the U.S. secretary of state, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, outlawing slavery, officially entered into force, having been ratified by the requisite states on December 6.

1917 – The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, authorizing prohibition of alcohol, is approved by the US congress and sent to the states for ratification

1957 – World’s 1st full scale nuclear power plant for only peacetime use begins to generate electricity, at the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania

1963 – “The Pink Panther” film premieres directed by Blake Edwards and starring Peter Sellers and David Niven with theme by Henry Mancini

1997 – Kim Dae-Jung was elected president of South Korea, the first opposition leader in that country’s history to win that position.

2012 – 6 health workers dispensing polio vaccinations are gunned down in Pakistan

2017 – South Africa’s ANC selects Cyril Ramaphosa as leader, to succeed President Jacob Zuma

2019 – US House of Representatives votes to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power (230-197) and obstruction of Congress (229-198)

2020 – South Africa announces detection of new variant of COVID-19, called 501.V2, which is driving a second wave of infections

Births & Deaths:

1946 – American film director Steven Spielberg—who enjoyed great critical and commercial success with such movies as Jaws (1975), E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Schindler’s List (1993), and Saving Private Ryan (1998)—was born.

1963 – American actor Brad Pitt, known for his portrayal of unconventional characters, was born.

2011 – Czech playwright, poet, and political dissident Václav Havel—who served as president of Czechoslovakia (1989–92) and of the Czech Republic (1993–2003) and had been a prominent participant in the liberal reforms of 1968 (the Prague Spring)—died in Hrádeček, Czech Republic

Film & TV:

1966 – Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” airs for 1st time on CBS

2009 – James Cameron’s “Avatar” starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver, released in the US, becomes highest-grossing film of all time

Music:

1892 – Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Nutcracker Suite” premieres in Saint Petersberg, Russia, now the world’s most performed ballet

Via Britannica / On This Day

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