On This Day … 16 December


  • 755: An Lushan revolts against Chancellor Yang Guozhong at Yanjing, initiating the An Lushan Rebellion during the Tang dynasty of China.
  • 1431: Hundred Years’ War: Henry VI of England is crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris.
  • 1598: Seven-Year War: Battle of Noryang: The final battle of the Seven-Year War is fought between the China and the Korean allied forces and Japanese navies, resulting in a decisive allied forces victory.
  • 1653: English Interregnum: The Protectorate: Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.
  • 1689: Convention Parliament: The Declaration of Right is embodied in the Bill of Rights.
  • 1761: Seven Years’ War: After a four-month siege, the Russians under Pyotr Rumyantsev take the Prussian fortress of Kołobrzeg.
  • 1773: American Revolution: Boston Tea Party: Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawk Indians dump hundreds of crates of tea into Boston harbour as a protest against the Tea Act.
  • 1777: Virginia becomes the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.
  • 1782: British East India Company: Hada and Mada Miah lead the first anti-British uprising in the subcontinent against Robert Lindsay and his contingents in Sylhet Shahi Eidgah.
  • 1826: Benjamin W. Edwards rides into Mexican-controlled Nacogdoches, Texas, and declares himself ruler of the Republic of Fredonia.
  • 1838: Great Trek: Battle of Blood River: Voortrekkers led by Andries Pretorius and Sarel Cilliers defeat Zulu impis, led by Dambuza (Nzobo) and Ndlela kaSompisi in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
  • 1863: American Civil War: Joseph E. Johnston replaces Braxton Bragg as commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.
  • 1864: American Civil War: Battle of Nashville: Major General George Thomas’s Union forces defeat Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee.
  • 1880: Outbreak of the First Boer War between the Boer South African Republic and the British Empire.
  • 1883: Tonkin Campaign: French forces capture the Sơn Tây citadel.
  • 1907: The American Great White Fleet begins its circumnavigation of the world.
  • 1912: First Balkan War: The Royal Hellenic Navy defeats the Ottoman Navy at the Battle of Elli.
  • 1914: World War I: Admiral Franz von Hipper commands a raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby.
  • 1918: Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas declares the formation of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic; it is dissolved in 1919.
  • 1938: Adolf Hitler institutes the Cross of Honour of the German Mother.
  • 1941: World War II: Japanese forces occupy Miri, Sarawak.
  • 1942: The Holocaust: Schutzstaffel chief Heinrich Himmler orders that Roma candidates for extermination be deported to Auschwitz.
  • 1944: World War II: The Battle of the Bulge begins with the surprise offensive of three German armies through the Ardennes forest.
  • 1950: Korean War: US President Harry S. Truman declares a state of emergency, after Chinese troops enter the fight in support of communist North Korea.
  • 1965: Vietnam War: General William Westmoreland sends US Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara a request for 243,000 more men by the end of 1966.
  • 1971: Bangladesh Liberation War and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971: The ceasefire of the Pakistan Army brings an end to both conflicts. This is commemorated annually as Victory Day in Bangladesh, and as Vijay Diwas in India.
  • 1971: The United Kingdom recognises Bahrain’s independence, which is commemorated annually as Bahrain’s National Day.
  • 1989: Romanian Revolution: Protests break out in Timișoara, Romania, in response to an attempt by the government to evict dissident Hungarian pastor László Tőkés.
  • 1991: Kazakhstan declares independence from the Soviet Union.
  • 2014: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan militants attacked an Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing 145 people, mostly schoolchildren.

People (Births)

  • 1730: Diego Silang, Filipino revolutionary leader (d. 1763).
  • 1742: Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, German field marshal (d. 1819).
  • 1778: John Ordronaux, French-American soldier (d. 1841).
  • 1872: Anton Denikin, Russian general (d. 1947).
  • 1888: Alphonse Juin, Algerian-French general (d. 1967).
  • 1889: Kim Chwa-chin, South Korean guerrilla leader (d. 1930).
  • 1917: Pete T. Cenarrusa, American soldier, pilot, and politician, Secretary of State of Idaho (d. 2013).
  • 1930: Bill Young, American sergeant and politician (d. 2013).
  • 1941: Roger Neil Wheeler, British general.

People (Deaths)

  • 1379: John FitzAlan, 1st Baron Arundel, English general and politician, Lord Marshall of England (b. 1348).
  • 1515: Afonso de Albuquerque, Portuguese admiral and politician, 3rd Viceroy of Portuguese India (b. 1453).
  • 1669: Nathaniel Fiennes, English soldier and politician (b. 1608).
  • 1783: Sir William James, 1st Baronet, Welsh-English commander and politician (b. 1720).
  • 1944: Betsie ten Boom, Dutch Holocaust victim (b. 1885).
  • 1968: Muhammad Suheimat, Jordanian general and politician (b. 1916).
  • 1993: Kakuei Tanaka, Japanese soldier and politician, 64th Prime Minister of Japan (b. 1918).
  • 2001: Stefan Heym, German-American soldier and author (b. 1913).
  • 2010: Melvin E. Biddle, American soldier, Medal of Honour recipient (b. 1923).

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