On Dec. 16, 1653, Oliver Cromwell became lord protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.
In 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.
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In 1991, the U.N. General Assembly rescinded its 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism by a vote of 111-25.
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.
In 2012, President Barack Obama visited Newtown, Connecticut, the scene of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre; after meeting privately with victims’ families, the president told an evening vigil he would use “whatever power” he had to prevent future shootings.
In 2014, Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar, killing at least 148 people, mostly children.
In 2019, House Democrats laid out their impeachment case against President Donald Trump; a sweeping report from the House Judiciary Committee said Trump had “betrayed the Nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections.” Boeing said it would temporarily stop producing its grounded 737 Max jet as it struggled to get approval from regulators to put the plane back in the air; it had been grounded since March after two deadly crashes.