Historical Events on December 31
- 1759: Arthur Guinness begins brewing Guinness beer.
- 1775: At the Battle of Quebec during the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Army led by General Richard Montgomery is repelled by British forces.
- 1796: Baltimore is incorporated as a city.
- 1831: New York receives the deed for Gramercy Park.
- 1857: Ottawa is chosen as Canada’s capital by Queen Victoria.
- 1862: An act that admits W. Virginia to the Union is signed by U.S President Abraham Lincoln. This basically divides the state into two parts.
- 1862: The Battle of Stones River during the American Civil War starts around Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
- 1878: Karl Benz applies for a patent on his two-stroke gasoline powered engine. He would receive the patent the following year.
- 1879: In Menlo Park, New Jersey, Inventor Thomas Edison gives the public their first look at incandescent lighting.
- 1907: The 1st New Year’s Eve Celebration is held in Longacre Square – which would eventually become known as Times Square.
- 1944: Hungary issues a declaration of war against Nazi Germany during World War II.
- 1944: The last major Nazi offensive on the Western Front – Operation Nordwind – begins on this day during WWII.
- 1946: United States President Harry S. Truman officially declares the end of general hostilities during WWII.
- 1951: After giving Europe more than thirteen billion in foreign economic aid, the Marshall Plan expires on this day.
- 1955: The first United States corporation to make over a billion dollar is automaker GM.
Famous Birthdays on December 31
- French painter and sculptor Henri Matisse is born in 1869.
- American race car driver Fred Marriott is born in 1872.
- American general, Nobel Prize laureate and U.S Secretary of State, George Marshall is born in 1880.
- American singer Evelyn Knight is born in 1917.
- American actor and poet Taylor Mead is born in 1924.
- American actor, author and screenwriter, Ed Bunker is born in 1933.
- Welsh actor and director Anthony Hopkins is born in 1937.
- American actor Val Kilmer is born in 1959.
- English footballer and manager Steve Bruce is born in 1960.