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This Day in History: December 22

Events

1807 – The Embargo Act, forbidding trade with all foreign countries, is passed by the U.S. Congress, at the urging of President Thomas Jefferson.

1864 – Savannah, Georgia falls to General William Tecumseh Sherman, concluding his "March to the Sea".

1937 – The Lincoln Tunnel opens to traffic in New York City.

1942 – World War II: Adolf Hitler signs the order to develop the V-2 rocket as a weapon.

1944 – World War II: Battle of the Bulge – German troops demand the surrender of United States troops at Bastogne, Belgium, prompting the famous one word reply by General Anthony McAuliffe: "Nuts!"

1944 – World War II: The Vietnam People's Army is formed to resist Japanese occupation of Indochina, now Vietnam.

1956 – Colo, the first gorilla to be bred in captivity, is born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio.

1984 – Bernhard Goetz shoots four would-be muggers on an express train in Manhattan section of New York, New York.

1989 – Berlin's Brandenburg Gate re-opens after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.

1990 – Lech Walesa is democratically elected the President of Poland. His victory inspires democratization in other ex-Warsaw Pact member countries in Eastern Europe.

1990 – Final independence of Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia after termination of trusteeship.

2001 – Richard Reid attempts to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.

2008 – An ash dike ruptured at a solid waste containment area in Roane County, Tennessee, releasing 1.1 billion US gallons (4,200,000 m3) of coal fly ash slurry.

2010 – The repeal of the Don't ask, don't tell policy, the 17-year-old policy banning homosexuals serving openly in the United States military, is signed into law by President Barack Obama.

2015 – SpaceX lands a first stage Falcon 9 rocket on ground, after reaching Low Earth orbit at 1:40 UTC for the first time in history.

2016 – A study finds the VSV-EBOV vaccine against the Ebola virus between 70-100% effective, and thus making it the first proven vaccine against the disease.

Births

1696 – James Oglethorpe, English general and politician, 1st Colonial Governor of Georgia (d. 1785)

1856 – Frank B. Kellogg, American lawyer and politician, 45th United States Secretary of State, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1937)

1862 – Connie Mack, American baseball player and manager (d. 1956)

1912 – Lady Bird Johnson, American wife of Lyndon B. Johnson, 38th First Lady of the United States (d. 2007)

1970 – Ted Cruz, Canadian-American lawyer and politician

Deaths

1828 – Rachel Jackson, American wife of Andrew Jackson (b. 1767)

1899 – Dwight L. Moody, American evangelist and publisher, founded Moody Publishers (b. 1837)

1917 – Frances Xavier Cabrini, Italian-American nun and saint (b. 1850)

1939 – Ma Rainey, American singer (b. 1886)

1940 – Nathanael West, American author and screenwriter (b. 1903)

  • 1979 – Darryl F. Zanuck, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1902)