Today in History


Today is Thursday, Dec. 29, the 363rd day of 2022. There are two days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 29, 1845, Texas was admitted as the 28th state.

On this date:

In 1170, Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was slain in Canterbury Cathedral by knights loyal to King Henry II.

In 1812, during the War of 1812, the American frigate USS Constitution engaged and severely damaged the British frigate HMS Java off Brazil.

In 1851, the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in the United States was founded in Boston.

In 1890, the Wounded Knee massacre took place in South Dakota as an estimated 300 Sioux Indians were killed by U.S. troops sent to disarm them.

In 1940, during World War II, Germany dropped incendiary bombs on London, setting off what came to be known as “The Second Great Fire of London.”

In 1972, Eastern Air Lines Flight 401, a Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, crashed into the Florida Everglades near Miami International Airport, killing 101 of the 176 people aboard.

In 1978, during the Gator Bowl, Ohio State University coach Woody Hayes punched Clemson player Charlie Bauman, who’d intercepted an Ohio State pass. (Hayes was fired by Ohio State the next day.)

In 1989, dissident and playwright Vaclav Havel (VAHTS’-lahv HAH’-vel) assumed the presidency of Czechoslovakia.

In 1992, the United States and Russia announced agreement on a nuclear arms reduction treaty.

In 2006, word reached the United States of the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (because of the time difference, it was the morning of Dec. 30 in Iraq when the hanging took place). In a statement, President George W. Bush called Saddam’s execution an important milestone on Iraq’s road to democracy.

In 2007, the New England Patriots ended their regular season with a remarkable 16-0 record following a 38-35 comeback victory over the New York Giants. (New England became the first NFL team since the 1972 Dolphins to win every game on the schedule.)

In 2016, the United States struck back at Russia for hacking the U.S. presidential campaign with a sweeping set of punishments targeting Russia’s spy agencies and diplomats.

Ten years ago: Maine’s same-sex marriage law went into effect. Shocked Indians mourned the death of a woman who’d been gang-raped and beaten on a bus in New Delhi nearly two weeks earlier; six suspects were charged with murder. (Four were later sentenced to death; one died in prison; the sixth, a juvenile at the time of the attack, was sentenced to a maximum of three years in a reform home.)

Five years ago: Puerto Rico authorities said nearly half of the power customers in the U.S. territory still lacked electricity, more than three months after Hurricane Maria.

One year ago: British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted in New York of helping lure teenage girls to be sexually abused by the late Jeffrey Epstein; the verdict capped a monthlong trial featuring accounts of the sexual exploitation of girls as young as 14. (Maxwell would be sentenced to 20 years in prison.) More than a year after a vaccine was rolled out, new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. were soaring to their highest levels on record at over 265,000 per day; the surge was driven largely by the highly contagious omicron variant. Candace Parker, who helped the Chicago Sky win the franchise’s first WNBA championship, was named The Associated Press’ Female Athlete of the Year for a second time.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Inga Swenson is 90. Retired ABC newscaster Tom Jarriel is 88. Actor Barbara Steele is 85. Actor Jon Voight is 84. Singer Marianne Faithfull is 76. Retired Hall of Fame Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. is 76. Actor Ted Danson is 75. Singer-actor Yvonne Elliman is 71. The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, is 69. Actor Patricia Clarkson is 63. Comedian Paula Poundstone is 63. Rock singer-musician Jim Reid (The Jesus and Mary Chain) is 61. Actor Michael Cudlitz is 58. Rock singer Dexter Holland (The Offspring) is 57. Actor-comedian Mystro Clark is 56. Actor Jason Gould is 56. News anchor Ashleigh Banfield is 55. Movie director Lilly Wachowski is 55. Actor Jennifer Ehle is 53. Actor Patrick Fischler is 53. Rock singer-musician Glen Phillips is 52. Actor Kevin Weisman is 52. Actor Jude Law is 50. Actor Maria Dizzia is 48. Actor Mekhi Phifer (mih-KY’ FY’-fuhr) is 48. Actor Shawn Hatosy is 47. Actor Katherine Moennig is 45. Actor Diego Luna is 43. Actor Alison Brie is 40. Country singer Jessica Andrews is 39. Actor Iain de Caestecker is 35. Actor Jane Levy is 33. Singer-actor-dancer Ross Lynch is 27. Rock musician Danny Wagner is 24.

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