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On This Day16 December: On This Day In History | What Special Day Is...

16 December: On This Day In History | What Special Day Is Today?

“16 December: What Happened On This Day In History?”


16 December: In a year, the 16th of December is the 350th day as per the Gregorian Calendar. In a leap year, it is the 351st day of the year.

What special day is today?

On this day, the sci-fi thriller ‘Avatar’ was released internationally, Prof. H. Tracy Hall created America’s first synthetic diamonds, and Vasco da Gama passed by the Groot-Visrivier or the Great Fish River.

Famous birthdays include Jane Austen, Philip K. Dick, and Liv Ullmann.

Let’s explore what happened today.

16 December: On This Day In History | What Special Day Is Today?

What Happened Today? On This Day in History: 16 December

Art & Artists

  • 1899 Sir Noël Coward, the English actor, and playwright was born in Teddington, United Kingdom.
  • 2009 The international release of Avatar, the Hollywood sci-fi thriller. The James Cameron-directed movie became a box-office hit worldwide. It made the record of becoming the highest-grossing (over $2.7 billion) movie in the world.

Science & Technology

  • 1935 The publication of an article on “the use of eye print as a method for identification” in Time magazine. The articles described how the new method is as unique and scientific as fingerprints.
  • 1954 Prof. H. Tracy Hall created America’s first synthetic diamonds at G.E. Research Laboratories.

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Leaders & Politics

  • 1773 In a protest against a tax on tea, the colonists from America masked as Mohawk Indians hurled the British East India Company’s 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. The incident is famous as the Boston Tea Party.
  • 1971  The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and the Bangladesh Liberation War ended with a ceasefire by the Pakistan Army.

People & Society

  • 1985 Paul Castellano, the top-notch organized crime figure from America was shot to death in New York. He was allegedly the “boss of bosses” of the Five Families (mafias).

Disasters: Natural & Man-made

  • 1631 Mount Vesuvius erupted which killed no less than 3,000 people.
  • 1920 A high-magnified earthquake bangs the Chinese province of Gansu which killed approximately 200,000.
  • 2014 Tehrik-e-Taliban, a Taliban outfit in Pakistan, attacked a Peshawar-based school in which 150 people have killed including at least 134 children.

Discoveries & Explorations

  • 1497At the southern tip of the continent of Africa, Vasco da Gama passed by the Groot-Visrivier or the Great Fish River, Eastern Cape, South Africa. 
  • 1907  Great White Fleet (the US Navy battleships) commenced its mission to circumnavigate the world.

Leisure & Sports

  • 1927The debut of cricketer Sir Don Bradman, the batting genius from Australia, in 1st-class cricket. He played for NSW against South Australia.

Birth Anniversaries (16 December)

  • 1775 – Jane Austen (English novelist)
  • 1917 – Arthur C. Clarke (British Author And Scientist)
  • 1928 – Philip K. Dick (American Author)
  • 1938 – Liv Ullmann (Norwegian Actress)

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Death Anniversaries (16 December)

  • 1675 – Johannes Vermeer (Dutch Painter)
  • 1944 – Glenn Miller (American Composer and Musician)
  • 2013 – James Flint (English commander)
  • 2015 – Lizmark (Mexican wrestler)
  • 2017 – Keely Smith (American singer and actress)

What Special Day is Today: (16 December)

  • Victory Day (India)
  • National Day (Bahrain)
  • Victory Day (Bangladesh)
  • National Sports Day (Thailand)
  • Independence Day (Kazakhstan)
  • Day of Reconciliation (South Africa)


A day can make a prince a pauper; a mighty ruler a prisoner, and a traveler to ‘sleep in his coffin’. As we saw, the day (16 December) is no different.

It holds thousands of untold stories; some are painful, some are pleasurable, and some are puzzling. The day has been an onlooker of what happened on this day in history.

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On This Day:

31 December30 December29 December28 December27 December | 26 December | 25 December24 December23 December22 December21 December20 December19 December18 December17 December15 December | 14 December | 13 December | 12 December | 11 December | 10 December | 9 December | 8 December | 7 December | 6 December | 5 December | 4 December | 3 December | 2 December | 1 December


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