Untitled Document
31 December

406 – Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.
535 – Byzantine General Belisarius completes the conquest of Sicily, defeating the Ostrogothic garrison of Syracuse, and ending his consulship for the year.
1225 – The Lý Dynasty of Vietnam ends after 216 years by the enthronement of the boy emperor Tran Thai Tong, husband of the last Ly monarch, Ly Chieu Hoang, starting the Trần Dynasty.
1229 – James I of Aragon the Conqueror enters Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma, Spain) thus consummating the Christian reconquest of the island of Majorca.
1600 – The British East India Company is chartered.
1660 – James II of England is named Duke of Normandy by Louis XIV of France.
1687 – The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.
1695 – A window tax is imposed in England, causing many householders to brick up windows to avoid the tax.
1759 – Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness.
1775 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Quebec: British forces repulse an attack by Continental Army General Richard Montgomery.
1790 – Efimeris, the oldest Greek newspaper of which issues have survived till today is published for the first time.
1831 – Gramercy Park is deeded to New York City.
1853 – A dinner party is held inside a life-size model of an Iguanodon created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen in south London, England
1857 – Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa, then a small logging town, as the capital of Canada.
1862 – American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln signs an act that admits West Virginia to the Union, thus dividing Virginia in two.
1862 – American Civil War: The Battle of Stones River begins near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
1878 – Karl Benz, working in Mannheim, Germany, filed for a patent on his first reliable two-stroke gas engine, and he was granted the patent for it in 1879.
1879 – Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
1906 – Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar signs the Persian Constitution of 1906.
1907 – The first New Year's Eve celebration is held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York, New York.
1909 – Manhattan Bridge opens.
1923 – The chimes of Big Ben are broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.
1944 – World War II: Hungary declares war on Nazi Germany.
1946 – President Harry S. Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II.
1951 – The Marshall Plan expires after distributing more than US$13.3 billion in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.
1955 – The General Motors Corporation becomes the first U.S. corporation to make over US$1 billion in a year.
1960 – The farthing coin ceases to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.
1961 – RTÉ, Ireland's state broadcaster, launches its first national television service.
1963 – The Central African Federation officially collapses and splits into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.
1965 – Jean-Bédel Bokassa, leader of the Central African Republic army, and his military officers begins a coup d'état against the government of President David Dacko.
1967 – The Youth International Party, popularly known as the "Yippies", is founded.
1981 – A coup d'état in Ghana removes President Hilla Limann's PNP government and replaces it with the Provisional National Defence Council led by Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings.
1983 – The AT&T Bell System is broken up by the United States Government.
1983 – In Nigeria a coup d'état led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari ends the Nigerian Second Republic.
1986 – A fire at the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, kills 97 and injures 140.
1991 – All official Soviet Union institutions have ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union is officially dissolved.
1992 – Czechoslovakia is peacefully dissolved in what is dubbed by media as the Velvet Divorce, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
1994 – This date is skipped altogether in Kiribati as the Phoenix Islands and Line Islands change time zones from UTC−11:00 to UTC+13:00 and UTC-10:00 to UTC+14:00, respectively.
1994 – The First Chechen War: Russian army began a New Year's storm of Grozny
1998– The European Exchange Rate Mechanism freezes the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and establishes the value of the euro currency.
1999 – Boris Yeltsin, the first president of Russia, resigns as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President.
1999 – Five hijackers, who had been holding 155 hostages on an Indian Airlines plane, leave the plane with two Islamic clerics that they had demanded be freed.
1999 – The United States Government hands control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties.
2004 – The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).

Holidays and observances

Christian Feast Day:
Pope Sylvester I (Roman Catholic Church)
International Solidarity Day (Azerbaijan)
New Year's Eve (International observances), and its related observances:
Last Day of the Year or Bisperás ng Bagong Taón, special holiday between Rizal Day and New Year's Day (The Philippines)
The first day of Hogmanay or "Auld Year’s Night" (Scotland)
The seventh day of Christmas (Western Christianity)








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