What Happened on December 29?

  • Hong Kong began killing all poultry to prevent the spread of H1N1. (1997) Several million birds were killed over the next few days but the bird flu continued to escalate and caused many deaths.

  • The massacre at Wounded Knee occurred. (1890) American soldiers killed over 150 Sioux, many of whom were women and children. It was the last major battle in the Plains Wars. The site of the massacre was later designated a National Historic Landmark, and features in the literary classic Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

  • Emma Snodgrass was arrested for wearing pants. (1852) Boston police arrested Snodgrass several times for wearing men's clothing in public, and she was repeatedly mocked in the newspapers. Snodgrass said she liked wearing men's clothes because they were more comfortable, and felt that the laws prohibiting her from doing so were unconstitutional.

  • German Luftwaffe bombed London. (1940) Considered the lowest point of the Blitz, it was one of the worst air raids of World War II. It caused the Second Great Fire in London, though fortunately, most of the city was saved.

  • The first telegraph ticker was used in a stock house. (1867) Groesbeck and Co. of New York, were the first to use the iconic stock house telegraph ticker. It was the first time that distance stock trading could be done in real time, and remained common until the 1970s.

  • Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral. (1170) Becket had refused to support the King's efforts in separating the church and state. Four of King Henry II's knights killed Becket in front of the altar in Canterbury cathedral after Henry II expressed his frustration about Becket to them. Henry II was forced to walk to Becket's grave while being flogged by eighty monks as penance for his death.

  • The first transistor hearing aid went on the market. (1952) This hearing aid was also the first commercial product to use transistors, which had been invented just 5 years earlier. It was bigger than a deck of cards, and had small headphones that ran from it to the ears. Still, it was a great improvement over the hearing aids of the day, and paved the way for the behind-the-ear and ear canal hearing aids.

  • Sun Yat-Sen, the founder of the Republic of China, came to power. (1911) Dr. Sun was the first elected leader in China, though he only served for four months before giving the presidency to Yuan Shikai. Though he was not a proponent of Communism, Sun's political changes laid the groundwork for later leaders Chiang Kai-Shek and Mao Zedong.

  • The first gas light was used at the White House. (1848) President James Polk was the first to enjoy gas lighting in the White House, though it had been used sporadically around the country since 1816. Incidentally, Polk was also the first president to have his inauguration speech broadcast by telegraph, and the first president to have his photograph taken.

  • The modern bowling ball is said to have been invented. (1862) Though people had been playing versions of bowling since ancient Egyptian times, the modern bowling ball with three holes was not invented until the mid-1800s. Early versions of the modern bowling ball were made of wood, and the game was considered somewhat scandalous. Bowling was actually banned in several cities because of the heavy gambling that went along with it.

Discussion Comments


December 29th was a special day to those who care about the Native Americans.

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