Today in History – December 22

401 – Pope Innocent I was elected, the only pope to succeed his father in the office.

856 – Damghan earthquake: An earthquake near the Persian city of Damghan killed an estimated 200,000 people, the sixth deadliest earthquake in recorded history.

1135 – Nearly three weeks after the death of King Henry I of England, Stephen of Blois claimed the throne and was privately crowned King of England.

1807 – The Embargo Act, which forbid trade with all foreign countries, was passed by the U.S. Congress, at the urging of President Thomas Jefferson.

1808 – Ludwig van Beethoven conducted and performed in concert at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, with the premiere of his Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony, Fourth Piano Concerto (performed by Beethoven himself) and Choral Fantasy (with Beethoven at the piano).

1851 – The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., burned.

1864 – American Civil War: Savannah, Georgia, fell to the forces of General Sherman.

1877 – Thomas Edison’s phonograph was announced by Scientific American.

1882 – The first string of Christmas tree lights was created by engineer working for Thomas Edison.

1891 – Asteroid 323 Brucia became the first asteroid discovered using photography.

1894 – The Dreyfus affair began in France, when Alfred Dreyfus was wrongly convicted of treason.

1932 – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ first joint movie “Flying Down to Rio,” directed by Thornton Freeland, premiered in New York City.

1932 – “The Mummy”, directed by Karl Freund and starring Boris Karloff, was released in the US.  It was the first Mummy horror film.

1937 – The Lincoln Tunnel opened to traffic in New York City.

1942 – World War II: Adolf Hitler signed the order to develop the V-2 rocket as a weapon.

1944 – World War II: Battle of the Bulge: German troops demanded the surrender of United States troops at Bastogne, Belgium, which prompted the famous one word reply by General Anthony McAuliffe: “Nuts!”

1958 – “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles chart.

1964 – The first test flight of the SR-71 (Blackbird) took place at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, United States.

1964 – American comedian Lenny Bruce was convicted of obscenity.

1965 – “Doctor Zhivago” based on the novel by Boris Pasternak, directed by David Lean and starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie, premiered in New York City.

1967 – “The Graduate” American comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, was released.

1978 – Kenney Jones became The Who’s new drummer, replacing the deceased Keith Moon.

1984 – “Subway vigilante” Bernhard Goetz shot four would-be muggers on a 2 express train in Manhattan section of New York, United States.

1984 – Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” single went to No. 1 and remained there for 6 weeks.

1987 – Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx overdosed on heroin.

1988 – Two robbers, wearing police uniforms, robbed an armored truck of $3 M in New Jersey.

1989 – Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate re-opened after nearly 30 years, which effectively ended the division of East and West Germany.

1996 – Airborne Express Flight 827 crashed near Narrows, Virginia, and killed all six people on board.

1999 – Just after taking off from London Stansted Airport, Korean Air Cargo Flight 8509 crashed into Hatfield Forest near Great Hallingbury, and killed all four people on board.

2001 – Richard Reid attempted to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.

2010 – The repeal of the Don’t ask, don’t tell policy, the 17-year-old policy which banned homosexuals serving openly in the United States military, was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

2016 – A study found the VSV-EBOV vaccine against the Ebola virus between 70 and 100% effective, thus making it the first proven vaccine against the disease.

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