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This Day in History – December 31, 2011

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1600 – The British East India Company is chartered. 1660 – James II of England is named Duke of Normandy by Louis XIV of France. 1687 – The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope. 1695 – A window tax is imposed in England, causing many householders to brick up windows to avoid the tax. 1744 – James Bradley announces discovery of Earth’s motion of nutation (wobble) 1759 – Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness. 1776 – Rhode Island establishes wage & price controls to curb inflation: Limit is 70¢ a day for carpenters, 42¢ for tailors 1781 – Bank of North America, First US bank opens 1783 – Import of African slaves banned by all of the Northern states 1831 – Gramercy Park is deeded to New York City. 1841 – Alabama becomes First state to license dental surgeons 1857 – Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa, Ontario, then a small logging town, as the capital of Canada. 1862 – American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln signs an act that admits West Virginia to the Union, thus dividing Virginia in two. 1862 – American Civil War: The Battle of Stones River is fought near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 1879 – Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time, in Menlo Park, NJ. 1890 – Ellis Island (New York NY) opens as a US immigration depot 1896 – 25th auto built in US 1897 – Brooklyn’s last day as a city, it incorporates into NYC (1/1/1898) 1907 – The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York City, New York., First time a ball drops to signal the new year. 1909 – Manhattan Bridge opens. 1923 – The chimes of Big Ben are broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC. 1924 – Edwin Hubble announces existence of distant galactic systems. 1935 – Charles Darrow patents Monopoly 1946 – President Harry Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II. 1951 – First battery to convert radioactive energy to electrical announced 1953 – Jockey Willie Shoemaker shatters record, riding 485 winners in a year 1955 – The General Motors Corporation becomes the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year. 1958 – Willie Shoemaker becomes First jockey to win national riding championship 4 times 1960 – The farthing coin ceases to be legal tender in the United Kingdom. 1961 – First performance of the Beach Boys 1963 – Jerry Garcia & Bob Weir of Grateful Dead fame played music together for the First time 1970 – Congress authorizes the Eisenhower dollar coin 1970 – Paul McCartney files a lawsuit to dissolve the Beatles 1974 – Free agent pitcher Catfish Hunter signs record $3.75 million 5 year New York Yankee contract 1974 – Lindsey Buckingham & Stevie Nicks join Fleetwood Mac 1974 – Popular Electronics displays Altair 8800 computer 1976 – The Cars play their First gig 1978 – Taiwan’s final day of diplomatic relations with the US 1981 – CNN Headline News debutsri ends the Nigerian Second Republic. 1983 – The AT&T Bell System is broken up by the United States Government. 1984 – Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen loses his arm in a car crash 1984 – NYC subway gunman Bernhard Goetz surrenders to police in New Hampshire 1990 – The Sci-Fi Channel on cable TV begins transmitting 1991 – All official Soviet Union institutions have ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union is officially dissolved. 1993 – Barbra Streisand does her first live public concert in 20 years 1997 – Microsoft buys Hotmail E-mail service 1998 – US movie box office hits record $6.24 billion for year (Saving Private Ryan, Armageddon, Something About Mary, A Bug’s Life & The Waterboy are Top 5 moneymakers of the year) 1999 – The United States Government hands control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties. 2004 – The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft)]]]]> ]]>

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