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Events, deaths, births, of 26 DEC
[For Dec 26 Julian go to Gregorian date: 1582~1699: Jan 051700s: Jan 061800s: Jan 071900~2099: Jan 08]
On a December 26:
2002 The Washington Post reveals that the CIA tortures terrorism suspects held in secret foreign locations, and turns some of them over to foreign countries notorious for even worse tortures.
2000 In Beijing the foreign ministers of China and Vietnam sign a friendship and cooperation treaty which settles a dispute, left unresolved after a 1989 border war, about fishing rights and the border in the Tonkin Gulf. Disagreement on other sea borders remain to be settled.
2000 La estación espacial orbital Mir pierde contacto con el centro de control durante más de 20 horas.
1999 Alfonso Portillo, a populist lawyer, scored a resounding victory in Guatemala's first peacetime presidential elections in nearly 40 years. — Alfonso Portillo y el Frente Republicano Guatemalteco, fundado por el general golpista Enfrían Ríos Montt, son los ganadores de la segunda vuelta de la elecciones presidenciales de Guatemala.
1998 Irak formaliza su ruptura con la Organización de las Naciones Unidas y exige el fin del embargo petrolífero.
1998 Standard & Poor's announces that America Online will join the S&P 500 Index, replacing retailer Venator Group. The replacement of a retailer with an online service company in the widely regarded stock market index underscores the growing economic importance of Internet stocks.
1991 La Cámara de las Repúblicas del Soviet Supremo soviético declara el fin de la URSS a partir de la ratificación del Tratado de la Comunidad de Estados Independientes (CEI).
1991 El integrista Frente Islámico de Salvación (FIS) obtiene la mayoría absoluta en la primera vuelta de las elecciones argelinas.
1990 Garry Kasparov beats Antatoly Karpov to retain world chess championship.
1983 Yasuhiro Nakasone, es reelegido primer ministro del Japón por la Cámara Baja del Parlamento.
1979 The Soviet Union flies 5000 troops to intervene in the Afghanistan conflict. — Osama Bin Laden leaves Saudi Arabia to join the Afghan resistance (mujahedeen).
1978 India's former PM, Indira Gandhi, released from jail
1975 1st supersonic transport service (USSR-Tupolev-144)
1971 US jets strike North Vietnam
      In the sharpest escalation of the war since Operation Rolling Thunder ended in November 1968, US fighter-bombers begin striking at North Vietnamese airfields, missile sites, antiaircraft emplacements, and supply facilities. These raids continued for five days. They were begun in response to intelligence that predicted a North Vietnamese build up of forces and equipment for a new offensive. At a press conference on 27 December US Defense Secretary Melvin Laird said the increase in bombing was in retaliation for the communist failure to honor agreements made prior to the 1968 bombing halt. As evidence, Laird cited the shelling of Saigon the week before, DMZ violations--including an infiltration route being built through the buffer zone, and attacks on unarmed US reconnaissance planes. Pentagon figures showed that US planes--with as many as 250 aircraft participating in some missions--attacked communist targets over 100 times in 1971, a figure comparable to US air activity in the previous 26 months. The intensified bombing spurred new antiwar protests in American. In New York, 15 antiwar veterans barricaded themselves inside the Statue of Liberty and flew the US flag upside down from its crown. They ended their occupation of the monument on December 28, obeying a federal court order. At the same time in Washington, over 80 antiwar veterans were arrested after clashing with police on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. 1967 Laos says communists launched an offensive Laotian Premier Souvanna Phouma reports that North Vietnamese troops have started a general offensive against government forces in southern Laos. Phouma reported that at least one battle was being waged near Pha Lane, but said Laotian troops appeared to be in control of the situation. On 29 December, North Vietnam denied that its forces began a drive in Laos, but it was supporting the communist Pathet Lao in their long-time campaign against the Royal Lao government.
1966 The first Kwanzaa
      The first day of the first Kwanzaa is celebrated in Los Angeles under the direction of Maulana Karenga, the chair of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach. The seven-day holiday, which has strong African roots, was designed by Dr. Karenga as a celebration of African American family, community, and culture.
      In 1965, a deadly riot broke out in the predominantly black Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, leaving 34 people dead, 1000 injured, and $40 million worth of property destroyed. Karenga, a former black activist, was deeply disturbed by the devastation and searched for a way to overcome the despair he felt had gripped the African American community in the riot's aftermath. He founded Us, a Black cultural organization, and looked to Africa in search of practices and concepts that might empower and unite the nation's African American community. Inspired by Africa's harvest celebrations, he decided to develop a nonreligious holiday that would stress the importance of family and community while giving African Americans an opportunity to explore their African identities.
      Karenga combined aspects of several different harvest celebrations, such as those of the Ashanti and those of the Zulu, to form the basis of Kwanzaa. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase matunda ya kwanza, which means "first fruits" in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry readings, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the kinara, or candleholder, then one of the seven principles is discussed. The principles, called the Nguzo Saba, are values of African culture that contribute to building and reinforcing community among African Americans. These values include unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, economic cooperation, purpose, creativity, and faith. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on 31 December. Today, Kwanzaa is celebrated by millions people of African descent all across the United States and Canada.
1962 Eight East Berliners escape to West Berlin in an armor-plated bus crashing through gates.
1953 The United States announces the withdrawal of two divisions from Korea.
1953 Se realiza en París el primer trasplante de riñón de un donante vivo bajo la dirección del cirujano francés Jean Hamburger. [a surgeon named Hamburger! would you trust him?]
1948 El cardenal primado de Hungría, Jozsef Mindszenty, es detenido, encarcelado y procesado, acusado de espionaje en favor de Estados Unidos.
1947 British transfer Heard and McDonald Islands (Indian Ocean) to Australia.
1945 The United States, Soviet Union and Great Britain end a 10-day meeting, seeking an atomic rule by the UN Council.
1944 Besieged allied troops in Bastogne are relieved
      General George S. Patton employs an audacious strategy to relieve the besieged Allied defenders of Bastogne, Belgium, during the brutal Battle of the Bulge. The capture of Bastogne was the ultimate goal of the Battle of the Bulge, the German offensive through the Ardennes forest. Bastogne provided a road junction in rough terrain where few roads existed; it would open up a valuable pathway further north for German expansion. The Belgian town was defended by the US 101st Airborne Division, which had to be reinforced by troops who straggled in from other battlefields. Food, medical supplies, and other resources eroded as bad weather and relentless German assaults threatened the Americans' ability to hold out. Nevertheless, Brigadier General Anthony C. MacAuliffe met a German surrender demand with a typewritten response of a single word: "Nuts. “ Enter "Old Blood and Guts," General Patton. Employing a complex and quick-witted strategy wherein he literally wheeled his 3rd Army a sharp 90 degrees in a counterthrust movement, Patton broke through the German lines and entered Bastogne, relieving the valiant defenders and ultimately pushing the Germans east across the Rhine.
1944 Advancing Soviet troops complete their encirclement of Budapest in Hungary.
1943 El general George Smith Patton recibe una advertencia por haber ordenado que fuesen azotados unos soldados que estaban bajo shock de granadas.
1941 Los británicos toman Bengasi infligiendo una fuerte derrota a las fuerzas italo-germanas de Rommel.
1941 General Douglas MacArthur declares Manila an open city in the face of the onrushing Japanese Army. Tank Battle South of Manila, Losses Heavy: Fighting Is Bitter: Defenders North of the Philippine Capital Strengthen Lines: Oil Afire in Manila: Japanese Planes Go On Bombing Port Area Despite 'Open City'
1941 New Enemy Force 280 km North of Singapore.Chinese Join Battle: British Total of Losses Is Reduced Greatly When 'Lost' Units Appear. British Shift at Singapore Replaces Brooke-Popham.
1941 Winston Churchill addresses US Congress
      Less than three weeks after the American entrance into World War II, Winston Churchill becomes the first British prime minister to address a joint meeting of the US Congress. Churchill, a gifted orator, urges Congress to back President Franklin D. Roosevelt's proposal that America become the "great arsenal of democracy," and warns that the Axis powers will "stop at nothing" in pursuit of their war aims. Four days before, Roosevelt and Churchill met in Washington, D.C., at the start of their first official conference, code-named Arcadia. Over three weeks of talks, the two Allied leaders and their chief advisors agree to set up the Combined Chief of Staff to coordinate future military activity, and issue the first United Nations declaration, a unilateral statement of war aims by the twenty-six nations at war with the Axis powers. Churchill and Roosevelt also agree that neither nation will make a separate peace and propose possible Allied landings in northwest Africa or in France. The "Big Three"--Churchill, Roosevelt, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin--do not meet together until the Teheran conference of late 1943.
      Less than three weeks after the American entrance into World War II, Winston Churchill becomes the first British prime minister to address Congress. Churchill, a gifted orator, urged Congress to back President Franklin D. Roosevelt's proposal that America become the "great arsenal of democracy" and warned that the Axis powers would "stop at nothing" in pursuit of their war aims.
      Born at Blenheim Palace in 1874, Churchill joined the British Fourth Hussars upon his father's death in 1895. During the next five years, he enjoyed an illustrious military career, serving in India, the Sudan, and South Africa, and distinguishing himself several times in battle. In 1899, he resigned his commission to concentrate on his literary and political career and in 1900 was elected to Parliament as a Conservative MP from Oldham. In 1904, he joined the Liberals, serving a number of important posts before being appointed Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, where he worked to bring the British navy to a readiness for the war he foresaw.
      In 1915, in the second year of World War I, Churchill was held responsible for the disastrous Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns and was thus excluded from the war coalition government. However, in 1917 he returned to politics as a cabinet member in the Liberal government of Lloyd George. From 1919 to 1921, he was secretary of state for war and in 1924 returned to the Conservative Party, where two years later he played a leading role in the defeat of the General Strike of 1926. Out of office from 1929 to 1939, Churchill issued unheeded warnings of the threat of Nazi and Japanese aggression.
      After the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Churchill returned to his post as First Lord of the Admiralty and eight months later replaced Neville Chamberlain as prime minister of a new coalition government. In the first year of his administration, Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany, but Churchill promised his country and the world that Britain would "never surrender." He rallied the British people to a resolute resistance and expertly orchestrated Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin into an alliance that eventually crushed the Axis.
      After a postwar Labor Party victory in 1945, Churchill became leader of the opposition and in 1951 was again elected prime minister. In 1953, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. After his retirement as prime minister, he remained in Parliament until 1964, the year before his death.
1933 US forswears armed intervention in the Western Hemisphere
1926 The Length of Africa by Motorcar The first overland journey across Africa from south to north was completed when the expedition of Major C. Court Treatt arrived in Cairo, Egypt. Major Treatt had set out from Capetown, South Africa, some twenty-seven months earlier in two military-style Crossley automobiles. After the difficult trek across unmapped regions, the hero's safe arrival in Cairo was a major treat for everyone.
1925 Six US destroyers are ordered from Manila to China to protect US interests in the civil war that is being waged there.
1925 Turkey adopts Gregorian calendar.
1921 The Catholic Irish Free State becomes a self-governing dominion of Great Britain.
1917 As a wartime measure, President Woodrow Wilson places railroads under government control, with Secretary of War William McAdoo as director general.
1916 Joffre es separado del alto mando y sustituido por el general Robert G. Nivelle.
1909 Se celebra en Hamburgo el IX Congreso Sionista.
1884 España anuncia a las potencias extranjeras que tiene bajo su protectorado la costa occidental de África comprendida entre los cabos Bojador y Blanco, territorio comúnmente denominado Sáhara Occidental.
1878 Electric light in a store, a first
      John Wanamaker instals electric lights in his department store in Philadelphia. Although light bulbs had not yet been invented, electric light could be generated through arc lamps, which presented a fire hazard due to their high intensity. Although scientists had been working for years on developing a safe, mild, electric light, it wasn't until 1879 that Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb.
1877 Socialist Labor Party of North America holds 1st national convention
1866 Brig. Gen. Philip St. George Cooke, head of the Department of the Platte, receives word of the Fetterman Fight in Powder River County in the Dakota territory.
1863 Por primera vez se aplica la electricidad en Europa con el alumbrado de los faros costeros del cabo de La Heve (Francia).
1863 Skirmish at Sand Mountain, Alabama
1862 1st US navy hospital ship enters service
1861 US frees Reb envoys to UK, ending Trent affair.
     Confederate diplomatic envoys James M. Mason and John Slidell are freed by the Lincoln administration, thus heading off a possible war between the United States and Great Britain. The two men were aboard the British mail steamer Trent on 08 November when, near the Bahamas on 08 November 1861, US Navy Captain Charles Wilkes commanded the crew of the USS. San Jacinto to stop it. The envoys were headed to London to lobby for recognition of the Confederacy. The Southerners were arrested and and taken to prison at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor.
    The British were outraged when word of the interception reached London in late November, fueling anti-American sentiment among the British. The British had not taken sides in the American Civil War and their policy was to accept any paying customer that wished to travel aboard their ships.
      The British government dispatched a message to the US government demanding the release of Mason and Slidell and an apology for the transgression of British rights on the high seas. The British cabinet sent a message on 01 December insisting that the US respond within a week. It also began preparing for war, banning exports of war materials to the US and sending 11'000 soldiers to Canada. Plans were made to attack the American fleet that was blockading the South, and the British planned a blockade of northern ports.
      Lincoln decided not to push the issue. On 26 December, he orders the envoys released, US Secretary of State William H. Seward apologizes, and war with England is averted. The incident gave the Confederates hope that there was support for their cause in Britain, but it also demonstrated how hard the Union would work to avoid conflict with Britain
1861 Engagement at Chustenahlah, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma)
1861 Union Major Robert Anderson evacuates Fort Moultrie and occupies Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina
1848 First gold seekers arrive in Panama en route to San Francisco
1848 William and Ellen Craft escape from slavery in Georgia.
1834 Babbage asks Parliament for more funding
     On this his 43rd birthday, Charles Babbage doom his own quest to build a mechanical calculator on this day in 1834. A prominent mathematician who helped found England's Analytic, Royal Astronomical, and Statistical Societies, Babbage had proposed the idea of a mechanical calculator in 1812. By 1823, Parliament had granted Babbage funding to build his machine, which he called the "Difference Engine." Babbage's protege, Ada, countess of Lovelace, helped devise a method to program the machine using punched cards. Babbage devoted the next ten years of his life to building the Difference Engine, spending £17'000 of government funding.
      To secure additional funding, he submitted a written statement describing his progress. Unfortunately, Babbage had developed an idea for a new, more powerful machine, the Analytic Engine, which he mentioned in his description, convincing Parliament that further investment in the Difference Engine would be a waste. He received no more government grants, so he funded the machine's development from his own pocket until he ran out of money and abandoned the project in 1848. In 1854, a Swedish engineer finally succeeded in constructing a Difference Engine based on Babbage's theories. The machine was largely forgotten until Babbage's drawings were rediscovered in 1937.
1833 Bank of the US controversy
      In the Senate, Henry Clay delivers a stern rebuke to his arch-rival, President Andrew Jackson. Clay's actions, delivered in the form of two sharply worded resolutions, stemmed from the president’s controversial decision to transfer the government's funds from the Bank of the United States to state institutions. Clay, however, also moved against the Treasury Department and targeted the second resolution at Secretary Roger Taney, who was installed in the Treasury post when the acting secretary defied Jackson's orders to remove the government's funds from the Bank of the United States. After considerable debate and deliberation, the Senate green-lighted the resolutions in March of 1834. But, the pugnacious president was not one to lay down and simply let the rebukes glide into the Senate's records; he lobbied the Senate and lodged a formal protest against the resolutions, all to no avail. However, in January of 1834, Senator Thomas Hart Benton succeeded where the resident failed and managed to get the resolutions stripped from the Senate Journal.
1829 Prince Wurttemberg explores the US West
      Embarking on the second of three wide-ranging exploratory journeys in the West, Prince Paul Wilhelm of Wurttemberg leaves St. Louis and heads up the Missouri River.
      Born near Stuttgart in southwestern Germany in 1797, Prince Paul (later the Duke) of Wurttemberg was the son of King Friedrich I. As the scion of a powerful royal family, the Prince could have chosen to live out a quiet life in the lap of luxury in Germany. But from an early age he developed a passionate interest in natural science paired with a strong desire to explore the world beyond his castle walls.
      When he was 25, the Prince made the long ocean journey to the United States, arriving in New Orleans in December 1822. He and his small company of retainers took a riverboat up the Mississippi to St. Louis, where the Prince met with the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, William Clark, who--along with his co-captain, Meriwether Lewis--led the famous Corps of Discovery nearly two decades earlier. Though Clark questioned whether the young German prince had the mettle to make his proposed expedition up the Kansas River to study the regional botany, he granted him a passport into the interior country.
      Clark's doubts seemed confirmed when the Prince was forced to retreat down the Kansas River by swarms of bloodthirsty mosquitoes. But the Prince was tougher than Clark realized, and in the months to come, he traveled up to the Missouri Fur Company fort in South Dakota and spent three days with the Pawnee Indians along the Platte River. The young German prince must have finally impressed the veteran western explorer, for when the Prince left to return to Germany in 1824, Clark gave him permission to take along Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, Clark's sixteen-year-old foster son, whose mother, Sacagawea, had accompanied the Corps of Discovery. For six years, the French-Indian Charbonneau was the Prince's constant companion in his travels in Europe and North Africa.
      The Prince returned to the United States in 1829, safely delivering the now cosmopolitan and highly educated (he learned to speak French, German, and Spanish) Charbonneau back to his home. Charbonneau went on to his own adventures, eventually becoming a celebrated fur trapper and mountain man. Meanwhile, the Prince embarked on his second American expedition, traveling into the upper Missouri River country and then into northern and central Mexico. A third expedition in 1849 took him all the way to the California gold fields.
      During his journeys, the Prince gathered thousands of scientifically valuable botanical, geological, and zoological specimens, and his ethnological studies of the Native Americans were thoughtful and perceptive. Also a fine sketch artist, he provided the illustrations for his voluminous diaries, some of which were published in German and later translated into English. He died in 1860 at the age of 63, four months after returning from an expedition to Australia.
1820 Moses Austin asks Spanish for Texas colony
      Hoping to recover from bankruptcy with a bold scheme of colonization, Moses Austin meets with Spanish authorities in San Antonio to ask permission for 300 Anglo-American families to settle in Texas. A native of Durham, Connecticut, Austin had been a successful merchant in Philadelphia and Virginia. After hearing reports of rich lead mines in the Spanish-controlled regions to the west, Austin obtained permission in 1798 from the Spanish to mine land in an area that lies in what is now the state of Missouri. Austin quickly built a lead mine, smelter, and town on his property, and his mine turned a steady profit for more than a decade. Unfortunately, the economic collapse following the War of 1812 destroyed the lead market and left him bankrupt.
      Determined to rebuild his fortune, Austin decided to draw on his experience with the Spanish and try to establish an American colony in Texas. In 1820, he traveled to San Antonio to request a land grant from the Spanish governor, who initially turned him down. Austin persisted and was finally granted permission to settle 300 Anglo families on 200,000 acres of Texas land.
      Overjoyed, Austin immediately set out for the United States to begin recruiting colonists, but he became ill and died on the long journey back. The task of completing the arrangements for Austin's Texas colony fell to his son, Stephen Fuller Austin. The younger Austin selected the lower reaches of Colorado River and Brazos River as the site for the colony, and the first colonists began arriving in December 1821. Over the next decade, Stephen Austin and other colonizers brought nearly 25,000 people into Texas, most of them Anglo-Americans. Always more loyal to the United States than to Mexico, the settlers eventually broke from Mexico to form the independent Republic of Texas in 1836. Nine years later, they led the successful movement to make Texas an American state.
1806 Napoleon's army is checked by the Russians at the Battle of Pultusk. — Principal combat de la manœuvre manquée dite «de Pultusk» pour encercler l’armée russe, cette bataille oppose l’aile droite de la Grande Armée, commandée par Davout, forte de 20'000 hommes, au gros de l’armée russe de Bennigsen, deux fois plus nombreuse. Le combat se déroule dans la boue et sous une tempête de neige. Les Russes sont repoussés au soir, mais la manœuvre d’encerclement a échoué.
1806 After their defeat at the battle of Austerlitz on 02 December 1806, the Austrians sign the peace treaty of Presbourg with the victorious Napoleonic French. — Son armée écrasée à Austerlitz, l’Autriche signe à Presbourg (Bratislava), le 26 décembre 1805, un traité de paix par lequel elle renonce à la Vénétie, tandis que la Bavière, alliée de Napoléon, lui enlève le Tyrol. Par un article secret, François II renonce à son titre d’empereur du Saint Empire romain germanique. Le Reich presque millénaire est condamné à disparaître.
1799 George Washington is eulogized by Colonel Henry Lee as "first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen." [he did not mention a possible exception: Washington's slaves].
1792 José Ocáriz, cónsul español en París, protesta públicamente en una carta por la condición de prisionero a que se ve sometido Luis XVI.
1786 Daniel Shay leads a rebellion in Massachusetts to protest the seizure of property for the non-payment of debt.
1776 After crossing the Delaware River into New Jersey, George Washington leads an attack on Hessian mercenaries at Trenton, and takes 900 prisoners. — Las tropas británicas son derrotadas por las estadounidenses en la batalla de Trenton (New Jersey), durante la Guerra de Independencia de Estados Unidos.
1773 Expulsion of tea ships from Philadelphia
1713 Felipe V firma un Real Decreto, redactado por Jean Orry, por el que España queda dividida en 21 provincias, con fines administrativos y tributarios.
1653 Oliver Cromwell se erige en protector (dictador) de Inglaterra.
1620 Plymouth Colony was settled by the "Mayflower"colonists. (In 1691 Plymouth joined other neighboring settlements to form the royal colony of Massachusetts.)
1606 King Lear performed at English court
      William Shakespeare's play King Lear is performed at the court of King James I of England. Lear is one of the later works penned by the playwright.
      Shakespeare's father was probably a common tradesman. He became an alderman and bailiff in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Shakespeare was baptized in the town on 26 April 1564. Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway on 28 November 1582, and the couple had a daughter in 1583 and twins in 1585. Sometime later, Shakespeare set off for London to become an actor and by 1592 was well established in London's theatrical world as an actor and playwright. He would come to be called the English national poet and considered by many to have been the greatest dramatist of all time.
      His earliest plays, including The Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew, were written in the early 1590s. Later in the decade, he wrote tragedies like Romeo and Juliet (1594-1595) and comedies including The Merchant of Venice (1596-1597). His greatest tragedies were written after 1600, including Hamlet (1600-01), Othello (1604-05), King Lear (1605-06), and Macbeth (1605-1606).
      Shakespeare became a member of the popular theater troupe the Lord Chamberlain's Men, which later became the King's Men. The group built and operated the famous Globe Theater in London in 1599. Shakespeare became a major shareholder in the troupe and earned enough money to buy a large house in Stratford in 1597. He retired to Stratford in 1610, where he wrote his last plays, including The Tempest (1611) and The Winter's Tale (1610-11). Meanwhile, he had written more than 100 sonnets, which were published in 1609. Shakespeare's plays were not published during his lifetime. After his death (23 April 1616), two members of his troupe collected copies of his plays and printed what is now called the First Folio (1623).
SHAKESPEARE ONLINE:  Shakespeare search engine     A Shakespeare site
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    All's Well That Ends Well
    As You Like It
    The Comedy of Errors
    Love's Labours Lost
    Measure for Measure
    The Merry Wives of Windsor
    The Merchant of Venice
    A Midsummer Night's Dream
    Much Ado About Nothing
    Pericles, Prince of Tyre
    Taming of the Shrew
    The Tempest
    Troilus and Cressida
    Twelfth Night
    Two Gentlemen of Verona
    Winter's Tale
    Henry IV, part 1
    Henry IV, part 2
    Henry V
    Henry VI, part 1
    Henry VI, part 2
    Henry VI, part 3
    Henry VIII
    King John
    Richard II
    Richard III
    Anthony and Cleopatra
    Julius Caesar 
    King Lear
    Romeo and Juliet
    Timon of Athens
    Titus Andronicus
    The Sonnets
    A Lover's Complaint
    The Rape of Lucrece
    Venus and Adonis

    Funeral Elegy by W.S.

    1552 Las tropas del emperador Carlos V levantan el sitio de Metz tras 60 días de inútiles esfuerzos.
    1492 The first Spanish settlement in America
          During his first voyage to the New World, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus establishes the first Spanish settlement in the Americas. The temporary settlement comprises thirty-eight of his men whom he leaves with munitions and supplies on the island of Hispaniola, now known as Haiti. On August 3, Columbus set sail from the Spanish port of Palos, commanding three ships--the Pinta, the Nina, and the flagship Santa Maria--and 120 men. Under the name of the Spanish crown, Columbus was attempting to find a western ocean trade route to India. On October 12, Columbus sighted Watling Island in the Bahamas, initially believing that he had found islands near Japan. He later sailed on until he reached Cuba, which he thought was mainland China, and then discovered Haiti, which he claimed for the Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain and named Hispaniola. On Hispaniola, the expedition traded with natives whom Columbus incorrectly termed "Indians" as he believed he had been sailing in the Indian Ocean. By this time, the Santa Maria had been wrecked, so Columbus decided to leave some of his men on Hispaniola among the natives, to be picked up during a second voyage in the next year. The two smaller ships sail back to Spain, reaching Palos in March of 1493, and Columbus is received with the highest honors by the Spanish court. In September of 1493, Columbus sets sail from Cadiz, Spain, with a fleet of three carracks and seventeen caravels on his second voyage. After stopping at the Canary Islands for supplies, the expedition sights Dominica in the West Indies, and travels on to Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico. En route, Columbus finds that the thirty-eight men he left on Hispaniola during his first voyage have all been massacred by the natives. The precise reason why has not been determined.
    0795 Saint Leo III begins his reign as Pope.
    Deaths which occurred on a December 26:
    2003 Rod Newberry, 20, Adam Merz, 18, and Mike Hebert, 19, in the afternoon by a triple avalanche in in the Aspen Grove area of Provo Canyon, Utah, where they were snowboarding since morning with Matt Long and another friend. 74 cm of snow had fallen there in 24 hours.
    2003 Some 35'000 persons in 6.6 magnitude earthquake at 05:27 (01:57 UT) with epicenter 10 km deep at 29º01'N 58º17'E, in Kerman province, southeastern Iran, 12 km SSE of dowtown Bam (29º07'N 58º20'E), a city which had 80'000 inhabitants. Some 60'000 persons are injured in the region. 70% of the buildings in Bam are destroyed or damaged beyond repair, including its two hospitals and its main tourist attraction, a 2000-year-old adobe citadel and town complex [pre-quake photo below] that used to protect the Silk Road. A magnitude 5 aftershock occurs at 06:36 (03:06 UT) with epicenter 10 km deep at 28º50'N 58º22'E (80 km north of Bam). Some of the persons trapped under collapsed buildings die slowly in the following days; the three survivors trapped the longest are pulled out alive on 01 January 2004.
         Bam's citadel was the largest and oldest adobe structure in the world. Built entirely of adobes and the trunks of palm trees, the city's old quarter dates back to pre-Islamic Sassanian period (224-637), although most of the monuments were from Iran's modern heyday under the Safavid rulers (1502-1722). Then, the city occupied six square kilometres, was surrounded by a rampart with 38 towers, and had a population of between 9000 and 13'000. Located in a vast plain between the Barez and Kabudi mountain ranges, Bam prospered because of pilgrims visiting its Zoroastrian fire temple (dating to early Sassanian times) and as a commercial and trading center on the Silk Road between the Far East and Europe. Upon the site of the Zoroastrian temple the Jame Mosque was built during the Saffarian period (866-903) and adjacent to this mosque is the tomb of Mirza Naiim, a mystic and astronomer who lived three hundred years ago. The five-story citadel, constructed entirely from adobes, had undergone frequent repairs over the years but traced its origins back to the Parthian era about the time of Christ. An oasis in the arid Dasht-e Kavir region known as the Emerald of the Desert, Bam has extensive underground water reserves, which have allowed the planting of rich palm groves and citrus gardens. The city is renowned for its oranges, tangerines, sweet lemons, and dates. Bam declined in importance following an Afghan invasion in 1722 and another by invaders from the region of Shiraz in 1810. The city was used as a barracks for the army until 1932 and then completely abandoned. Intensive restoration work began in 1953 and had continued until today. The city has been declared a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
    Bam citadel complex before the quake
    2002 Jamal Nadr, 28, head of an al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades cell, killed by Israeli Border Police in Tul Karm, West Bank.
    2002 Bassam al-Ashkar, 25, and Fanal Shilani, respectively of Hamas and of Tanzim, unarmed, in a car, shot multiple times by Israeli secret police disguised as Palestinians, on a street in Ramallah, West Bank. The Palestine Monitor reports its Palestinian body count of the al-Aqsa intifada as being 2104, including 185 targeted assassinations such as this, and 76 of the 185 having been bystanders or killed by mistake.
    2002 Mahadi Obayad, 19, unarmed Palestinian Ramallah traffic policeman, shot by Israeli soldiers firing at a nearby crowd of Palestinians who was throwing stones in protest for the assassination of al-Ashkar and Shilani.
    2002 Hamsa abu Roub, 35, in Qabatiyah, West Bank, local head of Islamic Jihad, in the early hours. Israeli troops had surrounded his home telling those inside to surrender and that they would not be harmed. All came out, Abu Roub last and firing at the Israelis (according to them). They threw grenades into the house, wounding him, then rushed in and shot him dead just inside the main entrance. Later in the morning, Israeli troops destroy the family home.
    MANfred2002 Manfred “Man” Gnadinger, 66, of a broken heart or melancholy, after the oceanside artwork he had created since he came there from Germany in 1961, was covered by thick black petroleum spilled from the Prestige, in Camelle, Galicia, Spain. He had used stones, driftwood, animal skeletons, and whatever washed up, some of which he painted, to create a sculpture garden that became a popular tourist attraction. On 28 December he would be found dead “since several days”, in the hut where he lived as a hermit, clothed only in a loincloth. [photo >] The tanker Prestige sank off northwest Spain on 19 November 2002, leaking about 20'000 tons of its fuel-oil cargo before sinking and it has been leaking more than 100 tons a of oil a day since then, tarring the Galician shore.
    2002 Female elephant, hit by train, in the early morning, at the Pandarphunka railway bridge in Bhubaneswar, Orissa state, India. She was one of seven elephants returning to the Chandaka Wildlife sanctuary after an evening crop raid in Kalarahang village.
    2000 Janice Hagerty, 46, office manager; Cheryl Troy, vice president of human resources; Louis Javelle; Craig Wood, 29; Jennifer Bragg Capobianco, 29; Paul Marceau, 36; Rose Manfredi, 48, employees of Edgewater Technology murdered by fellow employee Michael McDermott, 42, "gone postal" with an AK-47-style assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a semiautomatic handgun, in Wakefield, Massachusetts, at about 11:00. At his April 2002 trial, McDermott would claim that he thought he was killing Hitler and his staff. The prosecutor would argue that McDermott is faking insanity. On 24 April 2002, the jury would convict McDermott on seven counts of first-degree murder, which means a mandatory maximum sentence under Massachusetts law: life in prison without the possibility of parole.
    2000 Andre Beukes, 27, policeman, as his speedboat goes over 50-meter- high Loskop Dam in South Africa. His wife and baby were waiting for him on the shore.
    1998 Luan Phi Dawson, from being hit by a piece of flying metal while waiting to board a ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, on 24 December 1998. His wife and a Disneyland employee were also injured.
    1997 Cahit Arf, mathematician.
    JonBenét Ramsey1996 JonBenét Patricia Ramsey, 6
         Born on 06 August 1990, in Atlanta, Ga., she was the daughter of John B. Ramsey, 53, and Patricia Paugh Ramsey, 39. She moved to Boulder in 1991 from Atlanta. She attended High Peaks Elementary School and was a member of St. John'sEpiscopal Church of Boulder.
         Before 06:00, Patsy Ramsey calls 911 saying that her daughter JonBenét has been kidnapped. She had found a ransom note demanding $118'000 -- a three-page letter that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation later said she might have written herself. After studying handwriting samples, the CBI concluded that the little girl's father, John Ramsey, did not write the note but said "there are indications that the author" is Patsy, "although there is not enough evidence to conclude that definitively. “
          Asked by the police to search the house, an 13:00 John Ramsey "finds" the body of his daughter in the basement wine cellar of the family's15-room, 599-square-meter home. Boulder home. According to the police report, JonBenét was covered with a blanket, her wrists were tied above her head, her mouth was covered with tape, and a nylon cord was wrapped around her neck. The autopsy report revealed she might have been sexually abused, that she suffered a blow to her head that left a 22 cm fracture, and that she died from strangulation..
          JonBenet had become a seasoned model and pageant contestant in her 6 years. She held several titles, including the 1995 Little Miss Colorado. She, like her mother -- the 1977 Miss West Virginia -- appeared to be made for the stage.

    25 Dec — JonBenet receives a new bike for Christmas. That afternoon, the Ramseys go to the home of family friend Fleet White for dinner, leaving at about 21:00. They drop off gifts at the homes of other friends on their way home. A sleeping JonBenet is put to bed around 10 p.m.
    26 Dec — 05:30. — Patsy Ramsey , 39, gets up early and goes downstairs to make a pot of coffee. A three-page ransom note found on the stairs demands $118'000 for the safe return of JonBenet. Patsy Ramsey says she ran to her daughter's second-floor bedroom, but the little girl wasn't there. 05:52 — Patsy and her husband, prominent businessman John Ramsey , 53, call police to report their daughter has been kidnapped. 05:59 — Boulder police arrive, search the house and take preliminary reports from the Ramseys . 08:10 a.m. — Boulder Police detective Linda Arndt arrives at the house. 13:05 — Acting on what he says was a suggestion from police, John Ramsey searches his home at 755 15th St. and finds his daughter in a windowless, basement room. Her mouth is sealed with duct tape and a cord is wrapped around her neck and one wrist.
    27 Dec — After an autopsy, the Boulder County Coroner's Office says JonBenet died of asphyxia caused by strangulation.
    07 Jan 1997 — Police find a practice ransom note in the Ramsey home.
    21 Jan — Sources indicate that the $118,000 demanded in the ransom note was the amount of John Ramsey 's 1996 bonus as head of Access Graphics.
    14 Jul — Portions of JonBenet's autopsy report are unsealed and the details portray a brutal death by strangulation: deep ligature around her neck and right wrist, blood and abrasions in her vaginal area (although no indication that this was caused by prior sexual abuse), and an 81/2-inch cranial fracture.
    13 Aug — The full autopsy report is released, excluding only the estimated time of death.
    08 Sep — Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter releases copies of the ransom note.
    11 Jan 1998 — It is announced that the DNA found on JonBenet's body, reportedly from the under her nails, does not match that of any family member.
    25 December: JonBenét is sent to bed at about 20:30. The family had plans to fly to Michigan early the next morning. Sometime before dawn, JonBenét is killed; her skull is fractured, she is strangled with a cord, duct tape is put over her mouth, and her body is dragged downstairs to a small room in the basement. She is wrapped in a blanket, with her feet taped together and her head uncovered and her arms above her head.
    26 December: Patsy Ramsey calls the police at 05:22, ahouting "send help!" and saying that her daughter is missing and that a 2½-page ransom note demanding $118'000 had been left by the kidnapper on the steps of the back stairs leading to the kitchen. The note begins: "Dear Mr. Ramsey, We have your daughter... “ and includes the words "behead" and "attaché. “ It was printed in block letters and has neat margins. It also makes reference to a Navy air base in the Philippines where John Ramsey had served. Four misspellings in the note appear to be intentional. Patsy Ramsey screams for John and they check Burke's room, but JonBenét is not in there. Patsy begins to phone friends. Police arrive at 5:35 a.m. and perform a cursory search of the premises. They contact the FBI and begin make plans to deal with the kidnapper. A detective did not arrive until two hours later. Friends began gathering at the home. At 07:30, John Ramsey obtains the cash for the $118'000 ransom. FBI agents arrive at 10:30 and set up a wiretap and recording equipment. At abou 13:00, police suggest that John Ramsey search the house to look for clues. At 13:30, John Ramsey and his friend Fleet White discover JonBenét's body in the basement. The door to the room was stuck, which is why the police said they had not checked it earlier. There is no window in the room. Another window in the basement was found open with a chair underneath. John Ramsey removes the tape from her mouth and carries her upstairs, where he layed her on the floor by the Christmas tree. Guests began trying to revive her. The Boulder County coronor's staff removed the body from the house 22:45.
    27 December: The Boulder County coroner reported that an autopsy revealed that the cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation, and her death was ruled a homicide.
    03 January: It is reported that there was forced entry into the Ramsey's home and that as many as 15 people had keys to the house.
    04 January: It was reported that the note had been written on a legal pad found inside the house and also contained a warning that the Ramseys prepare for a rigorous ordeal. It was also reported that the Ramsey's security system was not operating at the time of the murder.
    06 January: The Colorado Daily reports that the police had searched the windowless room earlier than John Ramsey and that the body was not there at that time.
    09 January: It is reported that a cord tied around JonBenét's right wrist matched the cord around her neck. The Rocky Mountain News reported that police did not search the room where the body was found the morning of the 26th.
    21 January: Police state that the $118'000 demanded in the ransom note is the amount received recently as a bonus by John Ramsey.
    -- Ramsey case links -- Theory that her brother Burke, 9, killed her accidentally, but does not realize it, and the parents are covering up for him (plus belong to an influential ritual child abuse ring)..
         In Boulder, Colorado, JonBenet Ramsey, 6, is found murdered in the basement of her home, several hours after her parents called the police to say she had been kidnapped. Over 1500 children were murdered in the United States in 1996, but none of these murders attracted more media attention or fascinated the American public as much as the case of JonBenet Ramsey.
          During her brief life, JonBenet was a frequent contestant in child beauty pageants, and was named National Tiny Miss Beauty and Little Miss Colorado, among other titles. Professional beauty photos of Ramsey released to the press after her death gave this particular child murder case a human face, and the public followed the criminal investigations intently.
          On the morning after Christmas, JonBenet's mother, Patsy Ramsey, calls the police and explains that she has discovered a three-page ransom letter for her daughter, who can not be found. Shortly thereafter, according to police reports, JonBenet's father, John Ramsey, found his daughter murdered in the basement wine cellar of their home. Her body was covered with a blanket, her wrists were tied above her head, her mouth was covered with tape, and a nylon cord was wrapped around her neck. The autopsy report revealed she might have been sexually abused and that she suffered a blow to her head that left an eight-and-a-half-inch fracture.
          After several months of investigation, with no charges or outside suspects found in the case, the police initiated an investigation of members of the Ramsey family. After studying handwriting samples, a police expert concluded that the hand-written ransom note matched the handwriting of Patsy Ramsey, although the police doubted that the charge could be proved in a court of law. One year after the crime, the Ramseys publicly denied any responsibility in their daughter's murder, although Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter identified the Ramseys as "the obvious focus of the investigation. “ After nearly two years without an arrest, Commander Mark Beckner, the new lead investigator in the crime, stated that JonBenet's family "remain under an umbrella of suspicion," and that police were still searching for conclusive evidence.
    1992 Kemeny, mathematician.
    1990 Nancy Cruznan, 33. accident victim/right-to-die case
    1979 Hasse, mathematician.
    1972 Harry Truman, 88, 33rd US President, in Kansas City, Missouri.
    1966 Subbotin, mathematician.
    1949 Mateo Hernández Sánchez, Spanish sculptor and painter.
    1947 Some 80 persons because of weather as snow blankets the Northeast US, burying New York City under 65 cm of snow in 16 hours.
    1943 Some 2000 German sailors on battle cruiser sunk by the British
          The German battle cruiser Scharnhorst is sunk by British warships in the Arctic after decoded German naval signals reveal that the Scharnhorst is on a mission to attack an Anglo-American convoy to Russia. Hitler's navy had posed serious threats to convoys shipping supplies to the Soviet Union since the fall of 1941. American, British, and Soviet merchant ships had suffered devastating attacks in the Arctic, mostly by German U-boats.
          Operation Rainbow was the German plan to attack two Anglo-American convoys as they sailed between Bear Island and the North Cape en route to the Eastern front. But Enigma, the British code-breaker, once again provided the Allies with the sensitive strategic information they needed to anticipate and prevent disaster.
          The Scharnhorst, Germany's 31'000-ton battle cruiser, which had already sunk the British cruiser Rawalpindi, was surprised by the British battleship Duke of York, which sank it in what became known as the Battle of North Cape. Approximately 2000 German sailors and crew drowned and only 36 survived.
    1939 Day 27 of Winter War: USSR aggression against Finland. [Talvisodan 27. päivä]
    More deaths due to Stalin's desire to grab Finnish territory.
  • Eastern Isthmus: at Taipale, the Russian troops which have overrun Kelja successfully repulse Finnish attempts at counterattack.
  • Northern Karelia: the North Karelian Group completes its offensive in the Pielisjärvi sector after two days, having forced the opposing Russian regiment back across the border.
  • South coast: the enemy bombs Kotka - four people are killed.
  • Ladoga Karelia: the railway junction at Elisenvaara in the municipality of Kurkijoki is subjected to intensive bombing. One of the bombs kills 29 civilians who had taken refuge in a sewage ditch.
  • Abroad: Uruguay announces it is to send material aid to Finland.
  • Mexico also promises to send Finland whatever assistance it can afford.
  • Abroad: in a speech at the Vatican, Pope Pius XII condemns the Soviet attack on Finland.
  • 1939 Some 30'000 persons in 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey, with epicenter at 39º36'N 38º00'E, near Erzincan.
    1909 Frederic Sackrider Remington, in Canton, New York, Western painter and sculptor born on 04 October 1861. MORE ON REMINGTON AT ART “4” DECEMBER with links to images.
    1896 Margaretha (Margi) Roosenboom Vogel, Dutch artist born on 24 October 1843.
    1862 38 Santee Sioux, hanged in Mankato, Minnesota for their part in the Sioux Uprising in Minnesota. Little Crow has fled the state.
    1823 Jean-François Huë, French painter born on 01 December 1751. — more
    1676 Dominicus “Wanto” van Tol, Dutch artist born in 1635.
    1686 Henri Mauperché, French artist born in 1602. MORE ON MAUPERCHÉ AT ART “4” DECEMBER with links to images.
    0418 St Zosimus, Pope
    0268 St Dionysius, Pope
    Births which occurred on a December 26:
    2002 “Eve”, first cloned baby is claimed to be born, in undisclosed country, to a 31-year-old US woman, whose husband is sterile and of which the baby is the clone. Clonaid, through its scientific director, Canadian Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, makes the announcement the next day, claiming to have accomplished the cloning process. No proof is given, and, to assess the validity of the claim, consider that Clonaid was founded in the Bahamas in 1997 by Claude Vorilhon “Raël”, a former French race-car driver and auto racing magazine editor, born in 1946, founder of the “Bible-based atheist” (sic) cult of the Raelians, who claim that an extra-terrestrial visiting him in 1973 revealed that his kind had created all life on Earth through genetic engineering.
    1985 Ford Taurus car
          The Ford Motor Company had trouble in the early 1980s. Its trucks were selling well, but its line of cars were unpopular and had terrible reputations. The company lost $3.3 billion from 1980 through 1982. As the losses piled up, Ford's engineers were working feverishly to redesign their line of mid-size cars. Ford turned out a redesigned Thunderbird and Tempo and managed a profitable year.
          On this day Ford introduced the Taurus, the product of years of engineering. The distinctively streamlined car became enormously popular, lifting Ford to record profits in the late 1980s. The rounded "jellybean" shape of the Taurus had a strong influence on the designs of other auto makers in the next few years.
    1966 The first Kwanzaa
          The first Kwanzaa celebration is organized in Los Angeles, California, by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach. Dr. Karenga establishes Kwanzaa as a non-religious African-American holiday that will celebrate family, community, and culture for seven days, beginning on December 26 and ending on New Year's Day. After the Watts riots in Los Angeles, Dr. Karenga searched for ways to bring African Americans together as a community. He founded US, a cultural organization, and started to research African "first fruit" harvest celebrations. Karenga combined aspects of several different harvest celebrations, such as those of the Ashanti and those of the Zulu, to form the basis of Kwanzaa. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase matunda ya kwanza, which means "first fruits" in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara, or candleholder, then one of the seven principles is discussed. The principles, called the Nguzo Saba, are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African Americans. These values include unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, economic cooperation, purpose, creativity, and faith. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on 31 December. Today, Kwanzaa is celebrated by people of African descent all across the United States and Canada.
    1953 Leonel Fernández Reyna, presidente de la República Dominicana.
    1949 Moncho Borrajo Domarco, humorista español. [No lo vayan a llamar “Mucho Borracho Domecq”]
    1944 The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams, is first performed publicly, at the Civic Theatre in Chicago.
    1942 Marco Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo, President of Guatemala (1986- )
    1937 John Conway, mathematician.
    1937 Etienne Gnassingbe Eyadema, president of Togo.
    1933 FM radio
          Edwin Armstrong, an electrical engineer at Columbia University, patents frequency modulation (FM) radio. FM signals were superior to AM (amplitude modulation) signals because they were static-free. Armstrong had already patented other important radio inventions, including the feedback receiver.
    1933 Dat Jidosha Seizo Company.
          The Nissan Motor Company is organized in Tokyo under the name Dat Jidosha Seizo Co. (It received its present name the next year). Nissan began manufacturing cars and trucks under the name Datsun. During World War II, Nissan was converted to military production, and after Japan's defeat operated in a limited capacity under the occupation government until 1955. Since then, Nissan has grown into one of the world's premier car companies.
    Mao worship poster1923 Richard Artschwager, US Pop artist— LINKS
    1907 Leonard Carlitz, mathematician.
    1904 Alejo Carpentier, escritor y musicólogo cubano.
    1903 Bosanquet, mathematician.
    1893 Mao Tse-tung (or Zedong), founding father of the People's Republic of China, who died on 09 September 1976. He wrote Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (the “little red book” MAO ONLINE:), PM of China P.R. (1949-76) [Selection in Chinese with translation] — The reverent iconography with Mao's image inside the sun [image >] equates him to god beaming on the people of China, one of many ways in which the revolutionary Mao took on attributes of the abolished emperors. This Mao-worship grew to the point that people paused before each meal to wish him a long life. His image was ubiquitous, on posters and on numerous articles and utensils for daily use. Mao's photograph and his quotations appeared on the first page of every newspaper every day.
    1893 Robert Ripley, US newspaper cartoonist; founded "Ripley's Believe It or Not!". He died on 27 May 1949.
    1891 Henry Miller US novelist (Tropic of Capricorn, Tropic of Cancer). He died on 07 June 1980.
    1873 Sir Norman Angell, English economist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who died on 07 October 1967.
    1865 Coffee percolator, patented by James H Mason (Mass.)
    1861 Engel, mathematician.
    1854 Wood-pulp paper 1st exhibited, Buffalo.
    1853 René Bazin, escritor francés.
    1837 George Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy: Spanish-American War: hero of Manila: ("You may fire when you are ready, Gridley. “). He died on 16 January 1917.
    1832 Sergio Camargo, presidente de Gobierno colombiano.
    1825 Erie Canal opens.
    1820 Dion Boucicault, Irish-born US playwright and actor, who died on 18 September 1890.
    1791 Charles Babbage, mathematician, inventor of a precursor of the computer.
          A prominent mathematician who helped found England's Analytic, Royal Astronomical, and Statistical Societies, Charles Babbage proposed the idea of a mechanical calculator in 1812. By 1823, Parliament had granted Babbage funding to build his machine, which he called the "Difference Engine. “ Babbage's protege, Ada, countess of Lovelace, helped devise a method to program the machine using punched cards. Babbage devoted the next ten years of his life to building the Difference Engine, spending £17'000 of government funding. Unfortunately, Babbage ran out of funds to build the machine and was forced to abandon the project in 1848. In 1854, a Swedish engineer finally succeeded in constructing a Difference Engine based on Babbage's theories.
         Babbage died on 18 October 1871. His machine was largely forgotten until his drawings were rediscovered in 1937.
         Babbage foresaw the computer revolution: “The whole of the developments and operations of analysis are now capable of being executed by machinery. ... As soon as an Analytical Engine exists, it will necessarily guide the future course of science.”
    1780 Mary Somerville, mathematician.
    1759 Johann Georg von Dillis, German draftsman, painter, engraver, museum director, and teacher, who died on 28 September 1841. — more with links to images.
    1755 Balthasar Paul Ommeganck, Flemish artist who died on 18 January 1826.

    1734 (15 Dec Julian) George Romney, British painter who died on 15 November 1802. MORE ON ROMNEY AT ART “4” DECEMBER with links to images.
    Thomas Gray
    1716 Thomas Gray
    , English poet who died on 30 July 1771.

         Although Gray wrote only 49 poems, he was the dominant poet in mid-18th century Great Britain and a precursor of the Romantic movement.

    [Suitably in shades of gray: Gray's portrait >]

    All 49 Poems
    The Bard
    Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard (with other poems)
    ["The paths of glory lead but to the grave. “; "...where ignorance is bliss / 'Tis folly to be wise. “]
    Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College
    Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

    The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
    The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
    The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
    And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

    Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight,
    And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
    Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
    And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;

    Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
    The moping owl does to the moon complain
    Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
    Molest her ancient solitary reign.

    Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
    Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
    Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
    The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

    The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
    The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed,
    The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
    No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

    For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
    Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
    No children run to lisp their sire's return,
    Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

    Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
    Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
    How jocund did they drive their team afield!
    How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

    Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
    Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
    Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
    The short and simple annals of the poor.

    The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
    And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
    Awaits alike th' inevitable hour.
    The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
    Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
    If Mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
    Where thro' the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
    The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

    Can storied urn or animated bust
    Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
    Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
    Or Flatt'ry soothe the dull cold ear of Death?

    Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
    Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
    Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
    Or wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre.

    But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
    Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll;
    Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
    And froze the genial current of the soul.

    Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
    The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
    Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen,
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

    Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
    The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
    Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
    Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.

    Th' applause of list'ning senates to command,
    The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
    To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
    And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes,

    Their lot forbade: nor circumscrib'd alone
    Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;
    Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
    And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

    The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
    To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
    Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
    With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.

    Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
    Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
    Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
    They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
    Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect,
    Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
    With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
    Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

    Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd muse,
    The place of fame and elegy supply:
    And many a holy text around she strews,
    That teach the rustic moralist to die.

    For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
    This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd,
    Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
    Nor cast one longing, ling'ring look behind?

    On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
    Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
    Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
    Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.

    For thee, who mindful of th' unhonour'd Dead
    Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
    If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
    Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,

    Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
    "Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
    Brushing with hasty steps the dews away
    To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

    "There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
    That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
    His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
    And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

    "Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
    Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove,
    Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
    Or craz'd with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.
    "One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill,
    Along the heath and near his fav'rite tree;
    Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
    Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

    "The next with dirges due in sad array
    Slow thro' the church-way path we saw him borne.
    Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,
    Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn. “
    1647 Jan-Baptist Brueghel, Flemish painter who died in 1719.
    1615 (26 Oct?) Jean Nocret, French painter who died on 12 November 1672. — more
    1194 Frederick II, Iesi, Italy, German Emperor (1212-1250)
    Holidays Africa, US : Kwanzaa (1966) / China PR : Mao Tse-Tung's Birthday / Czechoslovakia : Day of Rest / West Germany : 2nd Day of Christmas / Canada, UK (except Scotland) : Boxing Day

    Religious Observances RC, Ang, Luth : St Stephen, deacon, the 1st martyr / RC : St. Vicenta Maria Lopez y Vicuña, foundress / Santos Esteban, Adelardo, Constantino, Dionisio, Marino y Zósimo; santas Abundancia y Cristina.

    DICTIONNAIRE TICRANIEN: mécène: ce que l'auditoire regarde dans mes théâtres.
    Thoughts for the day: “Statistics are often used as a drunk uses a light pole: For support rather than illumination.”
    “Knowledge is a matter of science, and no dishonesty or conceit whatsoever is permissible. What is required is definitely the reverse — honesty and modesty.”
    Chairman Mao (“On Practice”, July 1937) — {Mao himself did not put “On Practice” into practice.}

    updated Thursday 01-Jan-2004 15:06 UT
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