Today is Wednesday, Dec. 14, the 348th day of 2022. There are 17 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 14, 2020, the Electoral College decisively confirmed Joe Biden as the nation’s next president, ratifying his November victory in a state-by-state repudiation of President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede he had lost; electors gave Biden 306 votes to Trump’s 232. Speaking from Delaware, Biden accused Trump of threatening core principles of democracy, but told Americans that their form of self-government had “prevailed.”

On this date:

In 1799, the first president of the United States, George Washington, died at his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home at age 67.

In 1819, Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state.

In 1861, Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, died at Windsor Castle at age 42.

In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (ROH’-ahl AH’-mun-suhn) and his team became the first men to reach the South Pole, beating out a British expedition led by Robert F. Scott.

In 1939, the Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations for invading Finland.

In 1961, a school bus was hit by a passenger train at a crossing near Greeley, Colorado, killing 20 students.

In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, ruled that Congress was within its authority to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against racial discrimination by private businesses (in this case, a motel that refused to cater to Blacks).

In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, which it had seized from Syria in 1967.

In 1985, former New York Yankees outfielder Roger Maris, who’d hit 61 home runs during the 1961 season, died in Houston at age 51.

In 1986, the experimental aircraft Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California on the first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world.

In 2006, a British police inquiry concluded that the deaths of Princess Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, in a 1997 Paris car crash were a “tragic accident,” and that allegations of a murder conspiracy were unfounded. Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun died in New York at age 83.

In 2020, the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history began with health workers getting shots on the same day the nation’s COVID-19 death toll hit 300,000.

Ten years ago: A gunman with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, then took his own life as police arrived; the 20-year-old had also fatally shot his mother at their home before carrying out the attack on the school.

Five years ago: The Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the Obama-era “net neutrality” rules, a move that gave internet service providers a free hand to slow or block specific websites and apps as they see fit, or charge more for faster speeds. The most serious charge against James Alex Fields, accused of driving into a crowd protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, was upgraded to first-degree murder; a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, died and dozens were injured.

One year ago: The House voted to hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress after he ceased to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee investigating the Capitol insurrection. (The Justice Department would decline to prosecute.) A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that was brought by former President Donald Trump in his attempt to block congressional lawmakers from obtaining his tax returns. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 800,000, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University. Stephen Curry set a new NBA career 3-point record; the Golden State Warriors’ guard hit his 2,974th 3-point shot against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Authorities in South Carolina said an autopsy found unusually severe brain disease in the frontal lobe of Phillip Adams, a former NFL player accused of fatally shooting six people in South Carolina before killing himself in April.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer-actor Abbe Lane is 91. Actor Hal Williams is 88. Actor-singer Jane Birkin is 76. Pop singer Joyce Vincent Wilson (Tony Orlando and Dawn) is 76. Entertainment executive Michael Ovitz is 76. Actor Dee Wallace is 74. R&B singer Ronnie McNeir (The Four Tops) is 73. Rock musician Cliff Williams is 73. Actor-comedian T.K. Carter is 66. Rock singer-musician Mike Scott (The Waterboys) is 64. Singer-musician Peter “Spider” Stacy (The Pogues) is 64. Actor Cynthia Gibb is 59. Actor Nancy Valen is 57. Actor Archie Kao is 53. Actor Natascha McElhone is 53. Actor-comedian Michaela Watkins is 51. Actor-comedian Miranda Hart is 50. R&B singer Brian Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 47. Actor KaDee Strickland is 47. Actor Tammy Blanchard is 46. Actor Sophie Monk is 43. Actor-singer-musician Jackson Rathbone is 38. Actor Vanessa Hudgens is 34. Rock/R&B singer Tori Kelly is 30.