Today is Saturday, Dec. 18, the 352nd day of 2021. There are 13 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 18, 2019, the U.S. House impeached President Donald Trump on two charges, sending his case to the Senate for trial; the articles of impeachment accused him of abusing the power of the presidency to investigate rival Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election and then obstructing Congress’ investigation. (The trial would end in acquittal by the Senate.)

On this date:

In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, was declared in effect by Secretary of State William H. Seward.

In 1892, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” publicly premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia; although now considered a classic, it received a generally negative reception from critics.

In 1917, Congress passed the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibiting “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors” and sent it to the states for ratification.

In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the government’s wartime evacuation of people of Japanese descent from the West Coast while at the same time ruling that “concededly loyal” Americans of Japanese ancestry could not continue to be detained.

In 1958, the world’s first communications satellite, SCORE (Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment), nicknamed “Chatterbox,” was launched by the United States aboard an Atlas rocket.

In 2000, the Electoral College cast its ballots, with President-elect George W. Bush receiving the expected 271; Al Gore, however, received 266, one fewer than expected, because of a District of Columbia Democrat who’d left her ballot blank to protest the district’s lack of representation in Congress.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Roger Mosley is 83. Rock musician Keith Richards is 78. Movie producer-director Steven Spielberg is 75. Movie reviewer Leonard Maltin is 71. Rock musician Elliot Easton is 68. Actor Ray Liotta is 67. Comedian Ron White is 65. Actor Brad Pitt is 58. Professional wrestler-turned-actor “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is 57. Actor Rachel Griffiths is 53. Country/rap singer Cowboy Troy is 51. International Tennis Hall of Famer Arantxa Sanchez Vicario is 50. Country singer Randy Houser is 45. Actor Katie Holmes is 43. Singer Christina Aguilera is 41.