December 30, 1853
James Gadsen, the American ambassador to Mexico, signs a treaty with Mexico agreeing to the purchase of almost 30,000 square miles of land. The treaty was named the Gadsen Treaty, and the purchase price for the land was ended up being $10 million. The land is in present day Arizona and New Mexico. After signing of the treaty, it is ratified, with changes, by the United States Senate, signed by President Franklin Pierce, and then finally approved by Mexico on June 8, 1854. This represented the last major land area added to the contiguous United States.
The land was acquired to run a transcontinental railroad. Most paths available before this purchase tended to drift North, and the South felt that this put them at a disadvantage, not having a railroad devoted to their use to access the Western markets.
The acquisition of land was also needed to make it easier for Mexico and the United States to defend the borders against raids across the from the Indian tribes in the US into Mexico. The payment settlement included compensation for Mexico for damage already done by the Indians.
December 30, 1862
The USS Monitor, the first ironclad warship of the United States Navy, sinks in heavy seas. Launched earlier in the year, on January 30, 1962, the USS Monitor was the Union’s answer to the CSS Virginia, an ironclad of the Confederate States Navy.
They met for battle on March 9, 1862. The previous day, the CSS Virginia had fought destroying two ships and was working on a third when daylight ran out. The Monitor’s arrival stopped the Virginia from finishing, and the two ships fought all day long. The battle was essentially a draw; with each ship suffering slight damage.
The Monitor’s design was not suited for travel on the seas, and she sank off the coast of North Carolina on December 30, 1962. The site of the wreck was located in 1973, and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. It has been decided not to bring the ship to the surface, but efforts are underway to conserve as much as possible as the wreck is becoming increasingly decayed.
December 30, 1924
Edwin Hubble announced that Andromeda is a separate galaxy, not a part of our galaxy, and so that there are many galaxies in the universe.
Until this time, the indistinct patches of light in the sky were thought to be clouds of gases in our Milky Way. However, using new more powerful telescopes, and new math formulas, Hubble figured out that Andromeda was 860,000 light years distant. That distance put it eight times farther than the farthest star in the Milky Way. This discovery changed the way we look at the universe.
December 30, 1965
Ferdinand Marcos becomes President of the Philippines starting December 30, 1965, and remained in power until February 25, 1986. Ferdinand Marcos came to power by winning the election for president, but his campaign was marked with rumors of coercion, fraud and vote buying. He won re-election, with much of the same accusations, becoming the first Filipino president to win re-election.
Then in 1972, he declared martial law. During this time, a new constitution, already in the works, was finalized and went into effect. This changed his title to Prime Minister, as the Philippine type of government was changed, and Marcos stayed in power until a nonviolent revolution ousted him in 1986.