Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 16 December
1620: The Pilgrim Fathers arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
1653: After the execution of Charles I, Oliver Cromwell failed to get the parliament he wanted and became Lord Protector of England, turning himself into an uncrowned king for the next four years.
1692: The National Debt introduced.
1773: The Boston Tea Party – caused when angry rebels, dressed as Plains Indians, dumped 342 chests of tea, worth £18,000, from ships into Boston harbour as a protest against British taxation. The War of Independence had begun.
1809: Napoleon Bonaparte divorced Josephine after 13 years of marriage because she did not bear him a child.
1838: Boers defeated Zulus on Blood River, Natal.
1884: Britain recognised International Association of the Congo.
1893: The Manchester Ship Canal was completed.
1914: West Hartlepool, Scarborough and Whitby were bombarded by German cruisers.
1925: Construction of the Mersey road tunnel began. It opened on 18 July, 1934.
1929: The first all-talking feature film made in Britain. Called The Clue of the New Pin it featured a young John Gielgud as the villain.
1929: The British airship R100, designed by Barnes Wallis, first flew on trials.
1944: The Battle of the Bulge began in the Ardennes region of Belgium.
1954: Synthetic diamonds were produced at GEC’s laboratories in the United States.
1966: United Nations Security Council voted 11-0 to invoke economic sanctions against white minority government in Rhodesia.
1967: UN panel agreed on pact for rescue of astronauts in event of space mishaps.
1971: Bangladesh formally came into existence after East Pakistan surrendered in the war with India.
1977: The extension of the Piccadilly Underground line to Heathrow Airport, London, was officially opened by the Queen.
1988: Edwina Currie resigned as junior health minister as taxpayers faced bill of £40 million to help ailing poultry industry after she said that most eggs were infected with salmonella.
1991: Stella Rimington, 56, became the first woman to be made director-general of MI5.
1997: An episode of the animated programme Pokemon aired in Japan induced seizures in 685 Japanese children.
2009: Scotland’s biggest airline, Flyglobespan, collapsed and was placed in administration.
Benny Andersson, pop singer (Abba), 67; Christopher Biggins, actor, 65; Steven Bochco, American television writer and producer (Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue), 70; Peter Dickinson OBE, author, 86; Christopher Ellison, actor, 67; Joel Garner, West Indian cricketer, 61; Tony Hicks, rock guitarist (The Hollies), 68; William “The Refrigerator” Perry, American gridiron footballer, 51; Trevor Pinnock CBE, harpsichordist and conductor, 67; Sam Robards, actor, 52; Liv Ullmann, film actress, 75; Dennis Wise, footballer and manager, 47.
Births: 1485 Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII; 1770 Ludwig van Beethoven, composer; 1775 Jane Austen, novelist1917 Sir Arthur C Clarke, science fiction writer.
Deaths: 1916 Grigori Efimovich Rasputin, monk who wielded powerful influence over Russian Czarin (murdered); 2001 Stuart Adamson, rock singer and guitarist (Big Country) and songwriter; 2011 Nicol Williamson, Scottish actor.