Today in History
December 29

1170 Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury, is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by four knights of Henry II.
1607 Indian chief Powhatan spares John Smith’s life after the pleas of his daughter Pocahontas.
1778 British troops, attempting a new strategy to defeat the colonials in America, capture Savannah.
1814 Emperor Napoleon I‘s French forces defeat the Russian and Prussian forces commanded by Prince Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher in the Battle of Brienne. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1845 Texas (comprised of the present state of Texas and part of New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming) is admitted as the 28th state of the Union, with the provision that the area (389,166 square miles) should be divided into no more than five states “of convenient size.”
1849 Gas lighting is installed in the White House.
1862 Union General William T. Sherman‘s troops try to gain the north side of Vicksburg in the Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs.
1890 The last major conflict of the Indian wars takes place at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota after Colonel James W. Forsyth of the 7th Cavalry tries to disarm Chief Big Foot and his followers.
1914 The production of Belgian newspapers is halted to protest German censorship.
1921 Sears Roebuck president Julius Rosenwald pledges $20 million of his personal fortune to help Sears through hard times.
1926 Germany and Italy sign an arbitration treaty.
1934 Japan formally denounces the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.
1940 In a radio interview, President Roosevelt proclaims the United States to be the “arsenal of democracy.”
1940 London suffers its most devastating air raid when Germans firebomb the city on the evening of December 29.
1948 Tito declares Yugoslavia will follow its own path to Communism.
1956 President Dwight Eisenhower asks Congress for the authority to oppose Soviet aggression in the Middle East.
1965 A Christmas truce is observed in Vietnam, while President Johnson tries to get the North Vietnamese to the bargaining table.
1981 President Ronald Reagan curtails Soviet trade in reprisal for its harsh policies on Poland.
Born on December 29
1721 Madam Jeanne Poisson de Pompadour, influential mistress of Louis XV, who was later blamed for France’s defeat in the Seven Years’ War.
1800 Charles Goodyear, inventor of vulcanized rubber for tires.
1808 Andrew Johnson, American vice president who succeeded Lincoln after the April 15, 1865, assassination.
1809 William E. Gladstone, British prime minister.
1907 Robert C. Weaver, the first African American to serve on a president’s cabinet. He was Lyndon Baines Johnson‘s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the first man ever to hold that post.

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