Today In History Spotlights Dec. 6, 1884, Washington Monument is Completed

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Today’s History Spotlight

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The Washington Monument is completed in Washington DC. Conceptualized by Robert Mills, construction initially began in 1848, but was halted from 1854-1877, due to lack of funding and the intervention of the Civil War. Modeled after Egyptian obelisks, it is located almost due east of the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial.

Of the three large monuments dedicated to US presidents in Washington DC – Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln – the Washington Monument was the first to be completed. The idea for a monument in dedication to George Washington was conceived shortly after Washington’s passing, but was halted by President Jefferson, who opposed the public display of monuments.

What Happened On This Day – December 6

  • 1977 South Africa grants independence to Bophuthatswana. The Republic of Bophuthatswana was never internationally recognized. In 1994, after a series of coups, it reintegrated with South Africa.
  • 1967 World’s first pediatric heart transplant. Three days after the first heart transplant in the world occurred in South Africa, Adrian Kantrowitz and his team of surgeons performed United States’ first heart transplant and the world’s first pediatric heart transplant at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.
  • 1922 Establishment of the Irish Free State. The Anglo-Irish Treaty signed between the British and Irish representatives in 1921 paved the way for the establishment of the Dominion of the British Empire. The state lasted until December 1937.
  • 1917 Finnish Declaration of Independence. The declaration ended 109 years of Finland being a Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire. The Northern European country came under the control of the Russian Empire in 1809. After the October Revolution in Russia, which created the Soviet Union, the Finnish Parliament declared independence on this day.
  • 1865 Adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime.

Births On This Day – December 6

  • 1982 Alberto Contador – Spanish cyclist
  • 1967 Judd Apatow – American director, producer, screenwriter
  • 1941 Richard Speck – American murderer
  • 1920 Dave Brubeck – American pianist, composer
  • 1875 Evelyn Underhill – English poet

Deaths On This Day – December 6

  • 1990 Tunku Abdul Rahman – Malaysian politician, 1st Prime Minister of Malaysia
  • 1988 Roy Orbison – American singer-songwriter
  • 1956 B. R. Ambedkar – Indian jurist, politician
  • 1889 Jefferson Davis – American colonel, politician, President of the Confederate States of America
  • 1882 Alfred Escher – Swiss businessman, politician

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Garrett Smith
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