Dec. 16, 1497 – Vasco da Gama passed the Great Fish River and rounded the Cape of Good Hope, the point where Bartolomeu Dias had previously turned back to Portugal.
Dec. 16, 1770 - Composer Ludwig Van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany.
Dec. 16, 1773 – Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawk Indians dumped nearly 350 chests of tea into Boston Harbor off of British ships. Now known as the “Boston Tea Party,” the midnight raid was a protest of the Tea Act of 1773, a bill enacted by the British parliament to save the faltering British East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. Patriot leader Samuel Adams organized the now-famous “tea party” with about 60 members of the Sons of Liberty, and the tea dumped into the harbor was worth more than $700,000 in today’s currency.
Dec. 16, 1775 – Novelist Jane Austen was born in Steventon, Hampshire, England.
Dec. 16, 1777 - Virginia became the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.
Dec. 16, 1811 - The town of New Madrid, Missouri was hit by the first of three magnitude 8 earthquakes. Witnesses reported cracks opening in the earth's surface, the ground rolling in visible waves, and landmasses sinking and rising.
Dec. 16, 1862 - Union General Jeremiah Sullivan dispatched Colonel Robert Ingersoll and 200 men from Jackson to Lexington. Ingersoll's forces were routed on Dec. 18 by troops under Conferate calvalry leader General Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Dec. 16, 1863 – W.H. Snowden of Brooklyn, Ala., with Co. E (Conecuh Guards) of the 4th Alabama Infantry, was “permanently disabled” during a skirmish at Lenior Station, Tenn.
Dec. 16, 1863 - Confederate President Jefferson Davis named General Joseph Johnston commander of the Army of Tennessee. Johnston replaced Braxton Bragg, who managed to lose all of Tennessee to the Union during 1863. Bragg was literally maneuvered right out of Tennessee during the summer, although he engineered a victory at Chickamauga before laying siege to Union troops at Chattanooga. When Grant broke the Confederate hold on Chattanooga in November, Bragg resigned his command.
Dec. 16, 1864 - The Battle of Nashville concluded as Major General George Thomas’s Union forces defeated Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee. The battle had started the day before.
Dec. 16, 1879 - Alabama author Rose Bell Knox was born in Talladega, Ala.
Dec. 16, 1898 - U.S. President William McKinley visited Tuskegee Institute at the invitation of Booker T. Washington, the school's president. To Washington the visit signified that he had achieved his goal of "build[ing] up a school that would be of so much service to the country that the President of the United States would one day come to see it."
Dec. 16, 1899 – English playwright Sir Noel Coward was born in Teddington, near London.
Dec. 16, 1907 - Eugenia H. Farrar became the first singer to broadcast on radio. She sang from the USS Dolphin docked at Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Dec. 16-17, 1914 – A mass meeting directed by the State Department of Agriculture and U.S. Farm Demonstration agents was held in Evergreen, Ala. in cooperation with local businessment and farmers for farmers, merchants, bankers and businessment in Conecuh and adjoing counties “for the purpose of ‘reasoning together’ on agricultural and other matters of vital interest to all, and to put forth earnest efforts to effect a common understanding for the betterment of all classes under the changed conditions caused by the invasion of the boll weevil and the effects of the European war.” Many people were expected to attend, but attendance was light due to “bitter cold weather.”
Dec. 15, 1915 – The Monroe Journal reported that Mr. and Mrs. John McDuffie were at home after a two-week absence, attending court at Grove Hill, Ala.
Dec. 16, 1916 - Gregory Rasputin, the monk who had wielded powerful influence over the Russian court, was murdered by a group of noblemen.
Dec. 16, 1916 - A movie version of Alabama author Octavus Roy Cohen's book “The Matrimaniac” was released.
Dec. 16, 1917 – Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke was born in Minehead, Somerset, England.
Dec. 16, 1922 – Former Confederate soldier Walter Newton Duke died and was buried in Ramah Cemetery at Teneha in Shelby County, Texas. Born on Jan. 13, 1840, he enlisted in Co. D. of the 5th Alabama Regiment (later Co. C after April 27, 1862) on March 16, 1861. Listed as sick at St. Frances de Sales Hospital between March 1, 1862 and Aug. 31, 1862. Taken prisoner at South Mountain, Md. on Sept. 14, 1862, forwarded to Ft. Delaware, Del. on Oct. 2, 1862 and to Aikens Landing for exchange on Nov. 10, 1862. He was a patient at Winder General Hospital No. 4 from Nov. 3, 1862 to Dec. 16, 1862. He was taken prisoner at Gettysburg on July 4, 1863 and forwarded to Ft. Delaware on July 7, 1863 and arrived on July 12, 1863. He arrived at Point Lookout, Md. on Oct. 23, 1863 and was paroled on Feb. 18, 1865.
Dec. 16, 1926 – Most of the buildings on the south side of Monroeville, Alabama’s downtown square were totally lost to a blazing inferno.
Dec. 16, 1927 - Alabama author Sandol Stoddard was born in Birmingham, Ala.
Dec. 16, 1928 – Science fiction writer Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago, Ill.
Dec. 16, 1936 – Civil rights attorney Morris Dees was born in Shorter, Ala.
Dec. 16, 1937 – Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe attempted to escape from the American federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. Neither was ever seen again.
Dec. 16, 1938 – Adolf Hitler instituted the Cross of Honour of the German Mother.
Dec. 16, 1940 – National Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Hamilton died at the age of 74 in Worcester, Mass. During his career, he played for the Kansas City Cowboys, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Beaneaters. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1961.
Dec. 16, 1944 - The Battle of the Bulge, one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, began. Wallace Wade, head football coach at the University of Alabama when the team won the 1926 Rose Bowl, was there. He was a lieutenant colonel and led the 272nd Field Artillery Battalion. Wade volunteered for military service in 1942 at age 49. He would be awarded a Bronze Star and four battle stars, and the French government awarded him the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) with Palm.
Dec. 16, 1955 - A fire of undetermined origin on this night swept through and totally destroyed the house at 214 West Front St. in Evergreen, Ala., occupied by Maggie Thomas Johnson.
Dec. 16, 1957 – This Monday’s sale of livestock at the Conecuh County (Ala.) Cooperative Stockyard “was one of the largest ever held other than on special occasions such as Fat Calf shows and like events.” The sale grossed the amount of $29,418.89. There were approximately 600 head of hogs and 160 head of cattle sold. Twenty-three buyers participated in the spirited bidding and buying.
Dec. 16, 1962 – NFL defensive tackle and fullback William "Refrigerator" Perry was born in Aiken, S.C. He would go on to play for Clemson, the Chicago Bears, the Philadelphia Eagles and the London Monarchs.
Dec. 16, 1965 – Marine Sgt. Jesse Frank Morgan of Camden, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam.
Dec. 16, 1965 – Evergreen High School’s annual Holiday Invitational Basketball Tournament was scheduled to end at Memorial Gym in Evergreen, Ala.
Dec. 16, 1972 – Selma, Alabama’s Water Avenue was added to National Register of Historic Places.
Dec. 16, 1972 - The Miami Dolphins became the first NFL team to go unbeaten and untied in a 14-game regular season. The Dolphins went on to defeat the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII.
Dec. 16, 1972 - Joseph W. (Dick) Skinner Jr., 81, of Castleberry, Ala. died on this Saturday at a Brewton hospital after a lengthy illness. A World War I veteran, he was a large landowner and farmer.
Dec. 16, 1972 – Evergreen High School’s undefeated varsity basketball team, led by Coach Charles Branum, improved to 15-0 on the season by beating Greenville High School, 64-59, in the final round of the Holiday Invational Tournament in Evergreen. Wavie Ausby led Evergreen with 25 points, and David Carroll followed with 21 points. Other outstanding Evergreen players in that game included Cleve Fields, David Thomas and Green.
Dec. 16, 1973 - O.J. Simpson broke Jim Brown’s single-season rushing record in the NFL. Brown had rushed for 1,863 yards, while Simpson attained 2,003 yards.
Dec. 16, 1976 – Computer scientist and Slate contributor Jen Golbeck was born in Crystal Lake, Ill.
Dec. 16, 1979 - Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys played his last regular season game. The Cowboys came from behind to win the game in the last five minutes.
Dec. 16, 1982 – The Monroe Journal reported that the Monroe County (Ala.) Coaches’ Association basketball players of the week were Frisco City High School’s Charlie Bryant and Monroe County High School’s Charlie McPherson. McPherson was a six-foot-four center at MCHS and was that week’s offensive player. Six-foot-two junior Bryant played wing for Curtis Harris’ run-and-gun Whippets and was that week’s defensive player. Players making honorable mention that week were Excel’s Fred Flories, Frisco City’s Percy Riley, J.U. Blacksher’s Kenny Hill and Jimmy Woods and MCHS’s William Hill.
Dec. 16, 1985 – Weather reporter Earl Windham reported a low temperature of 19 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
Dec. 16, 1985 - Leon Webb Randolph, 71, retired educator of Evergreen, Ala., died at the age of 71. He was a member of a well-known Evergreen family, born there on Oct. 6, 1914 to the late Mr. and Mrs. Henry Randolph Sr. He taught in the schools of Conecuh County for 45 years and retired from his teaching position at Southside Elementary School.
Dec. 16, 1990 - Warren Moon of the Houston Oilers threw for 527 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Dec. 16, 1993 - MTV aired Nirvana's New York "Unplugged" performance.
Dec. 16, 1998 - U.S. President Bill Clinton ordered a sustained series of airstrikes against Iraq by American and British forces in response to Saddam Hussein's continued defiance of U.N. weapons inspectors.
Dec. 16, 2000 - A tornado killed 12 people in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Dec. 16, 2001 - The Detroit Lions won their first game of the 2001-2002 season against the Minnesota Vikings. The Lions, after the win, had the record 1-12.
Dec. 16, 2001 - An instant replay decision led to a bottle-throwing melee in a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The decision disallowed a catch by the Browns with 48 seconds left in the game. The Jaguars won the game, 15-10.
Dec. 16, 2010 – Old Carter Hospital in Repton was added to Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage