Today in History
December 8

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

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