Today in History – December 8

1660 – A woman (either Margaret Hughes or Anne Marshall) appeared on an English public stage for the first time, in the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare’s play Othello.

1854 – In his Apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogmatic definition of Immaculate Conception, which held that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived free of Original Sin.

1941 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 7 to be “a date which will live in infamy”, after which the U.S. declared war on Japan.

1943 – World War II: The German 117th Jäger Division destroyed the monastery of Mega Spilaio in Greece and executed 22 monks and visitors as part of reprisals that culminated a few days later with the Massacre of Kalavryta.

1953 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his “Atoms for Peace” speech, which led to an American program to supply equipment and information on nuclear power to schools, hospitals, and research institutions around the world.

1963 – Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707, was struck by lightning and crashed near Elkton, Maryland, and killed all 81 people on board.

1966 – The Greek ship SS Heraklion sank in a storm in the Aegean Sea and killed over 200.

1969 – Olympic Airways Flight 954 struck a mountain outside of Keratea, Greece, and killed 90 people in the worst crash of a Douglas DC-6 in history.

1972 – United Airlines Flight 553, a Boeing 737, crashed after aborting its landing attempt at Chicago Midway International Airport, killing 45. This was the first-ever loss of a Boeing 737.

1980 – John Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman in front of The Dakota in New York City.

1987 – Cold War: The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the White House.

1988 – A United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II crashed into an apartment complex in Remscheid, Germany, killing 5 people and injuring 50 others.

1990 – The Galileo spacecraft flew past Earth for the first time.

1991 – The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine signed an agreement which dissolved the Soviet Union and established the Commonwealth of Independent States.

1992 – The Galileo spacecraft flew past Earth for the second time.

2004 – Columbus nightclub shooting: Nathan Gale opened fire at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio, and killed former Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell and 3 others before being shot dead by a police officer.

2010 – With the second launch of the Falcon 9 and the first launch of the Dragon, SpaceX became the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.

2013 – Metallica performed a show in Antarctica, which made them the first band to perform on all seven continents.

2019 – First confirmed case of COVID-19 in China.

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