25 fun facts for December, 31

Discover dozens of fun facts for this special day. Read the summary for a quick recap on what happened.
December 31st is a significant day in history, known for various notable events, such as Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation, the first mobile phone call in the UK, and the WHO being informed about COVID-19. It also marks the annual Times Square Ball Drop and "Make Up Your Mind Day."
25 Fun facts
  1. On December 31, 1695, the window tax was imposed in England. This tax was levied on homeowners with more than six windows in their houses, resulting in many people blocking up their windows to avoid paying the tax.
  2. On December 31, 1759, Arthur Guinness began brewing in Dublin, Ireland, after signing a 9,000-year lease for the St. James's Gate Brewery. This marked the beginning of the world-famous Guinness brand.
  3. On December 31, 1857, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, a small logging town, to be the capital of Canada. It was selected because of its central location between Toronto and Montreal and its distance from the U.S. border.
  4. On December 31, 1862, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared the freedom of all slaves in the Confederate states.
  5. On December 31, 1879, Thomas Edison demonstrated the first practical electric incandescent light bulb in Menlo Park, New Jersey. The demonstration marked a significant milestone in the development of modern electric lighting.
  6. On December 31, 1907, New York City held its first Times Square Ball Drop to celebrate the New Year. It has since become an annual tradition, drawing large crowds of visitors and watched by millions more worldwide.
  7. On December 31, 1923, the chimes at the Houses of Parliament in London were broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC. The chimes of "Big Ben" have since become an iconic sound worldwide.
  8. On December 31, 1929, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians first played "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. It has become a New Year's Eve tradition, symbolizing the end of one year and the start of another.
  9. On December 31, 1943, John Denver, an American singer-songwriter, musician, and activist was born. He was one of the most popular artists of the 1970s with hits like "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Rocky Mountain High," and "Sunshine on My Shoulders."
  10. On December 31, 1955, the General Motors Corporation became the first U.S. company to earn over $1 billion in a single year.
  11. On December 31, 1960, the farthing coin, worth one-quarter of a penny, ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom after being in circulation for more than 700 years.
  12. On December 31, 1968, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human to travel to space, gave his last public speech. One of the most famous astronauts in history, Gagarin tragically died in a plane crash in 1968.
  13. On December 31, 1970, Paul McCartney filed a lawsuit against the other three Beatles to dissolve the Beatles' partnership, effectively ending the group.
  14. On December 31, 1983, the first mobile phone call was made in the United Kingdom. This milestone marked the beginning of a new era in communication technology.
  15. On December 31, 1988, the first computer virus to attack Microsoft MS-DOS computers, called "Brain," started to spread. This marked the beginning of computer viruses and the importance of cybersecurity.
  16. On December 31, 1991, the dissolution of the Soviet Union took place, marking the end of the Cold War and a significant change in world politics.
  17. On December 31, 1994, during the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Boyz II Men's "On Bended Knee" replaced their own previous number-one song, "I'll Make Love to You." This marked the first time a group replaced themselves at number one since The Beatles in 1964.
  18. On December 31, 1998, the official currency, the Euro, was established to be used by eleven European Union countries, creating the eurozone.
  19. On December 31, 1999, the Panama Canal Zone was officially handed over to Panama by the United States after nearly 100 years of American control.
  20. On December 31, 2000, American retailer Montgomery Ward announced it will close its doors after 128 years in business, a casualty of e-commerce and changing shopping habits.
  21. On December 31, 2004, Taipei 101, a skyscraper in Taipei, Taiwan, was officially opened. At that time, it was the world's tallest building, standing at 1,670 feet (508 meters).
  22. On December 31, 2005, Australian cricketer Shane Warne became the first cricketer to take 1,000 international wickets.
  23. On December 31, 2011, Samoa and Tokelau skipped December 30 and went straight to December 31 to align their time zones with their main trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region.
  24. On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization was informed about cases of pneumonia with an unknown cause in Wuhan, China. This later became known as the COVID-19 pandemic.
  25. December 31 is known as "Make Up Your Mind Day," which encourages individuals to make decisions and resolutions as the year comes to a close.