Today in history
Today is Saturday, December 8, the 342nd day of 2018. There are 23 days left in the year. Highlights in history on this date:
1854 — Pope Pius IX promulgates the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
1860 — The Taieri Agricultural Society is formed.
1863 — Imperial forces occupy a deserted pa at Ngaruawahia and hoist the British flag on the Maori king’s flagstaff.
1865 — Black swans are liberated on Lake
1892 — Native Affairs Minister Mr A. J. Cadman meets Maori at Otakou in connection with grievances they have concerning the Government’s obligations re the sale of the Otago block.
1897 — An earthquake measuring 7 on the
Richter scale hits the lower North Island.
1902 — A cable running across the Pacific Ocean from Vancouver Island to Doubtless Bay, Northland, begins operations. The service allows telegraphic communications with the United Kingdom at three shillings a word.
1914 — The British destroy a German cruiser squadron under the command of Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in World War 1.
1941 — The United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Japan following its attacks on Pearl Harbour, Thailand and Malaya.
1942 — Ward 5 of Seacliff Mental Hospital near Dunedin catches fire. Thirtyseven female patients locked in the ward overnight die in the blaze.
1955 — Using a Van de Graaff highvoltage generator as a power supply, members of the physics department at the University of Otago split the fluorine atom.
1956 — A call for a general strike in Hungary
leads to martial law and mass arrests.
1962 — The Brunei rebellion breaks down within its first hours of operation, having failed to achieve key objectives such as the capture of the oil town of Seria and the sultan. The revolt is seen as one of the first stages of the IndonesiaMalaysia confrontation.
1964 — The United Nations Security Council holds an urgent session at the request of 21 nations that had criticised the US and Belgian operations to rescue hostages in the Congo. 1966 — The Greek ferry SS Heraklion sinks near
the island of Melos, killing 234.
1972 — Norman Eric Kirk takes office as prime minister in New Zealand’s Third Labour Government.
1974 — Greece votes decisively to become a republic and eliminate the monarchy, which dated back to 1832.
1978 — Golda Meir, Israel’s first female prime
minister (196974), dies.
1990 — The prime minister of Thailand,
Chatichai Choonhavan, resigns, but is reappointed within 24 hours.
1994 — Eduardo Robledo Rincon takes office as governor of Chiapas, Mexico, the site of an Indianled insurgency.
1995 — China enthrones a new 6yearold Panchen Lama, pressing Tibetans to accept its choice over the one named by the exiled Dalai Lama.
1997 — Prime Minister Jim Bolger resigns, clearing the way for New Zealand’s first female prime minister, Jenny Shipley.
1999 — A jury hearing a wrongful death lawsuit
filed by the Rev Martin Luther King jun’s family finds that the civilrights leader was the victim of a vast murder conspiracy, not a lone assassin.
Mary, Queen of Scots (154287); Eli Whitney, US inventor of the cotton gin (17651825); Jean Sibelius, Finnish composer (18651957); Sammy Davis jun, US singeractor (192590); James Galway, Irish flautist and conductor (1939); Jim Morrison, US musician (194371); Bill Bryson, American author (1951); Kim Basinger, US actress (1953); Keith Mackay, New Zealand football international (1956); Teri Hatcher, US actress (1964); Sinead O’Connor, Irish singer (1966); Dominic Monaghan, British actor (1976); Daneka Wipiiti, New Zealand netball international (1982); Nicki Minaj, Trinidadianborn singer/rapper (1982).
Thought for today:
Seacliff Mental Hospital
Pope Pius IX