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On This Date In 1653 Oliver Cromwell (April 25, 1599 – September 3, 1658), an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, became Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
On This Date In 1773 The Boston Tea Party, a direct action by colonists in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government and the monopolistic East India Company that controlled all the tea imported into the colonies, took place. After officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor. The incident remains an iconic event of American history, and other political protests often refer to it.
On This Date In 1775 Jane Austen (December 16, 1775 – July 18, 1817) was born, the seventh of eight children of a clergyman in a country village in Hampshire, England. She was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.
On This Date In 1811 The 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes were an intense intraplate earthquake series beginning with an initial pair of very large earthquakes on December 16, 1811. These earthquakes remain the most powerful earthquakes to hit the eastern United States in recorded history. These events, as well as the seismic zone of their occurrence, were named for the Mississippi River town of New Madrid, then part of the Louisiana Territory, now within Missouri.
Judging from their effects, they were of a magnitude of 8.0 or higher on the not yet invented Richter Scale, and were felt over the entire United States outside of the Pacific coast. Large areas sank into the earth, new lakes were formed, the course of the Mississippi River was changed, and forests were destroyed over an area of 150,000 acres.
On This Date In 1826 In an act that foreshadowed the American rebellions to come, Benjamin Edwards rides into Mexican-controlled Nacogdoches, Texas, and proclaims himself the ruler of the Republic of Fredonia.
On This Date In 1863 During the American Civil War, Confederate President Jefferson Davis named General Joseph Johnston commander of the Army of Tennessee. Johnston replaced Braxton Bragg, who managed to lose all of Tennessee to the Union during 1863.
On This Date In 1864 In the Battle of Nashville during the American Civil War, Union troops led by General George H. Thomas devastated Confederate forces at Nashville, Tennessee. The battle had begun the day before when Thomas initiated an attack after waiting some two weeks for troop reinforcements and favorable weather.
On This Date In 1893 The Philharmonic Society of New York gave the world premiere performance of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World” (better known today as the New World Symphony) at Carnegie Hall.
On This Date In 1912 The first U.S. stamp in history to depict an airplane was issued. Six years later, the Post Office Department issued stamps for airmail service.
On This Date In 1917 Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (December 16, 1917 – March 19, 2008), British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, was born. He is most famous for the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, written in collaboration with director Stanley Kubrick, a collaboration which also produced the film of the same name; and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World.
On This Date In 1920 One of the deadliest earthquakes in history hit the Gansu province of midwestern China, causing massive landslides and the deaths of an estimated 200,000 people. The earthquake, which measured 8.5 magnitude on the Richter scale, affected an area of some 25,000 square miles, including 10 major population centers.
On This Date In 1944 The Battle of the Bulge (also known as the Ardennes Offensive and the Von Rundstedt Offensive) (December 16, 1944 – January 25, 1945), a major German offensive, was launched by Nazi leader Adolph Hitler toward the end of World War II through the densely forested Ardennes mountain region of Wallonia in Belgium, and France and Luxembourg on the Western Front.
On This Date In 1950 In the wake of the massive Chinese intervention in the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman declared a state of emergency. Proclaiming that “Communist imperialism” threatened the world's people, Truman called upon the American people to help construct an “arsenal of freedom.” Truman's speech, and the events preceding it, indicated that the Cold War-so long a battle of words and threats-had become an actual military reality.
On This Date In 1960 United Airlines Flight 826, a Douglas DC-8 en route from O'Hare Airport in Chicago to New York, and Trans World Airlines Flight 266, a Lockheed Super Constellation en route from Dayton and Columbus, Ohio, to New York, collided in mid-air in heavy clouds a mile west of Miller Field, a military airfield on Staten Island, killing 134 people on the planes and on the ground. The improbable mid-air collision is the only such accident to have occurred over a major city in U.S. history. This was also the first time a “black box” had been used to provide extensive details in a crash investigation.
On This Date In 1965 During the Vietnam War, with nearly 200,000 U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam already, Gen. William Westmoreland, Commander of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam, sent a request to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara for more troops, stating he would need an additional 243,000 men by the end of 1966.
On This Date In 1971 Two weeks after the Indian invasion of East Pakistan in support of the independence movement there, 90,000 Pakistani troops surrender to the Indian forces. East Pakistan was subsequently declared the independent nation of Bangladesh.
On This Date In 1972 During the Vietnam War, Henry Kissinger announced at a news conference in Washington that the North Vietnamese had walked out of the ongoing private negotiations in Paris. The North Vietnamese negotiators, headed by Le Duc Tho, demanded that the government of Nguyen Van Thieu be dissolved, that the South Vietnamese army be disbanded, and that a coalition government be installed, which would then negotiate for a truce. Nguyen Van Thieu demanded that the North Vietnamese recognize Saigon's sovereignty over South Vietnam, which would make the continued presence of the North Vietnamese troops in the south illegal. The North Vietnamese refused Thieu's demands, saying that they would not recognize Thieu's government and walked out of the negotiations.
On This Date In 1972 The 1972 Miami Dolphins became the only National Football League team to go on to win the Super Bowl with a perfect season. The undefeated campaign was led by coach Don Shula and notable players Bob Griese, Earl Morrall, and Larry Csonka (among many others). This team went 14–0 in the regular season, winning against the Baltimore Colts on December 16 with a score of 16-0, and won all three post-season games, including Super Bowl VII against the Washington Redskins, to finish 17–0. As of 2010, the 1972 Dolphins remain the only NFL team to complete an entire season undefeated and untied from the opening game through the Super Bowl (or championship game).
On This Date In 1973 Buffalo Bills running back Orenthal James “OJ” Simpson became the first player in the National Football League (NFL) to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a single season, breaking Jim Brown’s single-season rushing record of 1,863 yards.
On This Date In 1974 The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the principal federal law in the United States that ensures safe drinking water for the public, became effective.
On This Date In 1977 “Saturday Night Fever,” a movie that ignited the disco dance craze across America, along with the movie career of its star, John Travolta, was released. Travolta earned a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his performance. Music played an essential role in Saturday Night Fever, and the film’s soundtrack, which featured a number of songs by the Bee Gees, including “Stayin' Alive,” “Night Fever,” “How Deep is Your Love,” and “Jive Talkin,” became one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time.
On This Date In 1987 “Broadcast News,” a romantic comedy-drama film written, produced and directed by James L. Brooks, was released. The film stars Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks, William Hurt, as well as Robert Prosky, Lois Chiles, Joan Cusack, and Jack Nicholson.
On This Date In 1987 “Moonstruck,” an American romantic comedy film directed by Norman Jewison, was released in New York City, and then nationally on December 18, 1987. It stars Cher, Nicolas Cage, Danny Aiello, Vincent Gardenia, and Olympia Dukakis.
On This Date In 1988 “Dangerous Liaisons,” a film directed by Stephen Frears, was released. It stars John Malkovich, Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman, and is based upon a play by Christopher Hampton which in turn is based on the classic eighteenth-century novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.
On This Date In 1988 “Rain Man,” a comedy-drama film written by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass and directed by Barry Levinson, was released. The film stars Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, and Valeria Golino.
On This Date In 1989 Federal Judge Robert Vance was instantly killed by a powerful explosion after opening a package mailed to his house near Birmingham, Alabama. Two days later, a mail bomb killed Robert Robinson, an attorney in Savannah, Georgia, in his office. Two other bomb packages, sent to the federal courthouse in Atlanta and to the Jacksonville, Florida office of the NAACP, were intercepted before their intended victims opened them. After an intensive investigation, the federal government charged Walter Leroy Moody, Jr. with these murders and related crimes, and Moody was later convicted and sentenced to seven federal life terms. Subsequently, an Alabama state-court jury convicted Moody of Judge Vance's murder and he was sentenced to death in 1997. He sits on death row at the Holman Correctional Facility near Atmore, Alabama.
On This Date In 1994 “Dumb and Dumber,” a buddy comedy film written and directed by the Farrelly brothers, and starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, was released.
On This Date In 1996 Daniel Carl Wuerffel (born May 27, 1974 in Pensacola, Florida) won the 1996 Heisman Trophy while playing quarterback at the University of Florida. This marked the first time a Heisman winner came from a school coached by another former Heisman winner, in this case, Steve Spurrier.
On This Date In 1998 Through December 19, 1998, President Bill Clinton announced he had ordered air strikes against Iraq, a day after the U.S. House of Representatives had issued a report accusing Clinton of committing “high crimes and misdemeanors” related to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. “Operation Desert Fox” was a major four-day bombing campaign on Iraqi targets by the United States and United Kingdom. These strikes were officially undertaken in response to Iraq's failure to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions as well as their interference with United Nations Special Commission inspectors.
On This Date In 2003 “Me, Myself and I,” a song by American R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles, was released as the third single from her debut album Dangerously in Love. (2003). Written by Scott Storch and Robert Waller, the track was produced by Storch and Knowles. It maintained the number four position on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, and is Knowles' fourth consecutive top five single in the United States.
On This Date In 2009 Astronomers discovered a larger-than-Earth exoplanet orbiting a Red Dwarf Star, possibly with a gaseous atmosphere, and considered a “waterworld,” composed of about three-fourths water and other ices, and one-fourth rock. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216131738.htm
On This Date In 2010 Larry King, the iconic, suspenders-sporting host of CNN TV talk show “Larry King Live,” signed off after 25 years on the air.
Hat tip to any included contributing sources, along with:
Happy Birthday William Perry (1927), Liv Ullmann (1938), Lesley Stahl (1941), Steven Bochco (1943), Patti Deutsch (1945), Benny Andersson (1946), Ben Cross (1947), Billy Gibbons (1949), Maruschka Detmers (1962), Melanie Smith (1962), Benjamin Bratt (1963), Miranda Otto (1967), Paul DePodesta (1972), Antrel Rolle (1982), and Candice Crawford (1986), and Mollie Joe Brennan (2009).
RIP Catherine of Aragon (1485 – 1536), Jane Austen (1775 – 1817), Leon Walras (1834 – 1910), George Santayana (1863 – 1952), Vladimir Tatlin (1885 – 1953), Barbara Kent (1907 – 2011), Stephanie Lawrence (1949 – 2000), and Claudia Cohen (1950 – 2007).
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. Ralph Waldo Emerson
The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins. Bob Moawad
There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart...pursue those. Michael Nolan
Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction. Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Live life fully while you're here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You're going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problem and eliminate it. Don't try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human. Anthony Robbins
Courtesy YouTube et al
Confounding astrophysicist's predictions, the two football field-sized comet survives a swing past the sun, though it lost much mass as these views from three different satellite reveal. Credit: Music: Atom Strange - http://atomstrange1.bandcamp.com/track/breathe - NASA, SOHO, SDO, ESA, PROBA-2
Christmas trees were lit up across the Middle East on Thursday evening in the traditional birthplace and homeland of Jesus. (December 15)
Marine Major Sam Griffith with the West Palm Beach 4th ANGLICO Marine Reserve Unit is killed as a result of enemy fire/ December 14,2011
Rejoice in your freedom, sample the full richness of the opportunities that lie before you. Help one another, trust in yourselves, and have faith in God, and you'll find more joy and happiness than you could imagine.
President Ronald Reagan, December 16, 1988