1753: George Washington, the adjutant of Virginia, delivers an ultimatum to the French forces at Fort Le Boeuf, south of Lake Erie, reiterating Britain’s claim to the entire Ohio River valley.
1770: The British soldiers responsible for the “Boston Massacre” are acquitted of murder charges.
1862: The Union loses its first ship, USS Cairo, to a torpedo in the Yazoo River.
1863: Orders are given in Richmond, Virginia, that no more supplies from the Union should be received by Federal prisoners.
1901: Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic radio transmission in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
1927: Communists forces seize Canton, China.
1930: The last Allied troops withdraw from the Saar region in Germany.
1930: The Spanish Civil War begins as rebels take a border town.
1931: Under pressure from the Communists in Canton, Chiang Kai-shek resigns as president of the Nanking government but remains the head of the Nationalist government that holds nominal rule over most of China.
1943: The German Army launches Operation Winter Tempest, the relief of the Sixth Army trapped in Stalingrad.
1943: The exiled Czech government signs a treaty with the Soviet Union for postwar cooperation.
1956: The United Nations calls for immediate Soviet withdrawal from Hungary.
1964: Kenya becomes a republic.
1964: Three Buddhist leaders begin a hunger strike to protest the government in Saigon.
1967: The United States ends the airlift of 6,500 men in Vietnam.
1979: South Korean Army Maj. Gen. Chun Doo-hwan, acting without authorization from President Choi Kyu-ha, orders the arrest of Army Chief of Staff General Jeong Seung-hwa, alleging that the chief of staff was involved in the assassination of ex-President Park Chung Hee.
1985: Arrow Air Flight 1285 crashes after takeoff at Gander, Newfoundland; among the 256 dead are 236 members of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.
1991: The Russian Federation becomes independent from the USSR.
1995: Willie Brown beats incumbent Mayor Frank Jordon to become the first African American mayor of San Francisco.
2000: The U.S. Supreme Court announces its decision in Bush v. Gore, effectively ending legal changes to the results of that year’s presidential election.
Born on December 12
1745: John Jay, first chief justice of the Supreme Court who negotiated treaties for the United States.
1805: William Lloyd Garrison, American abolitionist who published The Liberator.
1821: Gustave Flaubert, French novelist (“Madame Bovary,” “A Simple Heart”).
1863: Edvard Munch, Norwegian artist (“The Scream”).
1893: Edward G. Robinson, actor famous for gangster roles.
1897: Lillian Smith, Southern writer and civil rights activist.
1912: Henry Jackson Jr, boxer using the name Henry Armstrong, the only fighter to hold three professional boxing titles simultaneously.
1915: Frank Sinatra, American pop singer and actor.
1927: Robert Norton Noyce, co-inventor of the integrated circuit.
1928: Helen Frankenthaler, abstract painter.
1929: John Osbourne, playwright and film producer (“Look Back in Anger”).
1938: Connie Francis, singer.
1940: Dionne Warwick, singer, actress.
1943: Grover Washington Jr, singer, songwriter, musician, producer.
1952: Cathy Rigby, gymnast, actress.