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 4 is the 338th day of the year (339th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 27 days remaining until the end of the year
On this day in 1783, future President George Washington, then commanding general of the Continental Army, summons his military officers to Fraunces Tavern in New York City to inform them that he will be resigning his commission and returning to civilian life.
Washington had led the army through six long years of war against the British before the American forces finally prevailed at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. There, Washington received the formal surrender of British General Lord Charles Cornwallis, effectively ending the Revolutionary War, although it took almost two more years to conclude a peace treaty and slightly longer for all British troops to leave New York.
Fraunces Tavern is a tavern, restaurant and museum housed in a conjectural reconstruction of a building that played a prominent role in pre-Revolution and Revolution history. The building, located at 54 Pearl Street at the corner of Broad Street, has been owned by Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York Inc. since 1904, which claims it is Manhattan’s oldest surviving building. The building is a tourist site and a part of the American Whiskey Trail and the New York Freedom Trail.
In August 1775, Americans took possession of cannons from the artillery battery at the southern point of Manhattan and fired on the HMS Asia. The British ship retaliated by firing a 32-gun broadside on the city, sending a cannonball through the roof of the building.
When the war was all but won, the building was the site of “British-American Board of Inquiry” meetings, which negotiated to ensure to American leaders that no “American property” (meaning former slaves who were emancipated by the British for their military service) be allowed to leave with British troops. Board members reviewed the evidence and testimonies that were given by freed slaves every Wednesday from April to November 1783, and British representatives were successful in ensuring that almost all of the loyalist blacks of New York maintained their liberty.
After British troops evacuated New York, the tavern hosted an elaborate “turtle feast” dinner on December 4, 1783 in the building’s Long Room for U.S. Gen. George Washington where he bade farewell to his officers of the Continental Army by saying “[w]ith a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.”
The building housed some offices of the Confederation Congress as the nation struggled under the Articles of Confederation. With the establishment of the U.S. Constitution and the inauguration of Washington as president in 1789, the departments of Foreign Affairs, Treasury and War located offices at the building. The offices were vacated when the location of the U.S. capital moved on December 6, 1790 from New York to Philadelphia.
306 – Martyrdom of Saint Barbara.
771 – Austrasian King Carloman dies, leaving his brother Charlemagne King of the now complete Frankish Kingdom.
1110 – First Crusade: The Crusaders sack Sidon.
1259 – Kings Louis IX of France and Henry III of England agree to the Treaty of Paris, in which Henry renounces his claims to French-controlled territory on continental Europe (including Normandy) in exchange for Louis withdrawing his support for English rebels.
1563 – The final session of the Council of Trent is held (it opened on December 13, 1545).
1619 – 38 colonists from Berkeley Parish in England disembark in Virginia and give thanks to God (this is considered by many to be the first Thanksgiving in the Americas).
1674 – Father Jacques Marquette founds a mission on the shores of Lake Michigan to minister to the Illiniwek (the mission would later grow into the city of Chicago, Illinois).
1676 – Battle of Lund: A Danish army under the command of King Christian V of Denmark engages the Swedish army commanded by Field Marshal Simon Grundel-Helmfelt.
1745 – Charles Edward Stewart’s army reaches Derby, its furthest point during the second Jacobite Rising.
1783 – At Fraunces Tavern in New York City, US General George Washington formally bids his officers farewell.
1791 – The first edition of The Observer, the world’s first Sunday newspaper, is published.
1864 – American Civil War: Sherman’s March to the Sea – At Waynesboro, Georgia, forces under Union General Judson Kilpatrick prevent troops led by Confederate General Joseph Wheeler from interfering with Union General William T. Sherman’s campaign destroying a wide swath of the South on his march to the Atlantic Ocean from Atlanta, Georgia.
1867 – Former Minnesota farmer Oliver Hudson Kelley founds the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry (better known today as the Grange).
1872 – The crewless American ship Mary Celeste is found by the British brig Dei Gratia (the ship had been abandoned for nine days but was only slightly damaged).
1875 – Notorious New York City politician Boss Tweed escapes from prison and flees to Cuba, then Spain.
1881 – The first edition of the Los Angeles Times is published.
1909 – 1st Grey Cup game was played. The University of Toronto Varsity Blues defeat the Toronto Parkdale Canoe Club 26-6.
1918 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sails for the World War I peace talks in Versailles, becoming the first US president to travel to Europe while in office.
1921 – The Virginia Rappe manslaughter trial against Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle ends in a hung jury.
1939 – World War II: HMS Nelson is struck by a mine (laid by U-31) off the Scottish coast and is laid up for repairs until August 1940.
1942 – Holocaust: In Warsaw, Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz set up the Zegota organization.
1942 – World War II: Carlson’s patrol during the Guadalcanal Campaign ends.
1943 – World War II: In Yugoslavia, resistance leader Marshal Tito proclaims a provisional democratic Yugoslav government in-exile.
1943 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt closes down the Works Progress Administration, because of the high levels of wartime employment in the United States.
1945 – By a vote of 65 to 7, the United States Senate approves United States participation in the United Nations (the UN was established on October 24, 1945).
1954 – The first Burger King is opened in Miami, Florida, United States
1967 – Vietnam War: US and South Vietnamese forces engage Viet Cong troops in the Mekong Delta.
1969 – Black Panther Party members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark are shot and killed in their sleep during a raid by 14 Chicago police officers.
1971 – The United Nations Security Council calls an emergency session to consider the deteriorating situation between India and Pakistan.
1971 – The Indian Navy attacks the Pakistan Navy and Karachi.
1971 – The Montreux Casino in Switzerland is set ablaze by someone wielding a flare gun during a Frank Zappa concert; the incident would be noted in the Deep Purple song “Smoke on the Water”.
1971 – McGurk’s Bar bombing: An Ulster Volunteer Force bomb kills 15 civilians and wounds 17 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
1975 – Suriname joins the United Nations.
1978 – Following the murder of Mayor George Moscone, Dianne Feinstein becomes San Francisco, California’s first female mayor (she served until January 8, 1988).
1980 – English rock group Led Zeppelin officially disbands, following the death of drummer John Bonham on September 25th.
1981 – South Africa grants independence to the Ciskei “homeland” (not recognized by any government outside South Africa).
1991 – Journalist Terry A. Anderson is released after 7 years in captivity as a hostage in Beirut. He was the last and longest-held American hostage in Lebanon.
1991 – Captain Mark Pyle pilots Clipper Goodwill, a Pan American World Airways Boeing 727-221ADV, to Miami International Airport ending 64 years of Pan Am operations.
1992 – Somali Civil War: President George H. W. Bush orders 28,000 US troops to Somalia in Northeast Africa.
1993 – A truce is concluded between the government of Angola and UNITA rebels.
1998 – The Unity Module, the second module of the International Space Station, is launched.
2005 – Tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong protest for democracy and call on the Government to allow universal and equal suffrage.
2006 – An adult giant squid is caught on video for the first time by Tsunemi Kubodera near the Ogasawara Islands, 1,000 km (620 miles) south of Tokyo.
[Holidays and observances
* Christian Feast Day
o Nicholas Ferrar (Anglican Communion)
* Day of Shango (Santeria, Lukumi)
* day that rain is prayed for, notably the only Jewish day which is tied to the civil calendar. (Diaspora in Judaism)
* Navy Day (India and Italy)
* Saint Barbara Day-related observance:
o Eid il-Burbara, a holiday similar to Halloween in honor of Saint Barbara. (Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine)
* Secret ceremonies in honor of Bona Dea (Roman Empire)
* Thai Environment Day (Thailand)