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18th December 1898: The world’s first officially recognised land speed record is set

French aristocrat Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat set the world’s first officially recognised land speed record. Chasseloup-Laubat’s older brother, the 5th Marquis of Chasseloup-Laubat, was one of the first members of the Automobile Club de France...

Duration: 00:02:06

17th December 1903: Wright brothers make first aircraft flight

On the 17th December 1903, American brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully made the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight. Their aircraft, known as the Wright Flyer but later referred to as Flyer...

Duration: 00:02:26

16th December 1773: The Boston Tea Party throws a shipment of tea into Boston Harbor

The British government had passed the Tea Act seven months earlier on 10 May, partly in an attempt to support the struggling East India Company. The act allowed the company to import tea directly to...

Duration: 00:04:03

15th December 1933: 21st Amendment ends prohibition in the USA

On the 15th December 1933, the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution came into effect, repealing the Eighteenth Amendment which had made the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol illegal. Having been proposed on...

Duration: 00:14:36

14th December 1287: St Lucia’s Flood kills over 50,000 people in the Netherlands

In the medieval period the Netherlands, whose name literally means ‘lower countries’, consisted of large areas of boggy land around the winding estuaries of three of the largest rivers in Europe. Although prone to flooding,...

Duration: 00:02:02

13th December 1937: The Nanking Massacre begins

On the 13th December 1937, the Nanking Massacre began at the end of the Battle of Nanking – part of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Troops from the Imperial Japanese Army captured the city, which at...

Duration: 00:02:10

12th December 1963: Kenya gains independence from the United Kingdom

Kenya had been under British rule since the 19th Century, and since becoming a colony in 1920 African demands for a greater role in politics had grown. In the early 1950s a group of Kikuyus,...

Duration: 00:04:10

11th December 1936: Abdication of King Edward VIII

On the 11th December 1936, King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom announced his abdication in a worldwide radio broadcast. He had signed the Instruments of Abdication on the 10th, but it only became official...

Duration: 00:02:14

10th December 1768: First edition of the Encyclopaedia @Britannica published (Corrected)

Regular visitors may remember that earlier this week I released a podcast about the release of the the Encyclopaedia Britannica on the 6th December 1768. As with all episodes of HistoryPod, I researched this thoroughly...

Duration: 00:09:25

10th December 1799: France adopts the metric system for weights and measures

It is estimated that up to a quarter of a million different units of measurement were in use throughout France at eve of the Revolution in 1789, and that these differed not only from trade...

Duration: 00:02:28

9th December 1965: Charlie Brown Christmas first broadcast

On the 9th December 1965, American television network CBS first broadcast the animated cartoon A Charlie Brown Christmas. Now a staple of American Christmas television, the cartoon was originally financed by the Coca-Cola Company as...

Duration: 00:02:19

8th December 1660: The first woman appears on a professional stage in England in Othello

Theatre in England had been banned by the Puritan Long Parliament in 1642 but, following the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II, the ban was lifted. The king marked the revival of theatre by...

Duration: 00:10:44

7th December 1941: Attack on Pearl Harbour

At 7:48 on the morning of the 7th December 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack against the United States’ Hawaiian naval base at Pearl Harbor. Sixteen US Navy ships were sunk or...

Duration: 00:02:33

6th December 1768: First edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica published

Officially titled Encyclopædia Britannica, or, A Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, compiled upon a New Plan, the Britannica was published in three volumes over a three year period. A key part of the Scottish Enlightenment,...

Duration: 00:02:00

5th December 1934: Wal-Wal Incident between Italy and Abyssinia

On the 5th December 1934, the Wal-Wal Incident took place which laid the foundations for the Abyssinia Crisis. A skirmish between a Somali garrison in the service of Italy, and Ethiopian troops who sought the...

Duration: 00:02:16

4th December 1872: Deserted US merchant ship Mary Celeste found drifting in the Atlantic

Mary Celeste was launched in 1861 under the name Amazon and changed hands a number of times before being acquired by a New York consortium that carried out an extensive refit. She was then placed...

Duration: 00:02:26

3rd December 1910: First neon light installed at the Paris Motor Show

On the 3rd December 1910, the first neon light went on show at the Paris Motor Show. Invented by Frenchman Georges Claude, the first neon lights were simply 35m long tubes. However, by 1912 he...

Duration: 00:02:12

2nd December 1954: US Senator Joseph McCarthy censured by the Senate

United States Senator Joseph McCarthy was censured for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonour and disrepute.” Joseph McCarthy was elected to the Senate for the state of Wisconsin in 1946. He was...

Duration: 00:02:33

1st December 1955: Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat in Montgomery, Alabama

On the 1st December 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama after the white section of the bus became full. Her refusal led to her being arrested...

Duration: 00:04:18

30th November 1786: Tuscany becomes the first modern state to abolish the death penalty

Pietro Leopoldo, the ruler of Tuscany, came to power in 1765 after his father, the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, died. Pietro Leopoldo later became Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, but in the years immediately...

Duration: 00:02:19

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