On Dec. 30, 1853, the United States and Mexico signed a treaty under which the U.S. agreed to buy some 45,000 square miles of land from Mexico for $10 million in a deal known as the Gadsden Purchase.
On this date:
In 1813, British troops burned Buffalo, New York, during the War of 1812.
In 1860, 10 days after South Carolina seceded from the Union, the state militia seized the United States Arsenal in Charleston.
In 1916, Grigory Rasputin, the so-called “Mad Monk” who wielded considerable influence with Czar Nicholas II, was killed by a group of Russian noblemen in St. Petersburg.
In 1922, Vladimir Lenin proclaimed the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which lasted nearly seven decades before dissolving in December 1991.
In 1936, the United Auto Workers union staged its first “sit-down” strike at the General Motors Fisher Body Plant No. 1 in Flint, Michigan. (The strike lasted until Feb. 11, 1937.)
In 1940, California’s first freeway, the Arroyo Seco Parkway connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena, was officially opened by Gov. Culbert L. Olson.
In 1942, a near-riot of bobby-soxers greeted the opening of Frank Sinatra’s singing engagement at the Paramount Theater in New York’s Times Square.
In 1965, Ferdinand Marcos was inaugurated for his first term as president of the Philippines.
In 1979, Broadway composer Richard Rodgers died in New York at age 77.
In 1989, a Northwest Airlines DC-10, which had been the target of a telephoned threat, flew safely from Paris to Detroit with 22 passengers amid extra-tight security.
In 1997, a deadly massacre in Algeria’s insurgency began in four mountain villages as armed men killed women and children in an attack that lasted from dusk until dawn the following morning; up to 412 deaths were reported.
In 1999, former Beatle George Harrison fought off a knife-wielding intruder who’d broken into his mansion west of London and stabbed him in the chest. (The attacker was later acquitted of attempted murder by reason of insanity.)
In 2008: A defiant Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich named former state Attorney General Roland Burris to Barack Obama’s Senate seat, a surprise move that put the governor’s opponents in the uncomfortable position of trying to block his choice from becoming the Senate’s only black member. (Burris was sworn in as a U.S. senator the following month.) Israeli aircraft kept up a relentless string of attacks on Hamas-ruled Gaza, smashing a government complex, security installations and the home of a top militant commander. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a law extending presidential terms from four years to six.
In 2013: Six states were named by federal officials to develop test sites for drones: Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia. Barely 12 hours after the NFL’s regular season ended, four more head coaches were fired: Washington’s Mike Shanahan, Detroit’s Jim Schwartz, Minnesota’s Leslie Frazier and Tampa Bay’s Greg Schiano. (Cleveland’s Rob Chudzinski had been fired the night before).
In 2017: A wave of spontaneous protests over Iran’s weak economy swept into Tehran, with college students and others chanting against the government. Forecasters issued winter weather advisories across much of the Deep South ahead of plunging temperatures expected as the new year arrived.