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History's Happenings for December 10

Mississippi Admitted to Union
1817

(Stay tuned for a write-up on this event.
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Birth of William Lloyd Garrison
1805

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Women Gain Vote in Wyoming
1869

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Nobel Prize Day
1896

Scientist Alfred Nobel was born on October 21, 1833 in Stockholm, son of the owner of an explosives factory.

After studying chemistry and engineering in Russia and the United States, he returned to Sweden to assist in the family business, developing and producing explosives.

When his younger brother, along with several others, were killed in a factory explosion involving nitroglycerin, Nobel set out to find a way to make this volatile explosive safer to handle. His solution was to blend it with an organic filler, which yielded a safe but powerful explosive and, in 1867, he named it dynamite. It changed the world.

Highly successful producing his new explosive and other inventions -- including an early smokeless powder -- Nobel left an estate of some $9 million at his death in 1896.

In his will he specified that the bulk of it be set aside in a trust to provide prizes in five disciplines each year, in recognition of the greatest achievement in that discipline. The original categories specified by Nobel were chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine, literature and world peace, each to receive an equal share of the accumulated interest on the trust. (A prize in economics was added by the Swedish Riksbank in 1969).

The first Nobel Prizes were awarded on this day in 1901, five years after the inventor's death, and the anniversary of his death continues to be the day for making the awards.

Two U.S. presidents have so far received the Nobel Peace Prize: Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, for his efforts in negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese War; and Woodrow Wilson, in 1919, for his leadership in the Versailles peace process. Since their inception, over one-third of Nobel laureates have been Americans, particularly in the physical sciences and economics.

Treaty Ends Spanish-American War
1898

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Roosevelt Wins Peace Prize
1906

President Theodore Roosevelt

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