On this day:
1636 – The Massachusetts Bay Colony organizes three militia regiments to defend the colony against the Pequot Indians. This organization is recognized today as the founding of the National Guard of the United States.
1937 – Second Sino-Japanese War: Battle of Nanking: The city of Nanjing, defended by the National Revolutionary Army under the command of General Tang Shengzhi, falls to the Japanese. This is followed by the Nanking Massacre, in which Japanese troops rape and slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians.
1972 – Apollo program: Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt begin the third and final extra-vehicular activity (EVA) or “Moonwalk” of Apollo 17. To date they are the last humans to set foot on the Moon.
1780 – Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner, German chemist, invented the Döbereiner’s lamp (d. 1849)
1814 – Ana Néri, Brazilian nurse and philanthropist (d. 1880)
1903 – Ella Baker, American activist (d. 1986) Born & died on December 13.
1925 – Dick Van Dyke, American actor, singer, and dancer
1941 – John Davidson, American actor and game show host
1989 – Taylor Swift, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress
1837 – Herman of Alaska, Russian missionary and saint (b. 1756)
1944 – Lupe Vélez, Mexican actress (b. 1908)
2007 – Floyd Red Crow Westerman, American actor and activist (b. 1936)