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This Day in History: December 9


1531 – The Virgin of Guadalupe first appears to Juan Diego at Tepeyac, Mexico City.

1775 – American Revolutionary War: British troops lose the Battle of Great Bridge, and leave Virginia soon afterward.

1793 – New York City's first daily newspaper, the American Minerva, is established by Noah Webster.

1835 – Texas Revolution: The Texian Army captures San Antonio, Texas.

1851 – The first YMCA in North America is established in Montreal.

1861 – American Civil War: The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War is established by the U.S. Congress.

1872 – In Louisiana, P. B. S. Pinchback becomes the first African-American governor of a U.S. state.

1875 – The Massachusetts Rifle Association, "America's Oldest Active Gun Club", is founded.

1911 – A mine explosion near Briceville, Tennessee, kills 84 miners despite rescue efforts led by the United States Bureau of Mines.

1935 – Walter Liggett, American newspaper editor and muckraker, is killed in a gangland murder.

1935 – The Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, later renamed the Heisman Trophy, is awarded for the first time. The winner is halfback Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago.

1941 – World War II: The American 19th Bombardment Group attacks Japanese ships off the coast of Vigan, Luzon.

1946 – The "Subsequent Nuremberg trials" begin with the "Doctors' trial", prosecuting physicians and officers alleged to be involved in Nazi human experimentation and mass murder under the guise of euthanasia.

1950 – Cold War: Harry Gold is sentenced to 30 years in jail for helping Klaus Fuchs pass information about the Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union. His testimony is later instrumental in the prosecution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

1953 – Red Scare: General Electric announces that all communist employees will be discharged from the company.

1958 – The John Birch Society is founded in the United States.

1962 – The Petrified Forest National Park is established in Arizona.

1965 – Kecksburg UFO incident: A fireball is seen from Michigan to Pennsylvania; witnesses report something crashing in the woods near Pittsburgh. In 2005 NASA admits that it examined the object.

1965 – A Charlie Brown Christmas, first in a series of Peanuts television specials, debuts on CBS.

1969 – U.S. Secretary of State William P. Rogers proposes his plan for a ceasefire in the War of Attrition; Egypt and Jordan accept it over the objections of the PLO, which leads to civil war in Jordan in September 1970.

1979 – The eradication of the smallpox virus is certified, making smallpox the first and to date only human disease driven to extinction.

2008 – The Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, is arrested by federal officials for crimes including attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.


1579 – Martin de Porres, Peruvian saint (d. 1639)

1721 – Peter Pelham, English-American organist and composer (d. 1805)

1845 – Joel Chandler Harris, American journalist and author (d. 1908)

1875 – Harry Miller, American engineer (d. 1943)

1883 – Joseph Pilates, German-American fitness expert, developed Pilates (d. 1967)

1886 – Clarence Birdseye, American businessman, founded Birds Eye (d. 1956)

1887 – Tim Moore, American actor (d. 1958)

1898 – Emmett Kelly, American clown and actor (d. 1979)

1902 – Margaret Hamilton, American actress, singer, and educator (d. 1985)

1919 – William Lipscomb, American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2011)

1922 – Redd Foxx, American actor and singer (d. 1991)


1935 – Walter Liggett, American journalist and activist (b. 1886)

1965 – Branch Rickey, American baseball player and manager (b. 1884)

1971 – Ralph Bunche, American political scientist, academic, and diplomat, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1904)

1979 – Fulton J. Sheen, American archbishop (b. 1895)

1982 – Leon Jaworski, American lawyer and politician (b. 1905)

2012 – Norman Joseph Woodland, American inventor, co-created the bar code (b. 1921)

2015 – Norman Breslow, American statistician and academic (b. 1941)