• On Dec. 18, 1620, the British ship Mayflower docks at modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, and its passengers prepare to begin their new settlement, Plymouth Colony. By spring, 50 of the original 102 Mayflower passengers were dead of illness and starvation.
• On Dec. 22, 1900, the first car to be produced under the “Mercedes” name is delivered to its buyer: Emil Jellinek, the Austrian car racer. Jellinek was so confident it would win races that he bought 36 of them, and the company agreed to name its new machine after Jellinek’s daughter, Mercedes.
• On Dec. 19, 1917, the National Hockey League opens its first season with five franchises: the Canadiens and the Wanderers (both of Montreal), the Ottawa
Senators, the Quebec Bulldogs and the Toronto Arenas.
• On Dec. 17, 1944, Public Proclamation No. 21, declares that, effective Jan. 2, 1945, Japanese American “evacuees” from the West Coast could return to their homes from internment camps.
• On Dec. 20, 1957, rockand roll star Elvis Presley receives his draft notice for the U.S. Army. Fans sent tens of thousands of letters asking that he be spared, but Elvis would have none of it. He was sworn in as an Army private in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 24, 1958.
• On Dec. 23, 1968, the crew and captain of the U.S. intelligence-gathering ship Pueblo are released after 11 months’ imprisonment by the government of North Korea. The Pueblo and its 83-man crew had been seized by North Korean warships and charged with intruding into North Korean waters.
• On Dec. 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York explodes in midair over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members. A bomb hidden in an audio cassette player detonated in the cargo area when the plane was at 31,000 feet.
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