Behind History For December 18
1900 – The Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook, Victoria Narrow-gauge (2 ft 6 in or 762 mm) Railway (now the Puffing Billy Railway) in Victoria, Australia is opened for traffic.
1916 – World War I: The Battle of Verdun ends when German forces under Chief of staff Erich von Falkenhayn are defeated by the French, and suffer 337,000 casualties.
1917 – The resolution containing the language of the Eighteenth Amendment to enact Prohibition is passed by the United States Congress.
1932 – The Chicago Bears defeat the Portsmouth Spartans in the first NFL playoff game to win the NFL Championship.
1935 – The Lanka Sama Samaja Party is founded in Ceylon.
1939 – World War II: The Battle of the Heligoland Bight, the first major air battle of the war, takes place.
1944 – World War II: Seventy-seven B-29 Superfortress and 200 other aircraft of U.S. Fourteenth Air Force bomb Hankow, China, a Japanese supply base.
1958 – Project SCORE, the world’s first communications satellite, is launched.
1966 – Saturn’s moon Epimetheus is discovered by astronomer Richard Walker.
1972 – Vietnam War: President Richard Nixon announces that the United States will engage North Vietnam in Operation Linebacker II, a series of Christmas bombings, after peace talks collapsed with North Vietnam on the 13th.
1973 – Soviet Soyuz Programme: Soyuz 13, crewed by cosmonauts Valentin Lebedev and Pyotr Klimuk, is launched from Baikonur in the Soviet Union.
1977 – United Airlines Flight 2860 crashes near Kaysville, Utah, killing all three crew members on board.
1981 – First flight of the Russian heavy strategic bomber Tu-160, the world’s largest combat aircraft, largest supersonic aircraft and largest variable-sweep wing aircraft built.
1999 – NASA launches into orbit the Terra platform carrying five Earth Observation instruments, including ASTER, CERES, MISR, MODIS and MOPITT.
2002 – California gubernatorial recall: Then Governor of California Gray Davis announces that the state would face a record budget deficit of $35 billion, roughly double the figure reported during his reelection campaign one month earlier.
2005 – The Chadian Civil War begins when rebel groups, allegedly backed by neighbouring Sudan, launch an attack in Adré.
2006 – The first of a series of floods strikes Malaysia. The death toll of all flooding is at least 118, with over 400,000 people displaced.
2006 – United Arab Emirates holds its first-ever elections.
2015 – Kellingley Colliery, the last deep coal mine in Great Britain, closes.
2017 – Amtrak Cascades passenger train 501, derailed near DuPont, Washington, a city in United States near Olympia, Washington killing six people, and injuring 70 others.
2018 – List of bolides: A meteor exploded over the Bering Sea with a force over 10 times greater than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.