Today in History: December 6

Today in History: December 6

Pick a day:

December 5 December 7

1492

Christopher Columbus lands on the island of Santo Domingo in search of gold.

1776

Phi Beta Kappa, the first scholastic fraternity, is founded at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.

1812

The majority of Napoleon Bonaparte's Grand Armeé staggers into Vilna, Lithuania, ending the failed Russian campaign.

1861

Union General George G. Meade leads a foraging expedition to Gunnell's farm near Dranesville, Virginia.

1862

President Abraham Lincoln orders the hanging of 39 of the 303 convicted Indians who participated in the Sioux Uprising in Minnesota. They are to be hanged on December 26.

1863

The monitor Weehawken sinks in Charleston Harbor.

1865

The 13th Amendment is ratified, abolishing slavery.

1876

Jack McCall is convicted for the murder of Wild Bill Hickok and sentenced to hang.

1877

Thomas A. Edison makes the first sound recording when he recites "Mary had a Little Lamb" into his phonograph machine.

1906

Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge flies a powered, man-carrying kite that carries him 168 feet in the air for seven minutes at Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

1917

The Bolsheviks imprison Czar Nicholas II and his family in Tobolsk.

1921

Ireland's 26 southern counties become independent from Britain forming the Irish Free State.

1922

Benito Mussolini threatens Italian newspapers with censorship if they keep reporting "false" information.

1934

American Ambassador Davis says Japan is a grave security threat in the Pacific.

1938

France and Germany sign a treaty of friendship.

1939

Britain agrees to send arms to Finland, which is fighting off a Soviet invasion.

1941

President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues a personal appeal to Emperor Hirohito to use his influence to avoid war.

1945

The United States extends a $3 billion loan to Great Britain to help compensate for the termination of the Lend-Lease agreement.

1947

Florida's Everglades National Park is established.

1948

The "Pumpkin Spy Papers" are found on the Maryland farm of Whittaker Chambers. They become evidence that State Department employee Alger Hiss is spying for the Soviet Union.

1957

 Vanguard TV3 explodes on the launchpad, thwarting the first US attempt to launch a satellite into Earth's orbit.

1967

Adrian Kantrowitz performs first human heart transplant in the US.

1969

Hells Angels, hired to provide security at a Rolling Stones concert at the Altamont Speedway in California, beat to death concert-goer Meredith Hunter.

1971

Pakistan severs diplomatic relations with India after New Delhi recognizes the state of Bangladesh.

1973

US House of Representatives confirms Gerald Ford as Vice-President of the United States, 387–35.

1975

A Provisional IRA unit takes a couple hostage in Balcombe Street, London, and a 6-day siege begins.

1976

Democrat Tip O'Neill is elected speaker of the House of Representatives. He will serve the longest consecutive term as speaker.

1992

The Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India, is destroyed during a riot that started as a political protest.

2006

NASA reveals photographs from Mars Global Surveyor that suggest the presence of water on the red planet.