Behind History For December 19
1900 – Hopetoun Blunder: The first Governor-General of Australia John Hope, 7th Earl of Hopetoun, appoints Sir William Lyne premier of the new state of New South Wales, but he is unable to persuade other colonial politicians to join his government and is forced to resign.
1907 – Two hundred thirty-nine coal miners die in the Darr Mine Disaster in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania.
1912 – William Van Schaick, captain of the steamship General Slocum which caught fire and killed over one thousand people, is pardoned by U.S. President William Howard Taft after three-and-a-half-years in Sing Sing prison.
1920 – King Constantine I is restored as King of the Hellenes after the death of his son Alexander of Greece and a plebiscite.
1924 – The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is sold in London, England.
1924 – German serial killer Fritz Haarmann is sentenced to death for a series of murders.
1927 – Three Indian revolutionaries, Ram Prasad Bismil, Roshan Singh and Ashfaqulla Khan, are executed by the British Raj for participation in the Kakori conspiracy.
1929 – The Indian National Congress promulgates the Purna Swaraj (the Declaration of the Independence of India).
1932 – BBC World Service begins broadcasting as the BBC Empire Service.
1941 – World War II: Adolf Hitler appoints himself as head of the Oberkommando des Heeres.
1941 – World War II: Limpet mines placed by Italian divers heavily damage HMS Valiant and HMS Queen Elizabeth in Alexandria harbour.
1945 – John Amery, British Fascist, is executed at the age of 33 by the British Government for treason.
1946 – Start of the First Indochina War.
1956 – Irish-born physician John Bodkin Adams is arrested in connection with the suspicious deaths of more than 160 patients. Eventually he is convicted only of minor charges.
1961 – India annexes Daman and Diu, part of Portuguese India.
1967 – Harold Holt, the Prime Minister of Australia, is officially presumed dead.
1972 – Apollo program: The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans, and Harrison Schmitt, returns to Earth.
1974 – Nelson Rockefeller is sworn in as Vice President of the United States under President Gerald Ford under the provisions of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
1981 – Sixteen lives are lost when the Penlee lifeboat goes to the aid of the stricken coaster Union Star in heavy seas.
1983 – The original FIFA World Cup trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, is stolen from the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Confederation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
1984 – The Sino-British Joint Declaration, stating that China would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the United Kingdom would restore Hong Kong to China with effect from July 1, 1997 is signed in Beijing, China by Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher.
1986 – Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union, releases Andrei Sakharov and his wife from exile in Gorky.
1995 – The United States Government restores federal recognition to the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Native American tribe.
1997 – SilkAir Flight 185 crashes into the Musi River, near Palembang in Indonesia, killing 104.
1998 – President Bill Clinton is impeached by the United States House of Representatives, becoming the second President of the United States to be impeached.
2000 – The Leninist Guerrilla Units wing of the Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist attack a Nationalist Movement Party office in Istanbul, Turkey, killing one person and injuring three.
2001 – A record high barometric pressure of 1085.6 hPa (32.06 inHg) is recorded at Tosontsengel, Khövsgöl, Mongolia.
2001 – Argentine economic crisis: December riots: Riots erupt in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2012 – Park Geun-hye is elected the first female president of South Korea.
2013 – Spacecraft Gaia is launched by European Space Agency.
2016 – Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov is assassinated while at an art exhibition in Ankara. The assassin, Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, is shot and killed by a Turkish guard.
2016 – A vehicular attack in Berlin, Germany, kills and injures multiple people at a Christmas market.