TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1773, Tea Act protesters dumped hundreds of crates of tea into Boston harbor, an act that came to be known as the "Boston Tea Party."
In 1835, a huge fire destroyed nearly 700 buildings in New York City.
In 1944, German forces began a 90-minute artillery barrage against the Allied front, signaling the onset of the Battle of the Bulge.
In 2000, President George W. Bush selected Colin Powell as the first African American secretary of state.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Jane Austen (1775-1817), author; Noel Coward (1899-1973), playwright; Margaret Mead (1901-1978), anthropologist; Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008), writer; Philip K. Dick (1928-1982), author; Lesley Stahl (1941- ), journalist; Steven Bochco (1943-2018), screenwriter/producer; Shane Black (1961- ), actor/screenwriter/director; William "The Refrigerator" Perry (1962- ), football player; Benjamin Bratt (1963- ), actor; Krysten Ritter (1981- ), actress; Theo James (1984- ), actor.
TODAY'S FACT: Margaret Mead was named "Mother of the World" by Time magazine in 1969.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1973, Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson became the first player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars." -- Arthur C. Clarke, "The Exploration of Space"
TODAY'S NUMBER: $2.8 billion -- worldwide box-office gross of James Cameron's "Avatar," which began its wide international release on this day in 2009. It is second only to "Avengers: Endgame" on the list of highest-grossing films of all time (not adjusted for inflation).
TODAY'S MOON: Between full moon (Dec. 11) and last quarter moon (Dec. 18).