December 2015

This Day in History… December 13, 1636

U.S. #1017 – The National Guard is America’s oldest military organization, with its roots dating back to 1636.

National Guard Founded

The National Guard traces its roots to the Massachusetts Bay Colony on December 13, 1636.

Following the success of the Pilgrims in the early 1620s, more English Puritans wished to move to the New World. In 1630, about 1,000 Puritans voyaged to America and settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Over time, the colonists began to clash with some of the Native Americans, particularly the Pequot nation. As the colonies grew, they established their own scattered militias, with no real connection to each other.

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This Day in History… December 12, 1901

U.S. #1500 pictures Marconi’s spark coil and spark gap, which enabled him to transmit across the Atlantic Ocean by wireless radio.

First Transatlantic Radio Transmission

On December 12, 1901, Guglielmo Marconi successfully sent the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean.

Born in Italy in 1874, Marconi was a physicist before he became interested in the transmission of radio waves. He ran his first experiments in Bologna in 1894. Soon, Marconi was able to send radio signals up to one-and-a-half miles. However, many of his contemporaries in Italy didn’t see the merit in his experiments, so Marconi moved to England in 1896.

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This Day in History… December 11, 1816

U.S. #1651 – At the center of the Indiana flag is a flaming torch, symbolizing liberty and enlightenment.

Indiana Becomes 19th U.S. State

On December 11, 1816, Indiana was admitted to the Union.

In 1679, the French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, the Sieur de La Salle, became the first European to explore Indiana. La Salle came to the area from French colonies in Canada in an effort to find a water route to the Pacific Ocean, traveling down the St. Joseph and Kankakee rivers. He returned in 1680, and explored the northern region of Indiana.

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This Day in History… December 10, 1901

U.S. #3504 – Famous for inventing dynamite, Alfred Nobel actually held 355 different patents.

First Nobel Prizes are Awarded

As instructed by their benefactor, the first Nobel Prizes were awarded on December 10, 1901, on the fifth anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.

Alfred Nobel was a Swedish industrialist whose work stabilizing nitroglycerin led to patents for dynamite, blasting gelatin, and ballistite (a smokeless powder propellant). He earned great wealth through the manufacture of explosives in Europe and the United States. Nobel left the vast majority of his fortune to establish the Nobel Prizes after his death on December 10, 1896.

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This Day in History… December 9, 1979

U.S. #2087 – Smallpox claimed an estimated 500-500 million lives in the 20th century alone.

Smallpox is Declared Eradicated

On December 9, 1979 the Global Commission for the Certification of Smallpox Eradication completed their task, confirming the disease would no longer be spread naturally.

Historians believe smallpox first appeared around 10,000 B.C. For thousands of years it spread around the globe, killing an estimated 20 to 60 percent of those that were infected, and over 80 percent of infected children.

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This Day in History… December 8, 1953

U.S. #1070 includes a portion of Eisenhower’s speech around the border.

Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace”

On December 8, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his “Atoms for Peace” speech, introducing his goal of using nuclear power for peace.

Eight years earlier, World War II came to a close with the detonation of two atomic weapons over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. With the war concluded, America’s top scientists and leaders knew that nuclear weapons and energy would have a tremendous impact on the future. Connecticut Senator Brien McMahon (1903-1952) served as chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. McMahon also authored the McMahon Act for the control of atomic energy, which resulted in the establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in 1946. The AEC directed the development and use of atomic energy for both military and civilian purposes.

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