As a calendar publisher, we’re intrigued by holidays and significant dates of all types. These days can help us nurture a sense of community and deepen a connection within ourselves. Sometimes they are simply a curiosity to make us pause. With 2015 coming to a close, we’d like to take a look back at some anniversaries that occurred this year. This list is by no means complete or exhaustive—just a selection of occurrences that we felt were noteworthy. If there were other anniversaries this year that were significant to you, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
~ 800th anniversary (1215) ~
June 15: Magna Carta was issued by King John in Runnymede, England. Latin for “the Great Charter,” this document was the first of its kind to secure certain rights for the common people. In the context of feudal England at the time, this was a major step forward in approaching democracy.
~ 200th anniversary (1815) ~
June 18: Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated in the Battle of Waterloo in present-day Belgium. Signifying the end of twelve years of Napoleonic Wars, this brief nine-hour battle is said to have changed the course of history.
December 10: Ada Lovelace was born. The daughter of poet Lord Byron, Lovelace is widely considered to be the first computer programmer.
~ 100th anniversary (1915) ~
October 17: Arthur Miller was born. Among Miller’s best-known plays are All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), and The Crucible (1953). He was married to Marilyn Monroe and then to photographer Inge Morath.
November 4, 11, 18, and 25: Albert Einstein presented his Theory on General Relativity in four parts to the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin, Germany.
December 12: Frank Sinatra was born to Italian immigrants in New Jersey. Not only known for his musical talents and success, Sinatra also won an Oscar for best supporting actor in From Here to Eternity.
~ 80th anniversary (1935) ~
July 6: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was born. At the very young age of two, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama. In 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent struggle for the liberation of Tibet. Celebrations occurred around the globe in the months leading up to his 80th birthday. In his honor, we posted the Eight Stanzas for Training the Mind from the Tibetan lojong, or mind-training tradition.
October 1: Julie Andrews was born. Beginning with her Broadway debut at age nineteen, Andrews has had a long and decorated career. Perhaps best known for her roles in the films Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965—this year celebrating fifty years since its debut), she has also been active more recently with her roles in the Shrek films (2004–2010) as well as Despicable Me (2010).
December 1: Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg. Allen continues to be prolific as a filmmaker and musician.
~ 75th anniversary (1940) ~
October 9: John Lennon was born in Liverpool, England. His music helped define a generation and his words have continued to touch the lives of countless people since. December 8, 2015, marked thirty years since his tragic death.
~ 60th anniversary (1955) ~
December 1: Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a public bus. The Montgomery Bus Boycott began just days later, and on December 21, 1956, the Montgomery public transportation system was legally integrated.
~ 50th anniversary (1965) ~
June 6: The Rolling Stones released “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” as a single in the United States. This song, with its easily recognizable guitar riff, is ranked number two on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
June 15 (i.e. just 9 days later): Bob Dylan released “Like a Rolling Stone.” Although the song was originally controversial among fans and with his record company, Columbia Records, due to its length (over six minutes) and its unprecedented use of electric sound, the song has since been ranked the number one greatest song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.
~ 30th anniversary (1985) ~
July 3: The first Back to the Future film premiered. Fans remembered the films on October 21, 2015, the date that character Marty McFly travels to in the “future” in Back to the Future II.
December 25: Comic Relief was launched in the United Kingdom. Spearheaded by scriptwriter Richard Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry, this charity continues to raise funds for children in need around the world.
~ 25th anniversary (1990) ~
February 11: Nelson Mandela was released from prison after serving twenty-seven years for leading a sabotage campaign against the South African government for its establishment of apartheid. He went on to serve as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
November 16: Home Alone premiered. This movie remains the highest-grossing non-animated comedy of all time. (Come on, admit it—you watched at least a few minutes of this one over the holiday season just past.)
October 3: Almost one year after the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989, East and West Germany reunited.
December 1: Workers on the French and British sections of the Channel Tunnel (aka “Chunnel”) met under the seabed. Actually three tunnels (two are for trains and one is a service tunnel), the Chunnel links Paris with London. At 23.5 miles in length, this tunnel boasts the world’s longest undersea span and was deemed by the American Society of Civil Engineers to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
~ 10th anniversary (2005) ~
February 14: YouTube.com was registered as a domain name. The website officially launched in December 2005 and quickly became a multibillion-dollar enterprise.
Originally from Australia, Tanya Fox spent several years living and working in Germany, where she happened to meet a nice young man from Oregon. She ended up moving to Portland to marry him, where they now live with their two children. She works as a freelance editor, proofreader, writer, and translator, and delights in the wide variety her work brings her. She can be contacted for publishing projects.