Today's History Trivia for December 16
1773 Boston Tea Party American Colonists, some disguised as Indians, dump 350 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. This was done in defiance of the British Tea Act of 1773. Even though the Tea Act effectively lowered the cost of tea to the colonists and was used to pay salaries of colonial officials, the colonists felt it violated their rights to "no taxation without representation." Afterwards, Benjamin Franklin urged that the destroyed tea be paid for at a cost of about £9,000 (approx. $1.75 million in today's U.S. dollars). This is one the seminal events leading up to the American Revolution.
1992 Abraham Lincoln The earliest known draft of President's "house divided" speech (c1857) is auctioned for $1,500,000.
1954 First Synthetic Diamonds A girls almost-best friends are produced at General Electric Research Laboratories by Prof. H. Tracy Hall.
1944 World War II - Battle of the Bulge The famous battle begins when Hitler's army attempts to drive the Allies from the western borders of Germany.
1920 Earthquake in Gansu Province, China killing 200,000 people.
1910 First Jet Aircraft A wooden plane propelled by jet engines is test flown by its Romanian creator Henri Marie Coandă. It crashed after briefly going airborne. While watching the crashed jet burn, he noticed that burning gases hugged the sides of the aircraft. This effect, which he researched, became known as the Coandă effect.
1903 First female ushers They begin service in the Majestic Theater, New York City.
1809 Napoleon The French Emperor divorces Josephine because she is unable to provide him an heir.
Today's Birthdays for December 16
1962 William "Refrigerator" Perry American football player (NFL, Chicago Bears). At his peak size, he was 6′ 2″ in, 382 lbs (1.8 m, 173.4 kg), prompting the nickname "The Refrigerator." He was also inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame for his appearance in WrestleMania 2.
1943 Steven Bochco American Emmy-winning writer, producer. TV: Hill Street Blues and L.A. Law.
1941 Lesley Stahl American journalist. TV: Face the Nation (moderator), and 60 Minutes (correspondent).
1938 Liv Ullmann Norwegian actress. Film: Persona (1966) and Cries and Whispers (1972).
1937 Joyce Bulifant (Joyce Boulifant), American actress. TV: The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Murray Slaughter's wife).
1928 Philip K. Dick d. 1982 American Hugo-winning science fiction writer. Writings: The Man in the High Castle (1962, Hugo Award for Best Novel) and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968, the inspiration for the 1982 film Blade Runner).
1921 Harry Spear d. 2006 (Harry Sherman Bonner), American actor, one of the Little Rascals. He appeared in 31 Our Gang films (1927-29, during the silent era).
1917 Sir Arthur C. Clarke d. 2008 British science fiction author. Writings: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
1901 Margaret Mead d. 1978 American anthropologist, known for her studies of primitive cultures. She posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1979).
1899 Sir Noel Pierce Coward d. 1973 English playwright, composer, actor, director. Writings: Mad Dogs and Englishmen.
1888 Dr. Ivan Joseph Martin Osiier d. 1965 Danish fencer. He tied the record for longest span of Olympic competition (1908-48). His wife Ellen was the first female fencing champion (1924). Source: Guinness Book of World Records
1863 George Santayana d. 1952 Spanish-American poet. Writings: The Realms of Being (1928-40). It was he who said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
1775 Jane Austen d. 1817 English novelist. Writings: Sense and Sensibility (1811) and Persuasion (1818).
1485 Catherine of Aragon d. 1536 Queen of England, Henry VIII's first wife. After the Pope refused to allow to sanction the King's divorce from her, the King established the Church of England and declared himself the religious ruler for his land.
Deaths for December 16
1990 Douglas Campbell b. 1896 American aviator, WWI flying ace. He was the first American flying in an American unit to achieve the status of ACE when he downed his fifth enemy aircraft (May 31, 1918). He and Lt. Alan F. Winslow scored the first victories by fighter aircraft of an American-trained flying unit in the war (April 14, 1918).
2007 Dan Fogelberg b. 1951 American singer. Music: Longer (1979, #2) and Leader of the Band (1982).
1993 Moses Gunn b. 1929 American actor. TV: Father Murphy (Moses Gage) and Roots (Kintango).
1982 Colin Chapman b. 1928 British auto designer. Founder of Lotus Cars Ltd. (1952). He introduced the "monocoque" racing chassis (1962), and "ground effects" (the use of air pressure to hold down the car).
1980 Colonel Sanders b. 1890 (Harland David Sanders), American restauranteur, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (1956).
1965 William Somerset Maugham b. 1874 English author. Writings: Of Human Bondage.
1964 Phil Davis b. 1906 American cartoonist. Drew Mandrake the Magician.
1859 Wilhelm Karl Grimm b. 1786 German author. He and his brother wrote Grimm's Fairy Tales (1812-15).
1687 William Petty b. 1623 English statistician. He co-wrote the first book of statistics.
882 John VIII b. ???? Italian religious leader, 107th Pope (872-882).