This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
December 16 is the 350th day of the year (351st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 15 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1773, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships moored in Boston Harbor and dump 342 chests of tea into the water.
The Boston Tea Party was a direct action by colonists in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government and the monopolistic East India Company that controlled all the tea coming into the colonies. On December 16, 1773, after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor. The incident remains an iconic event of American history, and other political protests often refer to it.
The Tea Party was the culmination of a resistance movement throughout British America against the Tea Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773. Colonists objected to the Tea Act for a variety of reasons, especially because they believed that it violated their right to be taxed only by their own elected representatives. Protesters had successfully prevented the unloading of taxed tea in three other colonies, but in Boston, embattled Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to allow the tea to be returned to Britain. He apparently did not expect that the protestors would choose to destroy the tea rather than concede the authority of a legislature in which they were not directly represented.
The Boston Tea Party was a key event in the growth of the American Revolution. Parliament responded in 1774 with the Coercive Acts, which, among other provisions, closed Boston’s commerce until the British East India Company had been repaid for the destroyed tea. Colonists in turn responded to the Coercive Acts with additional acts of protest, and by convening the First Continental Congress, which petitioned the British monarch for repeal of the acts and coordinated colonial resistance to them. The crisis escalated, and the American Revolutionary War began near Boston in 1775.
755 – An Lushan revolts against Chancellor Yang Guozhong at Fanyang, initiating the An Shi Rebellion during the Tang Dynasty of China.
1392 – Nanboku-cho: Emperor Go-Kameyama abdicates in favor of rival claimant Go-Komatsu.
1431 – Henry VI of England is crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris.
1497 – Vasco da Gama rounds the Cape of Good Hope, the point where Bartolomeu Dias had previously turned back to Portugal.
1598 – Seven Year War: Battle of Noryang Point – The final battle of the Seven Year War is fought between the China and the Korean Allied Forces and Japanese navies, resulting in a decisive Allied Forces victory.
1653 – English Interregnum: The Protectorate – Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.
1689 – Convention Parliament: The Declaration of Right is embodied in the Bill of Rights.
1707 – Last recorded eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan.
1761 – Seven Years’ War: After a four-month siege, the Russians under Pyotr Rumyantsev take the Prussian fortress of Kolobrzeg.
1773 – American Revolution: Boston Tea Party – Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawks dump crates of tea into Boston harbor as a protest against the Tea Act.
1811 – The first two in a series of severe earthquakes occur in the vicinity of New Madrid, Missouri. These three so-called mega-quakes are believed to be an ongoing cataclysmic danger that could reprise the 1811-12 series of 2,000 quakes that affected the lands of what would be eight of today’s heartland states of the United States.
1826 – Benjamin W. Edwards rides into Mexican controlled Nacogdoches, Texas and declares himself ruler of the Republic of Fredonia.
1838 – Battle of Blood River: Voortrekkers led by Andries Pretorius combat Zulu impis, led by Dambuza (Nzobo) and Ndlela kaSompisi in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
1850 – History of New Zealand: The Charlotte-Jane and the Randolph bring the first of the Canterbury Pilgrims to Lyttelton, New Zealand.
1863 – American Civil War: Joseph E. Johnston replaces Braxton Bragg as commander of the Army of Tennessee.
1864 – American Civil War: Franklin-Nashville Campaign – Battle of Nashville – Major General George H. Thomas’s Union forces defeat Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee.
1893 – Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, From The New World is given its world premiere performance at Carnegie Hall.
1907 – The Great White Fleet begins its circumnavigation of the world
1914 – World War I: German battleships under Franz von Hipper bombard the English ports of Hartlepool and Scarborough.
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 Honor of the German Mother
1941 – World War II: Japanese forces occupy Miri, Sarawak
1942 – Holocaust: Porajmos – 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.
1946 – Thailand joins the United Nations.
1947 – William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain build the first practical point-contact transistor.
1949 – Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, later knows as SAAB, is founded in Sweden.
1950 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman declares a state of emergency, after Chinese troops enter the fight with communist North Korea in the Korean War.
1957 – Sir Feroz Khan Noon replaces Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar as Prime Minister of Pakistan.
1960 – 1960 New York air disaster: While approaching New York’s Idlewild Airport, a United Airlines Douglas DC-8 collides with a TWA Lockheed Super Constellation in a blinding snowstorm over Staten Island, killing 134.
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.
1971 – Bangladesh War of Independence and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971: The surrender of the Pakistan army brings an end to both conflicts.
1971 – Independence Day of the Kingdom of Bahrain from British Protectorate status
1972 – Vietnam War: Henry Kissinger announces that North Vietnam has left private peace negotiations, in Paris.
1978 – Cleveland, Ohio becomes the first post-Depression era city to default on its loans, owing $14,000,000 to local banks.
1979 – Libya joins four other OPEC nations in raising crude oil prices, having an immediate dramatic effect on the United States.
1982 – The Federal Reserve announces that the operating capacity of factories has gone down to 67.8%.
1985 – Mafia: In New York City, Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti are shot dead on the orders of John Gotti, who assumes leadership of the Gambino family.
1986 – Revolt in Kazakhstan against Communist party, known as Zheltoksan, which becomes the first sign of ethnic strife during Gorbachev’s tenure
1991 – United Nations General Assembly: UN General Assembly Resolution 4686 revokes UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 after Israel makes revocation of resolution 3379 a condition of its participation in the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991.
1991 – Independence of The Republic of Kazakhstan.
1997 – An episode of Pokemon, “Denno Senshi Porygon”, aired in Japan induces seizures in hundreds of Japanese children.
1998 – Iraq disarmament crisis: Operation Desert Fox – The United States and United Kingdom bomb targets in Iraq.
2003 – President George W. Bush signs the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 into law. The law establishes the United States’ first national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail and requires the Federal Trade Commission to enforce its provisions.
* Christian Feast Day:
* Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Kazakhstan from the Soviet Union in 1991.
* National Day, celebrates the withdrawal of United Kingdom from Bahrain, making Bahrain an independent emirate in 1971.
* National Sports Day (Thailand)
* The beginning of the nine-day celebration beginning December 16 and ending December 24, celebrating the trials which Mary and Joseph endured before finding a place to stay where Jesus could be born (Christians of Spanish-origin):
o The first day of Las Posadas (Mexico, other Latin Americans)
o The first day of Simbang Gabi (Philippines)
* Victory Day (India)