From past events to today's solutions, the book cover encapsulates a year-round historical exploration.

December History

The following is a preview of a book I am working on.  I am writing a reference book for people as a timeline of history.  

I thought I would share this now for free before I put out for sale in a book which I hope to complete by the end of the year. 

December History

December 1: 

  • Anna Maria Grosholtz who would later be known as Madame Tussaud the famous wax artist is born; 1761.
  • The first stories of Sherlock Holmes by author, Arthur Conan Doyle are published; 1887.
  • Ford Motor Company debuts the first assembly line; 1913. 
  • Woody Allen is born; 1935
  • Richard Pryor is born; 1940
  • Hugh Hefner publishes the very first issue of Playboy magazine, featuring Marilyn Monroe as the magazine’s first centerfold; 1953. 
  • Rosa Parks is arrested after refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger and move to the back of the bus in Montgomery Alabama; 1955. 

December 2: 

  • Napoleon crowned himself as emperor of France in a ceremony officiated by Pope Pius VII; 1804.
  • James K. Polk gives a speech to Congress expressing a wish to expand westward. The speech helped popularize the phrase “manifest destiny” which was being promoted by newspaperman John O’Sullivan. Later on in this December Texas would be admitted to the Union, and not too far after that the Oregon Treaty which was signed on June 15 1845 would be ratified by Congress further popularizing the phrase “manifest destiny” it caught in the lexicon of American phraseology beginning on this day in; 1845
  • Abolitionist John Brown is hung after being convicted for treason after leading an armed attack on Harper’s Ferry; 1859. 
  • French painter Georges Seurat is born; 1859
  • US Naval Intelligence stops bugging the Japanese consul; 1941. 
  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller first airs on MTV; 1983.
  • Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rogers is born; 1983

December 3: 

  • American portrait artist Gilbert Stuart is born; 1755
  • Illinois becomes the 21st state in the USA; 1818.
  • Andrew Jackson is elected as the 7th President; 1828.
  • The first pizza party in space is held on the International Space Station; 2017.

December 4: 

  • William Magear Tweed “Boss Tweed” escapes from jail; 1875
  • An estimated 4,000 people are killed in London when a high pressure forms over the Thames River Valley, the cold temperatures made Londoners burn extra coal in their stoves for heat. The exhaust had nowhere to go and a very thick smog formed over the city causing respiratory illness for thousands. A conservative estimate is that 4,000 people passed away at night due to the very thick smog that formed over the city; 1952. 

December 5: 

  • George Washington is re-elected President of the USA; 1792. 
  • Thomas Jefferson is re-elected President; 1804.
  • Andrew Jackson is re-elected as US President; 1832.
  • James K. Polk announces that Gold has been found in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California triggering a “Gold Rush” in 1849. James Marshall found gold at a mill owned by John Sutter on January 24 1848, it was first reported locally by California’s first millionaire who owned a hardware store in Sacramento, Sam Brannon. Sam Brannon was from New York who arrived in San Francisco a couple years before with several hundred mormons. A few weeks after arriving in San Francisco he abandoned Mormonism and opened a publishing company which failed, and so he moved to Sacramento and opened a hardware store just in time for the Gold Rush. In the California gold rush there were a lot of people who made a lot of money, and hardly any of the minors and 49ers trying to find the mother load went home rich. It was the brothels, bars, saloons, restaurants, hardware stores, and farmers who made way more money off the miners than the miners trying to find gold.; 1848
  • Walt Disney is born in Chicago Illinois; 1901
  • The twenty first amendment is ratified ending prohibition by repealing the 18th amendment; 1933. 
  • Nelson Mandela passed away; 2013

December 6: 

  • The 13th amendment of the constitution is ratified abolishing slavery; 1865.
  • The Washington Monument is completed; 1884.
  • The Altamont Music Festival is held, this “west coast Woodstock” features bands like The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and was headlined by The Rolling Stones. Unfortunately the security at the event were members of the biker gang Hells Angels. During the performance of “Under my Thumb” one of the Hells Angels fatally stabbed a concert goer. The event saw 3 additional accidental deaths and 4 live births; 1969

December 7: 

  • Gian Lorenzo Bernini is born. He is one of the master sculptors of the Baroque era; 1598.
  • Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the Constitution; 1787.
  • Japan attacks America at Pearl Harbor; 1941
  • Chuck Yeager who was the first person to break the sound barrier dies; 2020.

December 8: 

  • JIm Morrison the lead singer of The Doors is born; 1943.
  • John Lennon does a photoshoot with Annie Leibovitz in his apartment of the Dakota in New York City. Around 11:00 that very same night he would be shot in the back and murdered outside his apartment; 1980.

December 9: 

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas the first Peanuts special airs in the USA; 1965.

December 10: 

  • France begins using the Gregorian calendar; 1582. 
  • Encyclopedia Britannica is first published; 1768. 
  • Metric system is officially adopted in France; 1799
  • The UN General Assembly adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; 1948.

December 11: 

  • France’s King Louis XVI goes on trial for high treason; 1792. 
  • The Mona Lisa is recovered after being stolen 2 years prior from the Louvre Museum. This makes the painting even more infamous and popular than it was before; 1913. 
  • King Edward VIII abdicates the thrown of England; 1936.
  • Unicef is established; 1946.

December 12: 

  • Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the constitution; 1787.
  • Saturday Night Fever premiers, in my opinion this movie invented what is referred to as “the friend’s zone” in its closing scene, and aside from The Bee Gees soundtrack, his brother not wanting to be a priest anymore, and John Travolta giving his trophy away there are not too many real life good moments of people being nice in this movie. It is iconic because of the Disco lifestyle it portrays, however, it has many examples of the characters being horrendous to each other and is full of criminal acts that go unpunished. 
  • A climate change agreement is reached in Paris; 2015

December 13: 

  • Sir Francis Drake begins his circumnavigation of the world when he sets sail from England; 1577. 
  • Battle of Fredericksburg Virginia; 1862
  • Saddam Hussein the former leader of Iran was captured by the USA, three years later he was convicted of crimes against humanity and executed by hanging on this day; 2003.

December 14: 

  • French astrology and psychic Nostradamus, the most popular seer of the Renaissance was born in France; 1503
  • George Washington dies at his home Mt. Vernon on the banks of of the Potomac River in Virginia; 1799.
  • Roald Amundsen a Norwegian explorer reaches the South Pole becoming the first person on earth to have gone to both poles; 1911. 
  • America’s first board certified doctors become certified after an examination at the University of Tennessee’s medical school. The certification comes from the American Board of Ophthalmology; 1916.

December 15: 

  • The University of Pennsylvania (America’s first liberal arts college and founded by Benjamin Franklin) establishes the USA’s first law school; 1791.
  • The Bill of Rights of the US Constitution is ratified and 10 amendments are added to the Constitution. Virginia’s approval enshrined basic principles like the freedom of speech, religion, and press into our national psyche and our national governing document; 1791.
  • Gustave Eiffel is born; 1832
  • Napoleon Bonaparte receives a French state funeral almost 20 years after his death; 1840
  • Gone with the Wind premiers in theaters staring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh; 1939.
  • The Iraq War officially ends; 2011

December 16: 

  • Mount Vesuvius erupts again killing 3,000 people; 1631
  • Mt. Fuji in Japan erupts (last recorded eruption); 1707
  • The Sons of Liberty upset with global economics decides to dress up like Indians and and in the middle of the night toss 17 million of dollars worth of tea in to the Boston harbor. This will become known in history as “The Boston Tea Party” a major event in the lead up of the American Revolutionary War of Independence. The real life history of this event is not exactly how we Americans were told as children, truthfully there were higher prices of tea caused by unstableness in India and the East India company was in financial debt, the British tax on tea had been in place for several years prior to this event, the change that caused this uproar was the failure of repealing an existing other tax and a regulatory change that allowed wholesale tea to be sold directly in the colonies cutting out the middle men American merchants who used to buy the tea in London or illegally on the black market, mark it up and sell it to consumers in America. The ships that held the tea were named The Dartmouth, The Beaver, and Eleanor; 1773. 
  • The English author Jane Austen is born in Steventon, England; 1775. 

December 17: 

  • Pope Paul II excommunicates King Henry VIII of England; 1538
  • The first one way street in America is created in New York City; 1791
  • The main building on Ellis Island opens at a cost of 1.5 million dollars it is designed to process 5,000 immigrants in a single day; 1900.
  • The Wright Brothers make the first flight in 27 mph winds in kitty hawk North Carolina. Their airplane first reached flight just after 10:35 am and flew 120 feet. The plane would make several other flights that day including one that lasted 59 seconds and went for a distance of 852 feet. Their plane would be damaged beyond repair that day after being blown over by a gust of wind; 1903

December 18: 

  • The Mayflower pilgrims leave the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts and settle in a new area around Plymouth Massachusetts. The winter was harsh in the new colony and 50 of the 102 passengers died in the first few months. With the help of the English speaker Native American Squanto the pilgrims learned to plant native crops like corn and beans and survive. Later on this event would be turned into a day of giving and thanks in America we call Thanksgiving. Eventually the abandoned Native American village, turned into an encampment by a few dozen people seeking a better life turned into a prosperous fishing and shipbuilding area. In 1691 Plymouth Massachusetts became an incorporated city in the Massachusetts Bay Association. They arrived in Plymouth on this day; 1620
  • The thirteenth amendment is ratified abolishing slavery in the United States of America; 1865
  • President Donald Trump becomes the third President of the United States of America to be impeached by the House of Representatives; 2019.

December 19: 

  • George Washington makes his winter encampment at Valley Forge PA. The area is on high ground allowing Washington the ability to see British troop movements in and out of Philadelphia more easily. Nearly 12,000 soldiers, 400 women and children constructed over 1,500 log huts and ran a small city at Valley Forge for 6 months. This was the 4th largest city in the colonies at the time. The army that arrived in Valley Forge was not disciplined, poorly trained, and not well supported. Valley Forge, like America today, was a diverse place which included: Free and enslaved African soldiers, indigenous peoples from different tribes, women who worked to support the army and their husbands by performing every imaginable job on base, Europeans who came to support the American cause and fight the British like Pierre Charles L’Enfant who trained as an artist at the Louvre and whose father was a painter in Versailles, he was not the most talented and did not have that much of a future in France, so he joined a small group of French volunteers to America, He became friends with George Washington when he arrived. Washington did not have any use for art at the time, so he assigned him the job of drawing the battle plans and the plans for defenses of encampments like Valley Forge, later he would get the job of remodeling City Hall in New York City which became Federal Hall on Wall Street and the balcony of that building is where Washington was first sworn in as our first President, L’Enfant would also get the job to draw the plans of a new Capital City, and even though it would take many decades to fulfill his original plans Pierre Charles L’Enfant shaped the formation of the United State’s capital city of Washington D.C. About a third of the population at Valley Forge spoke no English or knew English as a second language, it is one of the first places of a mass inoculation of smallpox, which did lead to some deaths but saved the army from complete destruction. The experiment of a massive vaccination proved to be the right move. Additionally the army was trained by a Prussian officer Baron von Steuben who was at first irritated with Americans. In Europe the infantry never asked why they had to do this drill or that drill or this exercise or that exercise, when Von Steuben first began attempting to train Americans it did not work, the Americans kept wanting to know why they had to do this or that. Once the communication channels got ironed out , the army began training more effectively. The army that arrived in Valley Forge was tired, exhausted and lacked training in military tactics and support. The army that left Valley Forge in June learned the skills and discipline needed to defeat the British and form an independent country. It all began when they took their first steps into Valley Forge on this day; 1777. 
  • Charles Dickens publishes A Christmas Carol; 1843
  • William Halford who was born in England arrives in Kauai after 31 days at see. He was a sailor aboard the USS Saginaw the very first ship built at Mare Island shipyard in Solano County California in 1858, On October 29 1870 the Saginaw hit a reef and became grounded near the Midway Atoll, the crew faced the possibility of being stranded on the island and dying. William Halford and 4 others volunteered to attempt to row to Hawaii to seek rescue. As they approached Kauai the row boat capsized in the surf drowning the other 4 volunteers. William Halford reached the shore and 4 days later was in Honolulu at the US consulate. The King of Hawaii sent a steamer ship with 40 tons of coal to Midway and rescued the crew of the USS Saginaw. Coxswain William Halford received the Medal of Honor for his bravery on this day in 1870. He would later serve as a lieutenant in WWI at 77 years old, he served until the day he died in 1919 in Oakland California, he is buried at the Mare Island Navy Yard cemetery in Vallejo California. (Alongside several other historical people who have fascinating stories of their own). The gig (row boat) was sold in 1871 to a collector in San Francisco, later on it was on public display in Saginaw Michigan, in 2021 the gig was moved to the Naval History and Heritage Command Headquarters Artifact Collection at the Naval Yard in Washington DC. 

December 20: 

  • The formal transfer of the Louisiana Territory takes place in New Orleans when the French flag is lowered and replaced wit the stars and stripes; 1803.
  • Grimm’s Fair Tales is published; 1812
  • South Carolina becomes the first state to secede from the Union; 1860
  • John Steinbeck is born in Salinas California; 1902
  • Elvis Presley is drafted into the US Army; 1957

December 21: 

  • First game of basketball is played by students in Springfield Massachusetts using rules invented by James Naismith; 1891.
  • Los Angeles California native General George S. Patton passes away after being paralyzed for the last 12 days from a car accident. He was one of America’s greatest generals during World War II who lead a tank division in North Africa, Sicily, and Europe. His lack of skills in diplomacy and his big mouth got him into trouble politically in his career, however people from all over were grateful for the role he played in defeating the nazis. France offered to have his body be placed in Napoleon’s tomb in Paris, however his wife thought it best to have him be buried near his men in the American cemetery in Luxembourg. Even though he was no fan of jews, rabbis wore their concentration camp uniforms to pray of his grave at his funeral to pay respect for his leadership in ending the holocaust; 1945.

December 22: 

  • Fyodor Dostoevsky receives a last second reprieve from execution, he was convicted of anti government activities and sentenced to death, he was led in front of a firing squad, and then was reprieved. He was sentenced to serve 4 years in a Siberian labor camp, and 4 more years in the army in Mongolia. In 1859 he returned to Russia and founded a magazine and traveled to Europe for the first time with his new bride. 4 years later his wife and brother died and his magazine folded and he was in debt due to his gambling and poor business management. The next year he published his most popular book “Crime and Punishment” which features the character Raskolnikov who murders his elderly neighbor to steal her jewelry. Most of the book takes place in Raskolnikov’s super depressing and existential mind as he goes about his daily life while also being a suspect for murder. At the end of the book he ends up being sent to a Siberian labor camp and oddly finds himself free of the mind even though he is being sent to prison and a life of hard labor. As a book on existential philosophy very few did it better than Dostoevsky. The following year to escape his creditors he and his new wife (a different one then the one who died a couple years earlier) moved to Europe where he would write The Brothers Karamazov which features the story within the story “The Grand Inquisitor” where Jesus comes back to Seville Spain during the time of the Spanish Inquisition and is jailed and interrogated. Most of this diatribe is about the church and its teachings and how the return of Jesus is bad for the church and so on. In this story Jesus doesn’t say anything and just listens, and then forgives the inquisitor. (Just attempting to write something like this is a little bonkers and should be admired). None of this would have happened if he would have been executed on this day; 1849. 

December 23: 

  • Vincent Van Gogh cuts off his ear after an argument with Paul Gauguin. Van Gogh is the quintessential cliche of a mentally ill starving artist, in his lifetime he only sold 1 painting, he moved to Paris to become an artist and with the help of his younger brother (an art dealer) he was able to stay afloat and interact with other artists like Pisarro and Seurat. In 1888 he rented a house in Arles in the south of France and Gaugin stayed with him for 2 months, Van Gogh painted his famous sunflower series in this house. One night while suffering from a severe episode of mental illness he threatened Paul Gauguin with a knife, but instead cut off the lower part of his ear in front of him, he later allegedly took it to a local brothel and gave it to a prostitute for safe keeping. After being hospitalized and treated he checked himself in to a mental institution for a year in Saint-Remy where he drifted in and out of sanity and painted some his best work including Starry Night. Soon after being released from the mental hospital he stayed outside of Paris, but continued to be plagued by sadness and loneliness. On July 27, 1890 Vincent Van Gogh shot himself and died two days later at the age of 37. He was found wounded and allegedly said “I shot myself… I only hope I haven’t botched it.” While laying in bed after shooting himself he was questioned by the police and allegedly said “What I have done is nobody’s business. I am free to do what I like with my own body.” On this day he cut off his ear which is the beginning of the end of his tragic story; 1888. 
    • P.S (Some historians who have researched the actual police reports of this event claim it was Gauguin who mutilated his ear with a sword. Whatever happened Van Gogh took responsibility and was hospitalized.) At the time of his death Van Gogh was not known by anyone, his brother Theo who believed him and supported his art his entire life died a few months later. It was in the early 20th century where his 800 paintings and 700 drawings along with his story began gaining popularity and appreciation. The rest as they say…. is history.

December 24: 

  • Treaty of Ghent signed ending the War of 1812 between the United States of America and the United Kingdom; 1814
  • A fire at the Library of Congress destroyed two thirds of the 55,000 volumes in the collection including Thomas Jefferson’s personal collection of books. After the war of 1812 and the fire of the Library of Congress, White House, and Capitol. Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his personal library to Congress to replace the lost literature. His 6,467 volumes fetched a sum of $23,950 which helped Thomas Jefferson pay off personal debts. Thomas Jefferson died in 1826, his library (and this country) suffered a tremendous loss 25 years later; 1851. 
  • Howard Hughes is born; 1905
  • The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan; 1979

December 25: 

  • First Christmas; 1
  • According to early Christian historians such as Sextus Julius Africanus and others Jesus died and was immaculately conceived on the same day (different years). That day being plus or minus about a week from April 1. To calculate the birthday of Jesus early Christian historians picked March 25 to be the date of death and conception and subtracted 9 months from that date, making December 25th the date of Jesus’s birth, and March 25th year 33 the date of Jesus’s death. a.d stands for Anno Domino, the year of the lord beginning the year of his birth. Not after death which was 33 years later; 1
  • Charlemagne becomes the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire; 800
  • William I was crowned King of England; 1066
  • After failure after failure on the battlefield the Continental army found themselves poorly equipped, exhausted, low morale, and lacking a spirit to continue. George Washington retreated from Trenton New Jersey and found a little refuge in the woods along the Delaware river outside of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. The cold winter began to set in and Washington decided to launch a surprise attack against Hessians who made camp in Trenton New Jersey. From Bucks County PA George Washington led a midnight crossing of 2,400 men across the Delaware river into New Jersey, and the next day launched a successful attack against the Hessians at the battle of Trenton. This event reinvigorated the American spirit of independence and boosted morale of his troops; 1776.
    • In art this event would become famous through the work of the artist Emanuel Leutze who was born in Germany but grew up in America he began supporting his family after his father died by painting portraits for people in the Philadelphia area for $5 a piece. He gained a reputation and admission into the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf (fine art academy in Germany). Leutze only lasted a year because he was anti academic, instead he chose to travel to Rome and Florence and study the greats of the Renaissance. He returned to Dusseldorf and married, he made his home there for the next 14 years. In 1848 there were several revolutions that began brewing in Europe. In the spring France returned to a republic for the second time, a few weeks later several states in Germany began revolts against the establishment, followed by Austria and Hungary. In January 1848 the Sicilian city of Palermo began a revolution which spread to other Italian states beginning the process of a unified Italy as a democracy. Further revolts happened in: Belgium, Netherlands, and Ireland. The Revolutionary spirit had taken hold in Europe just as gold was being discovered in California. To help spread the spirit of revolution Emanuel Lutz painted “Washington’s Crossing” in 1850 while living in Germany. The original was damaged in a fire the next year, then restored and remained in Germany. On September 5 1942 an allied bomber destroyed the original painting. However, he painted a second copy in 1850 for a show in New York City. That copy was purchased for $10,000 ($350,000 in today’s money) it was sold several more times to different late 19th century NYC multi millionaires. In 1897 it was donated to the Metropolitan Museum by John Steward Kennedy. The visitor’s center at Washington’s Crossing has a theater designed specifically for viewing that specific painting, the Metropolitan Museum moved it there for a little while when the center opened. When you go to the visitor’s center you will see digital projection of the painting and a fascinating history about the center and the story of the painting. The companion piece to this painting is of Washington rallying his troops and is on display at the Doe Library at the University of California at Berkley. 

December 26: 

  • There were over 400 funeral services for George Washington from the time he died until the official day of mourning by Congress on February 22, 1800. On this day in a German Lutheran Church outside of Philadelphia one of his closest friends Colonel Henry Lee gave a rousing eulogy of George Washington’s accomplishments, he asked the people to follow him through time as he went through the military victories of Washington; this eulogy is remembered in history for including the words “First in war, First in Peace, First in the hearts of his countryman.”; 1799
  • Henry Miller the writer of Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn is born in New York City; 1891
  • The Flamingo Hotel opens in Las Vegas Nevada, the mobster Bugsy Seigel owned the hotel and casino. The opening weekend was a disaster for the casino who lost over $300,000 in its first week of operation and closed after two weeks. A couple months later it reopened and had a profit, however it was not enough to save Bugsy Siegal. On June 20, 1947 he was murdered in a mansion in Beverly Hills. The crime remains unsolved to this day. The Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas first began operation on this day; 1946

December 27: 

  • Louis Pasteur is born; 1822
  • The HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin departs England; 1831
  • Radio Center Music Hall opens, it was built in an art deco style and was funded by John D. Rockefeller who was building a complex in a once run down neighborhood of Manhattan. The venue has welcomed more than 300 million visitors since it opened; 1939.
  • The International Monetary Fund is established based on the ideas of Harry Dexter and John Maynard Keynes. 

December 28: 

  • Westminster Abbey opens; 1065
  • Benjamin Franklin begins to publish his almanac known as “Poor Richard’s Almanack” which includes anecdotes and idioms and many words of wisdom; 1732
  • Thomas Paine the man who wrote “Common Sense” and was a pivotal figure in America’s Revolution is arrested in France. He opposed the death penalty and the use of the guillotine he also was writing a book called “Age of Reason” which he claimed that science and rationality will win over religion and influence people’s behavior more then a belief in God at the end. These blasphemous ideas led him to a posh prison in Luxembourg where he finished the book, his arrest and imprisonment also created an uproar in America and James Monroe eventually got him released in 1794. However, his new book was also not well received by the American public and the puritans. He was labeled an anti christ, godless, and his entire reputation was destroyed. In 1809 he died in New York poor; 1793. 

December 29: 

  • Thomas Becket the archbishop of Canterbury is murdered by 4 knights at the alter; 1170
  • Texas is admitted into the Union, it is the only state to be admitted that skipped being a territory or colony first because it was an independent country of its own hence the Lone Star on its state flag; 1845
  • Wounded Knee Massacre at the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, The U.S Cavalry kill nearly 146 Sioux Indians in the biggest massacre of the American Indian Wars of the late 19th century; 1890.

December 30: 

  • James Gadsden secures land from Mexico by purchasing it from the Mexican Government. The land is 30,000 square miles and now the southern border of the USA from Arizona, New Mexico to west of El Paso Texas. The land was seen as important to a future railroad and the Secretary of War at the time (Jefferson Davis) sent James Gadsden to Mexico City to acquire the land. During the Civil War the big four of California’s railroad industry, Charles Crocker, Mark Hopkins, Collin Huntington and Leland Stanford would establish a Southern Pacific railroad connecting Los Angeles to New Orleans; 1853

December 31:

  • Ottawa is made Capital of Canada by their head of state Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Queen Victoria picked Ottawa in part because it was more difficult to invade if Britain were to engage in another war with the USA. The American press at the time claimed that Ottawa could not be captured because soldiers would get lost in the woods trying to find it; 1857.
  • Thomas Edison demonstrates the incandescent light bulb; 1879
  • The WHO first learns of a pneumonia from Wuhan China which is a beginning milestone in the global pandemic that followed. The Covid 19 pandemic so far has had over 630 million cases and over 6.5 million have died from this virus globally. In the USA there has been over 97 million cases and over 1 million deaths. There have been almost 13 billion doses of vaccines administered; 2019.


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