This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
December 12 is the 346th day of the year (347th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 19 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1787, Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the Constitution, by a vote of 46 to 23. Pennsylvania was the first large state to ratify, as well as the first state to endure a serious Anti-Federalist challenge to ratification.
Pennsylvania drafted the most radical of the state constitutions during the War for Independence. By excluding Quakers and all other pacifists unwilling to take oaths of allegiance to the Revolutionary cause, a fervently anti-British and anti-Indian Scots-Irish faction had seized power for the first time in the remarkably diverse state. Only when pacifists were again able to exercise the franchise in peacetime was it conceivable that the more conservative U.S. Constitution might pass in Pennsylvania. Large states had the most to lose by joining a strengthened union. James Wilson’s genius in describing the nature of layered sovereignty in a federal republic, using the solar system as an analogy, was invaluable in convincing Pennsylvanians to ratify. Anti-Federalists found themselves in the hypocritical position of criticizing the federal Constitution for failing to codify the freedom of religious practice they had actively denied their fellow citizens during the War for Independence.
627 – Battle of Nineveh: A Byzantine army under Emperor Heraclius defeats Emperor Khosrau II’s Persian forces, commanded by General Rhahzadh.
1098 – First Crusade: Massacre of Ma’arrat al-Numan – Crusaders breach the town’s walls and massacre about 20,000 inhabitants. After finding themselves with insufficient food, they resort to cannibalism.
1408 – The Order of the Dragon a monarchical chivalric order was created by Sigismund of Luxembourg, then King of Hungary.
1531 – Our Lady of Guadalupe (Spanish: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.) An image appeared miraculously on the cloak of Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, on the hill of Tepeyac near Mexico City.
1781 – American Revolutionary War: Second Battle of Ushant – A Royal Navy squadron, commanded by Rear Admiral Richard Kempenfelt in HMS Victory, defeats a French fleet.
1787 – Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the United States Constitution five days after Delaware became the first.
1862 – USS Cairo sinks on the Yazoo River, becoming the first armored ship to be sunk by an electrically detonated mine.
1870 – Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina becomes the second black U.S. congressman, the first one being Hiram Revels.
1897 – Belo Horizonte, the first planned city in Brazil, is founded.
1901 – Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic radio signal at Signal Hill in St John’s, Newfoundland.
1911 – Delhi replaces Calcutta as the capital of India.
1911 – King George V of the United Kingdom and Mary of Teck are enthroned as Emperor and Empress of India.
1917 – In Nebraska, Father Edward J. Flanagan founds Boys Town as a farm village for wayward boys.
1918 – Flag of Estonia is raised atop the Pikk Hermann for the first time.
1925 – The Majlis of Iran votes to crown Reza Khan as the new Shah of Persia.
1935 – Lebensborn Project, a Nazi reproduction program, is founded by Heinrich Himmler.
1936 – Xi’an Incident: The Generalissimo of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek is kidnapped by Zhang Xueliang.
1941 – World War II: USMC F4F “Wildcats” sink the first 4 major Japanese ships off Wake Island.
1941 – World War II: UK declares war on Bulgaria. Hungary and Romania declare war on the United States. India declares war on Japan.
1941 – Adolf Hitler announces extermination of the Jews at a meeting in the Reich Chancellery
1942 – World War II: German troops begin Operation Winter Storm, an attempt to relieve encircled Axis forces during the Battle of Stalingrad.
1950 – Paula Ackerman, the first woman appointed to perform rabbinical functions in the United States, leads the congregation in her first services.
1958 – Guinea joins the United Nations.
1963 – Kenya gains its independence from the United Kingdom.
1964 – Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta becomes the first President of the Republic of Kenya.
1979 – Coup d’etat of December Twelfth: South Korean Army Major General Chun Doo-hwan orders the arrest of Army Chief of Staff General Jeong Seung-hwa without authorization from President Choi Kyu-ha, alleging involvement in the assassination of ex-President Park Chung Hee.
1979 – President of Pakistan, Zia-ul-Haq, confers Nishan-e-Imtiaz on Nobel laureate Dr Abdus Salam.
1979 – The unrecognised state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia returns to British control and resumes using the name Southern Rhodesia.
1979 – A major earthquake and tsunami kill 259 people in Colombia.
1982 – Women’s peace protest at Greenham Common – 30,000 women hold hands and form a human chain around the 14.5 kilometres (9.0 mi) perimeter fence.
1984 – Maaouiya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya becomes the third president of Mauritania after a coup d’etat against Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla while the latter was attending a summit.
1985 – Arrow Air Flight 1285 crashes after takeoff in Gander, Newfoundland killing 256, including 248 members of the United States Army’s 101st Airborne Division.
1988 – The Clapham Junction rail crash kills thirty-five and injures hundreds after two collisions of three commuter trains – one of the worst train crashes in the United Kingdom.
1991 – Russian Federation gains independence from the USSR.
2000 – The United States Supreme Court releases its decision in Bush v. Gore
2005 – Gebran Tueni, Lebanese journalist and politician, is assassinated.
2006 – Peugeot produces its last car at the Ryton Plant signalling the end of mass car production in Coventry, formerly a major centre of the British motor industry.
* Christian Feast Day
o Feast of the Apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe
* Constitution Day, not a public holiday since 2005. (Russia)
* Feast of Masa’il (“Questions”), the first day of the 15th month of the Baha’i calendar (Baha’i Faith)
* Jamhuri Day, celebrate the independence of Kenya from Britain in 1963. (Kenya)
* Neutrality Day and Student Youth Day, celebrate the status of permanent positive neutrality recognized by the UN General Assembly Resolution on Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan on December 12, 1995 (Turkmenistan)