Today in History: December 30

Thousands of Muslim pilgrims crowd a train in Tongi, 15 kilometers (10 miles) north of Dhaka, Monday, Dec. 30, 1996 to return home after a three-day Islamic festival. At least two million Muslims prayed for the unity of the Islamic Ummah. (AP Photo/Pavel Rahman)

Today in History

Today is Friday, Dec. 30, the 365th day of 2016. There is one day left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 30, 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.

On this date:

In 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.

In 1865, author Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India.

In 1905, the Franz Lehar operetta “The Merry Widow” premiered in Vienna.

In 1922, Vladimir I. Lenin proclaimed the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which lasted nearly seven decades before dissolving in Dec. 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.

In 1954, Olympic gold medal runner Malvin G. Whitfield became the first black recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award for amateur athletes.

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 1994, a gunman walked into a pair of suburban Boston abortion clinics and opened fire, killing two employees. (John C. Salvi III was later convicted of murder; he died in prison, an apparent suicide.)

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. (Michael Abram was later acquitted of attempted murder by reason of insanity.)