On Dec. 21, 1620: Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower went ashore for the first time at present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts.
In 1864: During the Civil War, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman concluded their “March to the Sea” as they captured Savannah, Georgia.
In 1913: The first newspaper crossword puzzle, billed as a “Word-Cross Puzzle,” was published in the New York World.
In 1914: The U.S. government began requiring passport applicants to provide photographs of themselves.
In 1940: Author F. Scott Fitzgerald died in Hollywood, California, at age 44.
In 1942: The U.S. Supreme Court, in Williams v. North Carolina, ruled 6-2 that all states had to recognize divorces granted in Nevada.
In 1945: U.S. Army Gen. George S. Patton, 60, died in Heidelberg, Germany, 12 days after being seriously injured in a car accident.
In 1968: Apollo 8 was launched on a mission to orbit the moon.
In 1969: Vince Lombardi coached his last football game as his team, the Washington Redskins, lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 20-10.
In 1988: 270 people were killed when a terrorist bomb exploded aboard a Pam Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, sending wreckage crashing to the ground.
In 1991: Eleven of the 12 former Soviet republics proclaimed the birth of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the death of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
In 1995: The city of Bethlehem passed from Israeli to Palestinian control.
In 2012: The National Rifle Association said guns and police officers were needed in all American schools to stop the next killer “waiting in the wings,” taking a no-retreat stance in the face of growing calls for gun control after the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings that claimed the lives of 26 children and school staff.
Ten years ago: The Census Bureau announced that the nation’s population on April 1, 2010, was 308,745,538, up from 281.4 million a decade earlier. A divided Federal Communications Commission approved, 3-2, new rules known as “net neutrality” meant to prohibit broadband companies from interfering with Internet traffic flowing to their customers. The No. 1-ranked Connecticut women’s basketball team topped the 88-game winning streak by John Wooden’s UCLA men’s team from 1971-74, beating No. 22 Florida State 93-62. Chip Kelly, in just his second season leading Oregon, was voted AP Coach of the Year.
Five years ago: A Taliban attacker rammed a bomb-laden motorcycle into a joint NATO and Afghan patrol near the Bagram Airfield, killing six Americans in the deadliest attack on foreign troops since the previous August. The nation’s three-decade-old ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men was formally lifted, but major restrictions continued to limit who could give blood in the U.S. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney was named The Associated Press college football coach of the year.
One year ago: Joseph Segel, founder of the home-shopping network QVC, died in Pennsylvania; he was 88. Six people died and 13 others were injured in a fire at an apartment building in downtown Las Vegas. French fashion designer Emanuel Ungaro, known for his use of vibrant color, mixed prints and elegant draping, died in Paris at the age of 86.
— The Associated Press