This Day In History
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
On This Day


in 1847

The first group of rescuers reaches the Donner Party. The Donner Party was an 87-member group of American pioneers who set out in a wagon train going westward, until getting bound in by snow in the Sierra Nevada. Casualties were extremely high and many of the survivors cannibalized members of the party who had already died. The wagons left Missouri for California in May of 1846. Encouraged to try a new, faster route across Utah and Nevada, they opted to take the Hastings Cutoff, proposed by Lansford Hastings who had never taken the journey with wagons. The Cutoff required the wagons to traverse Utah's Wasatch Mountains and the Great Salt Lake Desert, and slowed the party considerably, leading to the loss of wagons, horses, and cattle. It also forced them to engage in heavy labor by clearing the path ahead of them, and created deep divisions between members of the party. They had planned to be in California by September, but found themselves trapped in the Sierra Nevada by early November.
Donner Party, American pioneers

in 1878

Thomas Edison patents the...
Thomas Edison patents the phonograph. The phonograph record player, or gramophone, is a device introduced in 1877 that has had continued common use for reproducing (playing) sound recordings; although when first developed, the phonograph was used to both record and reproduce sounds. The recordings played on such a device generally consist of wavy lines that are either scratched, engraved, or grooved onto a rotating cylinder or disc. As the cylinder or disc rotates, a stylus or needle traces the wavy lines and vibrates to reproduce the recorded sound waves. The phonograph was invented in 1877 by Thomas Alva Edison at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, USA. On February 19, 1878, Edison was issued the first patent (U.S. patent #200,521) for the phonograph.
Edison, phonograph

in 1986

Space station «Mir»
Space station «Mir»
The Soviet Union launches its «Mir» spacecraft. Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the largest artificial satellite orbiting the Earth until its deorbit on 21 March 2001 (a record now surpassed by the International Space Station). Mir served as a microgravity research laboratory in which crews conducted experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology and spacecraft systems in order to develop technologies required for the permanent occupation of space.
Mir, space station, space


in 1473
Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance astronomer and the first person to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology which displaced the Earth from the center of the universe.
in 1743
Luigi Boccherini

Luigi Rodolfo Boccherini was an Italian classical era composer and cellist whose music retained a courtly and galante style while he matured somewhat apart from the major European musical centers.


in 197
Clodius Albinus

Clodius Albinus was a Roman usurper proclaimed emperor by the legions in Britain and Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula, comprising modern Spain and Portugal) upon the murder of Pertinax in 193.
in 1997
Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy. While Deng never held office as the head of state, head of government or General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, he nonetheless served as the paramount leader of the People's Republic of China from 1978 to 1992.
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