Today in History
December 18

1118 Afonso the Battler, the Christian King of Aragon captures Saragossa, Spain, causing a major blow to Muslim Spain.
1812 Napoleon Bonaparte arrives in Paris after his disastrous campaign in Russia.
1862 Nathan Bedford Forrest engages and defeats a Federal cavalry force near Lexington in his continued effort to disrupt supply lines.
1862 Union General Ulysses S. Grant announces the organization of his army in the West. Sherman, Hurlbut, McPherson, and McClernand are to be corps commanders.
1865 Slavery is abolished in the United States. The 13th Amendment is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution, ensuring that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
1915 In a single night, about 20,000 Australian and New Zealand troops withdraw from Gallipoli, Turkey, undetected by the Turks defending the peninsula.
1916 The Battle of Verdun ends with the French and Germans each having suffered more than 330,000 killed and wounded in 10 months. It was the longest engagement of World War I.
1925 Soviet leaders Lev Kamenev and Grigori Zinoviev break with Joseph Stalin.
1940 Adolf Hitler issues his secret plans for the invasion of the Soviet Union–Operation Barbarossa.
1941 Defended by 610 fighting men, the American-held island of Guam falls to more than 5,000 Japanese invaders in a three-hour battle.
1941 Japan invades Hong Kong.
1942 Adolf Hitler meets with Benito Mussolini and Pierre Laval.
1944 Japanese forces are repelled from northern Burma by British troops.
1951 North Koreans give the United Nations a list of 3,100 POWs.
1956 Japan is admitted to the United Nations.
1960 A rightist government is installed under Prince Boun Oum in Laos as the United States resumes arms shipments.
1965 U.S. Marines attack VC units in the Que Son Valley during Operation Harvest Moon.
1970 An atomic leak in Nevada forces hundreds of citizens to flee the test site.
1972 President Richard M. Nixon declares that the bombing of North Vietnam will continue until an accord can be reached (Operation Linebacker II).
1989 The European Economic Community and the Soviet Union sign an agreement on trade and economic communication.
2002 California Gov. Gray Davis announces the state faces a record budget deficit; the looming $35 billion shortfall is almost double the amount reported a month earlier during the state’s gubernatorial campaign.
2005 Civil war begins in Chad with a rebel assault on Adre; the rebels are believed to be backed by Chad’s neighbor, Sudan.
2008 The United Arab Emirates holds it first-ever elections.
2010 In an opening act of Arab Spring, anti-government protests erupt in Tunisia.
Born on December 18
1879 Paul Klee, Swiss abstract painter.
1886 Ty (Tyrus Raymond) Cobb, American baseball player; the first man to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1913 Willy Brandt, German political leader; mayor of Berlin and Chancellor of West Germany.
1946 Steven Spielberg, film director (E.T., Jurassic Park, and Schindler’s List).
1963 Brad Pitt, actor (12 Monkeys, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).
1978 Katie Holmes, actress (Dawson’s Creek TV series, Batman Begins).

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  1. According to the National Archives and the Library of Congress, the 13th Amendment was ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.

    1. You are correct, Kim, regarding the date the amendment was ratified by the number of states required; however, the Secretary of State’s proclamation officially declaring the XIII Amendment had been ratified occurred on December 18.

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