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This Day in History: December 16

Events

1773 – American Revolution: Boston Tea Party: Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawk Indians dump hundreds of crates of tea into Boston harbor as a protest against the Tea Act.

1826 – Benjamin W. Edwards rides into Mexican-controlled Nacogdoches, Texas, and declares himself ruler of the Republic of Fredonia.

1863 – American Civil War: Joseph E. Johnston replaces Braxton Bragg as commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Nashville: Major General George Thomas's Union forces defeat Lieutenant General John Bell Hood's Confederate Army of Tennessee.

1907 – The American Great White Fleet begins its circumnavigation of the world.

1930 – Bank robber Herman Lamm and members of his crew are killed by a 200-strong posse, following a botched bank robbery in Clinton, Indiana.

1937 – Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe attempt to escape from the American federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay; neither is ever seen again.

1938 – Adolf Hitler institutes the Cross of Honour of the German Mother.

1941 – World War II: Japanese forces occupy Miri, Sarawak.

1942 – The Holocaust: Schutzstaffel chief Heinrich Himmler orders that Roma candidates for extermination be deported to Auschwitz.

1944 – World War II: The Battle of the Bulge begins with the surprise offensive of three German armies through the Ardennes forest.

1950 – Korean War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman declares a state of emergency, after Chinese troops enter the fight in support of communist North Korea.

1960 – A United Airlines Douglas DC-8 and a TWA Lockheed Super Constellation collide over Staten Island, New York and crash, killing all 128 people aboard both aircraft and 6 more on the ground.

1965 – Vietnam War: General William Westmoreland sends U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara a request for 243,000 more men by the end of 1966.

1978 – Cleveland, Ohio, becomes the first major American city to default on its financial obligations since the Great Depression.

1989 – U.S. Appeals Court Judge Robert Smith Vance is assassinated by a mail bomb sent by Walter Leroy Moody, Jr.

Births

1901 – Margaret Mead, American anthropologist and author (d. 1978)

1941 – Lesley Stahl, American journalist and actress

1943 – Steven Bochco, American screenwriter and producer

Deaths

1908 – American Horse, American tribal leader and educator (b. 1840)

1917 – Frank Gotch, American wrestler (b. 1878)

1980 – Colonel Sanders, American businessman, founded KFC (b. 1890)

2009 – Roy E. Disney, American businessman (b. 1930)

2010 – Melvin E. Biddle, American soldier, Medal of Honor recipient (b. 1923)