History Today: A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.
*Today in History December 7
43 BC Cicero, considered one of the greatest sons of Rome, is assassinated on the orders of Marcus Antonius.
983 Otto III takes the throne after his father’s death in Italy. A power struggle between magnates ensues.
1787 Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States.
1808 James Madison is elected president in succession of Thomas Jefferson.
1861 USS Santiago de Cuba, under Commander Daniel B. Ridgely, halts the British schooner Eugenia Smith and captures J.W. Zacharie, a New Orleans merchant and Confederate purchasing agent.
1862 Confederate forces surprise an equal number of Union troops at the Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas.
1863 Outlaw George Ives, an alleged member of an outlaw gang known as the “Innocents,” robs and then kills Nick Thiebalt in the Ruby Valley of what would become Montana.
1917 The United States declares war on Austria-Hungary with only one dissenting vote in Congress.
1918 Spartacists call for a German revolution.
1931 A report indicates that Nazis would ensure “Nordic dominance” by sterilizing certain races.
1941 Japanese planes raid Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in a surprise attack, bringing the US into WWII.
1942 The U.S. Navy launches USS New Jersey, the largest battleship ever built.
1946 The president of the United Mine Workers, John L. Lewis, orders all striking miners back to work.
1949 The A.F.L. and the C.I.O. organize a non-Communist international trade union.
1970 Poland and West Germany sign a pact renouncing the use of force to settle disputes, recognizing the Oder-Neisse River as Poland’s western frontier, and acknowledging the transfer to Poland of 40,000 square miles of former German territory.
1972 The crew of Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the moon, lifts off at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
1981 The Reagan Administration predicts a record deficit in 1982 of $109 billion.
1988 An earthquake in Armenia kills an estimated 100,000 people.
1988 Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat recognizes Israel’s right to exist.
1995 Galileo spacecraft arrives at Jupiter after a 6-year journey.
1999 The Recording Industry Association of America files a copyright infringement suit against the file-sharing website Napster.
2003 A tornado in Kensal Green, North West London, damages about 150 properties.Born on December 7
1810 Theodor Schwann, German physiologist.
1873 Willa Cather, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist (O Pioneers!, My Antonia).
1888 Joyce Cary, Irish-born novelist (The Horse’s Mouth).
1888 Ernst Toch, composer and pianist.
1895 Sir Milton Margay, the first prime minister of Sierra Leone.
1896 Stuart Davis, painter.
1928 Noam Chomsky, writer, linguist and political activist.
1932 Ellen Burstyn, actress; won Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974); won Tony for Same Time, Next Year (1975).
1947 Johnny Bench, pro baseball catcher; twice named National League Most Valuable Player, he was dubbed the greatest catcher in baseball history by ESPN.
1949 Tom Waits, singer, songwriter (“Jersey Girl,” “Downtown Train”), musician, actor (Down by Law).
1956 Larry Bird, basketball player for the Boston Celtics.
1988 Emily Browning, actress, singer, model; won AFI International Award for Best Actress as Violet Baudelaire in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.
2003 Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, heiress apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.