December 1912

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December 6, 1912: Authentic bust of Egypt's Queen Nefertiti discovered after 32 centuries
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December 18, 1912: Fake prehistoric "missing link" Eoanthropus dawsoni presented to British scientists

The following events occurred in December 1912:

December 1, 1912 (Sunday)[edit]


December 2, 1912 (Monday)[edit]

December 3, 1912 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • At Çatalca, Turkey signed an armistice with Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, but Greece did not participate.[8] The ceasefire took effect at 7:00 pm local time, temporarily halting the fighting.[9] Part of the ceasefire was to hold a peace conference in London, but the discussions failed and hostilities would resume on February 3, 1913.[10]
  • The impeachment trial of U.S. District Judge Robert Wodrow Archbald began in the U.S. Senate.[2]
  • Fifteen people were killed in a train wreck near Dresden, Ohio.[11]
  • Died: Alice Bunker Stockham, M.D., 79, obstetrician, gynecologist and only the fifth American woman to become a physician.

December 4, 1912 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The Marquis Saionji Kinmochi resigned as Prime Minister of Japan, and the other cabinet followed suit, after the ministers were unable to find a replacement for War Minister Uyehera.[12]
  • Italy's Chamber of Deputies approved the peace treaty with Turkey, 335-24.[13]
  • African-American boxer Jack Johnson shocked much of America by marrying "outside his race" to white American Lucille Cameron. The two would divorce in 1924.[14]
  • Born: Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, American pilot, United States Marine Corps fighter ace who led the "Black Sheep Squadron" in World War II, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho (d. 1988)
  • Died: Archibald Gracie IV, 53, American author and Titanic survivor, after health damage sustained while awaiting rescue in a lifeboat.

December 5, 1912 (Thursday)[edit]

  • The Triple Alliance agreement was renewed in Vienna between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.[15]
  • Persian religious leader `Abdu'l-Bahá completed the trip to the United States and Canada that had started with his arrival in New York City on April 11. Having introduced the Baha'i faith to North America, he departed from New York on the steamer Celtic, bound for Liverpool.[16]
  • The U.S. Department of Justice dropped further antitrust proceedings against the American Sugar Refining Company.[2]
  • Born: Kate Simon, Polish-American author and travel writer, as Kaila Grobsmith in Warsaw (d. 1990)
  • Died: J. Scott Mason, Governor of North Borneo, after falling from a horse.

December 6, 1912 (Friday)[edit]

  • In excavations at Tell al-Amarna in Egypt, the Nefertiti Bust was unearthed, intact, after a burial of 32 centuries. The team, led by a team led by German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt, discovered the limestone statue of the head and shoulders of the wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten (who reigned 1353 BC to 1336 BC), while sifting through the workshop o the sculptor Thutmose. Borchardt concluded that the statue had once set upon a wooden shelf, next to a similar bust of Akhenaten, until termite damage caused both objects to topple; and while the pharaoh's statue was shattered, Nefertiti's bust survived because it had happened to land, upside down, on its flat top.[17]
  • Count Terauchi Masatake, the Governor General of Korea, was asked by the Emperor to form a new government as Prime Minister of Japan.[18]
  • Vladimir, the Metropolitan of Moscow, was appointed President of the Russian Orthodox Synod and Metropolitan of St. Petersburg as well.[2]

December 7, 1912 (Saturday)[edit]

  • German-born American banker Paul Warburg presented the blueprint, for what would become the Federal Reserve System, for presentation to Congress and to President-Elect Woodrow Wilson. The original plan, with twenty reserve banks under control of a central board, would be altered to 12 federal reserve banks after Warburg modified the Federal Reserve Act to accommodate the wishes of Congressman Carter Glass.[19]
  • Hassan Riaz Pasha, the Turkish Governor of Scutari, refused to accept his nation's armistice and continued fighting the First Balkan War.[2]
  • Born: Lewis Samuel Feuer, American philosopher, in New York City (d. 2002)
  • Died: George Darwin, 67, English astronomer and mathematician

December 8, 1912 (Sunday)[edit]

  • Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany convened a "War Council" at Potsdam, with his military leaders, after receiving the news that the United Kingdom would join with France and Russia in the event of a European war. The outcome was to postpone plans for war with the Russian Empire until the near future, but to prepare the German public for an inevitable "racial war, the war of Slavdom against Germandom" in 1914 or 1915.[20]
  • Turkish cavalry and artillery withdrew from Tripoli, which had been ceded to Italy.[2]
  • Born: Jean Garrigue, American poet, in Evansville, Indiana (d. 1972)

December 9, 1912 (Monday)[edit]

  • The Greek submarine Delfin made the first torpedo attack in modern warfare, after sighting the Turkish cruiser Medjidieh and five escort ships. Lt. Commander Paparrigopoulos ordered the firing of the underwater missile from a distance of 500 meters, but the torpedo "did not run properly and sank".[21]
  • General Moritz von Auffenberg resigned as the War Minister of Austria, and was succeeded the next day by Count Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf.[22]
  • Prince Louis of Battenberg, who would later anglicize his name to Louis Mountbatten, was appointed as the new British First Sea Lord.[23]

December 10, 1912 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • The Austro-Hungarian Empire issued a general mobilization to all of its military men and reservists all over the world in anticipation of war.[24]
  • The Turkish infantry departed Tripoli, completing its surrender of the Libyan territory to Italy.[2]
  • Born: Philip Hart, Democratic United States Senator from Michigan from 1959–1976 (d. 1976

December 11, 1912 (Wednesday)[edit]

December 12, 1912 (Thursday)[edit]

  • U.S. Representative Charles C. Bowman of Pennsylvania was unseated by a 153-118 vote of his fellow House Congressmen, who concluded that he had used corrupt practices to be elected in 1910. Bowman still had almost three months left in his term, which would expire March 4. Bowman's Democratic opponent, George R. McLean, was also denied a seat by a 181-88 margin, because the majority concluded that he was guilty of the same practices as Bowman.[25]
  • Eduard Müller was elected President of the Swiss Confederation.[2]
  • Born: Henry Armstrong, American boxer (d. 1988)
  • Died: Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria, 91. Luitpold had been the de facto ruler since 1886 because of the mental illness of his nephew, King Ludwig II. Luitpold's son, Prince Ludwig of the House of Wittelsbach, succeeded to the regency and would later become King Ludwig III.
  • Died: Susan Tolman Mills, 87, co-founder of Mills College, the first women's college west of the U.S. Rocky Mountains

December 13, 1912 (Friday)[edit]

  • By executive order, outgoing U.S. President William H. Taft established National Petroleum Reserve No. 2 (NPR-2), at the Buena Vista Hills in Kern County, California, south of Reserve No. 1.[26]
  • Antitrust proceedings were filed in the U.S. against the "candy trust".[2]

December 14, 1912 (Saturday)[edit]

  • Lieutenant Belgrave Edward Sutton Ninnis died in Antarctica, after falling into a crevasse whilst on an expedition with explorer Douglas Mawson. Ninnis had been guiding six dogs who were pulling the sledge carrying much of the party's supplies, including most of their food, their tent, and spare clothing, when the ice gave way. Looking into the pit, the Mawson and Dr. Xavier Mertz saw a dog about 150 feet below, and an even deeper abyss beyond, but nothing else. Mawson and Mertz were left with a ten-day supply of food and still had 315 miles to cover at the time of the accident.[27]
  • General Louis Botha resigned as Prime Minister of South Africa.[28]
  • The U.S. Senate voted to approve the construction of a $2,000,000 memorial to Abraham Lincoln at West Potomac Park in Washington, DC.[2]

December 15, 1912 (Sunday)[edit]

  • Died: Whitelaw Reid, 75, U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, in London at his residence at Dorchester House.

December 16, 1912 (Monday)[edit]

  • The Balkan Peace Conference was opened at St. James's Palace in London by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Grey[2][29] On the same day, the navies of Greece and Turkey fought a battle at the entrance of the Bosporus Strait. The Turkish fleet, with 4 battleships, 9 destroyers and 6 torpedo boats opened fire on a Greek battleship squadron which arrived from the island of Imbros. The Greek fleet retaliated ten minutes later, sending the Turkish ships in retreat, and the battle ended at 10:30 am, forty minutes after it began. The Greeks sustained 8 casualties and no major damage, while the Turks lost 58 killed and wounded.[30]

December 17, 1912 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • The Franco-Spanish treaty of Morocco was approved by the Spanish Chamber of Deputies, 216-22.[2]
  • Kamoun the self-described Sultan of Dar-al-Kuti in what is now the Central African Republic, was defeated by the French Army after nearly two years of defying France and its control of Ouanda Djallé[31]
  • Born: Edward Short, British politician (d. 2012)
  • Died: "Common", 24, English racehorse who won the English Triple Crown in 1891

December 18, 1912 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • Piltdown Man, thought to be the fossilized skull of a hitherto unknown form of early human, was presented to the Geological Society of London. Dr. A.S. Woodard told a reporter, "That this skull, representing a hitherto unknown species, is the missing link, I have no doubt." [32][33] In 1953, the Piltdown Man would be revealed to be a hoax.[34]
  • A mine explosion at Achenbach, near Dortmund in Germany, killed 25 people and injured 15.[35]
  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Burnett immigration bill, barring any immigrants who were over 16 and illiterate, 178-52.[2] Although the bill would pass the U.S. Senate as well, President Taft would veto it and the House would fail to override it.
  • Roland Garros became the first person to fly an airplane across the Mediterranean Sea, traveling 160 miles from Tunis to Sicily.[4]
  • Born: Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., who would become (in 1954) the first African-American General in the United States Air Force and who would retire at the four star rank in 1998; in Washington, DC (d. 2002). His father, then First Lt. Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., would (in 1940) become the first African-American General in the United States Army.
  • Born: Otto Ernst Remer, who would be captured in 1945 as a Brigadier General in the Army of Nazi Germany, and would later be a leader of Neonazism in West Germany; in Neubrandenburg (d. 1997)
  • Died: Will Carleton, 67, American poet; and J. Cheever Goodwin, 60, playwright of numerous musical comedies

December 19, 1912 (Thursday)[edit]

  • The "Star Spangled Banner Flag", which had flown over Fort McHenry in September 1814 during the Battle of Baltimore, and which became the inspiration for, and the subject of, the American national anthem, was donated to the Smithsonian Institution. The descendants of Major George Armistead had loaned the flag to the Institution in 1907, before making a gift of it.[36]
  • Japanese Army Captains Yoshitoshi Tokugawa and Kumazo Hino became the first military pilots in Japan, with Hino flying a German Grade monoplane for 1,200 meters and Tokugawa flying for four minutes in a French Farman biplane.[37]
  • The United States warned rebel leaders in the Republic of Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic) not to take action against the new government, or the U.S. would intervene.[2]
  • President Taft, in his final three months in office, asked Congress to give seats, though not votes, to members of the presidential cabinet. Congress then adjourned without taking up the idea, and Taft departed for a visit to Panama.[38]
  • William H. Van Schaick, who had been the captain of the steamboat General Slocum when a fire on the ship killed over 1,000 passengers in 1904, was paroled from New York's Sing Sing prison after serving three and one half years. He would be pardoned on Christmas Day by President Taft.[39]

December 20, 1912 (Friday)[edit]

  • Twenty-two of the 27 people on the British steamer Florence were killed off of the coast of Cape Race, Newfoundland.[40]
  • General Botha returned as Prime Minister of South Africa and formed a new cabinet.[2]
  • Died: J. H. Logue, Chicago diamond merchant, was brutally murdered in his office in midday. Logue was stabbed 17 times, shot in his right shoulder, had his skull crushed, had part of his right thumb severed, had his mouth burned with acid, and was gagged. The killing was believed to have been revenge for Logue's prosecution of diamond thieves in 1905 and 1906.[41] Five men and four women were arrested the next day in connection with the killing.[42]

December 21, 1912 (Saturday)[edit]

December 22, 1912 (Sunday)[edit]

December 23, 1912 (Monday)[edit]

  • Delhi conspiracy case: The Viceroy of India, Lord Hardinge, was wounded in an assassination attempt, when a bomb was thrown at him as he was arriving in Delhi. Hardinge's attendant was killed in the explosion.[46] Hardinge was being brought to the capital on an elephant as part of the arrival ceremony, when a bomb was thrown at him from a housetop. Debris struck his right shoulder. Hardinge's attendant, Jamadar Mahabir Singh,[47] was killed, and 20 people were injured. Four people (Amir Ali, Avadh Behari, Bal Mukund and Basant Kumar Biswas, who threw the bomb) were later executed for the attack,[48] but the mastermind behind the plot, Rashbehari Bose, escaped to Japan where he would live the rest of his life, dying in 1945.
  • The completion of the Aswan Dam was celebrated in a ceremony attended by Lord Kitchener and the Khedive of Egypt.[2][49]
  • Twenty-two people were killed when two British steamers collided in the Gulf of Mexico.[2]
  • Ohannes Bey Kouyoumjian, an Armenian Catholic, was appointed as the Turkish Governor of Lebanon.[2]
  • Born: Anna J. Harrison, American organic chemist, first woman to serve (1978) as President of the American Chemical Society; in Benton City, Missouri (d. 1998)
  • Died: Otto Schoetensack, 62, German anthropologist; and Édouard Detaille, 64, French military artist

December 24, 1912 (Tuesday)[edit]

December 25, 1912 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • Fifteen minutes after U.S. President Taft was driven down a street during his visit to Panama, a dynamite blast wrecked the street in Colon. No group claimed responsibility, but one report noted that "it is generally believed that the act was committed with a view to taking the life of the president and that the plot only failed because of some miscalculation in the arrangements." [52]
  • The first pro-independence organization in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), the Indische Partij, was founded by Ernest Douwes Dekker, an "Indo" with "a Dutch father and a German-Javanese mother", and Indonesian physicians Tjipto Mangoenkoesoemo and Soewardi Soerjaningrat.[53]
  • After a vote of censure by the Peruvian Senate, Elías Malpartida resigned as Prime Minister of Peru.[4]
  • Born: Natalino Otto, Italian singer, as Natale Codognotto in Cogoleto (d. 1969)
  • Died: Margaret Hatch, 40, nationally known vaudeville actress, suffered a heart attack on stage while performing at a theater in Stamford, Connecticut, and died minutes later.[54]

December 26, 1912 (Thursday)[edit]

December 27, 1912 (Friday)[edit]

  • George Washington Donaghey, the outgoing Governor of Arkansas, "accomplished through executive action what forty years of protests and duplicitous legislation had failed to do" [58] toward ending the practice of convict leasing in his state. Although Donaghey had not been able to persuade the state legislature to ban the system of the state prisons selling the use of inmates to private companies as unpaid workers, he had lobbied for the early parole of prisoners who had committed minor offenses, and in a single day, pardoned 360 other convicts of their crimes, freeing them prison and from slave labor. The legislature ended the practice the next year.[59]
  • Former Prime Minister Alexandre Ribot began his run for office as President of France.[2]
  • Born: Conroy Maddox, British painter, in Ledbury (d. 2005)

December 28, 1912 (Saturday)[edit]

December 29, 1912 (Sunday)[edit]

December 30, 1912 (Monday)[edit]

December 31, 1912 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • China defaulted on its payment under the Boxer Indemnity Agreement, arising from damages to the eight powers during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.[2]
  • Álvaro de Figueroa, 1st Count of Romanones became the new Prime Minister of Spain.[2]
  • Former Venezuelan President Cipriano Castro was detained at Ellis Island pending a ruling as to whether he was an undesirable alien.[2]


  1. ^ Jad Adams, Gandhi: The True Man Behind Modern India (Open Road Media, 2011)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac The Britannica Year-Book 1913: A Survey of the World's Progress Since the Completion in 1910 of the Encyclopædia Britannica] (Encyclopædia Britannica, 1913) pp xli - xliii
  3. ^ Helen Delpar, Looking South: The Evolution of Latin Americanist Scholarship in the United States, 1850-1975 (University of Alabama Press, 2007) pp64-65
  4. ^ a b c d "Record of Current Events", The American Monthly Review of Reviews (February 1913), pp163-167
  5. ^ David A. Jasen and Trebor Jay Tichenor, Rags and Ragtime: A Musical History (Courier Dover Publications, 1978) p138
  6. ^ "Japanese Cabinet Crisis", New York Times, December 3, 1912
  7. ^ Hew Strachan, The Outbreak of the First World War (Oxford University Press, 2004) p65
  8. ^ "Greeks Refuse the Armistice; Others Sign It", New York Times, December 4, 1912
  9. ^ Edward J. Erickson, Defeat in Detail: The Ottoman Army in the Balkans, 1912-1913 (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003) p137
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  11. ^ "Eight Die, 7 Hurt, in Rear-End Crash", New York Times, December 4, 1912
  12. ^ "Japanese Cabinet Out", New York Times, December 5, 1912
  13. ^ "Italian Treaty Approved", New York Times, December 5, 1912
  14. ^ Peggy Pascoe, What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (Oxford University Press, 2009) p165
  15. ^ Hew Strachan, The Outbreak of the First World War (Oxford University Press, 2004) p65; "Triple Alliance Renewed", New York Times, December 8, 1912
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  17. ^ Joann Fletcher, The Search for Nefertiti: The True Story of an Amazing Discovery (HarperCollins, 2004) p60
  18. ^ "Terauchi Japan's Premier", New York Times, December 7, 1912
  19. ^ Ron Chernow, The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family (Random House Digital, 2012)
  20. ^ Roderick R. McLean, Royalty and Diplomacy in Europe, 1890-1914 (Cambridge University Press, 2007) p66
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  22. ^ "Ignore Armistice; Fighting Resumed", Milwaukee Sentinel, December 10, 1912, p1
  23. ^ Spencer Tucker, European Powers in the First World War: An Encyclopedia (Taylor & Francis, 1999) p495
  24. ^ "Austria Mobilizes Army of Kingdom", Milwaukee Sentinel, December 11, 1912, p1
  25. ^ "Bowman Is Ousted from House Seat", Milwaukee Sentinel, December 13, 1912, p1
  26. ^ "Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves", in Historical Dictionary of the Petroleum Industry, Marius Vassiliou (Scarecrow Press, 2009) p332
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Botha Resigns as Premier", New York Times, December 15, 1912
  29. ^ Deniz Bolukbasi, Turkey and Greece: The Aegean Disputes (Routledge, 2004) p26
  30. ^ Zisis Fotakis, Greek Naval Strategy and Policy 1910-1919 (Routledge, 2005) p50
  31. ^ Pierre Kalck, Historical Dictionary Of The Central African Republic (Scarecrow Press, 2005) p110
  32. ^ "Man Had Reason Before He Spoke",New York Times, December 20, 1912
  33. ^ "Darwin Theory Is Proved True", New York Times, December 22, 1912
  34. ^ "The Piltdown Forgery: The Full Extent", by J. S. Weiner, 1955
  35. ^ "German Miners Killed", Milwaukee Sentinel, December 19, 1912, p1
  36. ^ Our Flag (Government Printing Office, 2007) p44
  37. ^ Akira Yoshimura, Zero Fighter (Greenwood Publishing, 1996) p7
  38. ^ Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department (W. W. Norton & Company, 1969) p754
  39. ^ Fran Capo, Myths and Mysteries of New York: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained (Globe Pequot, 2011) p169
  40. ^ "Twenty Two Die in Steamer Wreck", New York Times, December 23, 1912
  41. ^ "Diamond Merchant Slain in Chicago", Milwaukee Sentinel, December 21, 1912, p1
  42. ^ "Nine Persons Held in Logue Murder", Milwaukee Sentinel, December 22, 1912, p1
  43. ^ Natalino Ronzitti, The Law of Naval Warfare: A Collection of Agreements and Documents With Commentaries (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1988) p839
  44. ^ Klaus Schlichtmann, Japan in the World: Shidehara Kijūrō, Pacifism, and the Abolition of War (Lexington Books, 2009) p224
  45. ^ "Actors' Equity", in The Routledge Guide to Broadway, Ken Bloom, ed. (CRC Press, 2006) p3; Estelle May Stewart, Handbook of American Trade-Unions (Government Printing Office, 1929) p197
  46. ^ "Assassin Attacks Viceroy of India", Milwaukee Sentinel, December 24, 1912, p1
  47. ^ "Lord Hardinge Bomb Case (1912-1915)
  48. ^ P. N. Chopra, A Comprehensive History of India (Volume 3) (Sterling Publishers, 2003) p207
  49. ^ Trevor Turpin, Dam (Reaktion Books, 2008) p87
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  51. ^ Ben Koning, Images of America: Sunnyvale (Arcadia Publishing, 2011) p88
  52. ^ "Street Dyanmited as Taft Passes", Milwaukee Sentinel, December 26, 1912, p1
  53. ^ John Nery, Revolutionary Spirit: Jose Rizal in Southeast Asia (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2011) p114
  54. ^ "Vaudeville Actress Dies", Milwaukee Sentinel, December 26, 1912, p1
  55. ^ John Reed, Insurgent Mexico (International Publishers, 1914) p15
  56. ^ "Steamer Sunk, 13 Drowned", New York Times, December 27, 1912
  57. ^ "Senatorial Santa Singed", Milwaukee Sentinel, December 27, 1912, p1
  58. ^ Matthew J. Mancini, One Dies, Get Another: Convict Leasing in the American South, 1866-1928 (University of South Carolina Press, 1996) p130
  59. ^ Timothy Paul Donovan and Willard B. Gatewood, The Governors of Arkansas: Essays in Political Biography (University of Arkansas Press, 1995) p137
  60. ^ Sergei O. Prokofieff, Eternal Individuality: Towards a Karmic Biography of Novalis (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1992) p141-142
  61. ^ "KILLED IN STEVENSON HOME: Girl Shot Accidentally by Former Vice President's Grandson", New York Times, December 31, 1912
  62. ^ "High German Official Dies during Vacation", Milwaukee Sentinel, December 30, 1912, p1