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The following events occurred in December 1909:
- 1 December 1, 1909 (Wednesday)
- 2 December 2, 1909 (Thursday)
- 3 December 3, 1909 (Friday)
- 4 December 4, 1909 (Saturday)
- 5 December 5, 1909 (Sunday)
- 6 December 6, 1909 (Monday)
- 7 December 7, 1909 (Tuesday)
- 8 December 8, 1909 (Wednesday)
- 9 December 9, 1909 (Thursday)
- 10 December 10, 1909 (Friday)
- 11 December 11, 1909 (Saturday)
- 12 December 12, 1909 (Sunday)
- 13 December 13, 1909 (Monday)
- 14 December 14, 1909 (Tuesday)
- 15 December 15, 1909 (Wednesday)
- 16 December 16, 1909 (Thursday)
- 17 December 17, 1909 (Friday)
- 18 December 18, 1909 (Saturday)
- 19 December 19, 1909 (Sunday)
- 20 December 20, 1909 (Monday)
- 21 December 21, 1909 (Tuesday)
- 22 December 22, 1909 (Wednesday)
- 23 December 23, 1909 (Thursday)
- 24 December 24, 1909 (Friday)
- 25 December 25, 1909 (Saturday)
- 26 December 26, 1909 (Sunday)
- 27 December 27, 1909 (Monday)
- 28 December 28, 1909 (Tuesday)
- 29 December 29, 1909 (Wednesday)
- 30 December 30, 1909 (Thursday)
- 31 December 31, 1909 (Friday)
- 32 References
December 1, 1909 (Wednesday)
- The United States severed diplomatic relations with Nicaragua, with Secretary of State Knox ordering the Nicaraguan charge d'affaires to leave.
- Aleksandër Xhuvani University, the first university in Albania, was founded in Elbasan as a teacher's college, the Shkolla Normale e Elbasanit.
- The payout from the first "Christmas club" was made, by the Carlisle (Pa.) Trust Company.
- Born: Franz Bardon, in Katherein, Austria-Hungary; now Opava, Czech Republic (d. 1958)
December 2, 1909 (Thursday)
- The Union of South Africa was created by royal proclamation of the parliamentary act that consolidated four British colonies.
- The National Hockey Association, forerunner of the National Hockey League, was founded.
- Giovanni Giolitti resigned as Prime Minister of Italy. He was succeeded by Sidney Sonnino.
- The first airplane flight in Turkey was made by Baron De Cotters.
December 3, 1909 (Friday)
- The British House of Commons was dissolved and elections were called for January by Prime Minister Asquith
December 4, 1909 (Saturday)
- The Montreal Canadiens were founded
- The first Grey Cup game was played, with the University of Toronto defeating Parkdale Canoe Club 26–6 at Rosedale Field in Toronto.
- The New York Amsterdam News, an African-American newspaper founded by James H. Anderson, published its first issue.
- Edward Sheldon's play The Nigger opened on Broadway. Later made into a novel (1910) and a film (1915), the play was described by critic George Jean Nathan as one the "ten dramatic shocks of the century". One historian notes that the play "is, despite its politically incorrect title, a prominent defense of miscegenation"
- American Cyanamid shipped its first carload of cyanamide fertilizer. The chemical manufacturer later diversified, producing products such as Centrum vitamins, Old Spice after shave, and Pine-Sol cleaner.
- King Gustaf V of Sweden disguised himself and spent a day working as a stevedore, so that he could see working conditions first hand. Mr. Bernadotte spent the day unloading sacks of coal at a Stockholm harbor.
December 5, 1909 (Sunday)
- The first manned glider flights in Australia and Japan took place on the same day. At Narrabeen, New South Wales, George Augustine Taylor flew in a glider of his own design, and his wife Florence Mary Taylor flew the same day. A boy near Tokyo flew on a biplane glider built by Yves le Prieur and Lt. Shirou Aibara.
- In a duel fought between two members of the Senate of Bolivia, Senator Adolfo Trigo Acha whot and killed Senator Emilio Fernandez Molina. Trigo continued to serve as the Senator from Tarija Department.
December 6, 1909 (Monday)
- Saratov State University was founded in the Russian city of Saratov.
- Antonio Fernandez of Spain became only the fourth person in history to die in an airplane crash, when his aircraft fell apart while he was flying at Nice.
- Born: Freddy Martin, bandleader, in Cleveland (d. 1983)
December 7, 1909 (Tuesday)
- United States patent No. 942,700 was granted for Bakelite ("Condensation product of phenol and formaldehyde and method of making the same"), the first synthetic plastic, and patent No. 942,809 for the process, both to Leo Baekeland.
- Marquette & Bessemer No. 2, a 350-foot-long (110 m) ferry, departed from Conneaut, Ohio, at 11:00 a.m., bound for Port Stanley, Ontario, and was never seen again. One of the 49 persons on board was carrying $32,000 in a briefcase. The ship went down in Lake Erie and had not been located as of 2009.
- Calvin Coolidge defeated Henry E. Bicknell to win election as Mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts, his first political office.
- The town of Anderson, Missouri, was incorporated.
- Born: Nikola Vaptsarov, Bulgarian poet, in Bansko (d. 1942); and Teddy Hill, American bandleader, in Birmingham, Alabama (d. 1978)
December 8, 1909 (Wednesday)
- Colonel Sergey Karpov, director of Russia's secret police, the Okhrana, was assassinated in the Russian capital of St. Petersburg. Aleksandr Petrov, a Bolshevik who had infiltrated the Okhrana, planted the bomb that killed the security chief.
- Born: Franz Six, Nazi Administrator, in Mannheim (d. 1975)
December 9, 1909 (Thursday)
- The British General Post Office announced the first cable money transfer agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States, to take effect on January 1, 1910. Under the new service, money could be wired between British post offices and Western Union telegraph stations in the United States, with orders transmitted via transatlantic cable.
- Born: Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., American film actor, in New York (d. 2000)
December 10, 1909 (Friday)
- The University of Queensland was established by Act of State Parliament. In 1911, 83 students began their first classes in Brisbane.
- Died: Red Cloud, 88, Oglala Sioux leader
December 11, 1909 (Saturday)
- Twenty-six Moslems, found guilty of the massacre of Armenians in Adana on April 14, 1909, were publicly executed in Constantinople.
- The first Canadian football game played in the United States took place in New York City at Van Courtland Park, before 15,000 fans. The Hamilton Tigers beat the Ottawa Rough Riders 11–6.
- Kinemacolor, the first process for motion pictures in color, was demonstrated at Madison Square Garden.
December 12, 1909 (Sunday)
- The only persons known to have escaped the sinking of the Bessemer and Marquette ferry were found in a lifeboat on Lake Erie, frozen to death.
- Born: Karen Morley, blacklsted American actress; as Mildred Linton in Ottumwa, Iowa (d. 2003)
December 13, 1909 (Monday)
- On his deathbed, King Leopold II of Belgium married Caroline Lacroix, his mistress and the mother of his two sons, Lucien and Philippe. The King died four days later and was succeeded by his brother. The marriage, performed as a religious ceremony but not a civil ceremony, was not recognized under Belgian law, and Lucien was ineligible to succeed to the throne. Lucien Durieux lived until November 15, 1984.
- Died: George Salting, 74, British millionaire and art collector
December 14, 1909 (Tuesday)
- The colonial government in British East Africa (now Kenya) set aside as the Southern Game Reserve.
- New South Wales Premier Charles Wade signed the Seat of Government Surrender Act 1909, formally completing the transfer of State land to the Commonwealth to create the Australian Capital Territory.
- Born: Edward Lawrie Tatum, American geneticist, 1958 Nobel laureate, in Boulder, Colorado 1958 (d. 1975) and "Symphony Sid" (Sidney Tarnopol), American jazz publicist, in New York (d. 1984)
December 15, 1909 (Wednesday)
- The first Radisson Hotel was opened. Located on 41 South Seventh Street in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the 16 story building was constructed by heiress Edna Dickerson and had 425 rooms. By 2009, there were 420 Radisson hotels worldwide.
- Robert E. Peary was acknowledged by the National Geographic Society to be the discoverer of the North Pole, more than three months after Peary and Frederick Cook had both claimed to have been there.
- Japan dispatched 2,000 cherry blossom trees to the United States, as the steamship Kaga Maru sailed from Yokohama. By way of Seattle, the trees arrived in Washington, D.C., on January 6.
- The 28 mile long Royal Military Canal, completed in 1809 at a cost of ₤234,310 was paid for after a century, with the collection of the final toll for its use (at Iden Lock).
- The first attempt to create a Cooperative Extension Service in the United States was made when Michigan Congressman James C. McLaughlin introduced a bill for its funding. The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 passed three years later.
- The town of Kermit, West Virginia, was incorporated.
- Died: Francisco Tárrega, 57, Spanish composer
December 16, 1909 (Thursday)
- José Santos Zelaya resigned as President of Nicaragua as American warships approached that nation's coasts. In a message to the Congress, Zelaya wrote that he resigned in hopes of "the re-establishment of peace, particularly the suspension of the hostility of the United States". Zelaya was succeeded by José Madriz, who later resigned under American pressure.
- The village of Duson, Louisiana, was incorporated.
December 17, 1909 (Friday)
- King Leopold II of Belgium died in Brussels at 2:35 a.m. He was succeeded by his younger brother, who was crowned as King Albert I.
- The last brick was placed at track of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as Indiana Governor (and future U.S. Vice-President) Thomas R. Marshall placed a 52-pound gold-plated block into the track. The Speedway then staged its first—and last—midwinter race in bitter, near-zero weather.
December 18, 1909 (Saturday)
- Albert Kimmerling became the first pilot in South Africa. "1910 to 1920 - Early Flying in South Africa"
- U.S. Secretary of State Philander C. Knox sent a diplomatic note to his counterpart in Japan, challenging the expansion of both Empires into China. As part of President Taft's policy of "Dollar Diplomacy" Knox proposed to Japan's Foreign Minister, Komura Jutarō, that foreign-built railways in Manchuria be made neutral to promote economic development. After a January 6 press statement by Knox described the U.S., Britain, Germany and France as "the four great capitalist nations" setting an example for China, Japan and Russia rejected the proposal and agreed to divide their spheres of influence. Historian A. Whitney Griswold later wrote that in trying to advance the Open Door Policy, Knox had "nailed that door closed with himself on the outside".
December 19, 1909 (Sunday)
- Borussia Dortmund, Germany's most popular soccer football club, was founded. The team won six national championships, including the 2002 Bundesliga, and has the largest attendance in Germany.
December 20, 1909 (Monday)
- An expeditionary force of 709 U.S. Marines and 32 officers, led by Colonel James E. Mahoney, arrived at Corinto, Nicaragua on the U.S.S. Buffalo, with orders to invade, if necessary, to protect American interests.
- The first cinema in Ireland, the Volta Cinematograph, was opened as a business venture by novelist James Joyce and other partners. Joyce sold his interest in May 1910.
- The city of Malden, Washington, was incorporated.
- Born: Charlie Conacher, "the Canadian Jim Thorpe", member of both the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, in Toronto(d. 1967); Vakkom Majeed, Indian freedom fighter, in Thiruvanathapuram (d. 2000); and Vagn Holmboe, Danish composer, in Horsens (d. 1996); and
December 21, 1909 (Tuesday)
- A special consistory at the University of Copenhagen reached its findings concerning Dr. Frederick A. Cook. "The documents handed the University for examination," a statement held, "do not contain observations and information which can be regarded as proof that Dr. Cook reached the North Pole on his recent expedition." Robert Peary, who had telegraphed his discovery on September 6, only to find that Cook claimed five days earlier to have been first to the Pole, sent a telegram saying "Congratulations to The New York Times for its steady, insistent, victorious stand for the truth."
- General Electric began marketing of the Mazda name, setting minimum standards for manufacturers of light bulbs with a longer-lasting tungsten filament, and electric lamps, making the light bulb more popular. The trademark, now associated with the automobile, was discontinued by GE in 1945.
- The Kansas City Zoo opened at Swope Park.
- Born: Seicho Matsumoto, Japanese writer and journalist, in Kokura (d. 1992); George W. Ball, American diplomat, in Des Moines (d. 1994); Zoya Fyodorova, Russian film actress, in St. Petersburg (d. 1981); and Edgar Stoëbel, French Algerian painter, in Frenda, Algeria (d. 2001)
December 22, 1909 (Wednesday)
- Thousands of people in Worcester, Massachusetts and neighboring towns witnessed a mysterious airship that hovered over the city and shone a searchlight. The sighting followed claims by inventor Wallace Tillinghast that he had invented an airplane that could fly 120 miles per hour.
- Born: Alan Carney, American comedian, in Brooklyn (d. 1973); and Patricia Hayes, British actress and comedian, in Wandsworth (d. 1998)
December 23, 1909 (Thursday)
- The battleship USS Utah, described as "the most powerful vessel of the Navy" because of its ten 12-inch guns, was launched from the Camden, New Jersey, shipyards. The Utah was sunk at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
- Born: Giulio Racah, Israeli mathematician and physicist, in Florence, Italy (d. 1965); Barney Ross, American boxer, as Dov-Ber Rasofsky in New York (d. 1967); Herman Barron, American golfer, in Port Chester, New York (d. 1978); and Maurice Denham, British actor, in Beckenham (d. 2002)
December 24, 1909 (Friday)
- The federal court in Boston ruled in the case In re Halladjian (174 F. 834) that Armenians were of the White race, and thus eligible to become naturalized citizens. Earlier, Jacob Halladjian and three other people were denied citizenship on grounds that they were "Asiatics".
- Toyohiko Kagawa established the Kyureidan, a Christian mission and social welfare organization, in Kobe, Japan. In 1914, the organization was renamed the Jesus Band, which celebrated its centennial in 2009.
December 25, 1909 (Saturday)
- Engineer Cândido Rondon and his remaining 14 men completed a six month, 900 mile expedition into the Amazon jungles of the interior of Brazil, arriving at the town of Primor, where they were finally able to get resupplied, four months after running out of food. Rondon, who returned to a hero's welcome in Rio de Janeiro, succeeded in extending telegraph wires to form a communications network across Brazil.
- After an absence of more than a year, the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso returned to Lhasa. The ruler of Tibet had journeyed to Beijing in 1908 to meet with the Manchu Emperor, but refused to kowtow to him, and fled at the beginning of 1909, arriving home ahead of the Chinese army. The first soldiers arrived on February 12, 1910, and the Dalai Lama fled again.
- Born: Gleb Lozino-Lozinskiy, developer of Soviet space shuttle (d. 2001); and Zora Arkus-Duntov, designer of the Corvette automobile, in Belgium (d.1995)
December 26, 1909 (Sunday)
- Died: American painter, sculptor and author Frederic Remington died at the age of 48, six days after becoming ill with appendicitis at a New York exhibition of his paintings. By the time he underwent surgery on December 23, his appendix had burst and peritonitis had set in.
December 27, 1909 (Monday)
- Five days after the sudden death of Mississippi's U.S. Senator Anselm J. McLaurin, Governor Noel appointed James Gordon, a 76-year old former colonel in the Confederate Army, had admitted to having met with John Wilkes Booth in Montreal shortly before the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. At one time, a $10,000 reward had been offered by the United States government for his capture, dead or alive, though it was later concluded that he had not been a conspirator.
December 28, 1909 (Tuesday)
- Aviator Albert Kimmerling made the first airplane flight in Africa, taking off at the Nahoon Racetrack at East London, South Africa.
- Voters in six incorporated communities in Hudson County, New Jersey, overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to consolidate their towns into one city. North Bergen, West New York, Weehawken, Guttenberg, West Hoboken and Union Hill would have become one city, to be named by the six Mayors. Union Hill and West Hoboken later merged as Union City, New Jersey.
- Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha, the Turkish Prime Minister, resigned, along with the entire cabinet. Ibrahim Hakki Pasha became the new Grand Vizier on January 12.
December 29, 1909 (Wednesday)
- Ah Hoon, well known in New York as a Chinese American comedian, became a casualty of the tong wars. The Hip Sing gang had delivered a message to him, announcing "the exact hour and the minute he would die", because of insults to them in Hoon's comic routine. Although many sources list December 30 as the evening of Ah Hoon's last performance and murder, his body was discovered in the early morning hours of the 30th.
December 30, 1909 (Thursday)
- The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs decreed that baptism ceremonies could not be performed outdoors (such as in a lake or river) without a permit, because they qualified as a "religious procession".
- Born: Milton Rogovin, photographer, in New York (d. 2011)
December 31, 1909 (Friday)
- At 2:00 pm, the 6,855-foot-long (2,089 m) Manhattan Bridge was opened to traffic, after eight years and 26 million dollars had been spent on its construction. New York City Mayor George Brinton McClellan, Jr., who was on the last day of his term of office, rode in the first automobile of a motorcade from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
- Pope Pius X issued the decree Quinquennial Visit Ad Limina, requiring all Roman Catholic bishops to issue a quinquennial (every five years) report to the Vatican on the state of their diocese, starting in 1911.
- "Taft Breaks With Zelaya", New York Times, December 2, 1909, p1
- Miranda Vickers, The Albanians: A Modern History (I.B. Tauris, 1999), p60
- Joseph Nathan Kane, Famous First Facts, 4th Ed., (Ace Books, 1974) p93
- The Annual Register: A Review of Public Events at Home and Abroad for the Year 1909 (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1910), p405
- John Chi-Kit Wong, Lords of the Rinks: The Emergence of the National Hockey League, 1875–1936 (University of Toronto Press, 2005), p51
- "Sonnino to Form Cabinet", New York Times, December 6, 1909, p1
- Early Aviators
- David Powell, British Politics, 1910–1935 (Routledge, 2004), p34
- Montreal Canadiens website
- CFL history website
- Amsterdam News website
- Anthony Slide, American Racist: The Life and Films of Thomas Dixon (University Press of Kentucky, 2004), p65; novelguide.com
- American Cyanamid Company History
- "King Works As Stevedore", New York Times, December 6, 1909, p1
- Hargrave: The Pioneers, by Russell Naughton
- "Fatal Duel in Bolivia", New York Times, December 7, 1909, p1; Adolfo Trigo Acha in William B. Parker, Bolvians of To-day (Hispanic Society of America, 1922), pp295–296
- "Brief Information about SSU"
- Table of Fatalities in Henry Villard, Contact! The Story of the Early Aviators (Courier Dover Publications, 2002) pp242–243
- Jeffrey L. Meikle, American Plastic: A Cultural History (Rutgers University Press, 1995) pp46, 321
- Mark Bourrie, Many a Midnight Ship: True Stories of Great Lakes Shipwrecks (University of Michigan Press, 2005), pp182–188; http://marquetteandbessemer2.com/
- "100th Anniversary of Coolidge as Mayor"; Claude M. Fuess, Calvin Coolidge: The Man From Vermont (1939) p104
- Anna Geifman, Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia, 1894–1917 (Princeton University Press, 1995), p236
- "To Send Money By Cable", New York Times, December 10, 1909, p4
- "History of UQ", www.uq.edu.au
- "Adana Moslems Executed", New York Times, December 12, 1909, p1
- "History of the Ottawa Renegades", www.cfl.ca
- "Kinemacolor in America", The Bioscope; Eileen Bowser, The Transformation of Cinema, 1907–1915 (Maxwell Macmillan International, 1990), pp228–229
- "Nine Dead of Cold in Yawl on Lake", New York Times, December 13, 1909, p1
- Michael Nelson, Queen Victoria and the Discovery of the Riviera (Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2001), p102
- "Bar Leopold's Sons From the Throne", New York Times, December 17, 1909, p1
- Behgnam Monarchies website
- Marcel M.E.M. Rutten, "Partnerships in Community-based Ecotourism Projects: Experiences from the Maasai Region, Kenya", p6
- Documenting a Democracy: Australia's Story
- Jack El-Hai, Lost Minnesota: Stories of Vanished Places (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) p48
- "About Radisson"
- "Nations Hail Peary As Pole Discoverer", New York Times, December 16, 1909, p1
- Ann McClellan, The Cherry Blossom Festival: Sakura Celebration (Bunker Hill Publishing, 2005), p32
- "Defining the Mission of Virginia Cooperative Extension", by John E. Dooley, pp20–21
- Stephen Kinzer, Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (Times Books, 2006), pp68; American Nicaraguan School website "Zelaya Resigns, Denouncing Us", New York Times, December 17, 1909, p1
- "King Leopold Dies in Sudden Collapse" New York Times, December 17, 1909, p1
- "Speed Defies Cold In Race For Marks", Indianapolis Star, December 19, 1909, p1
- Walter LaFeber, The Clash: U.S.-Japanese Relations Throughout History (W.W. Norton, 1998), pp95–96; quoting A. Whitney Griswold, The Far Eastern Policy of the United States (1938)
- FIFA.com (German); dortmund.de (English)
- Navy Department Library
- Kevin Rockett, Luke Gibbons and John Hill, Cinema and Ireland (Croom Helm, 1987), pp 5–6
- "Cook's Claim to Discovery of the North Pole Rejected"; "University Finds That Cook's Papers Contain No Proof That He Reached the North Pole"; "Peary Sends Congratulations to the Times", New York Times, December 22, 1909, p1
- "Four decades of Mazda incandescent lamps" by Carl Sulzberger
- Jackson County Historical Society
- "Airship Flies High Above Worcester", New York Times, December 23, 1909, p1; "'Aero' Seen Again at Night", Washington Post, December 23, 1909, p1
- "The Airship Wave of 1909", by Dr. David Clarke], although Tillinghast was never able to show that he had such a vehicle. "1909: Christmas Shoppers Watch a UFO Fly Over Boston", ufoinfo.com
- "Battleship Utah Launched", New York Times, December 24, 1909, p5
- "History of USS Utah", National Park Service
- "Citizenship For Armenians", New York Times, December 25, 1909, p3; "The Armenian Economist"
- Todd A. Diacon, Stringing Together a Nation: Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon and the Construction of a Modern Brazil, 1906–1930 (Duke University Press, 2004), pp15–16
- The World's Great Events: An Indexed History of the World From Earliest Times to the Present Day, (P.F. Collier, 1916), Vol. IX, pp2885–2886
- "Remington, Painter and Author, Dead", New York Times, December 27, 1909, p1
- William A. Tidwell, Come Retribution: The Confederate Secret Service and the Assassination of Lincoln (University Press of Mississippi, 1988), pp405–410
- "New Senator Once Fugitive", New York Times, December 29, 1909, p1
- South African Power Flying Association
- "Jersey Town Merger Fails"
- Rashid Khalidi, The Origins of Arab Nationalism (Columbia University Press, 1991), p143
- "New Tong Murder; Chinaman Killed", New York Times, December 30, 1909, p1; Herbert Asbury, The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld (1928, reprinted by Vintage Books, 2008), pp217–218
- Heather J. Coleman, Russian Baptists and Spiritual Revolution, 1905–1929 (Indiana University Press, 2005), p71
- "Manhattan Bridge Opened to Traffic", New York Times, January 1, 1910, p1; Wired New York
- Catholic Encyclopedia