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.
Births On This Day – December 31
1990 Patrick Chan
Canadian figure skater
1980 Richie McCaw
New Zealand rugby union footballer
South Korean singer-songwriter, rapper, producer, dancer
1941 Alex Ferguson
Scottish footballer, manager
1869 Henri Matisse
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