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Events, deaths, births, of 18 DEC
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RalphieOn a December 18:
2002 “Ralphie” Rooster, with no known address, is arrested for vagrancy, in the 4000 block of North 42nd Street in Lincoln, Nebraska, by an Animal Control officer and jailed at the Capitol Humane Society, where he is given the alias Ralphie, as he does not reveal his real name. [Ralphie with jailer Lynette Hansen >]. A Lincoln city ordinance effective 01 January 2003 bans roosters, principally so as to curb the illegal practice of cockfighting. Ralphie, who doesn't have the physique of a fighter, is held past that date but may be released on bail of $5 to a human living outside Lincoln.
2000 In US state capitals members of the electoral college cast votes for US president, 271 votes for George W. Bush and 266 for Al Gore (one DC Gore elector cast a blank ballot to protest DC's taxation without representation). Some Democrats had tried to convince a few Republican electors to switch to Gore (who has won the popular vote), but in vain. The votes would be officially counted on 6January during a joint session of Congress.
2000 The Los Angeles Times reports that the animals in the Los Angeles zoo are kept in inhumane conditions, and that the gorillas are desperately trying to escape. Some of them have succeeded a few times, but were always caught.
1999 El miembro de ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) Ramón Aldasoro Magunacelaya es extraditado a España por las autoridades judiciales de Estados Unidos. Se trata del primer etarra extraditado por este país.
1999 After living atop an ancient redwood in Humboldt County, Calif., for two years, environmental activist Julia ''Butterfly'' Hill came down, ending her anti-logging protest.
1998 Astrónomos estadounidenses del laboratorio Lawrence Berkeley publican en la revista científica Science la observación de una supernova situada a 18'000 millones de años-luz de distancia y con una edad de casi 10'000 millones de años.
1997 Los comicios para elegir presidente en Corea del Sur dan la victoria al histórico líder de la oposición, de 74 años de edad, Kim Dae Yung, en la elección más reñida en la historia del país, con sólo 400'000 votos de diferencia con respecto a su oponente, el magistrado Lee Hoi Chang.
1995 Javier Solana Madariaga toma posesión como secretario general de la OTAN. Se trata del décimo dirigente de esta organización.
1992 Kim Young Sam gana las elecciones presidenciales en Corea del Sur.
1989 Los presidentes de los cinco países integrantes del Pacto Andino (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú y Venezuela), reunidos en las islas Galápagos, acuerdan reactivar el Pacto y firman un compromiso de paz y cooperación.
1988 El escritor chileno Luis Sepúlveda obtiene el premio "Tigre Juan" de novela, otorgado en España, con Un viejo que leía novelas de amor.
1987 Worst insider trader sentenced
      The hammer finally came down on Ivan Boesky on this day in 1987, as Federal Judge Morris E. Lasker sentenced the once mighty arbitrager to a three-year prison term. Boesky, who had been one of the wealthiest and most powerful players on Wall Street, was found guilty of insider trading, as well as a series of sizable but shady transactions, crimes that constituted what The Wall Street Journal deemed the "largest scandal in Wall Street's history.”
      While Lasker chided Boesky for committing offenses "of the highest seriousness," the arbitrager cushioned his fall by agreeing to implicate other firms and figures suspected of securities crimes. The result was a relatively lenient ruling that raised a number of eyebrows. A share of the criticism was directed at Rudolph Giuliani, the US District Attorney for Southern New York, who was accused of using the insider trading scandals as a vehicle to forward his political ambitions. The high-profile Wall Street convictions certainly didn't hurt Giuliani's career, as the D.A rode his new found status as a hard-driving crime fighter to become mayor of New York City. As for Boesky, the fallen arbitrager ended up serving two years of his prison term and handed over $100 million in fines.
1986 El pintor Miguel Barceló y el escultor Miguel Navarro reciben el Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas de España.
1986 El dramaturgo español Antonio Buero Vallejo logra el Premio Cervantes de Literatura.
1985 UN Security Council unanimously condemns hostage-taking.
1979 El Vaticano condena al teólogo suizo Hans Kung por "desprecio al magisterio de la Iglesia" y le priva de su cátedra universitaria.
1979 Abel Matutes es elegido vicepresidente de Alianza Popular.
1979 Fernando Sánchez Dragó recibe el Premio Nacional de Ensayo por Gárgoris y Habidis. Una historia mágica de España.
1977 El secretario general de UGT, Nicolás Redondo Urbieta, dimite de su cargo en el PSOE.
1977 Atentado de ETA Euskadi Ta Askatasuna contra la central nuclear de Lemóniz (España).
1976 Se realiza en Zürich el intercambio, propiciado por Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, del disidente soviético Vladimir Bukovski por el secretario general del PC chileno, Luis Corvalán.
1972 "Christmas Bombing" to force North Vietnam to talk peace
      The Nixon administration announces that the bombing and mining of North Vietnam will resume and continue until a "settlement" is reached. On December 13, North Vietnamese negotiators walked out of secret talks with National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. President Richard Nixon issued an ultimatum to Hanoi to send its representatives back to the conference table within 72 hours "or else.” The North Vietnamese rejected Nixon's demand and the president ordered Operation Linebacker II, a full-scale air campaign against the Hanoi area. White House Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler said that the bombing would end only if all US prisoners of war were released and an internationally recognized cease-fire were in force. Linebacker II was the most concentrated air offensive of the war, and was conducted by US aircraft, including B-52s, Air Force fighter-bombers flying from bases in Thailand, and Navy and Marine fighter-bombers flying from carriers in the South China Sea.
      During the 11 days of the attack, 700 B-52 sorties and more than 1000 fighter-bomber sorties were flown. These planes dropped roughly 20'000 tons of bombs, mostly over the densely populated area between Hanoi and Haiphong. The North Vietnamese fired more than 1000 surface-to-air missiles at the attacking aircraft and also used their MiG fighter-interceptor squadrons, eight of which were shot down. Twenty-six US aircraft were lost, including 15 B-52s. Three aircraft were brought down by MiGs; the rest, including the B-52s, were downed by surface-to-air missiles.
      American antiwar activists dubbed Linebacker II the "Christmas bombing," and charged that it involved "carpet bombing"--deliberately targeting civilian areas with intensive bombing that "carpeted" a city with bombs. The campaign was focused on specific military targets and was not intended to be "carpet bombing," but it did result in the deaths of 1318 civilians in Hanoi. The Linebacker II bombings, bombings continued until December 29, were deemed a success because in its wake, the North Vietnamese returned to the negotiating table.
      A few weeks later, the final Paris Peace Treaty was signed and the Vietnam War came to a close, ending the US role in a conflict that seriously damaged the domestic Cold War consensus among the American public. The impact of the so-called "Christmas Bombings" on the final agreement was difficult to assess. Some historians have argued that the bombings forced the North Vietnamese back to the negotiating table. Others have suggested that the attacks had little impact, beyond the additional death and destruction they caused. Even the chief US negotiator, Henry Kissinger, was reported to have said, "We bombed the North Vietnamese into accepting our concessions.” The chief impact may have been in convincing America's South Vietnamese allies, who were highly suspicious of the draft treaty worked out in October 1972, that the United States would not desert them. In any event, the final treaty did not include any important changes from the October draft.
1970 An atomic leak in Nevada forces hundreds of people to flee the test site.
1969 Britain's Parliament abolished the death penalty for murder.
1968 La asamblea general de laONU pide al Reino Unido que descolonice Gibraltar antes del 01 octubre de 1969.
1965 US Marines attack VC units in the Que Son Valley during Operation Harvest Moon. Harvest Moon.
1964 El Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU prorroga la estancia de cascos azules en Chipre por espacio de 3 meses.
1963 Muskegon, MI gets 1 meter of snow
1961 India annexes Portuguese colonies of Goa, Damao & Diu
1960 In Laos a rightist government is installed under Prince Boun Oum as the United States resumes arms shipments.
1958 Niger gains autonomy within French Community (National Day)
1957 The Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first civilian nuclear facility to generate electricity in the United States, goes online.
1956 Japan is admitted to the United Nations.
1951 North Koreans give the United Nations a list of 3100 POWs.
1948 Holanda vuelve a ocupar Indonesia, país al que había concedido hacía poco la independencia, ante el caos político allí existente.
1945 Uruguay joins the United Nations
1944 Japanese forces are repelled from northern Burma by British troops.
1944 The US Supreme Court upheld the shameful wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans, but also said undeniably loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry could not be detained.
1942 Adolf Hitler meets with Benito Mussolini and Pierre Laval.
1941 Erwin Rommel inicia la retirada en el norte de África.
1941 Defended by 610 fighting men, the American-held island of Guam falls to more than 5000 Japanese invaders in a three-hour battle.
1941 Wartime censorship in US
     Censorship is imposed with the passage of the first American War Powers Act. The War Powers Act is passed by Congress, authorizing the president to initiate and terminate defense contracts, reconfigure government agencies for wartime priorities, and regulate the freezing of foreign assets. It also permitted him to censor all communications coming in and leaving the country.
     President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed the executive news director of the Associated Press, Byron Price, as director of censorship. Although invested with the awesome power to restrict and withhold news, Price took no extreme measures, allowing news outlets and radio stations to self-censor, which they did. Most top secret information, including the construction of the atom bomb, remained just that.
      The most extreme use of the censorship law seems to have been the restriction of the free flow of "girlie" magazines to servicemen-including Esquire, which the Post Office considered obscene for its occasional saucy cartoons and pinups. Esquire took the Post Office to court, and after three years the Supreme Court ultimately sided with the magazine.
1940 Adolf Hitler issues his secret plans for the invasion of the Soviet Union--Operation Barbarossa. — En el transcurso de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, se dan instrucciones al ejército alemán para el ataque a la URSS, en la llamada "Operación Barbarroja".
1939 Un ataque de las fuerzas aéreas británicas contra Wilhelmshaven (Alemania) se salda con la pérdida de 15 aparatos.
1936 León Trotski es admitido en México en calidad de refugiado, tras un peregrinaje de nueve años por diversos países.
1936 Su Lin becomes the first giant panda infant to reach the US alive, but would die in April 1937.
1935 El holandés Max Euwe arrebata el título de campeón mundial de ajedrez al ruso-francés Alexandr Aleksandrovich Alekhine, que lo retuvo durante ocho años.
1929 Gran exposición de Paul Klee en Berlín, con motivo del 50 aniversario del nacimiento del artista.
1926 La Cámara de Diputados de Guatemala proclama nuevo presidente al general Lazaro Chacón.
1925 Soviet leaders Lev Kamenev and Grigori Zinoviev break with Joseph Stalin (he'll have them executed for it)..
1923 International zone of Tangier set up in Morocco
1923 El gobierno de Grecia invita al rey Jorge II a que salga del país.
1920 Es detenido en Barcelona el sindicalista y ex director de Solidaridad Obrera, Ángel Pestaña Núñez, cuando regresaba de Italia.
1916 The bloody Battle of Verdun ends
      The Battle of Verdun, one of the longest and bloodiest engagements of World War I, ends after ten months of massive losses of life to both sides. On February 21, German forces under Crown Prince Frederick William launched a major offensive at Verdun, a point along the Western Front presumed by the Germans to be inadequately defended by the French line. The outlying forts of Hardaumont and Douaumont fell soon after the attack, but the French rallied under General Philippe Pétain, and a bloody stalemate ensued in which tens of thousands of soldiers fell daily. On July 1, a massive British offensive in the Somme River region relieved some of the pressure on Verdun, as did the Brusilov Offense by Russia on the Eastern Front, and by December, the French had recovered most of the ground lost in the early days of the battle. When the Battle of Verdun ended on December 18, France and Germany had each suffered over 300,000 casualties, and neither had gained any appreciable ground..
1916 President Wilson calls for peace in Europe
      In identical peace notes to the countries engaged in World War I, President Woodrow Wilson calls for each nation to state its war aims, and declares that steps should be taken not only to end the war but also "to secure the future peace of the world.” In early 1918, Wilson announced, in what came to be known as his "Peace without Victory" speech, that he would urge the US to enter a world federation designed to ensure peace after the end of the European conflict. However, by the middle of 1918, the renewal of German submarine warfare against neutral American ships, and the "Zimmerman Note," which reveals a secret alliance proposal by Germany to Mexico against the US, forces the American entrance to the war. At the war's end, President Wilson travels to France, where he heads the American delegation to the peace conference seeking a formal end to the conflict. It is the first European trip by a US president, and Wilson works tirelessly during the proceedings to orchestrate an agreement that would encourage a lasting peace in Europe. He also advocates the establishment of a postwar world body, and Wilson himself presents the draft of the League of Nations covenant to the Paris Peace Conference in February of 1919. However, at Versailles, the majority of Wilson's fourteen peace principles are opposed by the other victorious Allies, and the final treaty, calling for stiff war reparations from the former Central Powers, is regarded with increasing bitterness in Germany. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson is awarded the Nobel Peace Price for his peace efforts.
1915 In a single night, about 20'000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers withdraw from Gallipoli, Turkey, undetected by the Turks defending the peninsula.
1912 The Piltdown Man hoax
      After three years of probing the Piltdown Quarry in Sussex, England, amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson announces the discovery of two skulls which appear to belong to a primitive hominid and ancestor of man, along with a canine tooth, a tool carved from an elephant's tusk, and fossil teeth from a number of prehistoric animals. Despite muted criticism from a minority of paleontologists, the majority of the scientific community hails the so-called "Piltdown Man" as the missing evolutionary link between ape and man, and the remains are estimated to be up to a million years old. For the next decade, scientists herald the finding of Eoanthrapus dawsoni (the scientific name given to the remains) as confirmation of Darwin's still-controversial theory of evolution.
      However, during the 1920s and 1930s, other archaeological finds of human ancestors around the world call the authenticity of the Piltdown Man into question, and by the 1940s the supposed human ancestor is commonly classified as a mixture of ape and man fossils. In 1949, the Piltdown fossils are tested with a new technique called the fluorine absorption test, establishing them to be fairly modern, although many doubt the veracity of this new dating technique. Yet, it was not until 1953, at an international congress of paleontologists, that the Piltdown Man is first called a fraud. Using microscopic tests, the scientists discover that teeth had been doctored with a file-like tool. Subsequent dating techniques confirm the skull and jaws fragments to be no more than six hundred years old, and show that the bones had been treated with chemicals to make them appear older. Other fossils found in the Piltdown quarry prove to be authentic, but of types that are generally found elsewhere in the world, and never together. The perpetuator of the hoax does not come forward, although recently discovered evidence seems to suggest that Martin A.C. Hinton, a notorious practical joker and curator of zoology at the British Natural History Museum, was likely the culprit.
1912 En una carta dirigida a Sigmund Freud, el psiquiatra suizo Carl Gustav Jung se distancia decisivamente del psicoanálisis.
1912 El piloto francés Roland Garros realiza con éxito la primera travesía del Mediterráneo, de Túnez a Roma.
1903 The US gets control of the Panama Canal Zone
      Six weeks after the declaration of Panamanian independence from Colombia, the United States and the Republic of Panama sign a treaty granting the US a 16 km-wide and 64 km-long strip of land in which to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. In early 1903, Colombia failed to cooperate with the US canal plan, leading the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt to give tacit approval to the Panamanian independence movement. On 03 November, the Panamanian revolt against Colombian rule began, and US forces were sent to the area to dissuade Colombia from halting the rebellion, which is over within days. On 06 November, the US officially recognized the Republic of Panama. In the next year, American engineers begin work on the Panama Canal project, which is completed ten years later. Over a ten-year period, US engineers move over 180 million cubic meters of earth and spend nearly $400 million dollars in the construction of the 60-km-long canal. It is one of the largest construction projects of all time, and is hailed by the US government as being of the utmost strategic and economic importance to the United States.
1898 Automobile speed record set--63 kph Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat set the world's first official land speed record in Acheres Park near Paris: 63.16 km/h in his Jeantaud automobile, powered by an electric motor and alkaline batteries. The Jeantaud is widely believed to be the first automobile steered by a modern steering wheel rather than a tiller. The tiller was quickly replaced by the steering wheel in the early 1900s.
1888 Mesa Verde Amerindian ruins discovered
      While searching for stray cattle in the isolated canyons of southwest Colorado, Richard Wetherill and his brother-in-law stumble upon the magnificent ancient Indians ruins of Mesa Verde. The Wetherill family started ranching in the rugged southwest lands of Colorado in 1881, and Richard and his brothers often explored the canyons and mesas for Indian ruins. Once, while looking up the mouth of Cliff Canyon, Wetherill was approached by a Ute Indian named Acowitz who reportedly told him, "Deep in that canyon and near its head are many houses of the old people-the Ancient Ones. One of those houses, high, high in the rocks, is bigger than all the others. Utes never go there, it is a sacred place.” Wetherill was intrigued, but his ranching duties kept him from exploring the canyon further.
      On December 18, 1888, Wetherill and his brother-in-law, Charles Mason, were searching for stray cattle on top of a broad mesa when a heavy snow began to fall. Fearing they might ride over a cliff in the blinding snow, they dismounted and were moving ahead on foot when they came to an overlook point. From across the canyon they saw a snow-blurred image of a magnificent stone city three stories high and perched high up a cliff wall under a massive rock overhang. Fascinated, Wetherill and Mason abandoned their search for the stray cattle and, after considerable effort, managed to climb up and explore the ruins for several hours. Wetherill and Mason had stumbled across the "houses, high, high in the rocks" that Acowitz had told them about.
      The ruins were once the home of the Anasazi (the Indian term for "ancient ones") people. Subsequent archaeological studies showed that the Cliff Palace, as it became known, was built during the 13th century, when the Anasazi moved from the top of the mesas onto ledges and caves along the canyon walls, presumably to better defend themselves against invaders. Eventually a prolonged drought that started around 1275 forced the Anasazi to abandon their magnificent cliff dwellings. In the years following the discovery, Wetherill collected thousands of artifacts from the Cliff Palace and other area ruins. Most of Wetherill's artifacts ended up in museums, where they could be studied by professional archaeologists and viewed by the public. The same cannot be said of the many other priceless artifacts that were stolen by visitors over the years. In order to protect the site from further looting and degradation, the Congress created Mesa Verde National Park in 1906.
1865 US slavery is abolished.
      Following its ratification by the requisite three-quarters of the states earlier in the month, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution takes effect, ensuring that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude... shall exist within the United States.” On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, calling for the Union Army to liberate all slaves in states still in rebellion, "as an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution.” However, toward the end of the Civil War, Lincoln recognized that the Emancipation Proclamation, a war measure, might have little constitutional authority once the war was over. Lincoln's Republican Party subsequently introduced the Thirteenth Amendment into Congress, and on April 8, 1864, the necessary two-thirds of the overwhelmingly Republican Senate passed the amendment. However, the House of Representatives, featuring a higher portion of Democrats, did not pass the Thirteenth Amendment until January 31, 1865, when it was approved by a two-thirds majority. In December of 1965, the Thirteenth Amendment achieved ratification by three-quarters of the states, and slavery was abolished forever in the United States.
Abolition de l'esclavage aux Etats-Unis
      Le treizième amendement à la Constitution des États-Unis prend effet. «Ni esclavage, ni aucune forme de servitude involontaire ne pourront exister aux États-Unis, ni en aucun lieu soumis à leur juridiction», énonce-t-il.
      La Guerre de Sécession (ou Civil War) est à peine terminée que le Congrès tranche sur ce qui en fut la cause directe: l'esclavage dans les plantations de coton du Sud. Le 01 janvier 1863, en pleine guerre, le président Abraham Lincoln avait proclamé l'émancipation des esclaves dans les Etats insurgés. Mais il n'avait pu inscrire l'abolition de l'esclavage dans la Constitution faute d'une majorité suffisante au Congrès. Le président est assassiné en avril 1865, quelques jours après la fin de la guerre. Peu après sa mort, son parti, le parti républicain, arrive enfin à réunir les deux tiers des représentants autour du 13e amendement.
      Quelques mois plus tard, un 14e amendement garantit aux Noirs le droit de vote et l'égalité avec les Blancs devant la loi. Ces principes vont cependant longtemps rester lettre morte. Le Sud est mis à sac par des profiteurs venus du Nord avec une valise pour tout bagage, les carpet-baggers. Ils exploitent la naïveté des anciens esclaves et font élire des hommes de paille noirs à leur dévotion.
      En réaction, les Blancs du Sud forment des mouvements terroristes dont le plus célèbre est le sinistre Ku Klux Klan, fondé en décembre 1865 par des soldats confédérés. Bien qu'interdit en 1869, il réunit jusqu'à un demi million de sympathisants. Ces derniers brutalisent ou tuent les anciens esclaves pour les empêcher de faire usage de leurs droits civiques. Ils utilisent aussi toutes les ressources de la loi pour établir un régime de ségrégation raciale. Il faudra près d'un siècle et plusieurs autres amendements à la Constitution avant que les droits civiques des descendants d'esclaves soient partout reconnus
1862 Nathan B. Forrest engages and defeats a Federal cavalry force near Lexington in his continued effort to disrupt supply lines.
1862 Union General Ulysses S. Grant announces the organization of his army in the West. Sherman, Hurlbut, McPherson, and McClernand are to be corps commanders.
1859 South Carolina declared an "independent commonwealth"
1849 William Cranch Bond, 60, with his son George Phillips Bond (1825-65), makes the first recognizable daguerreotype of the Moon
1839 1st celestial photograph (of the moon) made in US, by John William Draper, 28, New York NY.
1816 Simón Bolívar se embarca en la segunda expedición que parte de Haití, llamada "Expedición de Jacmel" por haber salido de ese puerto.
1813 British take Fort Niagara in the War of 1812
1812 Napoleon Bonaparte arrives in Paris after his disastrous campaign in Russia.
1787 New Jersey becomes 3rd state to ratify constitution
1777 1st US national Thanksgiving Day, commemorating Burgoyne's surrender
1774 Jews expelled from Prague, Bohemia & Moravia by Empress Maria Theresa.
1535 El corsario berberisco Khair ben Eddyn “Barbarroja” saquea el puerto menorquín de Mahón (España).
1439 Bessarion est fait cardinal
      Le pape Eugène IV crée un jeune moine Cardinal. Il s’agit de Bessarion, savant grec et ecclésiastique catholique, patriarche de Constantinople, défenseur du Platonisme qui travailla en faveur de l'Union des églises latines et orientales. Né en 1403 à Trébizonde (aujourd'hui Trabzon en Turquie, Bessarion fit ses études à Constantinople où il s'intéressa à la philosophie et en particulier au platonisme. Il devint archevêque de Nicée (aujourd'hui Iznik en Turquie) en 1437. Il fit partie des représentants de l'Église grecque envoyés au concile de Florence par l'empereur byzantin Jean VIII. L'objet de ce concile, qui se tint en 1438, était l'union des Églises latine et grecque. À leur retour, les évêques favorables à cette union furent inquiétés. Bessarion partit alors pour l'Italie et se rallia à l'Église romaine. Le pape Eugène IV le fit cardinal en 1439. Bessarion resta en Italie, s'occupant d'étudiants et collectionnant des livres. Il fut nommé patriarche latin de Constantinople en 1463.
      Les grandes préoccupations qui l'animèrent furent l'union des Églises et la restauration de l'empire byzantin. Il se rendit célèbre par sa défense du platonisme, et il contribua à diffuser les œuvres de Platon, encore méconnues dans le monde latin. Il se distingua également par ses qualités de diplomate. Bessarion est l'auteur du "In Calumniatorem Platonis" (les calomnies contre Platon), qui cherchait à réconcilier les idées de Platon et celles d'Aristote. Son importante collection de manuscrits grecs, qu'il légua au sénat de Venise, devint le noyau de la bibliothèque de la cathédrale Saint-Marc à Venise.
1378 Charles V denounces the treachery of John IV of Brittany and confiscates his duchy.
1118 Alfonso the Battler, the Christian King of Aragon captures Saragossa, Spain, a major blow to Muslim Spain.
1795 Madame Royale échangée
      On se sert ,ce jour de l'orpheline du Temple, fille de seize ans de Louis Capet et nièce de l'empereur d'Autriche, âgée de seize ans, comme de monnaie d'échange. Elle sort de la prison du Temple pour être échangée à la frontière contre l'ex-ministre de la Guerre Beurnonville, les ambassadeurs Maret et Sémonville, et Drouet, l'ancien maître de postes qui a permis l'arrestation du roi à Varennes. Pleine d'esprit, avant de quitter ses geôliers, celle qui est nommée Madame Royale leur dira : " Messieurs, je n'oublierai jamais que je suis française.”
Deaths which occurred on a December 18:
2003 Sgt. Glenn R. Allison, 24, of Pittsfield MA, serving in the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division of the US in Baghdad, Iraq, “dies during physical training.”
2002 Jawad Issam Zidan, 15, Palestinian boy, late in the night, by Israeli tank shells fired at a building in the Al-Amal neighborhood of Rafah, Gaza Strip.
2002 Seven Islamic militants, by Algerian soldiers and government-armed militia who encircled them in the Zaccar mountains. Algeria's Islamic insurgency has claimed an estimated 120'000 lives since it started in 1992 after the army canceled legislative elections that an Islamic party was sure to win.
2002 Two Algerian soldiers in an ambush at Dellys, 50 km east of Algiers, at 14:00. Two other soldiers are wounded. Un détachement militaire se dirigeait vers son cantonnement quand il est tombé dans une embuscade sur la route reliant Sahel Boubarek à Sidi Daoud, 40 km au nord-est de Boumerdès. La déflagration d'une bombe artisanale actionnée à distance par un groupe embusqué dans un coin boisé fut suivie de rafales d'armes automatiques. Les militaires se heurtent, à Boumerdès et dans d'autres régions, à des contre-offensives meurtrières à chaque fois qu'ils pénètrent les refuges de l'ennemi islamiste. Depuis janvier 2002, les forces de sécurité ont eu pas moins de cent morts et des dizaines de blessés. en combattant les hordes islamistes de Hassan Hattab, l'«émir» du GSPC, dont elles ont neutralisé en Kabylie plus de cent cinquante militants.
2002 Ishwan Mahato, killed by police in the Sanda forests, in the newly created state Jharkhand, India. He was the top leader of the Maoist Communist Center guerillas. More than 6000 deaths have resulted in five states of south and east India from these rebels' fighting, started in 1981. They mostly target rich landowners and police, as exploiters of farm workers. They are allied with other rebels, the People's War Group. Thu MCC would retaliate in the night of 19 Dec to 20 Dec 2002 by ambushing a police van and killing 18. Jharkhand was formed from areas of southern Bihar and neighboring states. Its traditional inhabitants are Munda and Dravidian tribesmen, although now many other Indians also live there.
2001 Andrés Felipe Pérez Ocampo, 12, of cancer, in Buga, Colombia. For months the media had covered the agonizing boy's pleas to the FARC rebels, who for almost 2 years have been holding prisoner his father, police Cpl. Pérez, to let him see him before he died. Earlier there was hope that a kidney transplant from the father might save the boy. But the FARC rejected all pleas, even when several prominent Colombians offered to temporarily take the father’s place in captivity order to fulfill the child’s wish. The government rejected the FARC's proposal of an exchange with an imprisoned guerilla.
2001 Twelve soldiers and gunmen, in al-Hosun village, Marib province, Yemen, some 200 km east of Sana'a, in fight between special forces of the Yemeni army and police and armed tribesmen. Earlier in the day, Yemeni troops and police backed by tanks and helicopters had shelled al-Hosun, where they believe that suspected members of bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror network may have taken refuge. The tribe leaders, after two days of negotiations, had refused to hand over five wanted men.
2000 Athar Quereshi, shot by a man who stepped out of a car in the center of Karachi, as Quereshi walks to a mosque for early morning prayers.
     Dr. Athar Quereshi was a former leader of Jamaat-e-Islami (Party of Islam), , a small but well-organized Pakistani party. Karachi had been wracked by ethnic, religious and politically motivated violence for several years. Hundreds of people had been killed. Quereshi's assassination comes a day after hundreds of the party's supporters defied a ban on public demonstrations and rallied in Karachi and Lahore, demanding the resignation of General Pervez Musharraf, ruler of the 14-month-old military government.
1995 Zuse, mathematician..
1987 Marguerite Yourcenar, escritora francesa.
1980 Alexei N. Kosygin , 76, Soviet PM, of heart attack
1977 Louis Untermeyer, 92, poet/critic/TV panelist (What's My Line)
1947 Víctor Manuel III, último rey de Italia
1941 British prisoners massacred by Japanese invading Hong Kong
      Japanese troops land in Hong Kong and a slaughter ensues. A week of air raids over Hong Kong, a British crown colony, was followed up on December 17 with a visit paid by Japanese envoys to Sir Mark Young, the British governor of Hong Kong. The envoys' message was simple: The British garrison there should simply surrender to the Japanese--resistance was futile. The envoys were sent home with the following retort: "The governor and commander in chief of Hong Kong declines absolutely to enter into negotiations for the surrender of Hong Kong. …"
      The first wave of Japanese troops landed in Hong Kong with artillery fire for cover and the following order from their commander: "Take no prisoners.” Upon overrunning a volunteer antiaircraft battery, the Japanese invaders roped together the captured soldiers and proceeded to bayonet them to death. Even those who offered no resistance, such as the Royal Medical Corps, were led up a hill and killed.
    The Japanese quickly took control of key reservoirs, threatening the British and Chinese inhabitants with a slow death by thirst. The Brits finally surrendered control of Hong Kong on Christmas Day.
1939 Day 19 of Winter War: USSR aggression against Finland. [Talvisodan 19. päivä]
More deaths due to Stalin's desire to grab Finnish territory.
  • Central Isthmus: enemy tanks once again penetrate the Finnish positions at Summa, but the infantry assaults are repulsed in all sectors.
  • Soviet troops take the village of Oinala to the southeast of Muolaanjärvi.
  • Ladoga Karelia: in the early hours of the morning Detachment Pennanen continues its advance towards Ägläjärvi in the Tolvajärvi sector. The offensive fails due to a combination of exhaustion and bad weather. The troops return to their original positions.
  • The enemy offensive gets bogged down at Kollaa. The difficult terrain makes it impossible for them to make effective use of their tanks and artillery.
  • Northern Finland: Finnish troops under Major Perksalo defeat a Russian regiment at the parish village of Pelkosenniemi to the west of Salla. The Russians disengage and head for Savukoski.
  • Other Finnish troops simultaneously halt the offensive by the main force of the 122nd Division at Joutsijärvi.
  • Abroad: Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard give 1000 guilders to the Dutch Red Cross to be passed on to the Finnish Red Cross.
  • 1936 Leonardo Torres Quevedo, ingeniero e inventor español.

    1916 Last of some 500'000 killed in battle of Verdun, as it ends.
          During the First World War Verdun was a fortified French garrison town on the River Meuse 200 km east of Paris. In December 1915, General Erich von Falkenhayn, Chief of Staff of the German Army, decided to attack Verdun. Although he admitted he would be unable to break through at these point on the Western Front, he argued that in defending Verdun, the Germans would "bleed the French army white".
          The German attack on Verdun started on 21 February 1916. A million troops, led by Crown Prince Wilhelm, faced only about 200'000 French defenders. The following day the French was forced to retreat to their second line of trenches. By 24 February the French had moved back to the third line and were only 8km from Verdun.
          On 24th February, General Henri-Philippe Pétain was appointed commander of the Verdun sector. He gave orders that no more withdrawals would take place. He arranged for every spare French soldier to this part of the Western Front. Of the 330 infantry regiments of the French Army, 259 eventually fought at Verdun.
          The German advance was brought to a halt at the end of February. On 6 March, the German Fifth Army launched a new attack at Verdun. The Germans advanced 3km before they were stopped in front of the area around Mort Homme Hill. The French held this strategic point until it was finally secured by the Germans on 29 May, and Fort Vaux fell on 7th June, after a long siege.
          Further attacks continued throughout the summer and early autumn. However, the scale of the German attacks were reduced by the need to transfer troops to defend their front-line at the Somme. The French now counter-attacked and General Charles Mangin became a national hero when the forts at Douaumont and Vaux were recaptured by 2 November 1916. Over the next six weeks the French infantry gained another 2 km at Verdun.
          Verdun, the longest battle of the First World War, ended on the 18th December. The French Army lost about 550'000 men at Verdun. It is estimated that the German Army suffered 434'000 casualties. About half of all casualties at Verdun were killed.

    1911 Grigori Grigorievich Miassoiedoff, Russian artist born in 1834 or 1835.
    1902 Bengt Nordenberg, Swedish artist born on 22 April 1822.
    1880 Michel Chasles, mathematician.
    1878 John Kehoe, labor activist murdered by the state, the last of the Molly Maguires.
          The Molly Maguires, an Irish secret society that had allegedly been responsible for some incidences of vigilante justice in the coalfields of eastern Pennsylvania, defended their actions as attempts to protect exploited Irish-American workers. In fact, they are often regarded as one of the first organized labor groups. During the Irish famine of 1846 to 1854, Irish immigration to the United States climbed to approximately 1.2 million people-nearly half of all US immigrants for those years. The tough economic circumstances facing the immigrants led many Irish men to the anthracite (hard coal) fields in the mountains of northwest Pennsylvania. Miners worked under dangerous conditions and were severely underpaid. Small towns owned by the mining companies further exploited workers by charging rent for company housing.
          In response to these abuses, secret societies like the Molly Maguires sprung up, leading sporadic terrorist campaigns to settle worker/owner disputes. Industry owners became increasingly concerned about the threat posed by the Molly Maguires. Franklin B. Gowen, the president of Reading Railroad, hired the Pinkerton Detective Agency to infiltrate the secret society and find evidence that could be used against them.
          James McParland, who later became the most celebrated private detective of the era, took the high-risk assignment and went undercover within the organization. For more than two years, he established his place in the Molly Maguires and built trust among his fellow members. In July 1875, a young German-American police officer living in Pennsylvania was shot and killed. Soon, several Molly Maguires confessed their roles in the murder to McParland. When he was finally pulled out of the society in February 1876, the detective's information led to the arrest and conviction of 20 men.
          In June 1877, 10 Molly Maguires were hanged on a single day. In December of the following year, John Kehoe was sent to his death, despite the fact that it was widely believed he was wrongly accused and not actually responsible for anyone's death. Although the governor of Pennsylvania believed Kehoe's innocence, he signed the death warrant anyway. Kehoe's hanging at the gallows was officially hailed as "the Death of Molly-ism.”
          Though the deaths of the vigilante Molly Maguires helped quell the activity of the secret society, the increased assimilation of the Irish into mainstream society and their upward mobility out of the coal jobs was the real reason that protective secret societies like the Molly Maguires eventually faded into obscurity
    1867: 44 victims of “Angola Horror”
         They are burned to death in the wreck of the Lake Shore & Michigan Railroad's New York Express Buffalo bound, which had plunged off a bridge at Angola, New York. The train, made up of three first-class coaches, a smoking car, and two baggage cars, was eastbound and due in Buffalo at 13:30. Several hundred meters beyond the Angola depot as the train was approaching the bridge over Big Sister Creek, the rear coach loosened an axle, worked itself from the rails, and pulled off the coach just in front of it. The rear car broke loose and went plunging down the bank to the creek below. The second car almost reached the far end of the wooden span when its coupling was torn loose, and it also went rolling down the bank resting on its side. In this car were two pot-bellied coal stoves used for heating, and both of them were thrown among the victims. Almost immediately the wreckage caught fire. By the time water could be brought from a nearby farm house it was too late. 43 persons died in the fire of this coach; three managed to crawl out. The first coach, which had broken in two, also caught fire; but the flames were extinguished before they caused much suffering. There were forty casualties here and one death.
         On the day of the Angola accident the eastern bound express train over the Lake Shore road, as it was then called, consisted of a locomotive, four baggage, express and mail cars, an emigrant and three first-class passenger coaches. It was timed to pass Angola, a small way station in the extreme western part of New York, at 1:30 P.M. without stopping; but on the day in question it was .two hours and forty-five minutes late, and was consequently running rapidly. A third of a mile east of the station there is a shallow stream, known as Big Sister creek, flowing in the bottom of a ravine the western side of which rises abruptly to the level of the track, while on the eastern side there is a gradual ascent of some forty or fifty rods. This ravine was spanned by a deck bridge of 160 feet in length, at the east end of which was an abutment of mason work some fifty feet long connecting with an embankment beyond.
         The last car on the train belonged to the Cleveland and Toledo line, which used a narrower gauge than the Lake Shore, but the car was equipped with wheels whose treads were wide enough to run on tracks of either gauge. The problem with these “compromise cars” was that they were eaasily derailed.
          In addition it subsequently appeared that the forward axle in the rear truck of the rear car was slightly bent. The defect was not perceptible to the eye, but in turning round the space between the flanges of the wheels of that axle varied by 2 cm. As long as the car was traveling on an unbroken track, or as long as the wheels did not strike any break in the track at their narrowest point, this slight bend in the axle was of no consequence. There was a frog in the track, however, at a distance of 180 meters east of the Angola station, and it so happened that a wheel of the defective axle struck this frog in such a way as to make it jump the track. The rear car was instantly derailed. From the frog to the bridge was some 370 meters. With the appliances then in use the train could not be stopped in this space, and the car was dragged along over the ties, swaying violently from side to side just before the bridge was reached the car next to the last was also thrown from the track, and in this way, and still moving at considerable speed, the train went onto the bridge. It was nearly across when the last car toppled off and fell on the north side close to the abutment. The car next to the rear, more fortunate, was dragged some 80 meters further, so that when it broke loose it simply slid some ten meters down the embankment.
          Though this car was badly wrecked, but a single person in it was killed. His death was a very singular one. Before the car separated from the train, its roof broke in two transversely; through the fissure thus made this unfortunate passenger was partly flung, and it then instantly closed upon him. The other car had fallen fifteen meters, and remained resting on its side against the abutment with one end inclined sharply downward. It was mid-winter and cold, and, as was the custom then, the car was heated by two iron stoves, placed one at each end, in which wood was burned. It was nearly full of passengers. Naturally they all sprang from their seats in terror and confusion as their car left the rails, so that when it fell from the bridge and violently struck on one of its ends, they were precipitated in an inextricable mass upon one of the overturned stoves, while the other fell upon them from above. A position more horrible could hardly be imagined. Few, if any, were probably killed outright. Some probably were suffocated; the greatest number were undoubtedly burned to death. Of those in that car three only escaped; forty-one are supposed to have perished. This was a case of derailment aggravated by fire. It is safe to say that with the improved appliances since brought into use, it would be most unlikely to now occur under precisely the same circumstances on any well-equipped or carefully operated road.
          Derailments, of course, by broken axles or wheels are always possible, but the catastrophe at Angola was primarily due to the utter inability of those on the train to stop it, or even greatly to check its speed within any reasonable distance. Before it finally stood still the locomotive was 800 m from the frog and 460 m from the bridge. Thus, when the rear cars were off the track, the speed and distance they were dragged gave them a lateral and violently swinging motion, which led to the final result. Though under similar circumstances now this might not happen, there is no reason why, circumstances being varied a little, the country should not again during any winter day be shocked by another Angola sacrifice. Certainly, so far as the danger from fire is concerned, it is an alarming fact that it is hardly less in 1879 than it was in 1867. This accumulative horror is, too, one of the distinctive features of US railroad accidents. In other countries holocausts like those at Versailles in 1842 and at Abergele in 1868 have from time to time taken place. They are, however, occasioned in other ways, and, as their occurrence is not regularly challenged by the most risky possible of interior heating apparatus, are comparatively infrequent. The passenger coaches used on this side of the Atlantic, with their light wood-work heavily covered with paint and varnish, are at best but tinder-boxes. The presence in them of stoves, hardly fastened to the floor and filled with burning wood and coal, involves a degree of risk which no one would believe ever could willingly be incurred, but for the fact that it is. No invention yet appears to have wholly met the requirements of the case. That they will be met, and the fearful possibility which now hangs over the head of every traveller by rail, that he may suddenly find himself doomed without possibility of escape to be roasted alive, will be at least greatly reduced hardly admits of question.
    [the date of this accident is erroneously given as 19 December in many “Today in History” lists, which apparently copy from each other, as I also do, but in this, and a few other cases, I am able to do further research and correct some errors]
    1855 Sturm, mathematician.
    1848 Bernhard Bolzano, mathematician.
    1828 Joseph Rebell, Austrian artist born on 11 January 1787.
    1803 Johann Gottfried Herder, crítico, teólogo y filósofo alemán.
    1799 Jean Montucla, 74, mathematician.
    1737 Antonio Stradivari renowned violin-maker, in Cremona, Duchy of Milan, born in 1648 (not 1644 as erroneously stated in many sources). Stradivari surpassed Niccolò Amati, to whem he was apprenticed in about 1658. He may have remained with him until Amati's death in 1684. Stradivari's earliest extant label is dated 1666 and his last 1737. His finest instruments were made after 1700. He produced at least 1116 instruments, of which 540 violins, 12 violas, and 50 cellos were known. He also made fine viols, guitars, and mandolins. His workmanship brought the violin to perfection, and later artisans have tried to imitate his instruments.
    1714 César d'Estrées, cardenal francés.
    1559 Tunstall, mathematician
    Births which occurred on a December 18:
    1996 “Nigritian Ebonics”, to mean”African-American Language”, is used by the Oakland, California, School Board, as it votes its Resolution No. 597-0063 to treat it as any other non-English home language of students. On 03 January 1997 the Linguistic Society of America would declare the decision “linguistically and pedagogically sound.” On 15 January 1997 The Oakland School Board, in its Resolution No. 9697-0063, would amend the 18 Dec 96 resolution to emphasize that the goal is “to move students from the language patterns they bring to school to English proficiency”. Meanwhile there would be a passionate debate across the US about Ebonics, and it would demonstrate “that people can't learn from each other if they don't speak the same language. ... All of the key words that keep coming up in these discussions clearly mean different things to different parties in the debate, and that blocks successful communication and makes it too easy for each participant to believe that the others are mad, scheming, or stupid.” [Fillmore]
    1984 The Nova car. The first Chevy Nova is introduced by New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc., a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors. This car later met with marketing trouble in Spanish-speaking countries: "¿No va? Pues no la compro.”
    1971 People United To Save Humanity (PUSH) is formed by Jesse Jackson in Chicago
    1950 Leonard Maltin New York NY, movie critic (Entertainment Tonight)
    1943 Alfonso López Gradolí, escritor y poeta español.
    1939 Michael Moorcock England, author (Alien Heat, Bull & Spear)
    1936 César, comedia de Marcel Pagnol, se estrena en París.
    1927 Sterling Lanier US, writer (Hiero's Journey)
    1927 Ramsey Clark, US Attorney General under President Lyndon Johnson [1967-1969]
    1920 Enrique Grau, Colombian artist.
    1917 Lyndon, mathematician.
    1917 Ossie Davis (writer, actor: A Raisin in the Sun, Grumpy Old Men, Evening Shade)
    1913 Alfred Bester US, science fiction author (Deceivers, Starlight)
    Willy Brandt (SD), Mayor of Berlin, then Chancellor of West Germany (1969-74, Nobel '71)
    1913 Karl Herbert Frahm, dit Willy Brandt
    , homme politique allemand, promoteur de la politique de rapprochement entre l'Allemagne de l'Ouest et les pays communistes de l'Est.
          Né à Lübeck, enfant naturel, Karl Herbert Frahm, dit Willy Brandt, s'engagea très tôt dans les organisations de jeunesses socialistes. Il adhéra au Parti social-démocrate (SPD) en 1930. Opposant au national-socialisme, pourchassé par la Gestapo, il fuit en Norvège dès 1933. C'est alors qu'il prit son pseudonyme.
          Déchu de sa nationalité par le IIIème Reich, il fut naturalisé norvégien. Brandt revint en Allemagne en 1945, en tant que correspondant de journaux norvégiens au procès de Nüremberg, au cours duquel furent jugés les dignitaires nazis. En 1947, il recouvra la nationalité allemande et retrouva sa place au sein du SPD. Délégué de la partie occidentale de Berlin au Bundestag de 1949 à 1957, il fut élu bourgmestre de Berlin-Ouest en 1957.
          Chef de file des réformateurs lors du congrès du SPD en 1959, il devint président du parti en 1964. Vice-chancelier et ministre des Affaires étrangères dans le gouvernement de "grande coalition" de Kiesinger deux ans plus tard, il posa les premiers jalons d'une politique d'ouverture vers l'Est.
          En octobre 1969, devenu chancelier, Brandt engagea la République fédérale d'Allemagne (RFA) sur la voie de grandes réformes intérieures et poursuivit sa politique de détente avec les pays de l'Est (Ostpolitik). Les traités signés à Moscou et à Varsovie en 1970 lui permirent de normaliser les relations de la RFA avec l'URSS et la Pologne, sur la base du respect des frontières et de la renonciation à la force. Cette politique lui valut le prix Nobel de la paix en 1971.
          Cependant, l'Ostpolitik du chancelier se heurtait à une vive opposition intérieure et Brandt perdit sa majorité au Bundestag en 1972. Il réussit pourtant à conserver son poste à la suite des élections anticipées de novembre 1972.
          Au cours de son second mandat, il relança l'Ostpolitik, signant des traités avec l'autre Allemagne — la République démocratique allemande — en 1972, avec la Tchécoslovaquie en 1973. La RFA ouvrit des ambassades en Bulgarie et en Hongrie.
          L'arrestation de Günter Guillaume, un espion est-allemand qui travaillait dans son cabinet personnel, contraignit Brandt à démissionner en mai 1974. Élu président de l'Internationale socialiste en 1976, Brandt tenta de jeter les bases de nouvelles relations entre les pays industrialisés et les pays en voie de développement (Commission Nord-Sud).
          En 1987, il était remplacé à la tête du SPD par Helmut Schmidt. Après la révolution pacifique de 1989 en RDA, il fut l'un des partisans de la réunification de l'Allemagne, aboutissement de l'Ostpolitik qu'il avait mise en œuvre. Il mourut dans la nuit du 08 au 09 octobre 1992.
    1913 Betty Grable (Elisabeth Grasle) (actress: The Gay Divorcee, Follow the Fleet, Tin Pan Alley, College Swing, Collegiate, Down Argentine Way, Sweet Rosie O'Grady)
    1910 Abe Burrows (Tony Award-winning director and playwright: How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying [1962])
    1907 Christopher Fry (Harris) (poet, dramatist: The Boy with a Cart, A Phoenix Too Frequent, The Lady's Not for Burning)
    1898 Giuseppe Viviani, Italian artist who died in 1965.
    1888 Robert Moses, public servant who supervised the construction of many New York landmarks, including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Shea Stadium. He died on 29 July 1981,
    1879 Paul Klee, Swiss German Expressionist painter who died on 29 June 1940. Author of Pedagogical Sketchbook (1925). MORE ON KLEE AT ART “4” DECEMBER with links to images.
    1870 Hector Hugo Munro "Saki", in Burma, author of When William Came -- Beasts and Super-Beasts -- The Chronicles of Clovis -- Reginald -- Reginald in Russia and Other Sketches -- Reginald in Russia and Other Sketches -- Tobermory -- The Toys of Peace, and Other Papers -- The Unbearable Bassington
          The son of a Burma police officer, Munro was sent to live with his tyrannical aunts in England when he was 2. When he grew up, he joined the Burma police department but left because of ill health. He turned to journalism, writing political satires. He also wrote a serious history, The Rise of the Russian Empire (1900). Munro became foreign correspondent for a London newspaper and lived in several countries. Meanwhile, he continued writing stories full of suspense and surprise endings, using his pen name, Saki. His first book of stories, Reginald (1904), was a success. Munro settled down in London in 1908 and continued to publish story collections, including Reginald in Russia and Other Sketches (1910), The Chronicles of Clovis (1911), and Beasts and Super-Beasts (1914). In 1912, he published a novel, The Unbearable Bassington. Munro was killed in France during action in World War II. (SAKI ONLINE:)
    1863 Francis Ferdinand, Austrian archduke, whose 28 June 1914 by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo would spark WW I.
    1861 Edward MacDowell US, composer (Indian Suite)
    1857 Rafael María Carrasquilla Ortega, eclesiástico y escritor colombiano.
    1856 Joseph John Thomson England, physicist, discovered the electron (Nobel 1906). He died on 30 August 1940.
    1837 David Adolf Constant Artz, Dutch artist who died on 05 November 1890.
    1835 William Frederick Yeames, British painter who died on 03 May 1918. — more
    1820 Carl Ludwig Friedrich Becker, German artist who died on 20 December 1900.
    1819 Isaac Thomas Hecker, US Catholic leader. He entered the Redemptorist Order in 1845, and in 1858 founded the Missionary Society of Saint Paul the Apostle (the Paulist Fathers). He was superior general of the Paulist Society during his last 30 years (1858-1888).
    1796 Manuel Bretón de los Herreros, dramaturgo español.
    1786 Carl Maria von Weber Germany, romantic opera composer (Der Freischutz)
    1779 Joseph Grimaldi England, pantomimist ("greatest clown in history")
    1709 Elizabeth empress of Russia (to Peter the Great & Catherine I)
    1707 Charles Wesley co-founder (Methodist movement)
    1633 Willem van de Velde II, Dutch English marine painter who died 07 April 1707. MORE ON VAN DE VELDE AT ART “4” DECEMBER with links to images.
    1631 Ludolf Bakhuyzen, Dutch Baroque marine painter, draftsman, calligrapher and printmaker, of German origin, active mainly in Amsterdam. He died on 07 (or 06, or 17?) November 1708. MORE ON BAKHUYZEN AT ART “4” DECEMBER with links to images.
    1610 Charles Du Fresne Du Cange French scholar/philologist
    Holidays: New Jersey : Ratification Day (1787) / Niger : Republic Day (1958)

    Religious Observances Christian : Our Lady of Solitude, patron of lonely / Nuestra Señora de la O, Virgen de la Esperanza; santos Floro, Graciano, Modesto, Rufo, Víctor y Victorino; santa Adela. / Saint Gatien aurait été envoyé en mission en Gaule par le pape au IIIe siècle. Evêque de Tours, ses restes ont été transférés par saint Martin dans la basilique de Saint Lidoire.
          Épona est une divinité gauloise, dont la caractéristique est de n’avoir été contaminée par aucune divinité romaine et dont le culte a perduré pendant la plus grande partie de l’époque gallo-romaine. Il s’agit d’une déesse très populaire, à en juger d’après le nombre important de figurations qu’on en connaît, en particulier des figurines en terre cuite de l’Allier, dont on sait qu’elles étaient particulièrement répandues dans toute la Gaule.
          Le nom même d’Épona contient celui du cheval Épo (Equus en latin). Les représentations de la déesse sont diverses : tantôt une jument allaitant son poulain (musée de Beaune), que certains voient comme le prototype de la déesse et d’autres, comme une simple contamination de l’art hellénistique, tantôt une écuyère assise en amazone sur une jument ou parfois couchée, plus exceptionnellement debout près de la jument.
          Ce ne sont là que les grandes lignes de l’iconographie. Il y a de nombreuses variantes, que l’on peut tenter de regrouper selon des ensembles géographiques. Ainsi en Moselle et dans le Luxembourg, elle se tient à califourchon (Senon, dans la Meuse, musée de Saint-Germain). Ailleurs (Rome, Bulgarie, Afrique du Nord), elle est assise et donne une pâture symbolique, des fruits, à un groupe de chevaux. En Bourgogne, la monture pose parfois le sabot sur un rocher. D’autre part, ses attributs sont variés : corne d’abondance, patère, fouet, cravache, clé. Pour certains, le culte d’Épona aurait pris naissance dans les Balkans, et par le Danube serait parvenu jusqu’en Gaule. En fait, les trois régions qui nous livrent abondance de documents sont la Bourgogne, la vallée de la Moselle, la vallée du Rhin.
          Les interprétations de l’iconographie sont malaisées et, à vrai dire, contradictoires, d’autant que l’épigraphie n’apporte guère de précisions supplémentaires. Les auteurs latins voyaient dans Épona la protectrice des chevaux et des écuries. De nos jours, une tendance en fait également une divinité protectrice du foyer, telle les Matres . Ainsi en Bourgogne la jument allaite souvent un poulain, preuve, qu’il s’agit d’une divinité nourricière.
          Pour d’autres, elle évoque bien plus le voyage de l’âme vers l’au-delà, et remplit une fonction de protection vis-à-vis des mortels. Ce caractère funéraire serait attesté par l’attitude d’Épona dans des bas-reliefs de Luxembourg ou de Luxeuil, faisant le geste de la bénédiction, ou par des attributs comme le fouet (qu’on rencontre aux mains des Dioscures) ou la clé qui ouvre les portes de l’au-delà ; le poulain signifierait la continuité de la vie par la descendance...
          Il serait sage en tout cas de parler de pluralité des Épona. Pour distinguer une seule divinité, il faudrait connaître beaucoup mieux le panthéon gaulois que ce n’est le cas actuellement. Sur la stèle d’Hagondange (Moselle), deux écuyères figurent aux côtés d’une déesse centrale. D’autre part, rien ne nous indique la part de confusion qui a pu se produire en Gaule, avant même la conquête romaine, entre l’Épona et des divinités locales protectrices des chevaux. Ce qui tout de même la rend unique, c’est sa " solitude et son célibat résolu, chose rare dans la société divine des Celtes ", et la présence du cheval.
          Ce caractère exceptionnel assurera le succès d’Épona dans l’Empire romain, en dehors même des dédicaces effectuées par des Gaulois de l’armée romaine. C’est ainsi qu’en Italie un calendrier du Ier siècle fixe sa fête au 18 décembre : honneur unique attribué à une divinité gauloise à Rome même. D’autre part, il ne peut pas ne pas y avoir eu contamination des représentations de la déesse à cheval sur la "Vierge écuyère" fuyant en Égypte, au Moyen Âge.
    DICTIONNAIRE TICRANIEN: soutane: ivrogne qui se bronze au soleil.
    Thoughts for the day: “To laugh at men of sense is the privilege of fools.”
    “Comedy is an escape, not from truth but from despair; a narrow escape into faith” —
    Christopher Fry
    “Despair is an escape, not from truth but from faith; a narrow escape into tragedy.”
    “Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.”
    — Washington Irving.
    “Great finds are porpoises, others are fishes.”
    “Great men eat tortoises, others eat quiches.”
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