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 6 is the 340th day of the year (341st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 25 days remaining until the end of the year.
In Washington, D.C., workers place a nine-inch aluminum pyramid atop a tower of white marble, completing the construction of an impressive monument to the city’s namesake and the nation’s first president, George Washington. As early as 1783, the infant U.S. Congress decided that a statue of George Washington, the great Revolutionary War general, should be placed near the site of the new Congressional building, wherever it might be. After then-President Washington asked him to lay out a new federal capital on the Potomac River in 1791, architect Pierre L’Enfant left a place for the statue at the western end of the sweeping National Mall (near the monument’s present location).
The Washington Monument is an obelisk near the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate the first U.S. president, General George Washington. The monument, made of marble, granite, and sandstone, is both the world’s tallest stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk, standing 555 feet 5 1/8 inches (169.294 m). There are taller monumental columns, but they are neither all stone nor true obelisks. It is also the tallest structure in Washington D.C.. It was designed by Robert Mills, an architect of the 1840s. The actual construction of the monument began in 1848 but was not completed until 1884, almost 30 years after the architect’s death. This hiatus in construction happened because of co-option by the Know Nothing party, a lack of funds, and the intervention of the American Civil War. A difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 150 feet (46 m or 27%) up, shows where construction was halted for a number of years. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848; the capstone was set on December 6, 1884, and the completed monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885. It officially opened October 9, 1888. Upon completion, it became the world’s tallest structure, a title previously held by the Cologne Cathedral. The monument held this designation until 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris, France. The monument stands due east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial.
1060 – Bela I of Hungary is crowned king of Hungary
1240 – Mongol invasion of Rus: Kiev under Danylo of Halych and Voivode Dmytro falls to the Mongols under Batu Khan.
1534 – The city of Quito in Ecuador is founded by Spanish settlers led by Sebastian de Belalcazar.
1648 – Colonel Pride of the New Model Army purges the Long Parliament of MPs sympathetic to King Charles I of England, in order for the King’s trial to go ahead; came to be known as “Pride’s Purge”.
1745 – Charles Edward Stewart’s army begins retreat during the second Jacobite Rising.
1768 – The first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica is published.
1790 – The U.S. Congress moves from New York City to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1849 – American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery.
1865 – The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, banning slavery.
1877 – The first edition of the Washington Post is published.
1877 – Thomas Edison creates the first recording of a human voice, reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.
1884 – The Washington Monument in Washington D.C. is completed.
1897 – London becomes the world’s first city to host licenced taxicabs.
1907 – A coal mine explosion at Monongah, West Virginia kills 362 workers.
1916 – World War I: The Central Powers capture Bucharest.
1917 – Finland declares independence from Russia.
1917 – Halifax Explosion: In Canada, a munitions explosion kills more than 1,900 people and destroys part of the City of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
1921 – The Anglo-Irish Treaty is signed in London by British and Irish representatives.
1922 – One year to the day after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the Irish Free State comes into existence.
1933 – U.S. federal judge John M. Woolsey rules that the James Joyce’s novel Ulysses is not obscene.
1941 – World War II: The United Kingdom declares war on Finland in support of the Soviet Union during the Continuation War.
1947 – The Everglades National Park in Florida is dedicated.
1956 – A violent water polo match between Hungary and the USSR takes place during the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, against the backdrop of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
1956 – Aged 14, swimmer Sandra Morgan becomes the youngest Australian to win an Olympic gold medal.
1957 – Project Vanguard: A launchpad explosion of Vanguard TV3 thwarts the first United States attempt to launch a satellite into Earth orbit.
1965 – Pakistan’s Islamic Ideology Advisory Committee recommends that Islamic Studies be made a compulsory subject for Muslim students from primary to graduate level.
1967 – Adrian Kantrowitz performed the first human heart transplant in the United States.
1971 – Pakistan severs diplomatic relations with India following New Delhi’s recognition of Bangladesh.
1973 – The Twenty-fifth Amendment: The United States House of Representatives votes 387 to 35 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States (on November 27, the Senate confirmed him 92 to 3).
1975 – Balcombe Street Siege: An IRA Active Service Unit takes a couple hostage in Balcombe Street, London.
1977 – South Africa grants independence to Bophuthatswana, although it is not recognized by any other country.
1978 – Spain approves its latest constitution in a referendum.
1982 – Droppin Well bombing: The Irish National Liberation Army detonate a bomb in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland, killing eleven British soldiers and six civilians.
1988 – The Australian Capital Territory is granted self-government.
1989 – The Ecole Polytechnique Massacre (or Montreal Massacre): Marc Lepine, an anti-feminist gunman, murders 14 young women at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.
1991 – In Croatia, forces of the Yugoslav People’s Army bombard Dubrovnik after laying siege to the city since May.
1992 – Extremist Hindu activists demolish Babri Masjid – a 16th century mosque in Ayodhya, India which had been used as a temple since 1949, leading to widespread communal violence, including the Mumbai Riots, in all killing over 1500 people.
1998 – Hugo Chavez Frias, Venezuelan military officer and politician, is elected President of Venezuela.
2001 – The Canadian province of Newfoundland is renamed Newfoundland and Labrador.
2005 – Several villagers are shot dead during protests in Dongzhou, China.
2006 – NASA reveals photographs taken by Mars Global Surveyor suggesting the presence of liquid water on Mars.
2008 – The 2008 Greek riots break out upon the murder of a 15-year-old boy, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, by a police officer.
* Christian Feast Day
o Aemilianus (Roman Catholic Church)
* Christkind traditionally gives Christmas gifts on this day. (Central and Southern Europe)
* Constitution Day (Spain)
* Independence Day, celebrate the independence of Finland from Russia in 1917.
* Saint Nicholas Day, where St. Nicholas/Santa Claus leaves little presents in children’s shoes. (International)
* Sindhi Topi and Ajrak Day (Sindh)