This Day In History : December 3

1967 South Africa

Dr. Christiaan Barnard Performs First Human Heart Transplant

On December 3, 1967, Dr. Christiaan Barnard and his team of 20 surgeons performed the first human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. The groundbreaking surgery involved transplanting a heart into a 54-year-old South African businessman, marking a major milestone in medical history and opening new possibilities in organ transplantation worldwide.

Also on This Day in History December 3

Discover what happened on December 3 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, December 3
  • 1842 Charles Alfred Pillsbury

    American businessman who founded the Pillsbury Company

  • 1924 John Backus

    American computer scientist and inventor (FORTRAN computer language)

  • 1838 Cleveland Abbe

    American meteorologist (Father of Weather Bureau)

  • 1795 Rowland Hill

    English inventor who introduced 1st adhesive postage stamp (1840)

  • 1616 John Wallis

    English mathematician and cryptographer who introduced ∞ as a symbol for infinity

Deaths on This Day, December 3
  • 1910 Mary Baker Eddy

    American writer, founder of Christian Science

  • 1981 Walter Knott

    American farmer who founded Knott's Berry Farm

  • 2016 S. Newman Darby

    American inventor of the sailboard

  • 1989 Connie B. Gay

    America businessman who founded the Country Music Association

  • 2011 Dev Anand

    Indian actor, director and producer


Illinois Becomes the 21st U.S. State

On December 3, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state to join the United States. This milestone marked the formal admission of Illinois into the Union, expanding the geographical and political landscape of the growing nation.

Bhopal Gas Disaster

On December 3, 1984, a catastrophic gas leak occurred at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. The incident released toxic methyl isocyanate gas into the surrounding area, resulting in thousands of deaths and long-term health effects for many more. The Bhopal Gas Disaster remains one of the world's worst industrial disasters, prompting global discussions on industrial safety and corporate responsibility.

Anders Celsius Confirms Earth's Ellipsoidal Shape

On December 3, 1736, astronomer Anders Celsius took measurements that confirmed Isaac Newton's theory that the Earth is an ellipsoid rather than a perfect sphere. Celsius's findings supported Newton's calculations on the Earth's shape, contributing to advancements in geodesy and our understanding of planetary geometry.

First Official U.S. Flag Raised Aboard USS Alfred

On December 3, 1775, the first official U.S. flag, known as the Grand Union Flag, was raised aboard the naval vessel USS Alfred. This historic event marked a significant moment in American history, symbolizing the unity and resolve of the thirteen colonies in their fight for independence from British rule.
Special day
Discover invention