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 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 14 days remaining until the end of the year
On this day on 1865, the first two movements of Franz Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony”, Symphony No. 8 in B minor, is performed in Vienna, Austria.
(The symphony) was started in 1822 but left with only two movements known to be complete, even though Schubert would live for another six years. A scherzo, nearly completed in piano score but with only two pages orchestrated, also survives. It has long been theorized that Schubert may have sketched a finale which instead became the big B minor entr’acte from his incidental music to Rosamunde, but all the evidence for this is circumstantial. One possible reason for Schubert’s leaving the symphony incomplete is the predominance of the same meter (three-in-a-bar). The first movement is in 3/4, the second in 3/8 and the third (an incomplete scherzo) also in 3/4. Three consecutive movements in exactly the same meter rarely occur in the symphonies, sonatas or chamber works of the great Viennese composers (one notable exception being Haydn’s Farewell Symphony).
497 BC – The first Saturnalia festival was celebrated in ancient Rome.
546 – Gothic War: The Ostrogoths of King Totila conquer Rome by bribing the Byzantine garrison.
920 – Romanos I is crowned co-emperor of the underage Emperor Constantine VII.
942 – Assassination of William I of Normandy.
1398 – Sultan Nasir-u Din Mehmud’s armies in Delhi are defeated by Timur.
1531 – Pope Clement VII establishes a parallel body to the Inquisition in Lisbon, Portugal.
1538 – Pope Paul III excommunicates Henry VIII of England.
1577 – Francis Drake sails from Plymouth, England, on a secret mission to explore the Pacific Coast of the Americas for English Queen Elizabeth I.
1583 – Cologne War: Forces under Ernest of Bavaria defeats the troops under Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg at the Siege of Godesberg.
1586 – Emperor Go-Yozei becomes Emperor of Japan.
1600 – Marriage of Henry IV of France and Marie de’ Medici.
1637 – Shimabara Rebellion: Japanese peasants led by Amakusa Shiro rise against daimyo Matsukura Shigeharu.
1718 – Great Britain declares war on Spain.
1790 – Discovery of the Aztec calendar stone.
1807 – France issues the Milan Decree, which confirms the Continental System.
1812 – War of 1812: U.S. forces attack a friendly Lenape village in the Battle of the Mississinewa.
1819 – Simon Bolivar declares the independence of the Republic of Gran Colombia in Angostura (now Ciudad Bolivar in Venezuela).
1837 – Fire in the Winter Palace of Saint Petersburg occurred.
1862 – American Civil War: General Ulysses S. Grant issues General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
1865 – First performance of the Unfinished Symphony by Franz Schubert.
1903 – The Wright Brothers make their first powered and heavier-than-air flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
1907 – Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned first King of Bhutan
1918 – Culmination of the Darwin Rebellion as some 1000 demonstrators march on Government House in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.
1919 – Uruguay becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
1926 – Antanas Smetona assumes power in Lithuania as the 1926 coup d’etat is successful.
1935 – First flight of the Douglas DC-3 airplane.
1939 – World War II: Battle of the River Plate – The Admiral Graf Spee is scuttled by Captain Hans Langsdorff outside Montevideo.
1941 – World War II: Japanese forces land in Northern Borneo.
1944 – World War II: Battle of the Bulge – Malmedy massacre – American 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion POWs are shot by Waffen-SS Kampfgruppe Peiper.
1947 – First flight of the Boeing B-47 Stratojet strategic bomber.
1950 – The F-86 Sabre’s first mission over Korea.
1957 – The United States successfully launches the first Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
1960 – Troops loyal to Haile Selassie I in Ethiopia crush the coup that began December 13, returning power to their leader upon his return from Brazil. Haile Selassie absolves his son of any guilt.
1961 – History of Goa: Operation Vijay – India seizes Goa from Portugal.
1967 – Prime Minister of Australia Harold Holt disappears while swimming near Portsea, Victoria and was presumed drowned.
1969 – The SALT I talks begin.
1969 – Project Blue Book: The United States Air Force closes its study of UFOs, stating that sightings were generated as a result of “A mild form of mass hysteria, Individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetrate a hoax or seek publicity, psychopathological persons, and misidentification of various conventional objects.”
1970 – Polish 1970 protests: In Gdynia soldiers fire at workers emerging from trains, killing dozens.
1973 – Terrorism: 30 passengers are killed in an attack by Palestinian terrorists on Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport.
1981 – Brigadier General James L. Dozier is abducted by the Red Brigade in Verona, Italy.
1981 – The Senegambia Confederation is founded.
1983 – The IRA bombs Harrods Department Store in London, killing six people.
1989 – The first episode of television series The Simpsons, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”, airs in the United States.
1989 – Romanian Revolution: Protests continue in Timisoara with rioters breaking into the Romanian Communist Party’s District Committee building and attempting to set it on fire.
1997 – The United Kingdom commences its Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997, which extends the state’s gun ban to include all handguns — with the exception of antique and show weapons.
2002 – Second Congo War: The Congolese parties of the Inter Congolese Dialogue sign a peace accord which makes provision for transitional governance and legislative and presidential elections within two years.
2003 – SpaceShipOne flight 11P, piloted by Brian Binnie, makes its first supersonic flight.
2005 – Anti-WTO protesters riot in Wan Chai, Hong Kong
2005 – Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicate the throne as King of Bhutan.
2009 – MV Danny F II sinks off the coast of Lebanon, resulting in the deaths of 44 people and over 28,000 animals.
2010 – Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire. This act became the catalyst for the Tunisian revolution and the wider Arab Spring.
* Christian Feast Day:
o Daniel the Prophet
o Lazarus of Bethany
(local commemoration in Cuba)
* International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (United States)
* National Day (Bhutan)
* O Sapientia (Roman Catholic Church)