Dec. 13 (UPI) — On this date in history:
In 1642, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand.
In 1816, the United States’ first savings bank, the Provident Institution for Savings, opened in Boston.
In 1862, Union troops suffered a major defeat in the Civil War battle of Fredericksburg. An estimated 12,000 northern soldiers were killed or injured, about three times the toll suffered by Confederate forces.
In 1937, the Nanjing Massacre began, during which Japanese troops killed between 40,000 and 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers. The episode lasted six weeks as part of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
In 1981, martial law was imposed in Poland.
In 1982, the Sentry armored car company in New York discovered the overnight theft of $ 8 million from its headquarters. It was the biggest cash theft in U.S. history at the time.
In 1998, in a non-binding referendum giving Puerto Ricans the opportunity to express a political preference, most voters indicated they wished to remain a U.S. commonwealth.
In 2000, seven inmates — later dubbed the “Texas Seven” — escaped from prison, sparking a six-week manhunt. The men robbed a sporting-goods store on Christmas Eve, killing a police officer.
In 2002, Cardinal Bernard Law, under fire for allegedly protecting priests accused of abusing minors, resigned as Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston. Pope John Paul II put Law in charge of a basilica in Rome in 2004.
In 2003, a bearded and apparently disoriented Saddam Hussein, the deposed Iraqi president, was captured by U.S. troops in a small underground hideout southeast of his hometown of Tikrit, ending an eight-month manhunt.
In 2007, a landmark report implicated 89 U.S. Major League Baseball players, some of them prominent figures of the era, in the use of steroids and other illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
In 2009, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi sustained a broken nose and two broken teeth when struck by a heavy statuette wielded by a man with a history of mental illness during a political rally in Milan.
In 2017, Merriam-Webster dictionary named “feminism” the top lookup for 2017.