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On this day in history - December 23

What Happened On This Day – December 23

  • 1994 Organized crime boss Whitey Bulger goes into hiding

    The convicted murderer stayed out of sight for 16 years causing great embarrassment to the American Federal Bureau of Investigations. He was finally arrested in 2011.

  • 1990 Slovenian referendum on independence from Yugoslavia

    The Eastern European country had joined the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a socialist republic state in 1945. Actual independence for the country did not occur until June of 1991, when the Slovenians rejected Yugoslavian interference in the form of a 10-day war that ended on July 7, 1991. A new constitution for the country came into force on December 23, 1991.

  • 1975 Metric Conversion Act signed by U.S. President Gerald Ford

    The act made the metric system the preferred system of weights and measures in the United States. Today, the metric system is predominantly only used by scientists and academics in the U.S. Common people tend to follow the customary units that were developed before American Independence. The U.S. is 1 of 3 countries in the world that do not use the metric system. Liberia and Myanmar are the other two.

  • 1958 Tokyo Tower opened to the public

    At 333 meters tall, it is world's tallest, self-supported steel tower. It is based on the Eiffel Tower and is used for communication purposes.

  • 1888 Vincent van Gogh cuts off his ear

    It is now believed that the Dutch painter was suffering from a psychotic break at the time of the event. After cutting off his left ear, van Gogh bandaged his head and took the severed ear to a prostitute for safekeeping.

Illustration of stork, signifying birth

Births On This Day,
December 23

  • 1967 Carla Bruni

    Italian/French singer-songwriter, model

  • 1964 Eddie Vedder

    American singer-songwriter, guitarist

  • 1963 Jim Harbaugh

    American football player

  • 1944 Wesley Clark

    American general

  • 1918 Helmut Schmidt

    German politician, 5th Chancellor of Germany

Illustration of tombstone, signifying death

Deaths On This Day,
December 23

  • 2009 Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme

    Tibetan politician

  • 2007 Oscar Peterson

    Canadian pianist, composer

  • 2004 P. V. Narasimha Rao

    Indian lawyer, politician, activist, 9th Prime Minister of India

  • 1953 Lavrentiy Beria

    Soviet politician

  • 1795 Henry Clinton

    English general, politician