Stuff You Need To Know For Your Next Pub Trivia Night
Dec 1, 1955 - Rosa Parks refuses to sit at the back of the bus
Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old black seamstress from Montgomery, Alabama, was arrested after refusing to move to the back of a city bus so a white passenger could have her seat.
Her protest sparked a year-long bus boycott and helped initiate America's civil rights movement. Thanks largely to her actions, bus segregation laws were eventually found unconstitutional and overturned by the US Supreme Court.
Dec 2, 1804 - Napoleon crowns himself Emperor of France
French conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte declared himself Emperor of France in May earlier that year, and on December 2, his coronation was held at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The 35-year-old military strategist placed the crown on his own head, receiving it from Pope Pius VII.
Napoleon would go on to expand a vast French empire before a disastrous invasion of Russia saw his eventual defeat in 1814.
Dec 2, 1994 - Indigenous Australians finally compensated after nuclear bomb testing
In December 1994, the Australian government agreed to pay $13.5 million to the Maralinga-Tjarutja people after their land was used for British nuclear bomb testing decades earlier.
From 1952-1963, 12 nuclear bombs were dropped at three testing sites -- including seven at Maralinga in the South Australian outback -- with the full cooperation and endorsement of the Australian government, then led by Robert Menzies. The tests resulted in radiation exposure of Indigenous landowners, some of whom were forcibly evacuated, while others were never warned.
Those who remained on the land reported illnesses including cancer, blindness, eye problems, rashes, and other symptoms of radiation poisoning.
A clean-up and land rehabilitation effort was made in 1996, and Maralinga was finally returned to its Indigenous owners in 2009.
Dec 2, 1982 - Transplant patient receives first totally artificial heart
Seattle dentist Barney Clark, who suffered severe congestive heart failure, became the first recipient of a totally artificial heart, the Jarvik 7.
The transplant was deemed a success, but Clark eventually succumbed to infection and died 112 days later.
Dec 3, 1642 - Abel Tasman's crew plants a Dutch flag on Van Diemen's Land
Dutch navigator Abel Tasman 'discovered' Tasmania, then called Van Diemen's Land, on an expedition to chart the 'unexplored southern lands' in 1642.
On December 3, in rough seas, a crewman swam through the surf to plant the Dutch flag on the shore near Frederick Henry's Bay, just east of Hobart.
Tasman would then sail on to New Zealand, not 'finding' the Australian mainland until 1644.
Dec 3, 1989 - The Cold War 'officially ends'
US President George HW Bush met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in a summit in Malta to declare the official end to the Cold War.
The decades-long conflict saw political tensions ratchet up between the two global superpowers, sparking a nuclear arms race, a space race and multiple proxy wars, including Vietnam and Korea. While the Cold War didn't actually end until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Malta summit was an important milestone for American-Soviet relations.
Dec 3 , 1992 - The first ever text message is sent via Vodafone
As the holidays descended on Britain in 1992, engineer Neil Papworth sent the world's first text message to Vodafone director Richard Jarvis.
"Merry Christmas", Papworth typed out on his PC (phones didn't yet have letter keys) and Jarvis, who was at a Christmas party, received it on his Orbitel 901 mobile, which weighed about two kilos.
While texting was slow to catch on, Papworth's message helped pave the way for the invention of innovative telecommunications technology and texting as we know it today.
Dec 4, 1947 - 'A Streetcar Named Desire' debuts on Broadway starring Marlon Brando
Tennessee Williams' acclaimed play A Streetcar Named Desire opened at New York City's Ethel Barrymore Theatre, starring Marlon Brando and Kim Hunter -- then virtually unknown actors. The play initially stunned the audience, which wasn't used to frank and unflinching portrayals of brutality and sexuality played out on stage. The crowd then erupted into 30 minutes of sustained applause.
The play's success spring-boarded Brando into stardom, inspired an Oscar-winning film adaptation and spawned award-winning productions the world over for decades to come.
Dec 5, 1791 - Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies
After falling in in November 1791, Austrian composer and musical child prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died at the age of 35. His cause of death was officially recorded as 'severe miliary fever', however questions surrounding his illness spawned much speculation, myth and many conspiracy theories, including a possible poisoning.
In the last 20 years, scientists agreed that his death was likely caused by rheumatic fever brought on by a streptococcus infection.
Mozart's revered body of work includes more than 600 compositions, many of which are still routinely played by the world's most prestigious orchestras.
Dec 5, 1901 - Animator Walt Disney is born
Happy Birthday Walt! The celebrated Mickey and Minnie Mouse cartoonist and animation pioneer was born on December 5 , 1901 in Chicago, Illinois.
Dec 5, 1909 - Australian George Taylor flies Australia's first manned glider
As a crowd of spectators watched on, aviation pioneer George Taylor launched his home-made bi-plane from the dunes of Narrabeen beach, becoming the first man to fly a heavier-than-air craft in Australia.
Later that day, his wife became the first woman to gain the same distinction.
Dec 5, 1952 - The Great Smog of London descends upon the city
If you thought Sydney's bushfire smoke was bad, try the Great London Smog on for size -- a lethal cloud of smoke, fog and industrial pollution that blanketed the city for nearly a week and killed thousands of Londoners.
A low-pressure weather system trapped fire smoke and factory emissions over the city, inundating hospitals with patients suffering pneumonia and bronchitis. Some estimates place the number of deaths as high as 12,000.
Dec 5, 2013 - Anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela dies
On December 5, 2013, South Africa's revolutionary anti-apartheid leader and first black and democratically elected President Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95.
After decades of tireless rights activism and imprisonment, he helped negotiate the end of South Africa's racial segregation in 1994. His death sparked 10 days of national mourning.
Dec 6, 1865 - America abolishes slavery
The 13th amendment to the US Constitution was ratified on December 6, 1865, formally abolishing more than two centuries of slavery in that country.
It would take 100 more years and much civil injustice and unrest for America to pass the Civil Rights act, finally putting a legislative stop to racial segregation and employment discrimination against black applicants.
The 1865 amendment came two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
Dec 6, 1877 - Thomas Edison makes the first ever sound recording
Ever wonder what the first sound ever to be recorded was? When Thomas Edison fired up his home-made phonograph machine, the first-ever device invented that could record sound and then play it back, it was the beloved nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb" that he recited into it.
For the invention to work, Edison found a way to record sound on aluminium-coated cylinders. He would later go on to invent the telegraph and the telephone.
Do you love history? No? Well you should.
It's great for putting the world in context, broadening your understanding of the human condition, and earning back the respect of your pub trivia team.
And whether you're a Seven Years War buff, a Hammurabi enthusiast or you can barely remember who your last prime minister was, a quick history brush-up is always a fascinating way to make sure you're not doomed to repeat stuff.
To understand who we are, we must understand where we came from. Everything in the 'now' has a greater context rooted in the 'then'. Equally important is realising that history is usually written by the victors, and while we learn those narratives, we must also learn to question them, put them within a larger scope, seek other perspectives, and seek the untold stories.
Now that I've convinced you, let's take a look back at a few of this week's most notable moments in world history.