On this Day In History December 31

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

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 31 is the 365th day of the year (366th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. The last day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, it is widely known as New Year’s Eve.

On this day in 1759, Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness.

Guiness is a popular Irish dry stout. Guinness is directly descended from the porter style that originated in London in the early 18th century and is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide.

A distinctive feature is the burnt flavour which is derived from the use of roasted unmalted barley (though this is a relatively modern development since it did not become a part of the grist until well into the 20th century). For many years a portion of aged brew was blended with freshly brewed product to give a sharp lactic flavour (which was a characteristic of the original Porter).

Although the palate of Guinness still features a characteristic “tang”, the company has refused to confirm whether this type of blending still occurs. The thick creamy head is the result of the beer being mixed with nitrogen when being poured. It is popular with Irish people both in Ireland and abroad and, in spite of a decline in consumption since 2001[1], is still the best-selling alcoholic drink in Ireland where Guinness & Co. makes almost €2 billion annually.

The company had its headquarters in London from 1932 onwards. It merged with Grand Metropolitan plc in 1997 and then figured in the development of the multi-national alcohol conglomerate Diageo.

Arthur Guinness started brewing ales from 1759 at the St. James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin. On 31 December he signed (up to) a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum for the unused brewery. Ten years later on 19 May 1769 Guinness exported his ale for the first time, when six and a half barrels were shipped to England.

Guinness is sometimes believed to have invented stout,[citation needed] however the first known use of the word stout in relation to beer appears in a letter in the Egerton Manuscript dated 1677, almost 50 years before Arthur Guinness was born.

Arthur Guinness started selling the dark beer porter in 1778. The first Guinness beers to use the term were Single Stout and Double Stout in the 1840s.

The breweries pioneered several quality control efforts. The brewery hired the statistician William Sealy Gosset in 1899, who achieved lasting fame under the pseudonym “Student” for techniques developed for Guinness, particularly Student’s t-distribution and the even more commonly known Student’s t-test.

Guinness brewed their last porter in 1974.

Guinness has also been referred to as “the black stuff” and as a “Pint of Plain” – referred to in the famous refrain of Flann O’Brien’s poem “The Workman’s Friend”: “A pint of plain is your only man.”

 406 – Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.

535 – Byzantine General Belisarius completes the conquest of Sicily, defeating the Ostrogothic garrison of Syracuse, and ending his consulship for the year.

1225 – The Ly Dynasty of Vietnam ends after 216 years by the enthronement of the boy emperor Tran Thai Tong, husband of the last Ly monarch, Ly Chieu Hoang, starting the Tran Dynasty.

1229 – James I of Aragon the Conqueror enters Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma, Spain) thus consummating the Christian reconquest of the island of Majorca.

1600 – The British East India Company is chartered.

1660 – James II of England is named Duke of Normandy by Louis XIV of France.

1687 – The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.

1695 – A window tax is imposed in England, causing many householders to brick up windows to avoid the tax.

1759 – Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness.

1775 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Quebec: British forces repulse an attack by Continental Army General Richard Montgomery.

1831 – Gramercy Park is deeded to New York City.

1857 – Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa, Ontario, then a small logging town, as the capital of Canada.

1862 – American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln signs an act that admits West Virginia to the Union, thus dividing Virginia in two.

1862 – American Civil War: The Battle of Stones River is fought near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

1879 – Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time, in Menlo Park, N.J.

1904 – The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York, New York.

1909 – Manhattan Bridge opens.

1923 – The chimes of Big Ben are broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.

1944 – World War II: Hungary declares war on Nazi Germany.

1946 – President Harry Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II.

1951 – The Marshall Plan expires after distributing more than $13.3 billion USD in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.

1955 – The General Motors Corporation becomes the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year.

1960 – The farthing coin ceases to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

1963 – The Central African Federation officially collapses and splits into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.

1965 – Jean-Bedel Bokassa, leader of the Central African Republic army, and his military officers begins a coup d’etat against the government of President David Dacko.

1981 – A coup d’etat in Ghana removes President Hilla Limann’s PNP government and replaces it with the Provisional National Defence Council led by Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings.

1983 – The AT&T Bell System is broken up by the United States Government.

1983 – In Nigeria a coup d’etat led by Major General Mohammadu Buhari ends the Nigerian Second Republic.

1986 – A fire at the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, kills 97 and injures 140.

1991 – All official Soviet Union institutions have ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union is officially dissolved.

1992 – Czechoslovakia is peacefully dissolved in what is dubbed by media as the Velvet Divorce, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

1994 – This date is skipped altogether in Kiribati as the Phoenix Islands and Line Islands change time zones from UTC-11 to UTC+13 and UTC-10 to UTC+14, respectively.

1994 – The first Chechen war: Russian army began a New Year’s storm of Grozny

1998- The European Exchange Rate Mechanism freezes the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and establishes the value of the euro currency.

1999 – Boris Yeltsin, the first president of Russia, resigns as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President.

1999 – Five hijackers, who had been holding 155 hostages on an Indian Airlines plane, leave the plane with two Islamic clerics that they had demanded be freed.

1999 – The United States Government hands control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

2004 – The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).

Holidays and observances

   * Christian Feast Day:

         o Pope Sylvester I (Roman Catholic Church)

   * International Solidarity Day (Azerbaijan)

   * New Year’s Eve (International observances, and its related observances:

         o Last Day of the Year or Bisperas ng Bagong Taon, special holiday between Rizal Day and New Year’s Day (the Philippines)

         o The first day of Hogmanay or “Auld Year’s Night” (Scotland)

   * The seventh day of Christmas(Western Christianity)

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