1491 – Jacques Cartier the French explorer was born on the 31st December 1491 (died 1557).
1695 – Window tax was imposed in England on the 31st December 1695, causing many householders to brick up their windows to avoid the tax.
1759 – Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum on the 31st December 1759, to start brewing Guinness.
1790 – Efimeris, the oldest Greek newspaper was published for the first time on the 31st December 1790.
1857 – Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, a small logging town, as the capital of Canada on the 31st December 1857.
1869 – Henri Matisse the French painter was born on the 31st December 1869 (died 1954).
1878 – Karl Benz filed for a patent on his first reliable two-stroke gas engine on the 31st December 1878, where he was working in Mannheim, Germany.
1879 – Thomas Edison demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public for the first time on the 31st December 1879, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
1907 – Times Square in New York held the 1st New Year’s Eve celebration on the 31st December 1907, back when it was known as Longacre Square.
1909 – Manhattan Bridge opened on the 31st December 1909.
1923 – Big Ben‘s chimes were broadcast on radio for the first time on the 31st December 1923, by the BBC.
1943 – Ben Kingsley the English actor was born on the 31st December 1943.
1955 – The General Motors Corporation became the first U.S. corporation to make over US$1 billion in a year on the 31st December 1955.
1959 – Val Kilmer the American actor was born on the 31st December 1959.
1960 – The farthing coin ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom on the 31st December 1960.
1961 – RTÉ, Ireland’s state broadcaster launched its first national television service on the 31st December 1961.
1962 – Heather McCartney the American-English potter was born on the 31st December 1962.
1967 – The Youth International Party known as the “Yippies” was founded on the 31st December 1967.
1972 – Joey McIntyre the American singer-songwriter from New Kids on the Block was born on the 31st December 1972.
1977 – Psy the South Korean singer-songwriter, rapper, producer, and dancer was born on the 31st December 1977.
1979 ~ Elaine Cassidy the Irish award-winning Irish actress was born in Kilcoole, Ireland on the 31st December in 1979. Elaine Cassidy is best known for her roles as Abby Mills in Harper’s Island, Felicia in Felicia’s Journey, Runt in Disco Pigs, Lydia in The Others, and Katherine Glendenning in The Paradise.
1994 – The 31st December in 1994 was skipped altogether in Kiribati as the Phoenix Islands and Line Islands changed time zones from UTC−11:00 to UTC+13:00 and UTC-10:00 to UTC+14:00, respectively on the 31st December 1994.
1999 – Boris Yeltsin the first president of Russia resigned as the President of Russia on the 31st December 1999, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President.
2004 – Taipei 101 officially opened as the tallest skyscraper in the world on the 31st December 2004, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).
2013 ~ The Associated Press was at the heart of New York City’s largest annual celebration, presenting a video recap of 2013’s key moments at New Year’s Eve in Times Square on the 31st December 2013 ~ AP wishes you a Happy New Year!…
Today in History for the 31st December video produced by Associated PressAssociated Press official website: www.AP.org