Season’s greetings dear readers. As some of you know I don’t like Christmas. However, to avoid being a total bah-humbug bag of misery, this year I am going to share some historical events of past Decembers. The website I found highlights loads of things, and while not all of them are great moments and the list is western-centric, it reveals just how much is going on, all the time, and just how little we see of it all. For the longer selection check out historyplace.com/specials/calendar/december.htm.
So here we go. 1066, William the Conqueror is crowned King of England after invading from France and killing Harold at the Battle of Hastings. 1653, Cromwell declared Lord Protector of England. 1791, Mozart dies a pauper. 1821, Gustav Flaubert, author of Madam Bovary, born in Rouen. 1831, Darwin starts his five-year voyage in The Beagle. 1846, anaesthetic is used for the first time in a British operating theatre. 1851, US poet Emily Dickinson is born in Amherst, Massachusetts. 1881, Van Gogh cuts off his ear. 1879, Edison demonstrates the electric incandescent lamp in Menlo Park, New Jersey. 1890, the massacre of Native Americans (Sioux) at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota. 1911, Amundsen becomes the first person to reach the South Pole. 1918, women vote for first time in a UK general election. 1919, Lady Nancy Astor (pictured here in a painting by John Singer Sargent) becomes the first woman in the House of Commons. 1942, Beveridge Report published setting out a vision for a welfare state for everyone in the UK. 1955, Rosa Parks arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a bus. 1980, John Lennon assassinated. 1990, for the first time since the Ice Age, UK connects to mainland Europe as they break-through the final rock layer on the Channel Tunnel.
I’ve not fact-checked these, and what I was really doing was trying to look beyond the here and now. I think, at this festive time of year, it’s hard not to look back. And peace to you all as we move forward.