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    World Map / This Day in History / What happened in December / What Happend on December 08

    December 8 in History

    1660The first Shakespearian actress to appear on an English stage (she is believed to be a Ms. Norris) makes her debut as Desdemona.
    1861CSS Sumter captures the whaler Eben Dodge in the Atlantic. The American Civil War is now affecting the Northern whaling industry.
    1863Union General William Averell’s cavalry destroys railroads in the southwestern part of West Virginia.
    1914The German cruisers Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Nurnberg, and Liepzig are sunk by a British force in the Battle of the Falkland Islands.
    1920President Woodrow Wilson declines to send a representative to the League of Nations in Geneva.
    1932Japan tells the League of Nations that it has no control over her designs in China.
    1941Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita begins his attack against the British army at Singapore.
    1943U.S. carrier-based planes sink two cruisers and down 72 planes in the Marshall Islands.
    1944The United States conducts the longest, most effective air raid on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima.
    1948The United Nations approves the recognition of South Korea.
    1967In the biggest battle yet in the Mekong Delta, 365 Viet Cong are killed.
    1968South Vietnam’s Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky arrives in Paris for peace talks.
    1980John Lennon is shot to death outside his Manhattan apartment building.
    1982The Washington, D.C., police shoot and kill a man threatening to blow up the Washington Monument.
    1987The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed.
    1987An Israeli army tank transporter kills 4 Palestinian refugees and injures 7 others during a traffic accident at the Erez Crossing on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, leading to the First Intifada.
    1991The leaders of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine sign an agreement that dissolves the Soviet Union and establishes the Commonwealth of Independent States.
    2004The Cuzco Declaration signed in Cuzco, Peru, establishing the South American Community of Nations.
    2010SpaceX becomes the first privately held company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.
    2010The Japanese solar-sail spacecraft IKAROS passes the planet Venus.
    Born on December 8
    65 BCQuintus "Horance" Horatius Flaccus, Roman poet and satirist best known for his three books Odes.
    1542Mary, Queen of Scotland (1542-67).
    1626Christina, Queen of Sweden (1644-54).
    1765Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin.
    1894James Thurber, American writer, cartoonist and editor (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty).
    1906Richard Llewellyn, author (How Green Was My Valley).
    1913Delmore Schwartz, poet and writer.
    1916Richard Fleischer, film director, (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Soylent Green).
    1922Jean Ritchie, singer, songwriter of folk music ("Blue Diamond Mines").
    1925Sammy Davis Jr., singer ("The Candy Man"), dancer, actor (Ocean’s 11); member of the "Rat Pack".
    1930Maximilian Schell, actor, writer, director, producer; won Academy Award for Best Actor for Judgement at Nuremberg (1961).
    1933Flip Wilson (Clerow Wilson Jr.), comedian and actor; won a Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards for his 1970s TV variety series, The Flip Wilson Show.
    1939Sir James Galway, virtuoso flute player known as "The Man With the Golden Flute."
    1941Bobby Elliott, drummer, member of the band The Hollies.
    1943Jim Morrison, singer, songwriter, poet; lead singer for The Doors and Rick & the Ravens.
    1943Larry Martin, paleontologist; leading opponent of the "birds are living dinosaurs" theory.
    1947Gregg Allman, singer, songwriter, musician; founding member of The Allman Brothers Band.
    1953Kim Basinger, actress, singer, producer; won Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for L.A. Confidential (1997).
    1964Teri Hatcher, actress; Lois Lane on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman TV series; won Golden Globe for Best Actress as Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives TV series.
    1966Sinead O’Connor, Irish singer, songwriter; has frequently generated controversy with her views on social issues such as organized religion and women’s rights.