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This Day in History - December 16

December 16

705 – Chinese empress Wu Zetian dies

755 – The An Shi Rebellion begins during the Chinese Tang Dynasty as an Lushan revolts against Chancellor Yang Guozhong at Fanyang

1431 – Henry VI of England is crowned King of France

1485 – First wife of Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, is born

1515 – Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque dies

1598 – During the Seven Years War, the final battle, Battle of Noryang Point, occurs and the Korean navy defeats the Japanese

1653 – Oliver Cromwell receives the title of “Lord Protector” of England, Scotland and Ireland and the dictatorial powers that go along with it

1707 – A seventeen-day eruption begins on Mount Fuji, the highest volcano in Japan.  It is also the last time the volcano erupted and is known as the Hoei Eruption

1770 – German composer Ludwig Van Beethoven is born

1773 – To protest the tax on tea from England, a group of young Americans, disguised as Indians, throw chests of tea from British ships in Boston Harbor

1775 – Novelist Jane Austen is born

1811 – The greatest series of earthquakes in US history begin when an estimated 8.6 magnitude earthquake shakes the Mississippi River Valley near New Madrid, Missouri.  The quake altered the topography of the region, but as it was sparsely inhabited at the time, there were no known human fatalities.  The Mississippi River reversed direction momentarily creating Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee.  Additional quakes and aftershocks continued from winter into spring, five of which were estimated at an 8.0 magnitude or greater

1826 – Benjamin Edwards proclaims himself to be the ruler of the Republic of Fredonia, stretching from the Sabine River to the Rio Grande River, in an unsuccessful revolutionary attempt to free Anglo Americans from their Mexican rulers in Texas.  When the Mexican militia approached Nacogdoches in the weeks to come, Edwards fled to the US

1835 – A fire in New York City destroys an estimated $20,000,000 worth of property during a two-day burn that decimates 17 blocks and levels 674 buildings

1863 – Confederate General Joseph Johnston takes command of the Army of Tennessee

1864 – Union forces under General George H. Thomas defeat an entire Confederate army at the Battle of Nashville

1866 – French-Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky is born

1901 – American anthropologist Margaret Mead is born

1914 – German battle cruisers led by Franz von Hipper surprise the British navy by bombarding the Hartlepool and Scarborough English port cities

1916 – A group of noble Russian conspirators assassinate Grigori Rasputin, Russian “holy man” who preached salvation that mixed religion with sexual indulgence and who was held in importance by Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna at the court of Czar Nicholas II

1917 – English science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke is born

1920 – One of the deadliest earthquakes in history occurs when an 8.5 magnitude quake slams the province of Midwestern China, causing landslides and leading to the death of an estimated 200,000 people

1930 – A strike is called in support of the revolution in Spain

1932 – Illustrator and children’s writer Sir Quentin Saxby Blake is born

1936 – Activist Morris Dees is born

1938 – Golden Globe-winning Norwegian actress and director Liv Ullmann is born

1939 – The National Women’s Party urges immediate congressional action on equal rights

1940 – Italian Somalia is bombed by British troops in an air raid

1943 – TV producer and writer Steven Bochco is born

1944 – Germany mounts an offensive in the Ardennes Forest in Belgium.  As the center of the Allied line falls back, it creates a bulge, leading to the name the Battle of the Bulge.  The battle is also known as the Ardennes Offensive and Operation Mist

1949 – Mao Tse-tung, the Chinese Communist leader, visits the Kremlin in Moscow

1949 – Singer, songwriter, musician Billy Gibbons is born

1950 – President Harry Truman declares a state of National Emergency as the Chinese Communists invade deeper into South Korea

1955 – Archduke of Austria-Este, Prince Lorenz of Belgium is born

1960 – 134 people are killed both in air and on ground when two airplanes collide over New York City

1962 – Pro football player dubbed “The Refrigerator” because of his size, William Perry is born

1963 – Actor Benjamin Bratt is born

1965 – General William Westmoreland requests more troops in Vietnam

1965 – English-French author and playwright W. Somerset Maugham dies

1969 – Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Adam Riess is born

1971 – 90,000 Pakistani troops surrender to the Indian forces invading East Pakistan in Bangladesh in support of the independence movement

1972 – Henry Kissinger announces that the North Vietnamese have walked out of the ongoing private peace talks in Paris

1973 – Buffalo Bills running back Orenthal James “OJ” Simpson, becomes the first player in the NFL to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a single season

1976 – President Jimmy Carter appoints Andrew Young as Ambassador to the UN

1978 – Cleveland becomes the first US city to default since the Great Depression

1979 – Two member states, Libya and Indonesia, of OPEC or Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, announced plans to raise the price of their oil to keep “price hawks” from raising them even further.  Despite this, the cost of oil had more the doubled by the end of the year, leading to an energy crisis that severely hurt the American auto industry

1980 – American businessman who founded KFC, Colonel Sanders dies

1988 – American singer, songwriter, pianist and producer Sylvester dies

1989 – Federal Judge Robert Vance is killed by an explosion when opening a package mailed to his house.  Two days later, a Georgia attorney Robert Robinson is also killed, and three other packages were intercepted before being opened by their intended targets.  The FBI linked the origin of the bombs back to LeRoy Moody, who had been convicted in 1972 for setting off a pipe bomb similar to the package bombs in design.  Moody was sentenced to seven life terms plus 400 years by a federal jury and in 1997, an Alabama judge sentenced him to die for the murder of Robert Vance

1990 – In Haiti’s first democratic elections, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president

1998 – The US launches a missile attack on Iraq for failing to comply with UN weapons inspectors

2000 – Colin Powell becomes the first black secretary of state

2003 – President George W. Bush sings the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, establishing the US’ first national standards regarding email and giving the Federal Trade Commission authority to enforce the act

2010 – Iconic TV talk show host Larry King signs off after 25 years on air with his show on CNN, “Larry King Live”


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the owner of Madison's Media, Madison's CPC and the Chief Administrative Officer for Lanterns. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and has two adult children. Writers seeking additional exposure: Ask how you can contribute!


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