Today in History

Published 12:01 am Saturday, December 16, 2017

Today is Saturday, Dec. 16, the 350th day of 2017. 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.

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On this date:

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

In 1809, the French Senate granted a divorce decree to Emperor Napoleon I and Empress Josephine (the dissolution was made final the following month).

In 1811, the first of the powerful New Madrid earthquakes struck the central Mississippi Valley with an estimated magnitude of 7.7.

In 1917, science-fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke was born in Minehead, Somerset, England.

In 1930, golfer Bobby Jones became the first recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award honoring outstanding amateur athletes.

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.”

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

In 1976, the government halted its swine flu vaccination program following reports of paralysis apparently linked to the vaccine.

In 1985, at services in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, offered condolences to families of 248 soldiers killed in the crash of a chartered plane in Newfoundland.

In 1991, the U.N. General Assembly rescinded its 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism by a vote of 111-25.

In 1997, singer Nicolette Larson, a recording artist who lifted Neil Young’s pop hit “Lotta Love” to the top of the charts in the 1970s, died in Los Angeles at age 45.

Ten years ago: British forces formally handed over to Iraq responsibility for Basra, the last Iraqi region under their control. Singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg died in Deer Isle, Maine, at age 56.

Five years ago: 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. Two Topeka, Kansas, police officers, Cpl. David Gogian and Officer Jeff Atherly, were shot to death in a grocery parking lot; the suspected gunman was later killed after an armed standoff. A 23-year-old woman was brutally raped and beaten on a bus in New Delhi, a crime that triggered widespread protests in India. (The woman died 13 days later.)

One year 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 starting with a public viewing of his flag-draped casket inside Ohio’s Statehouse rotunda in Columbus.

Today’s Birthdays: Civil rights attorney Morris Dees is 81. Actress Joyce Bulifant is 80. Actress Liv Ullmann is 79. CBS news correspondent Lesley Stahl is 76. TV producer Steven Bochco is 74. Former Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons is 73. Pop musician Tony Hicks (The Hollies) is 72. Pop singer Benny Andersson (ABBA) is 71. Actor Ben Cross is 70. Rock singer-musician Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) is 68. Rock musician Bill Bateman (The Blasters) is 66. Actor Xander Berkeley is 62. Actress Alison LaPlaca is 58. Actor Sam Robards is 56. Actor Jon Tenney is 56. Actor Benjamin Bratt is 54. Country singer-songwriter Jeff Carson is 54. Actor-comedian JB Smoove is 52. Actress Miranda Otto is 50. Actor Daniel Cosgrove is 47. Rhythm-and-blues singer Michael McCary is 46. Actor Jonathan Scarfe is 42. Actress Krysten Ritter is 36. Actress Zoe Jarman is 35. Country musician Chris Scruggs is 35. Actor Theo James is 33. Actress Amanda Setton is 32. Rock musician Dave Rublin (American Authors) is 31. Actress Hallee Hirsh is 30. Actress Anna Popplewell is 29. Actor Stephan James is 24.