Today in History: December 21

Today in History: December 21

Pick a day:

December 20 December 22

0068

Vespian, a gruff-spoken general of humble origins, enters Rome and is named emperor by the Senate.

1620

The Pilgrims land at or near Plymouth Rock.

1708

French forces seize control of the eastern shore of Newfoundland after winning a victory at St. John's.

1790

Samuel Slater opens the first cotton mill in the United States (in Rhode Island).

1862

The U.S. Congress authorizes the Medal of Honor to be awarded to Navy personnel who have distinguished themselves by their gallantry in action.

1866

Indians, led by Red Cloud and Crazy Horse, kill Captain William J. Fetterman and 79 other men who had ventured out from Fort Phil Kearny to cut wood.

1910

Over 2.5 million plague victims are reported in the An-Hul province of China.

1928

President Calvin Coolidge signs the Boulder Dam bill.

1944

German troops surround the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne in Belgium.

1945

General George S. Patton dies at the age of 60 after being injured in a car accident.

1946

An earthquake and tidal wave kill hundreds in Japan.

1963

The Turk minority riots in Cyprus to protest anti-Turkish revisions in the constitution.

1964

Great Britain's House of Commons votes to ban the death penalty.

1965

Four pacifists are indicted in New York for burning draft cards — Thomas C. Cornell, 31, co-secretary of the Catholic Peace Fellowship; Roy Lisker, 27, a volunteer of the Catholic Worker Movement; James E. Wilson, 21, a volunteer at the Catholic Worker Movement and a member of the Fellowship for Reconciliation; and M P, Edelman, a full-time worker for the War Resisters League.

1969

American draft evaders gather for a holiday dinner in Montreal, Canada.

1986

500,000 Chinese students gather in Shanghai's People's Square calling for democratic reforms, including freedom of the press.

1988

Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York explodes in midair over Lockerbie, Scotland, an hour after departure. All 259 passengers were killed in the explosion caused by a bomb-- hidden inside an audio cassette player -- that detonated inside the cargo area when the plane was at an altitude of 31,000 feet. A shower of airplane parts falling from the sky also killed 11 Lockerbie residents.

1994

Popocatepetl, a volcano in Mexico spews forth gases and ash after nearly a half-century of dormancy.

1995

The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control.

2004

A suicide bomber attacks the forward operating base next to the US military airfield at Mosul, Iraq, killing 22 people; it is the deadliest suicide attack on US soldiers during the Iraq War.