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Today in History

December 16, 2021 GMT

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Dec. 16, the 350th day of 2021. There are 15 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 16, 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place as American colonists boarded a British ship and dumped more than 300 chests of tea into Boston Harbor to protest tea taxes.

On this date:

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell became lord protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.

In 1811, the first of the powerful New Madrid (MAD’-rihd) earthquakes struck the central Mississippi Valley with an estimated magnitude of 7.7.

In 1944, the World War II Battle of the Bulge began as German forces launched a surprise attack against Allied forces through the Ardennes Forest in Belgium and Luxembourg (the Allies were eventually able to turn the Germans back).

In 1950, President Harry S. Truman proclaimed a national state of emergency in order to fight “world conquest by Communist imperialism.”

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In 1960, 134 people were killed when a United Air Lines DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation collided over New York City.

In 1982, Environmental Protection Agency head Anne M. Gorsuch became the first Cabinet-level officer to be cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to submit documents requested by a congressional committee.

In 1991, the U.N. General Assembly rescinded its 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism by a vote of 111-25.

In 2000, President-elect George W. Bush selected Colin Powell to become the first African-American secretary of state.

In 2001, after nine weeks of fighting, Afghan militia leaders claimed control of the last mountain bastion of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida fighters, but bin Laden himself was nowhere to be seen.

In 2012, President Barack Obama visited Newtown, Connecticut, the scene of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre; after meeting privately with victims’ families, the president told an evening vigil he would use “whatever power” he had to prevent future shootings.

In 2014, Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar, killing at least 148 people, mostly children.

In 2019, House Democrats laid out their impeachment case against President Donald Trump; a sweeping report from the House Judiciary Committee said Trump had “betrayed the Nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections.” Boeing said it would temporarily stop producing its grounded 737 Max jet as it struggled to get approval from regulators to put the plane back in the air; it had been grounded since March after two deadly crashes.

Ten years ago: In San Francisco, eight years of being investigated for steroid allegations ended for home run king Barry Bonds with a 30-day sentence to be served at home. (Bonds never served the sentence; his conviction for obstruction of justice was overturned.)

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Five years ago: President Barack Obama put Russia’s Vladimir Putin on notice that the U.S. could use offensive cyber muscle to retaliate for interference in the U.S. presidential election, his strongest suggestion to date that Putin had been well aware of campaign email hacking. John Glenn’s home state and the nation began saying goodbye to the beloved astronaut and former U.S. senator starting with a public viewing of his flag-draped casket inside Ohio’s Statehouse rotunda in Columbus.

One year ago: The first COVID-19 vaccinations were underway at U.S. nursing homes, where the virus had killed 110,000 people. Tyson Foods said it had fired seven top managers at its largest pork plant after an investigation confirmed allegations that they had wagered on how many workers at the plant in Iowa would test positive for the coronavirus. (An outbreak centered around the plant infected more than 1,000 employees, at least six of whom died.) Major League Baseball reclassified the Negro Leagues as a major league and said it would count the statistics and records of its 3,400 players as part of major league history.

Today’s Birthdays: Civil rights attorney and co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center Morris Dees is 85. Actor Joyce Bulifant is 84. Actor Liv Ullmann is 83. CBS news correspondent Lesley Stahl is 80. Pop musician Tony Hicks (The Hollies) is 76. Pop singer Benny Andersson (ABBA) is 75. Rock singer-musician Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) is 72. Rock musician Bill Bateman (The Blasters) is 70. Actor Xander Berkeley is 66. Actor Alison LaPlaca is 62. Actor Sam Robards is 60. Actor Jon Tenney is 60. Actor Benjamin Bratt is 58. Country singer-songwriter Jeff Carson is 58. Actor-comedian JB Smoove is 56. Actor Miranda Otto is 54. Actor Daniel Cosgrove is 51. R&B singer Michael McCary is 50. Actor Jonathan Scarfe is 46. Actor Krysten Ritter is 40. Actor Zoe Jarman is 39. Country musician Chris Scruggs is 39. Actor Theo James is 37. Actor Amanda Setton is 36. Rock musician Dave Rublin (American Authors) is 35. Actor Hallee Hirsh is 34. Actor Anna Popplewell is 33. Actor Stephan James is 28.