On December 22:
1550 Cesare Cremonini, Italian philosopher, was born.
1639 Jean Racine, French dramatist was born.
1805 John Obadiah Westwood, British entomologist, was born.
1807 The Embargo Act, forbidding trade with all foreign countries, was passed by the U.S. Congress, at the urging of President Thomas Jefferson.
A political cartoon showing merchants dodging the “Ograbme”, which is ‘Embargo’ spelled backwards.
1809 The Non-Intercourse Act, lifting the Embargo Act except for the United Kingdom and France, was passed by the U.S. Congress.
1819 Pierre Ossian Bonnet, French mathematician, was born.
1851The first freight train was operated in Roorkee, India.
1858 Giacomo Puccini, Italian composer, was born.
1885 Ito Hirobumi, a samurai, became the first Prime Minister of Japan.
1888 J. Arthur Rank, British film producer, was born.
1901 André Kostelanetz, American popular music orchestra leader and arranger, was born.
1907 Dame Peggy Ashcroft, English actress, was born.
1909 Patricia Hayes, English actress, was born.
1914 Swami Satchidananda, Yogi and Spiritual teacher, was born.
1916 Peter Fraser, who later became Prime Minister, was charged with sedition following a speech attackign the government’s military consription policy.
1942 Dick Parry, English musician (Pink Floyd), was born.
1948 Noel Edmonds, English game show host, was born.
1949 Maurice Gibb, English musician (The Bee Gees) was born.
1949 – Robin Gibb, English musician (The Bee Gees), was born.
1956 Colo, the first gorilla to be bred in captivity was born.
1962 Ralph Fiennes, English actor, was born.
1963 The cruise ship Lakonia burns 180 miles north of Madeira with the loss of 128 lives.
1964 First flight of the SR-71 (Blackbird).
1965 A 70mph speed limit was applied to all rural roads in Britain, including motorways, for the first time. Previously, there had been no speed limit.
1978 The Third Plenum of the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in Beijing, with Deng Xiaoping reversing Mao-era policies to pursue a program for Chinese economic reform.
1989 After a week of bloody demonstrations, Ion Iliescu takes over as president of Romania, ending Nicolae Ceauşescu‘s Communist dictatorship.
1989 – Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate re-opened after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.
1990 Final independence of Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia after termination of trusteeship.
1992 – Archives of Terror – archives describing the fates of thousands of Latin Americans who had been secretly kidnapped, tortured, and killed by the security services of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay – were discovered by Dr. Martín Almada, and a human-rights activist and judge, José Agustín Fernández. This was known as Operation Condor.
1997 Acteal massacre: Attendees at a prayer meeting of Roman Catholic activists for indigenous causes in the small village of Acteal in the Mexican state of Chiapas werre massacred by paramilitary forces.
2001 Burhanuddin Rabbani, political leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance, handeed over power in Afghanistan to the interim government headed by President Hamid Karzai.
2001 – Richard Reid attempted to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.