Today in History

Today in History
Today is Wednesday, Dec. 20, the 354th day of 2023. There are 11 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 20, 1803, the Louisiana Purchase was completed as ownership of the territory was formally transferred from France to the United States.
On this date:
In 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union as all 169 delegates to a special convention in Charleston voted in favor of separation.
In 1864, Confederate forces evacuated Savannah, Georgia, as Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman nearly completed his “March to the Sea.”
In 1945, the Office of Price Administration announced the end of wartime tire rationing, effective Jan. 1, 1946.
In 1963, the Berlin Wall was opened for the first time to West Berliners, who were allowed one-day visits to relatives in the Eastern sector for the holidays.
In 1987, more than 4,300 people were killed when the Doña Paz (DOHN’-yuh pahz), a Philippine passenger ship, collided with the tanker Vector off Mindoro island.
In 1989, the United States launched Operation Just Cause, sending troops into Panama to topple the government of Gen. Manuel Noriega.
In 1995, an American Airlines Boeing 757 en route to Cali, Colombia, slammed into a mountain, killing all but four of the 163 people aboard.
In 1999, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that gay couples were entitled to the same benefits and protections as wedded heterosexual couples.
In 2001, the U.N. Security Council authorized a multinational force for Afghanistan.
In 2002, Trent Lott resigned as Senate Republican leader two weeks after igniting a political firestorm with racially charged remarks.
In 2005, a federal judge ruled that “intelligent design” could not be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, delivering a stinging attack on the Dover Area School Board.
In 2016, President Barack Obama designated the bulk of U.S.-owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic Ocean as indefinitely off limits to future oil and gas leasing.
In 2017, Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced former archbishop of Boston, died in Rome at the age of 86; his failure to stop child molesters in the priesthood had triggered a crisis in American Catholicism.
Today’s Birthdays: Original Mouseketeer Tommy Cole (TV: “The Mickey Mouse Club”) is 82. Rock musician-music producer Bobby Colomby is 79. Rock musician Peter Criss is 78. Former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is 77. Psychic/illusionist Uri Geller is 77. Producer Dick Wolf (“Law & Order”) is 77. Rock musician Alan Parsons is 75. Actor Jenny Agutter is 71. Actor Michael Badalucco is 69. Actor Blanche Baker is 67. Rock singer Billy Bragg is 66. Rock singer-musician Mike Watt (The Secondmen, Minutemen, fIREHOSE) is 66. Actor Joel Gretsch is 60. Country singer Kris Tyler is 59. Rock singer Chris Robinson is 57. Actor Nicole deBoer is 53. Movie director Todd Phillips is 53. Singer David Cook (“American Idol”) is 41. Actor Jonah Hill is 40. Actor Bob Morley is 39. Singer JoJo is 33. Actor Colin Woodell is 32.