Home   On This Day   On this day in history - December 31

On this day in history - December 31

What Happened On This Day – December 31

  • 2009 Both a Blue Moon and lunar eclipse occured on the same day

    The next such event to happen on New Year's eve will be in 2028.

  • 1994 Date skipped in Kiribati

    The Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands in Kiribati skip December 31st due to a change in their time zone from UTC−11:00 to UTC+13:00 and UTC−10:00 to UTC+14:00, respectively.

  • 1983 Coup in Nigeria

    A military coup in Nigeria overthrew the civilian government of Shehu Shagari and installed Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari.

  • 1909 Manhattan Bridge opens for traffic

    The Manhattan Bridge, one of the first suspension bridges ever constructed, was opened to traffic on this day. The bridge was designed by Leon Moisseiff and crosses the East River in New York City.

  • 1907 The first annual ball drop at Times Square

    The annual tradition of dropping a ball at 11:59 pm to mark the start of the New Year was organized for the first time by Adolph Ochs, the owner of the New York Times.

Illustration of stork, signifying birth

Births On This Day,
December 31

  • 1990 Patrick Chan

    Canadian figure skater

  • 1980 Richie McCaw

    New Zealand rugby union footballer

  • 1977 Psy

    South Korean singer-songwriter, rapper, producer, dancer

  • 1941 Alex Ferguson

    Scottish footballer, manager

  • 1869 Henri Matisse

    French painter

Illustration of tombstone, signifying death

Deaths On This Day,
December 31

  • 2015 Natalie Cole

    American singer-songwriter, actress

  • 1985 Ricky Nelson

    American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor

  • 1980 Marshall McLuhan

    Canadian author, theorist

  • 1972 Roberto Clemente

    Puerto Rican baseball player

  • 1889 Ion Creangă

    Romanian author, educator