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The History of New Year's Eve (December 31)

December 31, 2009

1687 - The first Huguenots set sail from France for the Cape of Good Hope, where they would later create the South African wine industry with the vines they took with them on the voyage.

1695 - The window tax was imposed in Britain, which resulted in many windows being bricked up.

1711 - The Duke of Marlborough was dismissed as commander-in-chief.

1775 - The British repulsed an attack by Continental Army generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold at Quebec. Montgomery was killed in the battle.

1841 - The State of Alabama enacted the first dental legislation in the U.S.

1857 - Britain's Queen Victoria decided to make Ottawa the capital of Canada.

1862 - U.S. President Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union.

1877 - President Rutherford B. Hayes became the first U.S. President to celebrate his silver (25th) wedding anniversary in the White House.

1879 - Thomas Edison gave his first public demonstration of incandescent lighting to an audience in Menlo Park, NJ.

1891 - New York's new Immigration Depot was opened at Ellis Island, to provide improved facilities for the massive numbers of arrivals.

1897 - Brooklyn, NY, spent its last day as a separate entity before becoming part of New York City.

1923 - In London, the BBC first broadcast the chimes of Big Ben.

1929 - Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played "Auld Lang Syne" as a New Year's Eve song for the first time.

1946 - U.S. President Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

1947 - Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were married.

1951 - The "Wild Bill Hickok" series came to radio following its success on television.

1953 - Willie Shoemaker broke his own record as he won his 485th race of the year.

1955 - General Motors became the first U.S. corporation to earn more than one billion dollars in a single year.

1960 - The farthing coin, which had been in use in Great Britain since the 13th century, ceased to be legal tender.

1961 - In the U.S., the Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $12 billion in foreign aid.

1967 - The Green Bay Packers won the National Football League championship game by defeating the Dallas Cowboys 21-17. The game is known as the Ice Bowl since it was played in a wind chill of 40 degrees below zero. (NFL)

1974 - Private U.S. citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years.

1978 - Taiwanese diplomats struck their colors for the final time from the embassy flagpole in Washington, DC. The event marked the end of diplomatic relations with the U.S.

1979 - At year end oil prices were 88% higher than at the start of 1979.

1986 - A fire at the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, killed 97 and injured 140 people. Three hotel workers later pled guilty to charges in connection with the fire.

1990 - Titleholder Gary Kasparov of the U.S.S.R. won the world chess championship match against his countryman Anatoly Karpov.

1996 - NCR Corp. became an independent company.

1997 - Michael Kennedy, 39-year-old son of the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was killed in a skiing accident on Aspen Mountain in Colorado.

1999 - Russian President Boris Yeltsin resigned. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was designated acting president.

1999 - Five hijackers left the airport where they had been holding 150 hostages on an Indian Airlines plane. They left with two Islamic clerics that they had demanded be freed from an Indian prison. The plane had been hijacked during a flight from Katmandu, Nepal to New Dehli on December 24.

1999 - Sarah Knauss died at the age of 119 years. She was the world's oldest person. She was born September 24, 1880.

Birthdays

Henri Matisse 1869
George Marshall 1880
Simon Wiesenthal 1908
Jonah (Robert) Jones 1908
Rex Allen ("The Arizona Cowboy") 1924
Ross Barbour (The Four Freshmen) 1928
Odetta 1930
Anthony Hopkins 1937
Rosalind Cash 1938
Sarah Miles 1941
Andy Summers (Police) 1942
John Denver 1943
Ben Kingsley 1943
Pete Quaife (The Kinks) 1943
Barbara Carrera 1945
Diane von Furstenberg 1945
Tim Matheson 1947
Burton Cummings (The Guess Who) 1947
Donna Summer 1948
Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith) 1951
James Remar 1953
Bebe Neuwirth 1958
Joe Dallesandro 1958
Val Kilmer 1959
Paul Westerberg 1959
Scott Ian (Anthrax) 1963
Joe McIntyre (New Kids on the Block) 1972

Music History

1894 - Composer Ernest John Moeran was born.

1904 - Composer Nathan Milstein was born.

1923 - Singer Eddie Cantor opened in the lead role of "Kid Boots."

1929 - Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played "Auld Lang Syne" as a New Year's Eve song for the first time.

1940 - As a result of a dispute between the radio networks and ASCAP (the American Society of Composers and Publishers), the radio industry was prevented from playing any ASCAP-licensed music. The ban lasted for ten months.

1961 - The Beach Boys played a show under this name for the first time at a Ritchie Valens memorial concert in Long Beach, CA.

1969 - Jimi Hendrix introduced his new Band of Gypsys at a show that was recorded and later released as the live album "Band of Gypsys."

1970 - Paul McCartney filed a suit to dissolve the Beatles.

1971 - The Beatles broke up.

1971 - David Clayton-Thomas made his last appearance with Blood, Sweat & Tears (until their reunion).

1975 - Elvis Presley performed for 60,000 fans at the Silverdome, in Pontiac, MI. He set a world record for earning $800,000 for a single concert by a single artist.

1976 - The Cars gave their debut performance at Pease Air Force Base, Portsmouth, NH.

1978 - The Bauhaus gave their performance debut in England.

1981 - MTV hosted the first New Year's Eve Rock and Roll Ball.

1982 - Steve Van Zandt, of the E Street Band, married Maureen Santora.

1983 - MTV completed its first profitable quarter.

1984 - Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm in an auto accident in England.

1985 - Ricky Nelson and six others died in an airplane crash near DeKalb, TX. A fire had broken out on the plane.

1986 - At a birthday party for Don Henley, Gary Hart and Donna Rice met each other.

1993 - Barbra Streisand performed her first paid concert in 22 years at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, NV.

1999 - "Rave Un2 The Joy 2000" was aired. Prince had recorded the show on December 18, 1999 at Paisley Park Studios.

2002 - 50 Cent and four other men were arrested and charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Police had found two guns in the vehicle the men were riding in.

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