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Arab Spring

One year ago, on Dec. 18, 2010, protests broke out in Tunisia following Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation death in protest of police corruption and ill treatment. This began what came to be known as the Arab Spring, protests throughout the Arab world and the toppling of regimes in Egypt, Libya and

France recognizes independent USA

On Dec 17, 1777, France officially recognized the United States of America as an independent nation. News of the Continental Army’s victory against the British at Saratoga in October reached France in early December, giving Benjamin Franklin new leverage in rallying French support for the American rebels. On Dec. 17,

Boston Tea Party

On Dec. 16, 1773, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded three British ships moored in Boston Harbor and dumped 342 chests of tea into the water. Now known as the “Boston Tea Party,” the midnight raid was a protest against the Tea Act of 1773, a

The Bill of Rights becomes law

On Dec. 15, 1791, Virginia’s ratification made the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the law of the land. Anti-Federalists, such as Patrick Henry, had pushed for the Bill of Rights to protect from encroachment on the rights of the people and the states from

First Wright brothers flight attempt

On Dec. 14, 1903, the Wright brothers made their first attempt to fly at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. On Dec. 14, 1825, Russian liberals rise up against Tsar Nicholas I in the Decembrist Revolt in St. Petersburg and are put down. On Dec. 14, 1799, George Washington, the first president

Rape of Nanking

On Dec. 13, 1937, Japanese armed forces entered Nanking, the capital of China, and General Matsui Iwane ordered that the city of Nanking be destroyed. Much of the city was burned, and Japanese troops launched a campaign of atrocities against civilians in what became known as the “Rape of Nanking.”

Jay born; PA ratifies US Constitution

On Dec. 12, 1745, John Jay was born. He later became the first Chief Justice of the United States. On Dec. 12, 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, five days after Delaware became the first.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn born

On Dec. 11, 1918, Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was born in Stavropol Krai, Russia. His books The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich helped raise global awareness of the Soviet Union’s forced labor camp system. Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. He

Wyoming first to grant women the vote

On Dec. 10, 1869, Wyoming territorial legislators passed a bill to make it the first state or territory to grant women the right to vote. At the time, men outnumbered women by a margin of six-to-one in Wyoming. On Dec. 10, 1778, John Jay was elected president of the Continental

Patriots gained control of Virginia

On Dec. 9, 1775, the Virginia and North Carolina militias defeated 800 slaves and 200 redcoats serving John Murray, earl of Dunmore and governor of Virginia, at Great Bridge outside Norfolk, ending British royal control of Virginia. The Tory survivors retreated first to Norfolk, then to Dunmore’s ship, where the

Congress Declares War Against Japan

On Dec. 8, 1941, the day following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt asked for a congressional declaration of war against Japan and Congress passed the declaration that day. (So, that’s how they used to do it.) There was one dissenting vote, that of Jeanette Rankin, the

Delaware First State

On Dec. 7, 1787, the U.S. Constitution is unanimously ratified by all 30 delegates to the Delaware Constitutional Convention, making Delaware the first state of the modern United States.

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