Today in History: December 31 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: December 31

What Happened This Day In History.

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.


Today in History
December 31

1775 George Washington orders recruiting officers to accept free blacks into the army.
1852 The richest year of the gold rush ends with $81.3 million in gold produced.
1862 Union General William Rosecrans‘ army repels two Confederate attacks at the Battle of Murfreesboro (Stone’s River).
1910 John B. Moisant and Arch Hoxsey, two of America’s foremost aviators, die in separate plane crashes.
1911 Helene Dutrieu wins the Femina aviation cup in Etampes. She sets a distance record for women at 158 miles.
1915 The Germans torpedo the British liner Persia without any warning killing 335 passengers.
1923 The Sahara is crossed by an automobile for the first time.
1930 Brewery heir Adolphus Busch is kidnapped.
1941 General MacArthur reports that U.S. lines in Manila have been pushed back by the Japanese.
1942 After five months of battle, Emperor Hirohito allows the Japanese commanders at Guadalcanal to retreat.
1944 Hungary declares war on Germany.
1965 California becomes the largest state by population.
1977 Cambodia breaks relations with Vietnam.
Born on December 31
1720 Charles Edward Stuart, grandson of James II, known as the Young Pretender and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
1815 George Gordon Meade, Union general who defeated Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg.
1869 Henri Matisse, French artist.
1889 George Catlett Marshall, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army during World War II, Secretary of State under Truman, he won a Nobel Peace Prize for the Marshall Plan.
1908 Simon Wiesenthal, survivor of the Nazi Holocaust who dedicated his life to tracking down former Nazis.