December 12

2000: The U.S. Supreme Court released its 5-4 decision in Bush v. Gore, which made George W. Bush the 43rd president.


December 13

1636: The Massachusetts Bay Colony organized three militia regiments to defend the colony against the Pequot Indians. This organization is recognized today as the founding of the National Guard of the United States.

1962: NASA launched Relay 1, the first active repeater communications satellite in orbit.


December 14

1799: George Washington died at Mount Vernon, Va., at age 67.

1903: Brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first attempt to fly their plane, the Wright Flyer, at Kitty Hawk, N.C.

1972: Astronaut Eugene Cernan became the last human to date to walk on the moon as the Apollo 17 mission prepared to depart the lunar surface.

2008: Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his shoes at then U.S. President George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq.


December 15

1791: The U.S. Bill of Rights became law when ratified by the Virginia General Assembly.

1918: President Woodrow Wilson arrived in Paris to begin talks about forming the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations.

1933: The 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution officially became effective, repealing the 18th Amendment that prohibited the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol.

1939: Gone with the Wind premiered at Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.


December 16

1707: The last recorded eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan occurred.

1773: Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded a British ship in Boston Harbor and threw overboard the ship’s cargo of tea, to protest the “tea tax.” The event became known as the Boston Tea Party.

1937: Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe escaped from the American federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. Neither was ever seen again and were presumed to have drowned.

1978: Cleveland, Ohio became the first post-Depression era city to default on its loans, owing $14,000,000 to local banks.


December 17

1777: France formally recognized the United States.

1892: The first issue of Vogue magazine was published.

1989: The first episode of television series The Simpsons, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,” aired in the United States.

2010: The Tunisian Revolution and the wider so-called “Arab Spring” began when a street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in the city of Ben Arous.

2014: The United States and Cuba re-established diplomatic relations after severing them in 1959.


December 18

1788: New Jersey ratified the U.S. Constitution.

1915: America’s 28th president, Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921), married Edith Galt at her home. He became the third president to marry while in office.