December 15 Events
533 - Vandalic War: Byzantine general Belisarius defeats the Vandals, commanded by King Gelimer, at the Battle of Tricamarum. 687 - Pope Sergius I is elected. 1025 - Constantine VIII becomes sole emperor of the Byzantine Empire, 63 years after being crowned co-emperor. 1161 - Jin–Song wars: Military officers conspire against the emperor Wanyan Liang of the Jin dynasty after a military defeat at the Battle of Caishi, and assassinate the emperor at his camp. 1167 - Sicilian Chancellor Stephen du Perche moves the royal court to Messina to prevent a rebellion. 1256 - Mongol forces under Hulagu enter and dismantle the Nizari Ismaili stronghold at Alamut Castle as part of their offensive on Islamic southwest Asia. 1270 - The Nizari Ismaili garrison of Gerdkuh, Persia surrender after 17 years to the Mongols. 1467 - Stephen III of Moldavia defeats Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, with the latter being injured thrice, at the Battle of Baia. 1651 - Castle Cornet in Guernsey, the last stronghold which had supported the King in the Third English Civil War, surrenders. 1778 - American Revolutionary War: British and French fleets clash in the Battle of St. Lucia. 1791 - The United States Bill of Rights becomes law when ratified by the Virginia General Assembly. 1864 - American Civil War: Battle of Nashville: The Union's Army of the Cumberland routs and destroys the Confederacy's Army of Tennessee, ending its effectiveness as a combat unit. 1890 - Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull is killed on Standing Rock Indian Reservation, leading to the Wounded Knee Massacre. 1905 - The Pushkin House is established in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to preserve the cultural heritage of Alexander Pushkin. 1906 - The London Underground's Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway opens. 1914 - World War I: The Serbian Army recaptures Belgrade from the invading Austro-Hungarian Army. 1914 - A gas explosion at Mitsubishi Hōjō coal mine, in Kyushu, Japan, kills 687. 1917 - World War I: An armistice between Russia and the Central Powers is signed. 1933 - The Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution officially becomes effective, repealing the Eighteenth Amendment that prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol. 1939 - Gone with the Wind receives its premiere at Loew's Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. 1941 - The Holocaust in Ukraine: German troops murder over 15,000 Jews at Drobytsky Yar, a ravine southeast of the city of Kharkiv. 1942 - World War II: The Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse begins during the Guadalcanal Campaign. 1943 - World War II: The Battle of Arawe begins during the New Britain campaign. 1944 - World War II: a single-engine UC-64A Norseman aeroplane carrying United States Army Air Forces Major Glenn Miller is lost in a flight over the English Channel. 1945 - Occupation of Japan/Shinto Directive: General Douglas MacArthur orders that Shinto be abolished as the state religion of Japan. 1960 - Richard Pavlick is arrested for plotting to assassinate U.S. President-Elect John F. Kennedy. 1960 - King Mahendra of Nepal suspends the country's constitution, dissolves parliament, dismisses the cabinet, and imposes direct rule. 1961 - Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death after being found guilty by an Israeli court of 15 criminal charges, including charges of crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and membership of an outlawed organization. 1965 - Project Gemini: Gemini 6A, crewed by Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford, is launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida. Four orbits later, it achieves the first space rendezvous, with Gemini 7. 1970 - Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 successfully lands on Venus. It is the first successful soft landing on another planet. 1973 - John Paul Getty III, grandson of American billionaire J. Paul Getty, is found alive near Naples, Italy, after being kidnapped by an Italian gang on July 10. 1973 - The American Psychiatric Association votes 13–0 to remove homosexuality from its official list of psychiatric disorders, the DSM-II. 1978 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will recognize the People's Republic of China and sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan. 1981 - A suicide car bombing targeting the Iraqi embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, levels the embassy and kills 61 people, including Iraq's ambassador to Lebanon. The attack is considered the first modern suicide bombing. 1989 - Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights relating the abolition of capital punishment is adopted. 1993 - The Troubles: The Downing Street Declaration is issued by British Prime Minister John Major and Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. 1997 - Tajikistan Airlines Flight 3183 crashes in the desert near Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, killing 85. 2000 - The third reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is shut down. 2001 - The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after 11 years and $27,000,000 spent to stabilize it, without fixing its famous lean. 2005 - Introduction of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor into USAF active service. 2010 - A boat carrying 90 asylum seekers crashes into rocks off the coast of Christmas Island, Australia, killing 48 people. 2013 - The South Sudanese Civil War begins when opposition leaders Dr. Riek Machar, Pagan Amum and Rebecca Nyandeng vote to boycott the meeting of the National Liberation Council at Nyakuron. 2014 - A gunman takes 18 hostages inside a café in Martin Place for 16 hours in Sydney. Monis and two hostages are killed when police raid the café the following morning. 2017 - A 6.5earthquake strikes the Indonesian island of Java in the city of Tasikmalaya, resulting in four deaths. Births AD 37 - Nero, Roman emperor 130 - Lucius Verus, Roman emperor 1242 - Prince Munetaka, Japanese shōgun 1447 - Albert IV, Duke of Bavaria 1567 - Christoph Demantius, German composer, poet, and theorist 1610 - David Teniers the Younger, Flemish painter 1657 - Michel Richard Delalande, French organist and composer 1686 - Jean-Joseph Fiocco, Flemish violinist and composer 1710 - Francesco Zahra, Maltese painter 1789 - Carlos Soublette, Venezuelan general and politician, 11th President of Venezuela 1832 - Gustave Eiffel, French architect and engineer, co-designed the Eiffel Tower 1837 - E. W. Bullinger, English minister, scholar, and theologian 1852 - Henri Becquerel, French physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate 1859 - L. L. Zamenhof, Polish linguist and ophthalmologist, created Esperanto 1860 - Niels Ryberg Finsen, Faroese-Danish physician and educator, Nobel Prize laureate 1860 - Abner Powell, American baseball player and manager 1861 - Charles Duryea, American engineer and businessman, co-founded the Duryea Motor Wagon Company 1861 - Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, Finnish lawyer, judge, and politician, 3rd President of Finland 1863 - Arthur Dehon Little, American chemist and engineer 1869 - Leon Marchlewski, Polish chemist and academic 1875 - Emilio Jacinto, Filipino journalist and activist 1878 - Hans Carossa, German author and poet 1885 - Leonid Pitamic, Slovenian lawyer, philosopher, and academic 1886 - Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz, Polish politician and resistance fighter 1888 - Maxwell Anderson, American journalist and playwright 1890 - Harry Babcock, American pole vaulter 1891 - A.P. Carter, American country singer-songwriter and musician 1892 - J. Paul Getty, American-English businessman and art collector, founded Getty Oil 1894 - Vibert Douglas, Canadian astrophysicist and astronomer 1894 - Josef Imbach, Swiss sprinter 1896 - Betty Smith, American author and playwright 1899 - Harold Abrahams, English sprinter, lawyer, and journalist 1902 - Robert F. Bradford, American lawyer and politician, 57th Governor of Massachusetts 1903 - Tamanishiki San'emon, Japanese sumo wrestler, the 32nd Yokozuna 1907 - Gordon Douglas, American actor, director, and screenwriter 1907 - Oscar Niemeyer, Brazilian architect, designed the United Nations Headquarters and the Cathedral of Brasília 1908 - Swami Ranganathananda, Indian monk, scholar, and author 1909 - Sattar Bahlulzade, Azerbaijani-Russian painter 1909 - Eliza Atkins Gleason, African American librarian 1910 - John Hammond, American record producer and critic 1911 - Nicholas P. Dallis, American psychiatrist and illustrator 1911 - Stan Kenton, American pianist and composer 1913 - Roger Gaudry, Canadian chemist and businessman 1913 - Muriel Rukeyser, American poet, academic, and activist 1915 - Eila Campbell, English geographer and cartographer 1916 - Miguel Arraes, Brazilian lawyer and politician, Governor of Pernambuco 1916 - Buddy Cole, American pianist and conductor 1916 - Maurice Wilkins, New Zealand-English physicist and biologist, Nobel Prize laureate 1917 - Shan-ul-Haq Haqqee, Indian-Pakistani linguist and lexicographer 1918 - Jeff Chandler, American actor 1918 - Chihiro Iwasaki, Japanese painter and illustrator 1919 - Max Yasgur, American dairy farmer and host of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair 1920 - Gamal al-Banna, Egyptian author and scholar 1920 - Kurt Schaffenberger, German-American sergeant and illustrator 1921 - Alan Freed, American radio host 1923 - Pierre Cossette, American producer and manager 1923 - Freeman Dyson, English-American physicist and mathematician 1923 - Uziel Gal, German-Israeli engineer, designed the Uzi gun 1923 - Valentin Varennikov, Russian general and politician 1924 - Frank W. J. Olver, English-American mathematician and academic 1924 - Ruhi Sarıalp, Turkish triple jumper and educator 1925 - Kasey Rogers, American actress and author 1928 - Ernest Ashworth, American singer-songwriter 1928 - Ida Haendel, Polish-English violinist and educator 1928 - Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Austrian-New Zealand painter and architect 1930 - Edna O'Brien, Irish novelist, playwright, poet and short story writer 1931 - Klaus Rifbjerg, Danish author and poet 1932 - Jesse Belvin, American singer-songwriter and pianist 1932 - John Meurig Thomas, Welsh chemist and academic 1933 - Bapu, Indian director and screenwriter 1933 - Tim Conway, American comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter 1933 - Donald Woods, South African journalist and activist 1936 - Joe D'Amato, Italian director and producer 1938 - Michael Bogdanov, Welsh director and screenwriter 1938 - Bob Foster, American boxer and police officer 1938 - Billy Shaw, American football player 1939 - Cindy Birdsong, American singer-songwriter 1940 - Nick Buoniconti, American football player and sportscaster 1942 - Kathleen Blanco, American educator and politician, 54th Governor of Louisiana 1942 - Dave Clark, English drummer, songwriter, and producer 1943 - Lucien den Arend, Dutch sculptor 1944 - Jim Leyland, American baseball player and manager 1944 - Chico Mendes, Brazilian trade union leader and activist 1945 - Heather Booth, American civil rights activist, feminist, and political strategist 1945 - Ivor Crewe, English political scientist and academic 1946 - Carmine Appice, American drummer and songwriter 1946 - Art Howe, American baseball player and manager 1946 - Genny Lim, American writer 1948 - Cassandra Harris, Australian actress 1948 - Charlie Scott, American basketball player 1949 - Don Johnson, American actor 1949 - Brian Roper, English economist and academic 1950 - Melanie Chartoff, American actress and comedian 1950 - Sylvester James Gates, American theoretical physicist and professor 1951 - George Donikian, Australian journalist 1951 - Joe Jordan, Scottish footballer and manager 1951 - Tim Webster, Australian journalist and sportscaster 1952 - Rudi Protrudi, American singer-songwriter and producer 1952 - Allan Simonsen, Danish footballer and manager 1952 - Julie Taymor, American director, producer, and screenwriter 1953 - John R. Allen, American general and diplomat 1953 - J. M. DeMatteis, American author 1953 - Robert Charles Wilson, American-Canadian author 1954 - Alex Cox, English film director, screenwriter, nonfiction author, broadcaster and sometime actor 1954 - Oliver Heald, English lawyer and politician, Solicitor General for England and Wales 1954 - Mark Warner, American businessman and politician, 69th Governor of Virginia 1955 - Hector Sants, English banker 1955 - Paul Simonon, English singer-songwriter and bass player 1956 - John Lee Hancock, American screenwriter, film director, and producer 1956 - Tony Leon, South African lawyer and politician 1957 - Mario Marois, Canadian ice hockey player and sportscaster 1957 - Mike McAlary, American journalist and author 1957 - Laura Molina, American singer, guitarist, actress, and painter 1957 - Tim Reynolds, German-American singer-songwriter and guitarist 1958 - Carlo J. Caparas, Filipino director and producer 1958 - Richard Kastle, American classical pianist 1959 - Greg Matthews, Australian cricketer 1959 - Alan Whetton, New Zealand rugby player 1959 - Gary Whetton, New Zealand rugby player 1960 - Walter Werzowa, Austrian composer and producer 1961 - Karin Resetarits, Austrian journalist and politician 1962 - Tim Gaines, American bass player 1962 - Simon Hodgkinson, English rugby player and coach 1963 - Ellie Cornell, American actress and producer 1963 - Norman J. Grossfeld, American screenwriter and producer 1963 - Helen Slater, American actress 1963 - David Wingate, American basketball player 1964 - Paul Kaye, British actor 1966 - Carl Hooper, Guyanese cricketer and coach 1966 - Molly Price, American actress 1967 - David Howells, English footballer and coach 1967 - Mo Vaughn, American baseball player 1968 - Garrett Wang, American actor 1969 - Ralph Ineson, English actor 1969 - Chantal Petitclerc, Canadian wheelchair racer and senator 1969 - Adam Setliff, American discus thrower and lawyer 1970 - Frankie Dettori, Italian jockey 1970 - Lawrence Funderburke, American basketball player 1970 - Michael Shanks, Canadian actor, screenwriter and director 1971 - Clint Lowery, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer 1972 - Rodney Harrison, American football player and sportscaster 1972 - Stuart Townsend, Irish actor 1972 - Alexandra Tydings, American actress, director, writer and producer 1973 - Surya Bonaly, French figure skater 1973 - Ryoo Seung-wan, South Korean actor, director, and screenwriter 1974 - Garath Archer, English rugby player 1974 - P. J. Byrne American actor 1975 - Samira Saraya, Palestinian actor, filmmaker, poet and rapper 1976 - Baichung Bhutia, Indian footballer and manager 1976 - Kim Eagles, Canadian sport shooter 1976 - Aaron Miles, American baseball player and coach 1976 - Todd Tichenor, American baseball player and umpire 1977 - Mehmet Aurélio, Brazilian-Turkish footballer and manager 1977 - Geoff Stults, American actor and producer 1978 - Ned Brower, American drummer 1978 - Mark Jansen, Dutch guitarist and songwriter 1978 - Jerome McDougle, American football player 1979 - Adam Brody, American actor 1979 - Eric Young, Canadian-American wrestler 1980 - Élodie Gossuin, French beauty pageant titleholder, model, 1980 - Sergio Pizzorno, English singer-songwriter and guitarist 1980 - Manuel Wilhelm, German rugby player 1981 - Michelle Dockery, English actress 1981 - Brendan Fletcher, Canadian actor and screenwriter 1981 - Andy González, Puerto Rican-American baseball player 1981 - Thomas Herrion, American football player 1981 - Roman Pavlyuchenko, Russian footballer 1982 - Charlie Cox, English actor 1982 - Borja García, Spanish race car driver 1982 - Tatiana Perebiynis, Ukrainian tennis player 1983 - Delon Armitage, Trinidadian-English rugby player 1983 - René Duprée, Canadian professional wrestler 1983 - Camilla Luddington, English actress 1983 - Ronnie Radke, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer 1984 - Martyn Bernard, English high jumper 1985 - Diogo Fernandes, Brazilian footballer 1986 - Kim Junsu, South Korean singer-songwriter and dancer 1986 - Iveta Mazáčová, Czech sprinter 1986 - Keylor Navas, Costa Rican footballer 1987 - Josh Norman, American football player 1986 - Snejana Onopka, Ukrainian model 1988 - Emily Head, English actress 1988 - Steven Nzonzi, French footballer 1989 - Nichole Bloom, American actress and model 1991 - Conor Daly, American race car driver 1992 - Daiamami Genki, Japanese sumo wrestler 1992 - Jesse Lingard, English footballer 1996 - Jenifer Brening, German singer 1996 - Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ukrainian footballer 1997 - Maude Apatow, American actress 1997 - Zach Banks, American race car driver 1997 - Magdalena Fręch, Polish tennis player 1997 - Stefania LaVie Owen, New Zealand-American actress 1998 - Chandler Canterbury, American actor Deaths 933 - Li Siyuan, Chinese emperor 1025 - Basil II, Byzantine emperor 1072 - Alp Arslan, Turkish sultan 1161 - Wanyan Liang, Chinese emperor 1230 - Ottokar I, duke of Bohemia 1283 - Philip I, Latin emperor 1343 - Hasan Kucek, Chopanid prince 1467 - Jöns Bengtsson Oxenstierna, archbishop and regent of Sweden 1574 - Selim II, Ottoman sultan 1598 - Philips of Marnix, Lord of Saint-Aldegonde, Dutch nobleman 1621 - Charles d'Albert, duc de Luynes, French courtier, Constable of France 1673 - Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, English noblewoman 1675 - Johannes Vermeer, Dutch painter and educator 1683 - Izaak Walton, English author 1688 - Gaspar Fagel, Dutch lawyer and politician 1688 - Louis Victor de Rochechouart de Mortemart, French nobleman 1715 - George Hickes, English minister and scholar 1753 - Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, English architect and politician, designed Chiswick House 1792 - Joseph Martin Kraus, Swedish pianist, violinist, and composer 1812 - Shneur Zalman, Russian rabbi, author and founder of Chabad 1819 - Daniel Rutherford, Scottish chemist and physician 1855 - Jacques Charles François Sturm, French mathematician and academic 1878 - Alfred Bird, English chemist and businessman, invented baking powder 1890 - Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota tribal chief 1943 - Fats Waller, American singer-songwriter and pianist 1944 - Glenn Miller, American bandleader and composer 1947 - Arthur Machen, Welsh journalist and author 1947 - Crawford Vaughan, Australian politician, 27th Premier of South Australia 1950 - Vallabhbhai Patel, Indian lawyer and politician, 1st Deputy Prime Minister of India 1958 - Wolfgang Pauli, Austrian-Swiss physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate 1962 - Charles Laughton, English-American actor, director, and producer 1965 - M. Balasundaram, Sri Lankan journalist, lawyer, and politician 1966 - Keith Arbuthnott, 15th Viscount of Arbuthnott, Indian-Scottish general and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire 1966 - Walt Disney, American animator, director, producer, and screenwriter, co-founded The Walt Disney Company 1968 - Antonio Barrette, Canadian politician, 18th Premier of Quebec 1968 - Jess Willard, American boxer and actor 1969 - Karl Theodor Bleek, German lawyer and politician, 12th Mayor of Marburg 1971 - Paul Lévy, French mathematician and theorist 1974 - Anatole Litvak, Russian-American director, producer, and screenwriter 1977 - Wilfred Kitching, English 7th General of The Salvation Army 1978 - Chill Wills, American actor 1984 - Jan Peerce, American tenor and actor 1985 - Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, Mauritian physician and politician, 1st Prime Minister of Mauritius 1986 - Serge Lifar, Russian-French ballet dancer and choreographer 1989 - Edward Underdown, English actor and jockey 1991 - Vasily Zaytsev, Russian captain 1993 - William Dale Phillips, American chemist and engineer 2000 - Haris Brkić, Bosnian-Serbian basketball player 2003 - Vincent Apap, Maltese sculptor 2003 - George Fisher, American cartoonist 2003 - Keith Magnuson, Canadian ice hockey player and coach 2004 - Vassal Gadoengin, Nauruan educator and politician, Speaker of the Nauru Parliament 2005 - Heinrich Gross, Austrian physician and psychiatrist 2005 - Stan Leonard, Canadian golfer 2005 - William Proxmire, American soldier, journalist, and politician 2005 - Darrell Russell, American football player 2006 - Clay Regazzoni, Swiss race car driver 2006 - Mary Stolz, American journalist and author 2007 - Julia Carson, American lawyer and politician 2008 - León Febres Cordero, Ecuadorian engineer and politician, 46th President of Ecuador 2009 - Eliza Atkins Gleason, African American librarian 2009 - Oral Roberts, American evangelist, founded the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association 2010 - Blake Edwards, American director, producer, and screenwriter 2010 - Bob Feller, American baseball player and sportscaster 2010 - Eugene Victor Wolfenstein, American psychoanalyst and theorist 2011 - Bob Brookmeyer, American trombone player and composer 2011 - Christopher Hitchens, English-American essayist, literary critic, and journalist 2012 - Owoye Andrew Azazi, Nigerian general 2012 - Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, Nigerian politician, 18th Governor of Kaduna State 2012 - Olga Zubarry, Argentinian actress 2013 - Harold Camping, American evangelist, author, radio host 2013 - Joan Fontaine, British-American actress 2013 - Dyron Nix, American basketball player 2014 - Donald Metcalf, Australian physiologist and immunologist 2014 - Fausto Zapata, Mexican journalist, lawyer, and politician, Governor of San Luis Potosí 2015 - Harry Zvi Tabor, English-Israeli physicist and engineer 2016 - Craig Sager, American sports journalist 2017 - Heinz Wolff, scientist and TV presenter 2017 - Calestous Juma, academic 2018 - Eryue He, Chinese historical fiction writer 2018 - Girma Wolde-Giorgis, President of Ethiopia Holidays and observances Bill of Rights Day *2nd Amendment Day Christian feast day: *Drina Martyrs *Drostan *John Horden and Robert McDonald *Maria Crocifissa di Rosa *Mesmin *Valerian of Abbenza *Virginia Centurione Bracelli *December 15 Homecoming Day International Tea Day Kingdom Day, moves to December 16 if the 15th is on a Sunday Zamenhof Day
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