WHAT HAPPENED ON - 06 December

December 6 1768 – Encyclopædia Britannica is published for the first time

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December 6 1768 – Encyclopædia Britannica is published for the first time
5 (100%) 1 vote

The iconic Encyclopædia Britannica was the brainchild of the printer and bookseller Colin Macfarquhar and the engraver Andrew Bell. In 1778, the Scottish printer and his partner formed the “Society of Gentlemen” and hired the erudite William Smellie to come up with an encyclopedia that could be alphabetically aligned. The Encyclopædia Britannica made its debut in Edinburgh in Scotland. Volume I of the first edition was released on December 6, 1768. The initial volume was sold for a price of 6 to 8 pence depending on the quality of paper. By 1771, three-volume set was completed.

In all some 3,000 copies of the first set were sold. The 2,391-page complete first edition was sold for a cost of about 12 pounds sterling. The original editions also included elaborate illustrations, a number of which were by Andrew Bell himself. Macfarquhar was inspired by the success of the 35 volume French Encyclopédie which consisted of 71,818 articles, and 3,129 illustrations. The French Encyclopédie later grew to contain 166 volumes written by 2,250 contributors including illustrious names such as Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire.

Smellie and his colleagues focused on the utility of their encyclopedia, which grouped topics together in an alphabetical order. …(Read more)

December 6 1922 – The Irish Free State Comes into Existence One Year After the Anglo-Irish Treaty

December 6 1922 – The Irish Free State Comes into Existence One Year After the Anglo-Irish Treaty
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*Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Almost four years after the first battle in the Anglo-Irish War, those seeking an independent Irish Free State got what they wanted on December 6, 1922. Twelve months to the day of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the British government granted the Irish control of the Emerald Isle. A week later, the six counties of Northern Ireland exercised their right to secede, leading to a decades-long struggle known as “the Troubles.”

Irish nationalists had been in search of sovereignty for 25 years by the time of the Easter Rising of 1916. When the rebellion failed and its leaders were put on trial for treason, the movement folded itself into Sinn Fein, turning it into the political arm of the Volunteers — those willing to use force against the British. When Parliament attempted to force Irishmen to serve in the military in the wake of German victories during the spring of 1918, an ethnic group which already opposed the involvement of its young men in World War I grew louder with its discontent.

Vast numbers of seats in the Irish government were won by Sinn Fein politicians that December, with the leadership deciding to bypass the Parliament of the United Kingdom in Westminster to form an Irish legislative body on January 21, 1919 in Dublin. Holding fast to the belief an “existing state of war, between Ireland and England,” the politicians voted to organize the IRA — something that had happened almost on its own already. …(Read more)

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