This Day In History : December 22

1974 Comoros

Referendum in Comoros: Three Islands Vote for Independence, One Chooses to Remain French

In December 1974, the Comoros Archipelago held a series of referenda where three islands—Grande Comore, Anjouan, and Mohéli—voted for independence from France. Mayotte, however, opted to remain under French sovereignty, leading to a complex political situation in the region.

Also on This Day in History December 22

Discover what happened on December 22 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, December 22
  • 1911 Grote Reber

    U.S. amateur astronomer and radio engineer who self-financed and built the first radio telescope.

  • 1887 Srinivasa Ramanujan

    Srinivasa Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician who did notable work on hypergeometric series and continued fractions.

  • 1876 Gustav Waldemar Elmen

    Swedish-American electrical engineer and metallurgist who created Permalloy (1916) and related alloys with high magnetic permeability used in communications equipment.

  • 1765 Johann Friedrich Pfaff

    German mathematician who proposed the first general method of integrating partial differential equations of the first order.

  • 1903 Haldan Keffer Hartline

    American physiologist who shared (with George Wald and Ragnar Granit) the 1967 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his analysis of how the sensory cells of the retina of the eye evaluate the light stimulus.

Deaths on This Day, December 22
  • 1828 William Hyde Wollaston

    English chemist and physicist who discovered palladium (1803) and rhodium (1804), during his investigation of platinum ore.

  • 1867 Jean-Victor Poncelet

    French mathematician and engineer whose study of the pole and polar lines associated with conic led to the principle of duality.

  • 1902 Baron Richard von Krafft-Ebing

    German neurologist and neuropsychiatrist (baron) who opened the field of sexual psychopathology.

  • 2003 John Holter

    American inventor of a pioneering valve used in the treatment of hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”). Shortly after birth (1955), his son suffered from hydrocephalus.

  • 1921 James Mooney

    Early American ethnographer of American Indians, especially those of the southeastern United States.


Sun flash spectrum

In 1870, Charles Augustus Young, an American astronomer, made the first observations of the flash spectrum of the Sun.

Lincoln tunnel

In 1937, the Lincoln Tunnel in New York opened to traffic, passing 1.5 miles under the Hudson River and connecting Weehawken, N.J., and Manhattan in New York City.

South Africa Signs Accord Granting Independence to South West Africa

On December 22, 1988, South Africa signed the Tripartite Accord with Angola and Cuba, which paved the way for the independence of South West Africa (now Namibia). This agreement marked a significant step towards ending South Africa's administration of the territory, leading to its eventual independence in March 1990.

First Evidence of Modern Humans Found in Jerimalai Cave, East Timor

In 2006, Australian archaeologist Sue O'Connor discovered the first evidence of modern humans in Jerimalai Cave, near Lene Hara Cave in East Timor. This significant finding provided insights into early human migration and settlement patterns in Southeast Asia, shedding light on prehistoric cultural developments in the region.
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