Today is Thursday, Dec. 16, the 350th day of 2021. There are 15 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 16, 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place as American colonists boarded a British ship and dumped more than 300 chests of tea into Boston Harbor to protest tea taxes.

On this date:

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell became lord protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.

In 1811, the first of the powerful New Madrid earthquakes struck the central Mississippi Valley with an estimated magnitude of 7.7.

In 1944, the World War II Battle of the Bulge began as German forces launched a surprise attack against Allied forces through the Ardennes Forest in Belgium and Luxembourg (the Allies were eventually able to turn the Germans back).

In 1950, President Harry S. Truman proclaimed a national state of emergency in order to fight “world conquest by Communist imperialism.”

In 1960, 134 people were killed when a United Air Lines DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation collided over New York City.

In 1982, Environmental Protection Agency head Anne M. Gorsuch became the first Cabinet-level officer to be cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to submit documents requested by a congressional committee.

In 2000, President-elect George W. Bush selected Colin Powell to become the first African-American secretary of state.

In 2001, after nine weeks of fighting, Afghan militia leaders claimed control of the last mountain bastion of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida fighters, but bin Laden himself was nowhere to be seen.

Today’s Birthdays: Civil rights attorney and co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center Morris Dees is 85. Actor Joyce Bulifant is 84. Actor Liv Ullmann is 83. CBS news correspondent Lesley Stahl is 80. Pop singer Benny Andersson (ABBA) is 75. Rock singer-musician Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) is 72. Actor Sam Robards is 60. Actor Benjamin Bratt is 58. Actor-comedian JB Smoove is 56. Actor Krysten Ritter is 40.

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