What happened in December. Historical events that happened on every day

December 1-4

December 1

800 – Charlemagne judges the accusations against Pope Leo III in the Vatican.
1420 – Henry V of England enters Paris.
1577 – Francis Walsingham is knighted.
1640 – End of the Iberian Union: Portugal acclaims as King João IV of Portugal, ending 59 years of personal union of the crowns of Portugal and Spain and the end of the rule of the Philippine Dynasty.
1768 – The former slave ship Fredensborg sinks off Tromøya in Norway.
1822 – Peter I is crowned Emperor of Brazil.
1824 – United States presidential election: Since no candidate received a majority of the total electoral college votes in the election, the United States House of Representatives is given the task of deciding the winner in accordance with the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
1828 – Argentine general Juan Lavalle makes a coup against governor Manuel Dorrego, beginning the Decembrist revolution.
1834 – Slavery is abolished in the Cape Colony in accordance with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.
1862 – In his State of the Union Address President Abraham Lincoln reaffirms the necessity of ending slavery as ordered ten weeks earlier in the Emancipation Proclamation.
1865 – Shaw University, the first historically black university in the southern United States, is founded in Raleigh, North Carolina.
1913 – The Buenos Aires Metro, the first underground railway system in the Southern Hemisphere and in Latin America, begins operation.
1913 – Ford Motor Company introduces the first moving assembly line.
1913 – Crete, having obtained self rule from Turkey after the First Balkan War, is annexed by Greece.
1918 – Transylvania unites with Romania, following the incorporation of Bessarabia (March 27) and Bukovina (November 28), thus concluding the Great Union.
1918 – Iceland becomes a sovereign state, yet remains a part of the Danish kingdom.
1918 – The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later known as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) is proclaimed.
1919 – Lady Astor becomes the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. (She had been elected to that position on November 28.)
1924 – The National Hockey League’s first United States-based franchise, the Boston Bruins, played their first game in league play at home, at the still-extant Boston Arena indoor hockey facility.
1934 – In the Soviet Union, Politburo member Sergey Kirov is assassinated. Stalin uses the incident as a pretext to initiate the Great Purge.
1941 – World War II: Emperor Hirohito of Japan gives the final approval to initiate war against the United States.
1941 – World War II: Fiorello La Guardia, Mayor of New York City and Director of the Office of Civilian Defense, signs Administrative Order 9, creating the Civil Air Patrol.
1952 – The New York Daily News reports the news of Christine Jorgensen, the first notable case of sex reassignment surgery.
1955 – American Civil Rights Movement: In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to that city’s bus boycott.
1958 – The Central African Republic attains self-rule within the French Union.
1958 – The Our Lady of the Angels School fire in Chicago kills 92 children and three nuns.
1959 – Cold War: Opening date for signature of the Antarctic Treaty, which sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on the continent.
1960 – Paul McCartney and Pete Best are arrested (and later deported) from Hamburg, West Germany, after accusations of attempted arson.
1964 – Vietnam War: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his top-ranking advisers meet to discuss plans to bomb North Vietnam.
1969 – Vietnam War: The first draft lottery in the United States is held since World War II.
1971 – Cambodian Civil War: Khmer Rouge rebels intensify assaults on Cambodian government positions, forcing their retreat from Kompong Thmar and nearby Ba Ray.
1973 – Papua New Guinea gains self-governance from Australia.
1974 – TWA Flight 514, a Boeing 727, crashes northwest of Dulles International Airport, killing all 92 people on board.
1974 – Northwest Airlines Flight 6231, another Boeing 727, crashes northwest of John F. Kennedy International Airport.
1977 – Pinwheel is launched, which is now Nickelodeon.
1980 – Ecatepec, State of Mexico, Mexico, becomes a city.
1981 – Inex-Adria Aviopromet Flight 1308, a McDonnell Douglas MD-80, crashes in Corsica, killing all 180 people on board.
1984 – NASA conducts the Controlled Impact Demonstration, wherein an airliner is deliberately crashed in order to test technologies and gather data to help improve survivability of crashes.
1988 – World AIDS Day was proclaimed worldwide by the UN member states.
1989 – Philippine coup attempt: The right-wing military rebel Reform the Armed Forces Movement attempts to oust Philippine President Corazon Aquino in a failed bloody coup d’état.
1989 – Cold War: East Germany’s parliament abolishes the constitutional provision granting the Communist Party the leading role in the state.
1990 – Channel Tunnel sections started from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the seabed.
1991 – Cold War: Ukrainian voters overwhelmingly approve a referendum for independence from the Soviet Union.
1997 – In the Indian state of Bihar, Ranvir Sena attacked the CPI(ML) Party Unity stronghold Lakshmanpur-Bathe, killing 63 lower caste people.
2000 – Vicente Fox Quesada is inaugurated as the president of Mexico, marking the first peaceful transfer of executive federal power to an opposing political party following a free and democratic election in Mexico’s history.

December 2

1244 – Pope Innocent IV arrives at Lyon for the First Council of Lyon.
1409 – The University of Leipzig opens.
1697 – St Paul’s Cathedral is consecrated in London.
1763 – Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, the first synagogue in what will become the United States.
1766 – Swedish parliament approved the Swedish Freedom of the Press Act and implemented it as a ground law, thus being first in the world with freedom of speech.
1804 – At Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself Emperor of the French.
1805 – War of the Third Coalition: Battle of Austerlitz: French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte decisively defeat a joint Russo-Austrian force.
1823 – Monroe Doctrine: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President James Monroe proclaims American neutrality in future European conflicts, and warns European powers not to interfere in the Americas.
1845 – Manifest destiny: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President James K. Polk proposes that the United States should aggressively expand into the West.
1848 – Franz Joseph I becomes Emperor of Austria.
1851 – French President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte overthrows the Second Republic.
1852 – Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte becomes Emperor of the French as Napoleon III.
1859 – Militant abolitionist leader John Brown is hanged for his October 16 raid on Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
1865 – Alabama ratifies 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, followed by North Carolina then Georgia, and U.S. slaves were legally free within two weeks
1867 – At Tremont Temple in Boston, British author Charles Dickens gives his first public reading in the United States.
1899 – Philippine–American War: The Battle of Tirad Pass, termed “The Filipino Thermopylae”, is fought.
1908 – Puyi becomes Emperor of China at the age of two.
1917 – World War I: Russia and the Central Powers sign an armistice at Brest-Litovsk, and peace talks leading to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk begin.
1927 – Following 19 years of Ford Model T production, the Ford Motor Company unveils the Ford Model A as its new automobile.
1930 – Great Depression: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President Herbert Hoover proposes a $150 million (equivalent to $2,250,000,000 in 2018) public works program to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy.
1939 – New York City’s LaGuardia Airport opens.
1942 – World War II: During the Manhattan Project, a team led by Enrico Fermi initiates the first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.
1943 – World War II: A Luftwaffe bombing raid on the harbour of Bari, Italy, sinks numerous cargo and transport ships, including the American SS John Harvey, which is carrying a stockpile of World War I-era mustard gas.
1947 – Jerusalem Riots of 1947: Riots break out in Jerusalem in response to the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine.
1949 – Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others is adopted.
1950 – Korean War: Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River ended, with decisive Chinese victory, UN forces were completely expelled from North Korea.
1954 – Cold War: The United States Senate votes 65 to 22 to censure Joseph McCarthy for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute”.
1954 – The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Taiwan, is signed in Washington, D.C.
1956 – The Granma reaches the shores of Cuba’s Oriente Province. Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and 80 other members of the 26th of July Movement disembark to initiate the Cuban Revolution.
1957 – United Nations Security Council Resolution 126 relating to Kashmir conflict is adopted.
1961 – In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declares that he is a Marxist–Leninist and that Cuba is going to adopt Communism.
1962 – Vietnam War: After a trip to Vietnam at the request of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield becomes the first American official to comment adversely on the war’s progress.
1970 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency begins operations.
1971 – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, and Umm al-Quwain form the United Arab Emirates.
1972 – Gough Whitlam is elected Prime Minister of Australia ending 23 years of conservative rule.
1975 – Laotian Civil War: The Pathet Lao seizes the Laotian capital of Vientiane, forces the abdication of King Sisavang Vatthana, and proclaims the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
1976 – Fidel Castro becomes President of Cuba, replacing Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado.
1980 – Salvadoran Civil War: Four American missionaries are raped and murdered by a death squad.
1982 – At the University of Utah, Barney Clark becomes the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart.
1988 – Benazir Bhutto is sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.
1989 – The Peace Agreement of Hat Yai is signed and ratified by the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) and the governments of Malaysia and Thailand, ending the over two-decade-long communist insurgency in Malaysia.
1991 – Canada and Poland become the first nations to recognize the independence of Ukraine from the Soviet Union.
1993 – Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is shot and killed in Medellín.
1993 – Space Shuttle program: STS-61: NASA launches the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
1999 – The United Kingdom devolves political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Executive following the Good Friday Agreement.
2001 – Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
2015 – San Bernardino attack: Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik kill 14 people and wound 22 at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.
2016 – Thirty-six people die in a fire at a converted Oakland, California, warehouse serving as an artist collective.

December 3

915 – Pope John X crowned Berengar I of Italy as Holy Roman Emperor.
1775 – The USS Alfred becomes the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag (the precursor to the Stars and Stripes); the flag is hoisted by John Paul Jones.
1799 – War of the Second Coalition: Battle of Wiesloch: Austrian Lieutenant Field Marshal Anton Sztáray defeats the French at Wiesloch.
1800 – War of the Second Coalition: Battle of Hohenlinden: French General Moreau decisively defeats the Archduke John of Austria near Munich. Coupled with First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte’s earlier victory at Marengo, this will force the Austrians to sign an armistice and end the war.
1800 – 1800 United States presidential election The Electoral College casts votes for President and Vice President that resulted in a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.
1818 – Illinois becomes the 21st U.S. state.
1834 – The Zollverein (German Customs Union) begins the first regular census in Germany.
1854 – Battle of the Eureka Stockade: More than 20 gold miners at Ballarat, Victoria, are killed by state troopers in an uprising over mining licences.
1898 – The Duquesne Country and Athletic Club defeated an all-star collection of early football players 16-0, in what is considered to be the very first all-star game for professional American football.
1901 – In a State of the Union message, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt delivers a 20,000-word speech to the House of Representatives asking Congress to curb the power of trusts “within reasonable limits”.
1904 – The Jovian moon Himalia is discovered by Charles Dillon Perrine at California’s Lick Observatory.
1910 – Modern neon lighting is first demonstrated by Georges Claude at the Paris Motor Show.
1912 – Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia (the Balkan League) sign an armistice with the Ottoman Empire, temporarily halting the First Balkan War. (The armistice will expire on February 3, 1913, and hostilities will resume.)
1919 – After nearly 20 years of planning and construction, including two collapses causing 89 deaths, the Quebec Bridge opens to traffic.
1920 – Following more than a month of Turkish–Armenian War, the Turkish dictated Treaty of Alexandropol is concluded.
1927 – Putting Pants on Philip, the first Laurel and Hardy film, is released.
1929 – President Herbert Hoover delivers his first State of the Union message to Congress. It was presented in the form of a written message rather than a speech.
1944 – Greek Civil War: Fighting breaks out in Athens between the ELAS and government forces supported by the British Army.
1959 – The current flag of Singapore is adopted, six months after Singapore became self-governing within the British Empire.
1960 – The musical Camelot debuts at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway. It will become associated with the Kennedy administration.
1965 – The Beatles release highly successful and influential experimental folk album Rubber Soul.
1967 – At Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, a transplant team headed by Christiaan Barnard carries out the first heart transplant on a human (53-year-old Louis Washkansky).
1971 – Indo-Pakistani War of 1971: Pakistan launches a pre-emptive strike against India and a full-scale war begins claiming hundreds of lives.
1973 – Pioneer program: Pioneer 10 sends back the first close-up images of Jupiter.
1976 – An assassination attempt is made on Bob Marley in Kingston, Jamaica just two days before the “Smile Jamaica”, a free concert.
1979 – In Cincinnati, 11 fans are suffocated in a crush for seats on the concourse outside Riverfront Coliseum before a Who concert.
1979 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini becomes the first Supreme Leader of Iran.
1982 – A soil sample is taken from Times Beach, Missouri, that will be found to contain 300 times the safe level of dioxin.
1984 – Bhopal disaster: A methyl isocyanate leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, kills more than 3,800 people outright and injures 150,000–600,000 others (some 6,000 of whom would later die from their injuries) in one of the worst industrial disasters in history.
1989 – Cold War: In a meeting off the coast of Malta, U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev release statements indicating that the Cold War between NATO and the Soviet Union may be coming to an end.
1992 – The Greek oil tanker Aegean Sea, carrying 80,000 tonnes of crude oil, runs aground in a storm while approaching A Coruña, Spain, and spills much of its cargo.
1992 – A test engineer for Sema Group uses a personal computer to send the world’s first text message via the Vodafone network to the phone of a colleague.
1994 – The PlayStation developed and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment was released in Japan
1994 – Taiwan held the first full local elections; James Soong elected as the first and only direct elected Governor of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian became the first direct elected Mayor of Taipei, Wu Den-yih became the first directed Mayor of Kaohsiung.
1995 – Cameroon Airlines Flight 3701 crashes on approach to Douala International Airport in Douala, Cameroon, killing 71 of the 76 people on board.
1997 – In Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, representatives from 121 countries sign the Ottawa Treaty prohibiting manufacture and deployment of anti-personnel landmines. The United States, People’s Republic of China, and Russia do not sign the treaty, however.
1999 – NASA loses radio contact with the Mars Polar Lander moments before the spacecraft enters the Martian atmosphere.
2005 – XCOR Aerospace makes the first manned rocket aircraft delivery of U.S. Mail in Kern County, California.
2007 – Winter storms cause the Chehalis River to flood many cities in Lewis County, Washington, and close a 20-mile portion of Interstate 5 for several days. At least eight deaths and billions of dollars in damages are blamed on the floods.
2009 – A suicide bombing at a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, kills 25 people, including three ministers of the Transitional Federal Government.
2012 – At least 475 people are killed after Typhoon Bopha makes landfall in the Philippines.
2014 – The Japanese space agency, JAXA, launches the space explorer Hayabusa2 from the Tanegashima Space Center on a six-year round trip mission to an asteroid to collect rock samples.

December 4

771 – Austrasian king Carloman I dies, leaving his brother Charlemagne king of the now complete Frankish Kingdom.
1110 – The Kingdom of Jerusalem captures Sidon.
1259 – Kings Louis IX of France and Henry III of England agree to the Treaty of Paris, in which Henry renounces his claims to French-controlled territory on continental Europe (including Normandy) in exchange for Louis withdrawing his support for English rebels.
1563 – The final session of the Council of Trent is held. (It had opened on December 13, 1545.)
1619 – Thirty-eight colonists arrive at Berkeley Hundred, Virginia. The group’s charter proclaims that the day “be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”
1676 – The Danish army under the command of King Christian V engages the Swedish army commanded by the Swedish king Charles XI at the Battle of Lund, to this day it is counted as the bloodiest battle in Scandinavian history and a turning point in the Scanian War.
1745 – Charles Edward Stuart’s army reaches Derby, its furthest point during the Second Jacobite Rising.
1783 – At Fraunces Tavern in New York City, U.S. General George Washington bids farewell to his officers.
1786 – Mission Santa Barbara is dedicated (on the feast day of Saint Barbara).
1791 – The first edition of The Observer, the world’s first Sunday newspaper, is published.
1829 – In the face of fierce local opposition, British Governor-General Lord William Bentinck issues a regulation declaring that anyone who abets suttee in Bengal is guilty of culpable homicide.
1861 – The 109 Electors of the several states of the Confederate States of America unanimously elect Jefferson Davis as President and Alexander H. Stephens as Vice President.
1864 – American Civil War: Sherman’s March to the Sea: At Waynesboro, Georgia, forces under Union General Judson Kilpatrick prevent troops led by Confederate General Joseph Wheeler from interfering with Union General William T. Sherman’s campaign destroying a wide swath of the South on his march to the Atlantic Ocean from Atlanta.
1865 – North Carolina ratifies 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, followed soon by Georgia, and U.S. slaves were legally free within two weeks.
1867 – Former Minnesota farmer Oliver Hudson Kelley founds the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry (better known today as the Grange).
1872 – The crewless American ship Mary Celeste is found by the Canadian brig Dei Gratia. The ship had been abandoned for nine days but was only slightly damaged.
1875 – Notorious New York City politician Boss Tweed escapes from prison; he is later recaptured in Spain.
1881 – The first edition of the Los Angeles Times is published.
1893 – First Matabele War: A patrol of 34 British South Africa Company soldiers is ambushed and annihilated by more than 3,000 Matabele warriors on the Shangani River in Matabeleland.
1906 – Alpha Phi Alpha the first black intercollegiate Greek lettered fraternity was founded at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
1909 – In Canadian football, the First Grey Cup game is played. The University of Toronto Varsity Blues defeat the Toronto Parkdale Canoe Club, 26–6.
1909 – The Montreal Canadiens ice hockey club, the oldest surviving professional hockey franchise in the world, is founded as a charter member of the National Hockey Association.
1918 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sails for the World War I peace talks in Versailles, becoming the first US president to travel to Europe while in office.
1939 – World War II: HMS Nelson is struck by a mine (laid by U-31) off the Scottish coast and is laid up for repairs until August 1940.
1942 – World War II: Carlson’s patrol during the Guadalcanal Campaign ends.
1943 – World War II: In Yugoslavia, resistance leader Marshal Josip Broz Tito proclaims a provisional democratic Yugoslav government in-exile.
1943 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt closes down the Works Progress Administration, because of the high levels of wartime employment in the United States.
1945 – By a vote of 65–7, the United States Senate approves United States participation in the United Nations. (The UN had been established on October 24, 1945.)
1949 – Sir Duncan George Stewart was fatally stabbed by Rosli Dhobi, a member leader of the Rukun 13, in Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia during the British crown colony era in that state.
1954 – The first Burger King is opened in Miami, Florida.
1956 – The Million Dollar Quartet (Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash) get together at Sun Studio for the first and last time.
1964 – Free Speech Movement: Police arrest over 800 students at the University of California, Berkeley, following their takeover and sit-in at the administration building in protest of the UC Regents’ decision to forbid protests on UC property.
1965 – The Grateful Dead’s first concert performance under this new name.
1965 – Launch of Gemini 7 with crew members Frank Borman and Jim Lovell. The Gemini 7 spacecraft was the passive target for the first crewed space rendezvous performed by the crew of Gemini 6A.
1967 – Vietnam War: U.S. and South Vietnamese forces engage Viet Cong troops in the Mekong Delta.
1969 – Black Panther Party members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark are shot and killed during a raid by 14 Chicago police officers.
1971 – The Indian Navy attacks the Pakistan Navy and Karachi.
1971 – The PNS Ghazi, a submarine belonging to the Pakistan Navy, sinks during the course of the Indo-Pakistani Naval War of 1971.
1977 – Jean-Bédel Bokassa, president of the Central African Republic, crowns himself Emperor Bokassa I of the Central African Empire.
1977 – Malaysian Airline System Flight 653 is hijacked and crashes in Tanjong Kupang, Johor, killing 100.
1978 – Following the murder of Mayor George Moscone, Dianne Feinstein becomes San Francisco’s first female mayor.
1979 – The Hastie fire in Hull kills three schoolboys and eventually leads police to arrest Bruce George Peter Lee.
1981 – South Africa grants independence to the Ciskei “homeland” (not recognized by any government outside South Africa).
1982 – The People’s Republic of China adopts its current constitution.
1983 – US Navy aircraft from USS John F. Kennedy and USS Independence attack Syrian Missile sites in Lebanon in response to an F-14 being fired on by an SA-7. One A-6 Intruder and A-7 Corsair are shot down. 1 American pilot was killed, one was rescued and one is captured.
1984 – Sri Lankan Civil War: Sri Lankan Army soldiers kill 107–150 civilians in Mannar.
1991 – Terry A. Anderson is released after seven years in captivity as a hostage in Beirut; he is the last and longest-held American hostage in Lebanon.
1991 – Pan American World Airways ceases its operations after 64 years.
1992 – Somali Civil War: President George H. W. Bush orders 28,000 U.S. troops to Somalia in Northeast Africa.
1998 – The Unity Module, the second module of the International Space Station, is launched.
2005 – Tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong protest for democracy and call on the government to allow universal and equal suffrage.
2006 – Six black youths assault a white teenager in Jena, Louisiana.
2014 – Islamic insurgents kill three state police at a traffic circle before taking an empty school and a “press house” in Grozny. Ten state forces die with 28 injured in gun battles ending with ten insurgents killed.
2015 – A firebomb is thrown into a restaurant in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, killing 17 people.
2017 – The Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan is imploded, one day after failing to be imploded.
2017 – The Thomas Fire starts near Santa Paula in California. It eventually becomes the largest wildfire in modern California history (at that time) after burning 440 square miles (281,893 acres; 114,078 ha) in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

December 5-9

December 5

63 BC – Cicero gives the fourth and final of the Catiline Orations.
633 – Fourth Council of Toledo takes place.
1082 – Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona is assassinated.
1408 – Emir Edigu of Golden Horde reaches Moscow.
1484 – Pope Innocent VIII issues the Summis desiderantes affectibus, a papal bull that deputizes Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger as inquisitors to root out alleged witchcraft in Germany.
1492 – Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic).
1496 – King Manuel I of Portugal issues a decree ordering the expulsion of Jewish “heretics” from the country.
1560 – Charles IX becomes king of France.
1757 – Seven Years’ War: Battle of Leuthen: Frederick II of Prussia leads Prussian forces to a decisive victory over Austrian forces under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine.
1766 – In London, auctioneer James Christie holds his first sale.
1775 – At Fort Ticonderoga, Henry Knox begins his historic transport of artillery to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1831 – Former U.S. President John Quincy Adams takes his seat in the House of Representatives.
1847 – Jefferson Davis is elected to the U.S. Senate.
1848 – California Gold Rush: In a message to the United States Congress, U.S. President James K. Polk confirms that large amounts of gold had been discovered in California.
1865 – Chincha Islands War: Peru allies with Chile against Spain.
1931 – Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow was destroyed on orders from Joseph Stalin.
1933 – The Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified.
1934 – Abyssinia Crisis: Italian troops attack Wal Wal in Abyssinia, taking four days to capture the city.
1935 – Mary McLeod Bethune founds the National Council of Negro Women in New York City.
1936 – The Soviet Union adopts a new constitution and the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic is established as a full Union Republic of the USSR.
1941 – World War II: In the Battle of Moscow, Georgy Zhukov launches a massive Soviet counter-attack against the German army.
1941 – World War II: Great Britain declares war on Finland, Hungary and Romania.
1943 – World War II: Allied air forces begin attacking Germany’s secret weapons bases in Operation Crossbow.
1945 – World War II: Flight 19, a group of TBF Avengers, disappears in the Bermuda Triangle, in one of the most famous aviation mysteries in history.
1952 – Great Smog: A cold fog descends upon London, combining with air pollution and killing at least 12,000 in the weeks and months that follow.
1955 – The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merge and form the AFL–CIO.
1955 – E. D. Nixon and Rosa Parks lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
1958 – Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) is inaugurated in the United Kingdom by Queen Elizabeth II when she speaks to the Lord Provost in a call from Bristol to Edinburgh.
1958 – The Preston By-pass, the UK’s first stretch of motorway, opens to traffic for the first time. (It is now part of the M6 and M55 motorways.)
1964 – Vietnam War: For his heroism in battle earlier in the year, Captain Roger Donlon is awarded the first Medal of Honor of the war.
1964 – Lloyd J. Old discovered the first linkage between the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and disease—mouse leukemia—opening the way for the recognition of the importance of the MHC in the immune response.
1966 – The musical I Do! I Do!, starring Mary Martin and Robert Preston opens at the 46th Street Theatre, in New York City, and closes on June 15, 1968, after 560 performances.
1971 – Battle of Gazipur: Pakistani forces stand defeated as India cedes Gazipur to Bangladesh.
1977 – Egypt breaks diplomatic relations with Syria, Libya, Algeria, Iraq and South Yemen. The move is in retaliation for the Declaration of Tripoli against Egypt.
1983 – Dissolution of the Military Junta in Argentina.
1991 – Leonid Kravchuk is elected the first president of Ukraine.
1995 – Sri Lankan Civil War: Sri Lanka’s government announces the conquest of the Tamil stronghold of Jaffna.
1999 – Helen Clark is sworn in as Prime Minister of New Zealand, the second woman to hold the post and the first to be elected to the role.
2004 – The Civil Partnership Act comes into effect in the United Kingdom, and the first civil partnership is registered there.
2005 – The 6.8 Mw  Lake Tanganyika earthquake shakes the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme), killing six people.
2006 – Commodore Frank Bainimarama overthrows the government in Fiji.
2007 – Westroads Mall shooting: Nineteen-year-old Robert A. Hawkins kills eight people, including himself, with a WASR-10 at a Von Maur department store in Omaha, Nebraska.
2013 – Militants attack a Defense Ministry compound in Sana’a, Yemen, killing at least 56 people and injuring 200 others.
2014 – Exploration Flight Test 1, the first flight test of Orion is launched.
2017 – The International Olympic Committee bans Russia from competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics for doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

December 6

963 – Pope Leo VIII is appointed to the office of Protonotary and begins his papacy as antipope of Rome.
1060 – Béla I is crowned king of Hungary.
1240 – Mongol invasion of Rus’: Kiev under Daniel of Galicia and Voivode Dmytro falls to the Mongols under Batu Khan.
1534 – The city of Quito in Ecuador is founded by Spanish settlers led by Sebastián de Belalcázar.
1648 – Colonel Thomas Pride of the New Model Army purges the Long Parliament of MPs sympathetic to King Charles I of England, in order for the King’s trial to go ahead; came to be known as “Pride’s Purge”.
1704 – Battle of Chamkaur: During the Mughal-Sikh Wars, an outnumbered Sikh Khalsa defeats a Mughal army.
1745 – Charles Edward Stuart’s army begins retreat during the second Jacobite Rising.
1790 – The U.S. Congress moves from New York City to Philadelphia.
1846 – American and Californio forces clash at the Battle of San Pasqual.
1865 – Georgia ratifies 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
1877 – The first edition of The Washington Post is published.
1884 – The Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., is completed.
1897 – London becomes the world’s first city to host licensed taxicabs.
1904 – Theodore Roosevelt articulated his “Corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine, stating that the U.S. would intervene in the Western Hemisphere should Latin American governments prove incapable or unstable.
1907 – A coal mine explosion at Monongah, West Virginia, kills 362 workers.
1912 – The Nefertiti Bust is discovered.
1916 – World War I: The Central Powers capture Bucharest.
1917 – Finland declares independence from Soviet Russia.
1917 – Halifax Explosion: A munitions explosion near Halifax, Nova Scotia kills more than 1,900 people in the largest artificial explosion up to that time.
1917 – World War I: USS Jacob Jones is the first American destroyer to be sunk by enemy action when it is torpedoed by German submarine SM U-53.
1921 – The Anglo-Irish Treaty is signed in London by British and Irish representatives.
1922 – One year to the day after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the Irish Free State comes into existence.
1928 – The government of Colombia sends military forces to suppress a month-long strike by United Fruit Company workers, resulting in an unknown number of deaths.
1933 – U.S. federal judge John M. Woolsey rules that James Joyce’s novel Ulysses is not obscene.
1941 – World War II: The United Kingdom and Canada declare war on Finland in support of the Soviet Union during the Continuation War. Camp X opens in Canada to begin training Allied Secret Agents for the War.
1942 – World War II in villages Stary Ciepielów and Rekówka German Genarmerie massacred 31 Poles for helping the Jews. Also, two Jewish refugees were murdered.
1947 – The Everglades National Park in Florida is dedicated.
1953 – Vladimir Nabokov completes his controversial novel Lolita.
1956 – A violent water polo match between Hungary and the USSR takes place during the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, against the backdrop of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
1957 – Project Vanguard: A launchpad explosion of Vanguard TV3 thwarts the first United States attempt to launch a satellite into Earth orbit.
1967 – Adrian Kantrowitz performs the first human heart transplant in the United States.
1969 – Altamont Free Concert: At a free concert performed by the Rolling Stones, eighteen-year old Meredith Hunter is stabbed to death by Hells Angels security guards.
1971 – Pakistan severs diplomatic relations with India, initiating the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
1973 – The Twenty-fifth Amendment: The United States House of Representatives votes 387–35 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States. (On November 27, the Senate confirmed him 92–3.)
1975 – The Troubles: Fleeing from the police, a Provisional IRA unit takes a British couple hostage in their flat on Balcombe Street, London, beginning a six-day siege.
1977 – South Africa grants independence to Bophuthatswana, although it is not recognized by any other country.
1978 – Spain ratifies the Spanish Constitution of 1978 in a referendum.
1982 – The Troubles: The Irish National Liberation Army bombs a pub frequented by British soldiers in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland, killing eleven soldiers and six civilians.
1989 – The École Polytechnique massacre (or Montreal Massacre): Marc Lépine, an anti-feminist gunman, murders 14 young women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.
1991 – Yugoslav Wars: In Croatia, forces of the Serb-dominated Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) bombard Dubrovnik after laying siege to the city for seven months.
1992 – The Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India, is demolished, leading to widespread riots causing the death of over 1,500 people.
1995 – Khabarovsk United Air Group Flight 3949 crashes into the Bo-Dzhausa Mountain, killing 98.
1997 – A Russian Antonov An-124 Ruslan cargo plane crashes into an apartment complex near Irkutsk, Siberia, killing 67.
1998 – in Venezuela, Hugo Chávez is victorious in presidential elections.
1999 – A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc.: The Recording Industry Association of America sues the peer-to-peer file-sharing service Napster, alleging copyright infringement. 

2005 – An Iranian Air Force C-130 military transport aircraft crashes into a ten-floor apartment building in a residential area of Tehran, killing all 94 on board and 12 more on the ground.
2006 – NASA reveals photographs taken by Mars Global Surveyor suggesting the presence of liquid water on Mars.
2015 – 2015 Venezuelan parliamentary election: For the first time in 17 years, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela loses its majority in parliament.
2017 – Donald Trump’s administration officially announces the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

December 7

43 BC – Marcus Tullius Cicero is assassinated in Formia.
574 – Byzantine Emperor Justin II, suffering recurring seizures of insanity, adopts his general Tiberius and proclaims him as Caesar.
1703 – The Great Storm of 1703, the greatest windstorm ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain, makes landfall. Winds gust up to 120 mph, and 9,000 people die.
1724 – Tumult of Thorn: Religious unrest is followed by the execution of nine Protestant citizens and the mayor of Thorn (Toruń) by Polish authorities.
1732 – The Royal Opera House opens at Covent Garden, London, England.
1776 – Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, arranges to enter the American military as a major general.
1787 – Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the United States Constitution.
1837 – The Battle of Montgomery’s Tavern, the only battle of the Upper Canada Rebellion, takes place in Toronto, where the rebels are quickly defeated.
1842 – First concert of the New York Philharmonic, founded by Ureli Corelli Hill.
1869 – American outlaw Jesse James commits his first confirmed bank robbery in Gallatin, Missouri.
1904 – Comparative fuel trials begin between warships HMS Spiteful and HMS Peterel: Spiteful was the first warship powered solely by fuel oil, and the trials led to the obsolescence of coal in ships of the Royal Navy.
1917 – World War I: The United States declares war on Austria-Hungary.
1922 – The Parliament of Northern Ireland votes to remain a part of the United Kingdom and not unify with Southern Ireland.
1930 – W1XAV in Boston, Massachusetts telecasts video from the CBS radio orchestra program, The Fox Trappers. The telecast also includes the first television commercial in the United States, an advertisement for I.J. Fox Furriers, who sponsored the radio show.
1932 – German-born Swiss physicist Albert Einstein is granted an American visa.
1936 – Australian cricketer Jack Fingleton becomes the first player to score centuries in four consecutive Test innings.
1941 – World War II: Attack on Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy carries out a surprise attack on the United States Pacific Fleet and its defending Army and Marine air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (For Japan’s near-simultaneous attacks on Eastern Hemisphere targets, see December 8.)
1942 – World War II: British commandos conduct Operation Frankton, a raid on shipping in Bordeaux harbour.
1946 – A fire at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia kills 119 people, the deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history.
1949 – Chinese Civil War: The Government of the Republic of China moves from Nanking to Taipei, Taiwan.
1962 – Prince Rainier III of Monaco revises the principality’s constitution, devolving some of his power to advisory and legislative councils.
1963 – Instant replay makes its debut during the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.
1965 – Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I simultaneously revoke mutual excommunications that had been in place since 1054.
1971 – Battle of Sylhet rages between the Pakistani military and the Mukti Bahini.
1971 – Pakistan President Yahya Khan announces the formation of a coalition government with Nurul Amin as Prime Minister and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as Deputy Prime Minister.
1972 – Apollo 17, the last Apollo moon mission, is launched. The crew takes the photograph known as The Blue Marble as they leave the Earth.
1982 – In Texas, Charles Brooks, Jr., becomes the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the United States.
1983 – An Iberia Airlines Boeing 727 collides with an Aviaco DC-9 in dense fog while the two airliners are taxiing down the runway at Madrid–Barajas Airport, killing 93 people.
1987 – Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771, a British Aerospace 146-200A, crashes near Paso Robles, California, killing all 43 on board, after a disgruntled passenger shoots his ex-boss traveling on the flight, then shoots both pilots and steers the plane into the ground.
1988 – The 6.8 Ms  Armenian earthquake shakes the northern part of the country with a maximum MSK intensity of X (Devastating), killing 25,000–50,000 and injuring 31,000–130,000.
1993 – Long Island Rail Road shooting: Passenger Colin Ferguson murders six people and injures 19 others on the LIRR in Nassau County, New York.
1995 – The Galileo spacecraft arrives at Jupiter, a little more than six years after it was launched by Space Shuttle Atlantis during Mission STS-34.
2003 – The Conservative Party of Canada is officially registered, following the merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.
2005 – Rigoberto Alpizar, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 924 who allegedly claimed to have a bomb, is shot and killed by a team of U.S. federal air marshals at Miami International Airport.
2015 – The JAXA probe Akatsuki successfully enters orbit around Venus five years after the first attempt.
2016 – Pakistan International Airlines Flight 661, a domestic passenger flight from Chitral to Islamabad, operated by ATR-42-500 crashes near Havelian, killing all 47 on board.
2017 – The Marriage Amendment Bill to recognize same-sex marriage passes in Australia.

December 8

395 – Later Yan is defeated by its former vassal Northern Wei at the Battle of Canhe Slope.
757 – Du Fu returns to Chang’an as a member of Emperor Xuanzong’s court, after having escaped the city during the An Lushan Rebellion.
877 – Louis the Stammerer (son of Charles the Bald) is crowned king of the West Frankish Kingdom at Compiègne.
1432 – The first battle between the forces of Švitrigaila and Sigismund Kęstutaitis is fought near the town of Oszmiana (Ashmyany), launching the most active phase of the Lithuanian Civil War.
1504 – Ahmad ibn Abi Jum’ah penned his Oran fatwa, arguing for the relaxation of Islamic law requirements for the forcibly converted Muslims in Spain.
1660 – A woman (either Margaret Hughes or Anne Marshall) appears on an English public stage for the first time, in the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare’s play Othello.
1813 – Premiere of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.
1854 – In his Apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX proclaims the dogmatic definition of Immaculate Conception, which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived free of Original Sin.
1864 – Pope Pius IX promulgates the encyclical Quanta cura and its appendix, the Syllabus of Errors, outlining the authority of the Catholic Church and condemning various liberal ideas.
1907 – King Gustaf V of Sweden accedes to the Swedish throne.
1912 – Leaders of the German Empire hold an Imperial War Council to discuss the possibility that war might break out.
1914 – World War I: A squadron of Britain’s Royal Navy defeats the Imperial German East Asia Squadron in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.
1922 – Northern Ireland ceases to be part of the Irish Free State.
1927 – The Brookings Institution, one of the United States’ oldest think tanks, is founded through the merger of three organizations that had been created by philanthropist Robert S. Brookings.
1941 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares December 7 to be “a date which will live in infamy”, after which the U.S. declares war on Japan.
1941 – World War II: Japanese forces simultaneously invade Shanghai International Settlement, Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies. (See December 7 for the concurrent attack on Pearl Harbor in the Western Hemisphere.)
1943 – World War II: The German 117th Jäger Division destroys the monastery of Mega Spilaio in Greece and executes 22 monks and visitors as part of reprisals that culminated a few days later with the Massacre of Kalavryta.
1953 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers his “Atoms for Peace” speech, which leads to an American program to supply equipment and information on nuclear power to schools, hospitals, and research institutions around the world.
1955 – The Flag of Europe is adopted by Council of Europe.
1962 – Workers at four New York City newspapers (this later increases to nine) go on strike for 114 days.
1963 – Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707, is struck by lightning and crashes near Elkton, Maryland, killing all 81 people on board.
1966 – The Greek ship SS Heraklion sinks in a storm in the Aegean Sea, killing over 200.
1969 – Olympic Airways Flight 954 strikes a mountain outside of Keratea, Greece, killing 90 people in the worst crash of a Douglas DC-6 in history.
1971 – Indo-Pakistani War: The Indian Navy launches an attack on West Pakistan’s port city of Karachi.
1972 – United Airlines Flight 553, a Boeing 737, crashes after aborting its landing attempt at Chicago Midway International Airport, killing 45. This is the first-ever loss of a Boeing 737.
1974 – A plebiscite results in the abolition of monarchy in Greece.
1980 – Former Beatle John Lennon is murdered in front of The Dakota in New York City.
1985 – The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union in South Asia is established.
1987 – Cold War: The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the White House.
1987 – An Israeli army tank transporter kills four Palestinian refugees and injures seven others during a traffic accident at the Erez Crossing on the Israel–Gaza Strip border, which has been cited as one of the events which sparked the First Intifada.
1988 – A United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II crashes into an apartment complex in Remscheid, Germany, killing 5 people and injuring 50 others.
1990 – Galileo (spacecraft) flies past Earth.
1991 – The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine sign an agreement dissolving the Soviet Union and establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States.
1992 – Galileo (spacecraft) flies past Earth.
1998 – Eighty-one people are killed by armed groups in Algeria.
2004 – The Cusco Declaration is signed in Cusco, Peru, establishing the South American Community of Nations.
2009 – Bombings in Baghdad, Iraq, kill 127 people and injure 448 others.
2010 – With the second launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the first launch of the SpaceX Dragon, SpaceX becomes the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.
2010 – The Japanese solar-sail spacecraft IKAROS passes the planet Venus at a distance of about 80,800 km.
2013 – Riots break out in Singapore after a fatal accident in Little India.
2013 – Metallica performs a show in Antarctica, making them the first band to perform on all 7 continents.
2016 – Syrian Army starts final phase of the attack and progress has been made in the district of, “Sheikh Said” and preparing to storm the neighborhood “Sukkari” in East of Aleppo.

December 9

480 – Odoacer, first King of Italy, occupies Dalmatia. He later establishes his political power with the co-operation of the Roman Senate.
536 – Gothic War: The Byzantine general Belisarius enters Rome unopposed; the Gothic garrison flee the capital.
730 – Battle of Marj Ardabil: The Khazars annihilate an Umayyad army and kill its commander, Al-Jarrah Ibn Abdallah Al-Hakami.
1425 – The Catholic University of Leuven is founded.
1531 – The Virgin of Guadalupe first appears to Juan Diego at Tepeyac, Mexico City.
1688 – Glorious Revolution: Williamite forces defeat Jacobites at Battle of Reading, forcing flight of James II from the country.
1775 – American Revolutionary War: British troops lose the Battle of Great Bridge, and leave Virginia soon afterward.
1793 – New York City’s first daily newspaper, the American Minerva, is established by Noah Webster.
1824 – Patriot forces led by General Antonio José de Sucre defeat a Royalist army in the Battle of Ayacucho, putting an end to the Peruvian War of Independence.
1835 – Texas Revolution: The Texian Army captures San Antonio, Texas.
1851 – The first YMCA in North America is established in Montreal.
1856 – The Iranian city of Bushehr surrenders to occupying British forces.
1861 – American Civil War: The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War is established by the U.S. Congress.
1872 – In Louisiana, P. B. S. Pinchback becomes the first African-American governor of a U.S. state.
1892 – English football club Newcastle United is founded
1897 – Activist Marguerite Durand founds the feminist daily newspaper La Fronde in Paris.
1905 – In France, the law separating church and state is passed.
1911 – A mine explosion near Briceville, Tennessee, kills 84 miners despite rescue efforts led by the United States Bureau of Mines.
1917 – World War I: Field Marshal Allenby captures Jerusalem, Palestine.
1922 – Gabriel Narutowicz is elected the first president of Poland.
1931 – The Constituent Cortes approves a constitution which establishes the Second Spanish Republic.
1935 – Student protests in Beiping (now Beijing)’s Tiananmen Square, dispersed by government.
1935 – Walter Liggett, American newspaper editor and muckraker, is killed in a gangland murder.
1935 – The Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, later renamed the Heisman Trophy, is awarded for the first time. The winner is halfback Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago.
1937 – Second Sino-Japanese War: Battle of Nanking: Japanese troops under the command of Lt. Gen. Asaka Yasuhiko launch an assault on the Chinese city of Nanjing (Nanking).
1940 – World War II: Operation Compass: British and Indian troops under the command of Major-General Richard O’Connor attack Italian forces near Sidi Barrani in Egypt.
1941 – World War II: The Republic of ChinaCubaGuatemala,and the Philippine Commonwealth, declare war on Germany and Japan.
1941 – World War II: The American 19th Bombardment Group attacks Japanese ships off the coast of Vigan, Luzon.
1946 – The “Subsequent Nuremberg trials” begin with the “Doctors’ trial”, prosecuting physicians and officers alleged to be involved in Nazi human experimentation and mass murder under the guise of euthanasia.
1946 – The Constituent Assembly of India meets for the first time to write the Constitution of India.
1948 – The Genocide Convention is adopted.
1950 – Cold War: Harry Gold is sentenced to 30 years in jail for helping Klaus Fuchs pass information about the Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union. His testimony is later instrumental in the prosecution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
1953 – Red Scare: General Electric announces that all communist employees will be discharged from the company.
1956 – Trans-Canada Air Lines Flight 810, a Canadair North Star, crashes near Hope, British Columbia, Canada, killing all 62 people on board.
1958 – The John Birch Society is founded in the United States.
1960 – The first episode of Coronation Street, the world’s longest-running television soap opera, is broadcast in the United Kingdom.
1961 – Tanganyika becomes independent from Britain.
1962 – The Petrified Forest National Park is established in Arizona.
1965 – Kecksburg UFO incident: A fireball is seen from Michigan to Pennsylvania; witnesses report something crashing in the woods near Pittsburgh.
1965 – A Charlie Brown Christmas, first in a series of Peanuts television specials, debuts on CBS.
1968 – Douglas Engelbart gave what became known as “The Mother of All Demos”, publicly debuting the computer mouse, hypertext, and the bit-mapped graphical user interface using the oN-Line System (NLS).
1969 – U.S. Secretary of State William P. Rogers proposes his plan for a ceasefire in the War of Attrition; Egypt and Jordan accept it over the objections of the PLO, which leads to civil war in Jordan in September 1970.
1971 – Indo-Pakistani War: The Indian Air Force executes an airdrop of Indian Army units, bypassing Pakistani defences.
1973 – British and Irish authorities sign the Sunningdale Agreement in an attempt to establish a power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive and a cross-border Council of Ireland.
1979 – The eradication of the smallpox virus is certified, making smallpox the first of only two diseases that have been driven to extinction (rinderpest in 2011 being the other).
1982 – Explosion in office belonging to the Kuwait Airways in Athens.
1987 – Israeli–Palestinian conflict: The First Intifada begins in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
1988 – The Michael Hughes Bridge in Sligo, Ireland, is officially opened.
1992 – American troops land in Somalia for Operation Restore Hope.
1996 – Gwen Jacob is acquitted of committing an indecent act, giving women the right to be topfree in Ontario, Canada.
2003 – A blast in the center of Moscow kills six people and wounds several more.
2008 – The Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, is arrested by federal officials for crimes including attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
2012 – A plane crash in Mexico kills seven people.
2013 – At least seven are dead and 63 are injured following a train accident near Bintaro, Indonesia.
2015 – The start of the thirty-sixth GCC summit in Riyadh business.
2016 – President Park Geun-hye of South Korea is impeached by the country’s National Assembly in response to a major political scandal. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn becomes Acting President, later declining to run for a full term.
2016 – At least 57 people are killed and a further 177 injured when two schoolgirl suicide bombers attack a market area in Madagali, Northeastern Nigeria in the Madagali suicide bombings.
2017 – Australia becomes the 26th country to legalize same-sex marriage.
2017 – ISIL is eliminated from Iraq.

December 10-14

December 10

1041 – The adoptive son of Empress Zoë of Byzantium succeeds to the throne of the Eastern Roman Empire as Michael V.
1317 – The “Nyköping Banquet” – King Birger of Sweden treacherously seizes his two brothers Valdemar, Duke of Finland and Eric, Duke of Södermanland, who were subsequently starved to death in the dungeon of Nyköping Castle.
1508 – The League of Cambrai is formed by Pope Julius II, Louis XII of France, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor and Ferdinand II of Aragon as an alliance against Venice.
1520 – Martin Luther burns his copy of the papal bull Exsurge Domine outside Wittenberg’s Elster Gate.
1541 – Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham are executed for having affairs with Catherine Howard, Queen of England and wife of Henry VIII.
1652 – Defeat at the Battle of Dungeness causes the Commonwealth of England to reform its navy.
1665 – The Royal Netherlands Marine Corps is founded by Michiel de Ruyter
1684 – Isaac Newton’s derivation of Kepler’s laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, is read to the Royal Society by Edmond Halley.
1768 – The first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica is published.
1799 – France adopts the metre as its official unit of length.
1817 – Mississippi becomes the 20th U.S. state.
1861 – American Civil War: The Confederate States of America accept a rival state government’s pronouncement that declares Kentucky to be the 13th state of the Confederacy.
1861 – Forces led by Nguyễn Trung Trực, an anti-colonial guerrilla leader in southern Vietnam, sink the French lorcha L’Esperance.
1864 – American Civil War: Sherman’s March to the Sea: Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union Army troops reach the outer Confederate defenses of Savannah, Georgia.
1868 – The first traffic lights are installed, outside the Palace of Westminster in London. Resembling railway signals, they use semaphore arms and are illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps.
1877 – Russo-Turkish War: The Russian Army captures Plevna after a 5-month siege. The garrison of 25,000 surviving Turks surrenders. The Russian victory is decisive for the outcome of the war and the Liberation of Bulgaria.
1884 – Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published.
1896 – Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi premieres in Paris. A riot breaks out at the end of the performance.
1898 – Spanish–American War: The Treaty of Paris is signed, officially ending the conflict.
1901 – The first Nobel Prize ceremony is held in Stockholm on the fifth anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
1902 – The opening of the reservoir of the Aswan Dam in Egypt.
1906 – U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the mediation of the Russo-Japanese War, becoming the first American to win a Nobel Prize.
1907 – The worst night of the Brown Dog riots in London, when 1,000 medical students clash with 400 police officers over the existence of a memorial for animals that have been vivisected.
1909 – Selma Lagerlöf becomes the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
1932 – Thailand becomes a constitutional monarchy.
1936 – Abdication Crisis: Edward VIII signs the Instrument of Abdication.
1941 – World War II: The Royal Navy capital ships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse are sunk by Imperial Japanese Navy torpedo bombers near British Malaya.
1941 – World War II: Battle of the Philippines: Imperial Japanese forces under the command of General Masaharu Homma land on Luzon.
1942 – World War II: Government of Poland in exile send Raczyński’s Note (the first official report on the Holocaust) to 26 governments who signed the Declaration by United Nations.
1948 – The Human Rights Convention is signed by the United Nations.
1949 – Chinese Civil War: The People’s Liberation Army begins its siege of Chengdu, the last Kuomintang-held city in mainland China, forcing President of the Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek and his government to retreat to Taiwan.
1953 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill receives the Nobel Prize in literature.
1963 – Zanzibar gains independence from the United Kingdom as a constitutional monarchy, under Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah.
1963 – An assassination attempt on the British High Commissioner in Aden kills two people and wounds dozens more.
1968 – Japan’s biggest heist, the still-unsolved “300 million yen robbery”, is carried out in Tokyo.
1978 – Arab–Israeli conflict: Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin and President of Egypt Anwar Sadat are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1979 – Kaohsiung Incident: Taiwanese pro-democracy demonstrations are suppressed by the KMT dictatorship, and organizers are arrested.
1983 – Democracy is restored in Argentina with the inauguration of President Raúl Alfonsín.
1984 – United Nations General Assembly recognizes the Convention against Torture.
1989 – Mongolian Revolution: At the country’s first open pro-democracy public demonstration, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj announces the establishment of the Mongolian Democratic Union.
1993 – The last shift leaves Wearmouth Colliery in Sunderland. The closure of the 156-year-old pit marks the end of the old County Durham coalfield, which had been in operation since the Middle Ages.
1994 – Rwandan genocide: Maurice Baril, military advisor to the U.N. Secretary-General and head of the Military Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, recommends that UNAMIR stand down.
1995 – The Israeli army withdraws from Nablus pursuant to the terms of Oslo Accord.
1996 – The new Constitution of South Africa is promulgated by Nelson Mandela.
2014 – Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein was killed after the suppression of a demonstration by Israeli forces in the village (Turmus’ayya) in Ramallah.
2016 – Two explosions outside a football stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, kill 38 people and injure 166 others.
2017 – ISIL is defeated in Iraq.

December 11

220 – Emperor Xian of Han is forced to abdicate the throne by his son Cao Cao, ending the Han dynasty.
361 – Julian enters Constantinople as sole Emperor of the Roman Empire.
861 – Assassination of the Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil by the Turkish guard, who raise al-Muntasir to the throne. Start of the “Anarchy at Samarra”.
969 – Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas is assassinated by his wife Theophano and her lover, the later Emperor John I Tzimiskes.
1282 – Battle of Orewin Bridge: Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last native Prince of Wales, is killed at Cilmeri, near Builth Wells, in mid-Wales.
1602 – A surprise attack by forces under the command of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, and his brother-in-law, Philip III of Spain, is repelled by the citizens of Geneva. (Commemorated annually by the Fête de l’Escalade.)
1688 – Glorious Revolution: James II of England, while trying to flee to France, throws the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames.
1789 – The University of North Carolina is chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly.
1792 – French Revolution: King Louis XVI of France is put on trial for treason by the National Convention.
1815 – The U.S. Senate creates a select committee on finance and a uniform national currency, predecessor of the United States Senate Committee on Finance.
1816 – Indiana becomes the 19th U.S. state.
1868 – Paraguayan War: Brazilian troops defeat Paraguayan at the Battle of Avay.
1899 – Second Boer War: In the Battle of Magersfontein the Boers commanded by general Piet Cronjé inflict a defeat on the forces of the British Empire commanded by Lord Methuen trying to relieve the Siege of Kimberley.
1905 – A workers’ uprising occurs in Kiev, Ukraine (then part of the Russian Empire), and establishes the Shuliavka Republic.
1907 – The New Zealand Parliament Buildings are almost completely destroyed by fire.
1917 – World War I: British General Edmund Allenby enters Jerusalem on foot and declares martial law.
1920 – Irish War of Independence: In retaliation for a recent IRA ambush, British forces burn and loot numerous buildings in Cork city. Many civilians report being beaten, shot at, robbed and verbally abused by British forces.
1925 – Roman Catholic papal encyclical Quas primas introduces the Feast of Christ the King.
1927 – Guangzhou Uprising: Communist Red Guards launch an uprising in Guangzhou, China, taking over most of the city and announcing the formation of a Guangzhou Soviet.
1931 – Statute of Westminster 1931: The British Parliament establishes legislative equality between the UK and the Dominions of the Commonwealth—Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa, and Ireland.
1934 – Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, takes his last drink and enters treatment for the final time.
1936 – Abdication Crisis: Edward VIII’s abdication as King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India, becomes effective.
1937 – Second Italo-Ethiopian War: Italy leaves the League of Nations.
1941 – World War II: Germany and Italy declare war on the United States, following the Americans’ declaration of war on the Empire of Japan in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States, in turn, declares war on them.
1941 – World War II: Poland declares war on the Empire of Japan.
1941 – World War II: The Imperial Japanese Navy suffers its first loss of surface vessels during the Battle of Wake Island.
1946 – The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is established.
1948 – Arab–Israeli War: The United Nations passes General Assembly Resolution 194, creating a Conciliation Commission to mediate the conflict.
1958 – French Upper Volta and French Dahomey gain self-government from France, becoming the Republic of Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) and the Republic of Dahomey (now Benin), respectively, and joining the French Community.
1960 – French forces crack down in a violent clash with protesters in French Algeria during a visit by French President Charles de Gaulle.
1962 – Arthur Lucas, convicted of murder, is the last person to be executed in Canada.
1964 – Che Guevara speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
1968 – The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, featuring the Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, the Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and the Dirty Mac with Yoko Ono, is filmed in Wembley, London.
1972 – Apollo 17 becomes the sixth and final Apollo mission to land on the Moon.
1978 – The Lufthansa heist is committed by a group led by Lucchese family associate Jimmy Burke. It was the largest cash robbery ever committed on American soil, at that time.
1980 – The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund) is enacted by the U.S. Congress.
1981 – El Mozote massacre: Armed forces in El Salvador kill an estimated 900 civilians in an anti-guerrilla campaign during the Salvadoran Civil War.
1990 – Demonstrations by students and workers across Albania begin, which eventually trigger the fall of communism in Albania.
1994 – First Chechen War: Russian President Boris Yeltsin orders Russian troops into Chechnya.
1994 – A bomb explodes on Philippine Airlines Flight 434, en route from Manila, Philippines, to Tokyo, Japan, killing one. The captain is able to safely land the plane.
1997 – The Kyoto Protocol opens for signature.
1998 – Thai Airways Flight 261 crashes near Surat Thani Airport, killing 101. The pilot flying the Airbus A310-200 is thought to have suffered spatial disorientation.
2001 – The People’s Republic of China joins the World Trade Organization (WTO).
2005 – The Buncefield Oil Depot catches fire in Hemel Hempstead, England.
2005 – Cronulla riots: Thousands of White Australians demonstrate against ethnic violence resulting in a riot against anyone thought to be Lebanese in Cronulla, New South Wales; these are followed up by retaliatory ethnic attacks on Cronulla.
2006 – The International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust is opened in Tehran, Iran, by then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; nations such as Israel and the United States express concern.
2006 – Felipe Calderón, the President of Mexico, launches a military-led offensive to put down the drug cartel violence in the state of Michoacán. This effort is often regarded as the first event in the Mexican Drug War.
2007 – Insurgency in the Maghreb: Two car bombs explode in Algiers, Algeria, one near the Supreme Constitutional Court and the other near the offices of the United Nations.
2008 – Bernard Madoff is arrested and charged with securities fraud in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
2012 – At least 125 people are killed and up to 200 injured in bombings in the Alawite village of Aqrab, Syria.
2017 – A bomb detonated in the New York City Subway, in the Times Square–42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City. It is known as the 2017 New York City attempted bombing.

December 12

627 – Battle of Nineveh: A Byzantine army under Emperor Heraclius defeats Emperor Khosrau II’s Persian forces, commanded by General Rhahzadh.
884 – King Carloman II dies after a hunting accident. He is succeeded by his cousin, emperor Charles the Fat, who for the last time reunites the Frankish Empire.
1098 – First Crusade: Siege of Ma’arrat al-Numan: Crusaders breach the town’s walls and massacre about 20,000 inhabitants. After finding themselves with insufficient food, they reportedly resort to cannibalism.
1388 – Maria of Enghien sells the lordship of Argos and Nauplia to the Republic of Venice.
1408 – The Order of the Dragon, a monarchical chivalric order, is created by Sigismund of Luxembourg, then king of Hungary.
1781 – American Revolutionary War: Second Battle of Ushant: A British fleet led by HMS Victory defeats a French fleet.
1787 – Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the United States Constitution, five days after Delaware became the first.
1862 – American Civil War: USS Cairo sinks on the Yazoo River, becoming the first armored ship to be sunk by a controlled mine.
1866 – Oaks explosion: The worst mining disaster in England kills 361 miners and rescuers.
1870 – Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina becomes the second black U.S. congressman, the first being Hiram Revels.
1897 – Belo Horizonte, the first planned city in Brazil, is founded.
1901 – Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic radio signal (the letter “S” in Morse Code), at Signal Hill in St John’s, Newfoundland.
1911 – Delhi replaces Calcutta as the capital of India.
1911 – King George V of the United Kingdom and Mary of Teck are enthroned as Emperor and Empress of India.
1915 – President of the Republic of China, Yuan Shikai, announces his intention to reinstate the monarchy and proclaim himself Emperor of China.
1917 – In Nebraska, Father Edward J. Flanagan founds Boys Town as a farm village for wayward boys.
1918 – The Flag of Estonia is raised atop the Pikk Hermann for the first time.
1925 – The Majlis of Iran votes to crown Reza Khan as the new Shah of Iran, starting the Pahlavi dynasty.
1935 – Lebensborn Project, a Nazi reproduction program, is founded by Heinrich Himmler.
1936 – Xi’an Incident: The Generalissimo of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek, is kidnapped by Zhang Xueliang.
1937 – Second Sino-Japanese War: USS Panay incident: Japanese aircraft bomb and sink U.S. gunboat USS Panay on the Yangtze river in China.
1939 – Winter War: Battle of Tolvajärvi: Finnish forces defeat those of the Soviet Union in their first major victory of the conflict.
1939 – HMS Duchess sinks after a collision with HMS Barham off the coast of Scotland with the loss of 124 men.
1940 – World War II: Approximately 70 people are killed in the Marples Hotel, Fitzalan Square, Sheffield, as a result of a German air raid.
1941 – World War II: Fifty-four Japanese A6M Zero fighters raid Batangas Field, Philippines. Jesús Villamor and four Filipino fighter pilots fend them off; César Basa is killed.
1941 – World War II: The United Kingdom declares war on Bulgaria. Hungary and Romania declare war on the United States. India declares war on Japan.
1941 – Adolf Hitler declares the imminent extermination of the Jews at a meeting in the Reich Chancellery.
1942 – World War II: German troops begin Operation Winter Storm, an attempt to relieve encircled Axis forces during the Battle of Stalingrad.
1946 – A fire at an ice plant in Hudson Heights, Manhattan spreads to an adjacent tenement, killing 37 people.
1946 – United Nations Security Council Resolution 13 relating to acceptance of Siam to United Nations is adopted.
1948 – Malayan Emergency: Batang Kali massacre: Fourteen members of the Scots Guards stationed in Malaya allegedly massacre 24 unarmed civilians and set fire to the village.
1950 – Paula Ackerman, the first woman appointed to perform rabbinical functions in the United States, leads the congregation in her first services.
1956 – Beginning of the Irish Republican Army’s “Border Campaign”.
1956 – United Nations Security Council Resolution 121 relating to acceptance of Japan to United Nations is adopted.
1963 – Kenya gains its independence from the United Kingdom.
1964 – Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta becomes the first President of the Republic of Kenya.
1969 – Years of Lead: Piazza Fontana bombing: The offices of Banca Nazionale dell’Agricoltura in Piazza Fontana, Milan, are bombed.
1979 – Coup d’état of December Twelfth: South Korean Army Major General Chun Doo-hwan orders the arrest of Army Chief of Staff General Jeong Seung-hwa without authorization from President Choi Kyu-ha, alleging involvement in the assassination of ex-President Park Chung-hee.
1979 – President of Pakistan Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq confers Nishan-e-Imtiaz on Nobel laureate Dr Abdus Salam.
1979 – The unrecognised state of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia returns to British control and resumes using the name Southern Rhodesia.
1979 – The 8.2 Mw  Tumaco earthquake shakes Colombia and Ecuador with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), killing 300–600, and generating a large tsunami.
1983 – The Australian Labor government led by Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Treasurer Paul Keating floats the Australian dollar.
1984 – Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya becomes the third president of Mauritania after a coup d’état against Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla while the latter is attending a summit.
1985 – Arrow Air Flight 1285, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8, crashes after takeoff in Gander, Newfoundland, killing all 256 people on board, including 236 members of the United States Army’s 101st Airborne Division.
1988 – The Clapham Junction rail crash kills thirty-five and injures hundreds after two collisions of three commuter trains—one of the worst train crashes in the United Kingdom.
1991 – The Russian Federation withdraws from the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR.
2000 – The United States Supreme Court releases its decision in Bush v. Gore.
2001 – Prime Minister of Vietnam Phan Văn Khải announces the decision on upgrading the Phong Nha–Kẻ Bàng nature reserve to a national park, providing information on projects for the conservation and development of the park and revised maps.
2012 – North Korea successfully launches its first satellite, Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2, using an Unha-3 carrier rocket.
2015 – Paris Agreement relating to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is adopted.

December 13

902 – Battle of the Holme: Anglo-Saxon forces are defeated by Danish Vikings under Æthelwold (a son of Æthelred of Wessex) who is killed in battle.
1294 – Saint Celestine V resigns the papacy after only five months to return to his previous life as an ascetic hermit.
1545 – Council of Trent begins.
1577 – Sir Francis Drake sets sail from Plymouth, England, on his round-the-world voyage.
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.
1642 – Abel Tasman is the first recorded European to sight New Zealand.
1643 – English Civil War: The Battle of Alton takes place in Hampshire.
1758 – The English transport ship Duke William sinks in the North Atlantic, killing over 360 people.
1769 – Dartmouth College is founded by the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, with a royal charter from King George III, on land donated by Royal governor John Wentworth.
1818 – Cyril VI of Constantinople resigns from his position as Ecumenical Patriarch.
1862 – American Civil War: At the Battle of Fredericksburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee defeats Union Major General Ambrose Burnside.
1867 – A Fenian bomb explodes in Clerkenwell, London, killing six.
1928 – George Gershwin’s An American in Paris is first performed.
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.
1938 – The Holocaust: The Neuengamme concentration camp opens in the Bergedorf district of Hamburg, Germany.
1939 – World War II: Battle of the River Plate: Captain Hans Langsdorff of the German Deutschland-class cruiser (pocket battleship) Admiral Graf Spee engages with Royal Navy cruisers HMS Exeter, HMS Ajax and HMS Achilles.
1943 – World War II: The Massacre of Kalavryta by German occupying forces in Greece.
1949 – The Knesset votes to move the capital of Israel to Jerusalem.
1959 – Archbishop Makarios III becomes the first President of Cyprus.
1960 – While Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia visits Brazil, his Imperial Bodyguard seizes the capital and proclaims him deposed and his son, Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, Emperor.
1962 – NASA launches Relay 1, the first active repeater communications satellite in orbit.
1967 – Constantine II of Greece attempts an unsuccessful counter-coup against the Regime of the Colonels.
1968 – Brazilian President Artur da Costa e Silva issues AI-5 (Institutional Act No. 5), enabling government by decree and suspending habeas corpus.
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.
1974 – Malta becomes a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations.
1977 – Air Indiana Flight 216 crashes near Evansville Regional Airport, killing 29, including the University of Evansville basketball team, support staff, and boosters of the team.
1981 – General Wojciech Jaruzelski declares martial law in Poland, largely due to the actions by Solidarity.
1982 – The 6.0 Ms  North Yemen earthquake shakes southwestern Yemen with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe), killing 2,800, and injuring 1,500.
1988 – PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat gives a speech at a UN General Assembly meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, after United States authorities refused to grant him a visa to visit UN headquarters in New York.
1989 – The Troubles: Attack on Derryard checkpoint: The Provisional Irish Republican Army launches an attack on a British Army temporary vehicle checkpoint near Rosslea, Northern Ireland. Two British soldiers are killed and two others are wounded.
2001 – Sansad Bhavan, the building housing the Indian Parliament, is attacked by terrorists. Twelve people are killed, including the terrorists.
2002 – European Union enlargement: The EU announces that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia will become members on May 1, 2004.
2003 – Iraq War: Operation Red Dawn: Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured near his home town of Tikrit.
2006 – Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is adopted by United Nations General Assembly.
2007 – Treaty of Lisbon is signed by members states of European Union.
2011 – A murder–suicide in Liège, Belgium, kills six and wounds 125 people at a Christmas market.
2018 – A high-speed train crashed in Ankara, Turkey killing at least 9 persons and injured 84.

December 14

557 – Constantinople is severely damaged by an earthquake.
835 – Sweet Dew Incident: Emperor Wenzong of the Tang dynasty conspires to kill the powerful eunuchs of the Tang court, but the plot is foiled.
1287 – St. Lucia’s flood: The Zuiderzee sea wall in the Netherlands collapses, killing over 50,000 people.
1542 – Princess Mary Stuart becomes Queen of Scots at the age of one week on the death of her father, James V of Scotland.
1751 – The Theresian Military Academy is founded in Wiener Neustadt, Austria.
1780 – Founding Father Alexander Hamilton marries Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton at the Schuyler Mansion in Albany, New York
1782 – The Montgolfier brothers first test fly an unmanned hot air balloon in France; it floats nearly 2 km (1.2 mi).
1812 – The French invasion of Russia comes to an end as the remnants of the Grande Armée are expelled from Russia.
1814 – War of 1812: The Royal Navy seizes control of Lake Borgne, Louisiana.
1819 – Alabama becomes the 22nd U.S. state.
1836 – The Toledo War unofficially ends.
1896 – The Glasgow Underground Railway is opened by the Glasgow District Subway Company.
1900 – Quantum mechanics: Max Planck presents a theoretical derivation of his black-body radiation law.
1902 – The Commercial Pacific Cable Company lays the first Pacific telegraph cable, from San Francisco to Honolulu.
1903 – The Wright brothers make their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
1907 – The Thomas W. Lawson, the largest ever ship without a heat engine, runs aground and founders near the Hellweather’s Reef within the Isles of Scilly in a gale. The pilot and 15 seamen die.
1909 – New South Wales Premier Charles Wade signs the Seat of Government Surrender Act 1909, formally completing the transfer of State land to the Commonwealth to create the Australian Capital Territory.
1911 – Roald Amundsen’s team, comprising himself, Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting, becomes the first to reach the South Pole.
1913 – Haruna, the fourth and last Kongō-class ship, launches, eventually becoming one of the Japanese workhorses during World War I and World War II.
1914 – Lisandro de la Torre and others found the Democratic Progressive Party (Partido Demócrata Progresista, PDP) at the Hotel Savoy, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1918 – Friedrich Karl von Hessen, a German prince elected by the Parliament of Finland to become King Väinö I, renounces the Finnish throne.
1918 – Portuguese President Sidónio Pais is assassinated.
1918 – The 1918 United Kingdom general election occurs, the first where women were permitted to vote.
1939 – Winter War: The Soviet Union is expelled from the League of Nations for invading Finland.
1940 – Plutonium (specifically Pu-238) is first isolated at Berkeley, California.
1941 – World War II: Japan signs a treaty of alliance with Thailand.
1948 – Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann are granted a patent for their cathode-ray tube amusement device, the earliest known interactive electronic game.
1955 – Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Ceylon, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nepal, Portugal, Romania and Spain join the United Nations through United Nations Security Council Resolution 109.
1958 – The 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition becomes the first to reach the southern pole of inaccessibility.
1960 – Convention against Discrimination in Education of UNESCO is adopted.
1962 – NASA’s Mariner 2 becomes the first spacecraft to fly by Venus.
1963 – The dam containing the Baldwin Hills Reservoir bursts, killing five people and damaging hundreds of homes in Los Angeles, California.
1964 – American Civil Rights Movement: Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States: The Supreme Court of the United States rules that Congress can use the Constitution’s Commerce Clause to fight discrimination.
1971 – Bangladesh Liberation War: Over 200 of East Pakistan’s intellectuals are executed by the Pakistan Army and their local allies. (The date is commemorated in Bangladesh as Martyred Intellectuals Day.)
1972 – Apollo program: Eugene Cernan is the last person to walk on the moon, after he and Harrison Schmitt complete the third and final extravehicular activity (EVA) of the Apollo 17 mission.
1981 – Arab–Israeli conflict: Israel’s Knesset ratifies the Golan Heights Law, extending Israeli law to the occupied Golan Heights.
1985 – Wilma Mankiller takes office as the first woman elected to serve as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
1992 – War in Abkhazia: Siege of Tkvarcheli: A helicopter carrying evacuees from Tkvarcheli is shot down, resulting in at least 52 deaths, including 25 children. The incident catalyses more concerted Russian military intervention on behalf of Abkhazia.
1994 – Construction begins on the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze river.
1995 – Yugoslav Wars: The Dayton Agreement is signed in Paris by the leaders of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1998 – Yugoslav Wars: The Yugoslav Army ambushes a group of Kosovo Liberation Army fighters attempting to smuggle weapons from Albania into Kosovo, killing 36.
1999 – Torrential rains cause flash floods in Vargas, Venezuela, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths, the destruction of thousands of homes, and the complete collapse of the state’s infrastructure.
2003 – Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf narrowly escapes an assassination attempt.
2004 – The Millau Viaduct, the tallest bridge in the world, is formally inaugurated near Millau, France.
2008 – Muntadhar al-Zaidi throws his shoes at then-U.S. President George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq.
2012 – Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting: Twenty-eight people, including the gunman, are killed in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
2013 – A reported coup attempt in South Sudan leads to continued fighting and hundreds of casualties.
2017 – The Walt Disney Company announces that it would acquire 21st Century Fox, including the 20th Century Fox movie studio, for $52.4 billion.

December 15-19

December 15

533 – Vandalic War: Byzantine general Belisarius defeats the Vandals, commanded by King Gelimer, at the Battle of Tricamarum.
687 – Pope Sergius I is elected.
1025 – Constantine VIII becomes sole emperor of the Byzantine Empire, 63 years after being crowned co-emperor.
1161 – Jin–Song wars: Military officers conspire against the emperor Wanyan Liang of the Jin dynasty after a military defeat at the Battle of Caishi, and assassinate the emperor at his camp.
1167 – Sicilian Chancellor Stephen du Perche moves the royal court to Messina to prevent a rebellion.
1256 – Mongol forces under the command of Hulagu Khan enter and destroy the Hashshashin stronghold at Alamut Castle (in present-day Iran) as part of their offensive on Islamic southwest Asia.
1467 – Stephen III of Moldavia defeats Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, with the latter being injured thrice, at the Battle of Baia.
1651 – Castle Cornet in Guernsey, the last stronghold which had supported the King in the Third English Civil War, surrenders.
1778 – American Revolutionary War: British and French fleets clash in the Battle of St. Lucia.
1791 – The United States Bill of Rights becomes law when ratified by the Virginia General Assembly.
1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Nashville: The Union’s Army of the Cumberland routs and destroys the Confederacy’s Army of Tennessee, ending its effectiveness as a combat unit.
1890 – Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull is killed on Standing Rock Indian Reservation, leading to the Wounded Knee Massacre.
1905 – The Pushkin House is established in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to preserve the cultural heritage of Alexander Pushkin.
1906 – The London Underground’s Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway opens.
1914 – World War I: The Serbian Army recaptures Belgrade from the invading Austro-Hungarian Army.
1914 – A gas explosion at Mitsubishi Hōjō coal mine, in Kyushu, Japan, kills 687.
1917 – World War I: An armistice between Russia and the Central Powers is signed.
1933 – The Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution officially becomes effective, repealing the Eighteenth Amendment that prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol.
1939 – Gone with the Wind (highest inflation adjusted grossing film) receives its premiere at Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.
1941 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: German troops murder over 15,000 Jews at Drobytsky Yar, a ravine southeast of the city of Kharkiv.
1942 – World War II: The Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse begins during the Guadalcanal Campaign.
1943 – World War II: The Battle of Arawe begins during the New Britain campaign.
1945 – Occupation of Japan/Shinto Directive: General Douglas MacArthur orders that Shinto be abolished as the state religion of Japan.
1960 – Richard Pavlick is arrested for plotting to assassinate U.S. President-Elect John F. Kennedy.
1960 – King Mahendra of Nepal suspends the country’s constitution, dissolves parliament, dismisses the cabinet, and imposes direct rule.
1961 – Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death after being found guilty by an Israeli court of 15 criminal charges, including charges of crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and membership of an outlawed organization.
1965 – Project Gemini: Gemini 6A, crewed by Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford, is launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida. Four orbits later, it achieves the first space rendezvous, with Gemini 7.
1970 – Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 successfully lands on Venus. It is the first successful soft landing on another planet.
1970 – A South Korean ferry, Namyong Ho, capsizes in the Korea Strait, killing more than 300 people.
1973 – John Paul Getty III, grandson of American billionaire J. Paul Getty, is found alive near Naples, Italy, after being kidnapped by an Italian gang on July 10.
1973 – The American Psychiatric Association votes 13–0 to remove homosexuality from its official list of psychiatric disorders, the DSM-II.
1978 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will recognize the People’s Republic of China and sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
1981 – A suicide car bombing targeting the Iraqi embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, levels the embassy and kills 61 people, including Iraq’s ambassador to Lebanon. The attack is considered the first modern suicide bombing.
1989 – Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights relating the abolition of capital punishment is adopted.
1993 – The Troubles: The Downing Street Declaration is issued by British Prime Minister John Major and Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds.
1997 – Tajikistan Airlines Flight 3183 crashes in the desert near Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, killing 85.
2000 – The third reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is shut down.
2001 – The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after 11 years and $27,000,000 spent to stabilize it, without fixing its famous lean.
2005 – Introduction of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor into USAF active service.
2010 – A boat carrying 90 asylum seekers crashes into rocks off the coast of Christmas Island, Australia, killing 48 people.
2013 – The South Sudanese Civil War begins when opposition leaders Dr. Riek Machar, Pagan Amum and Rebecca Nyandeng vote to boycott the meeting of the National Liberation Council at Nyakuron.
2014 – A gunman takes 18 hostages inside a café in Martin Place for 16 hours in Sydney. Monis and two hostages are killed when police raid the café the following morning.
2017 – The 6.5Mw  Java earthquake struck the Java Island in the city of Tasikmalaya. There are four confirmed deaths, 36 injured, and 200 displaced.

December 16

714 – Pepin of Herstal, mayor of the Merovingian palace, dies at Jupille (modern Belgium). He is succeeded by his infant grandson Theudoald while his wife Plectrude holds actual power in the Frankish Kingdom.
755 – An Lushan revolts against Chancellor Yang Guozhong at Yanjing, initiating the An Lushan Rebellion during the Tang dynasty of China.
1431 – Hundred Years’ War: Henry VI of England is crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris.
1497 – Vasco da Gama passes the Great Fish River, where Bartolomeu Dias had previously turned back to Portugal.
1575 – An earthquake with an estimated of 8.5Mw  strikes Valdivia, Chile.
1598 – Seven-Year War: Battle of Noryang: The final battle of the Seven-Year War is fought between the China and the Korean allied forces and Japanese navies, resulting in a decisive allied forces victory.
1653 – English Interregnum: The Protectorate: Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.
1689 – Convention Parliament: The Declaration of Right is embodied in the Bill of Rights.
1761 – Seven Years’ War: After a four-month siege, the Russians under Pyotr Rumyantsev take the Prussian fortress of Kołobrzeg.
1773 – American Revolution: Boston Tea Party: Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawk Indians dump hundreds of crates of tea into Boston harbor as a protest against the Tea Act.
1777 – Virginia becomes the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation. 
1782 – British East India Company: Hada and Mada Miah lead the first anti-British uprising in the subcontinent against Robert Lindsay and his contingents in Sylhet Shahi Eidgah.
1811 – The first two in a series of four severe earthquakes occur in the vicinity of New Madrid, Missouri.
1826 – Benjamin W. Edwards rides into Mexican-controlled Nacogdoches, Texas, and declares himself ruler of the Republic of Fredonia.
1838 – Great Trek: Battle of Blood River: Voortrekkers led by Andries Pretorius and Sarel Cilliers defeat Zulu impis, led by Dambuza (Nzobo) and Ndlela kaSompisi in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
1843 – The discovery of octonions by John T. Graves, who denoted them with a boldface O, was announced to his mathematician friend William Hamilton, discoverer of quaternions, in a letter on this date.
1850 – The Charlotte Jane and the Randolph bring the first of the Canterbury Pilgrims to Lyttelton, New Zealand.
1863 – American Civil War: Joseph E. Johnston replaces Braxton Bragg as commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.
1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Nashville: Major General George Thomas’s Union forces defeat Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee.
1880 – Outbreak of the First Boer War between the Boer South African Republic and the British Empire.
1882 – Wales and England contest the first Home Nations (now Six Nations) rugby union match.
1883 – Tonkin Campaign: French forces capture the Sơn Tây citadel.
1903 – Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel in Bombay first opens its doors to guests.
1907 – The American Great White Fleet begins its circumnavigation of the world.
1912 – First Balkan War: The Royal Hellenic Navy defeats the Ottoman Navy at the Battle of Elli.
1914 – World War I: Admiral Franz von Hipper commands a raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby.
1918 – Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas declares the formation of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic; it is dissolved in 1919.
1920 – The Haiyuan earthquake of 8.5Mw , rocks the Gansu province in China, killing an estimated 200,000.
1922 – President of Poland Gabriel Narutowicz is assassinated by Eligiusz Niewiadomski at the Zachęta Gallery in Warsaw.
1930 – Bank robber Herman Lamm and members of his crew are killed by a 200-strong posse, following a botched bank robbery, in Clinton, Indiana.
1937 – Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe attempt to escape from the American federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay; neither is ever seen again.
1938 – Adolf Hitler institutes the Cross of Honour of the German Mother.
1941 – World War II: Japanese forces occupy Miri, Sarawak.
1942 – The Holocaust: Schutzstaffel chief Heinrich Himmler orders that Roma candidates for extermination be deported to Auschwitz.
1944 – World War II: The Battle of the Bulge begins with the surprise offensive of three German armies through the Ardennes forest.
1947 – William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain build the first practical point-contact transistor.
1950 – Korean War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman declares a state of emergency, after Chinese troops enter the fight in support of communist North Korea.
1960 – A United Airlines Douglas DC-8 and a TWA Lockheed Super Constellation collide over Staten Island, New York and crash, killing all 128 people aboard both aircraft and six more on the ground.
1965 – Vietnam War: General William Westmoreland sends U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara a request for 243,000 more men by the end of 1966.
1968 – Second Vatican Council: Official revocation of the Edict of Expulsion of Jews from Spain.
1971 – Bangladesh Liberation War and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971: The ceasefire of the Pakistan Army brings an end to both conflicts. This is commemorated annually as Victory Day in Bangladesh, and as Vijay Diwas in India.
1971 – The United Kingdom recognizes Bahrain’s independence, which is commemorated annually as Bahrain’s National Day.
1978 – Cleveland, Ohio becomes the first major American city to default on its financial obligations since the Great Depression.
1979 – Libya joins four other OPEC nations in raising crude oil prices, which has an immediate, dramatic effect on the United States.
1985 – Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti are shot dead on the orders of John Gotti, who assumes leadership of New York’s Gambino crime family.
1989 – Romanian Revolution: Protests break out in Timișoara, Romania, in response to an attempt by the government to evict dissident Hungarian pastor László Tőkés.
1989 – U.S. Appeals Court Judge Robert Smith Vance is assassinated by a mail bomb sent by Walter Leroy Moody, Jr.
1991 – Kazakhstan declares independence from the Soviet Union.
2013 – A bus falls from an elevated highway in the Philippines capital Manila killing at least 18 people with 20 injured.
2014 – Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan militants attacked an Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing 145 people, mostly schoolchildren.

December 17

497 BC – The first Saturnalia festival was celebrated in ancient Rome.
546 – Siege of Rome: The Ostrogoths under king Totila plunder the city, by bribing the Byzantine garrison.
920 – Romanos I Lekapenos is crowned co-emperor of the underage Constantine VII.
942 – Assassination of William I of Normandy.
1398 – Sultan Nasir-u Din Mehmud’s armies in Delhi are defeated by Timur.
1538 – Pope Paul III excommunicates Henry VIII of England.
1583 – Cologne War: Forces under Ernest of Bavaria defeat troops under Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg at the Siege of Godesberg.
1586 – Go-Yōzei becomes Emperor of Japan.
1718 – War of the Quadruple Alliance: Great Britain declares war on Spain.
1777 – American Revolution: France formally recognizes the United States.
1790 – The Aztec calendar stone is discovered at El Zócalo, Mexico City.
1807 – Napoleonic Wars: France issues the Milan Decree, which confirms the Continental System.
1812 – War of 1812: U.S. forces attack a Lenape village in the Battle of the Mississinewa.
1819 –*Simón Bolívar declares the independence of Gran Colombia in Angostura (now Ciudad Bolívar in Venezuela).
1835 – The second Great Fire of New York destroys 50 acres (200,000 square meters) of New York City’s Financial District.
1837 – A fire in the Winter Palace of Saint Petersburg kills 30 guards.
1862 – American Civil War: General Ulysses S. Grant issues General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from parts of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
1865 – First performance of the Unfinished Symphony by Franz Schubert.
1892 – First issue of Vogue is published.
1896 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Schenley Park Casino, which was the first multi-purpose arena with the technology to create an artificial ice surface in North America, is destroyed in a fire.
1903 – The Wright brothers make the first controlled powered, heavier-than-air flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
1907 – Ugyen Wangchuck is crowned first King of Bhutan
1913 – A spur of the Shaker Heights streetcar line opens, the first line of the eventual Cleveland RTA Rapid Transit system.
1918 – Darwin Rebellion: Up to 1,000 demonstrators march on Government House in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.
1919 – Uruguay becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
1926 – Antanas Smetona assumes power in Lithuania as the 1926 coup d’état is successful.
1927 – Indian revolutionary Rajendra Lahiri is hanged in Gonda jail, Uttar Pradesh, India, two days before the scheduled date.
1928 – Indian revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru assassinate British police officer James Saunders in Lahore, Punjab, to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai at the hands of the police. The three were executed in 1931.
1933 – The first NFL Championship Game is played. The game was at Wrigley Field between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears. The Bears won 23–21.
1935 – First flight of the Douglas DC-3.
1938 – Otto Hahn discovers the nuclear fission of the heavy element uranium, the scientific and technological basis of nuclear energy.
1939 – World War II: Battle of the River Plate: The Admiral Graf Spee is scuttled by Captain Hans Langsdorff outside Montevideo.
1941 – World War II: Japanese forces land in Northern Borneo.
1943 – All Chinese are again permitted to become citizens of the United States upon the repeal of the Act of 1882 and the introduction of the Magnuson Act.
1944 – World War II: Battle of the Bulge: Malmedy massacre: American 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion POWs are shot by Waffen-SS Kampfgruppe Joachim Peiper.
1946 – Kurdistan flag day, the flag of Kurdistan was raised for the first time in Mahabad in eastern Kurdistan (Iran).
1947 – First flight of the Boeing B-47 Stratojet strategic bomber.
1948 – The Finnish Security Police is established to remove communist leadership from its predecessor, the State Police.
1950 – The F-86 Sabre’s first mission over Korea.
1951 – The American Civil Rights Congress delivers “We Charge Genocide” to the United Nations.
1957 – The United States successfully launches the first Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
1960 – Troops loyal to Emperor Haile Selassie in Ethiopia crush the coup that began December 13, returning power to their leader upon his return from Brazil. Haile Selassie absolves his son of any guilt.
1960 – Munich C-131 crash: Twenty passengers and crew on board as well as 32 people on the ground are killed.
1961 – Niterói circus fire: Fire breaks out during a performance by the Gran Circus Norte-Americano in the city of Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, killing more than 500.
1967 – Harold Holt, Prime Minister of Australia, disappears while swimming near Portsea, Victoria, and is presumed drowned.
1969 – Project Blue Book: The United States Air Force closes its study of UFOs.
1970 – Polish protests: In Gdynia, soldiers fire at workers emerging from trains, killing dozens.
1973 – Thirty passengers are killed in an attack by Palestinian terrorists on Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport.
1981 – American Brigadier General James L. Dozier is abducted by the Red Brigades in Verona, Italy.
1983 – Provisional IRA members detonate a car bomb at Harrods Department Store in London. Three police officers and three civilians are killed.
1989 – Romanian Revolution: Protests continue in Timișoara, Romania, with rioters breaking into the Romanian Communist Party’s District Committee building and attempting to set it on fire.
1989 – Fernando Collor de Mello defeats Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the second round of the Brazilian presidential election, becoming the first democratically elected President in almost 30 years.
1989 – The Simpsons first premieres on television with the episode “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”.
2002 – Second Congo War: The Congolese parties of the Inter Congolese Dialogue sign a peace accord which makes provision for transitional governance and legislative and presidential elections within two years.
2003 – The Soham murder trial ends at the Old Bailey in London, with Ian Huntley found guilty of two counts of murder. His girlfriend, Maxine Carr, is found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
2003 – SpaceShipOne, piloted by Brian Binnie, makes its first powered and first supersonic flight.
2005 – Anti-World Trade Organization protesters riot in Wan Chai, Hong Kong.
2005 – Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicates the throne as King of Bhutan.
2009 – MV Danny F II sinks off the coast of Lebanon, resulting in the deaths of 44 people and over 28,000 animals.
2010 – Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire. This act became the catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring.
2014 – The United States and Cuba re-establish diplomatic relations after severing them in 1961.

December 18

218 BC – Second Punic War: Battle of the Trebia: Hannibal’s Carthaginian forces defeat those of the Roman Republic.
1271 – Kublai Khan renames his empire “Yuan” (元 yuán), officially marking the start of the Yuan dynasty of Mongolia and China.
1499 – A rebellion breaks out in Alpujarras in response to the forced conversions of Muslims in Spain.
1622 – Portuguese forces score a military victory over the Kingdom of Kongo at the Battle of Mbumbi in present-day Angola.
1655 – The Whitehall Conference ends with the determination that there was no law preventing Jews from re-entering England after the Edict of Expulsion of 1290.
1777 – The United States celebrates its first Thanksgiving, marking the recent victory by the American rebels over British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga in October.
1787 – New Jersey becomes the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
1793 – Surrender of the frigate La Lutine by French Royalists to Lord Samuel Hood; renamed HMS Lutine, she later becomes a famous treasure wreck.
1833 – The national anthem of the Russian Empire, “God Save the Tsar!”, is first performed.
1854 – The British Parliament abolishes feudalism and the seigneurial system in British North America.
1865 – US Secretary of State William Seward proclaims the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, prohibiting slavery throughout the USA.
1878 – The Al-Thani family become the rulers of the state of Qatar.
1892 – Premiere performance of The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
1898 – Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat sets the first officially recognized land speed record of 39.245 mph (63.159 km/h) in a Jeantaud electric car.
1900 – The Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook, Victoria Narrow-gauge (2 ft 6 in or 762 mm) Railway (now the Puffing Billy Railway) in Victoria, Australia is opened for traffic.
1916 – World War I: The Battle of Verdun ends when German forces under Chief of staff Erich von Falkenhayn are defeated by the French, and suffer 337,000 casualties.
1917 – The resolution containing the language of the Eighteenth Amendment to enact Prohibition is passed by the United States Congress.
1932 – The Chicago Bears defeat the Portsmouth Spartans in the first NFL playoff game to win the NFL Championship.
1935 – The Lanka Sama Samaja Party is founded in Ceylon.
1939 – World War II: The Battle of the Heligoland Bight, the first major air battle of the war, takes place.
1944 – World War II: Seventy-seven B-29 Superfortress and 200 other aircraft of U.S. Fourteenth Air Force bomb Hankow, China, a Japanese supply base.
1958 – Project SCORE, the world’s first communications satellite, is launched.
1966 – Saturn’s moon Epimetheus is discovered by astronomer Richard Walker.
1972 – Vietnam War: President Richard Nixon announces that the United States will engage North Vietnam in Operation Linebacker II, a series of Christmas bombings, after peace talks collapsed with North Vietnam on the 13th.
1973 – Soviet Soyuz Programme: Soyuz 13, crewed by cosmonauts Valentin Lebedev and Pyotr Klimuk, is launched from Baikonur in the Soviet Union.
1977 – United Airlines Flight 2860 crashes near Kaysville, Utah, killing all three crew members on board.
1981 – First flight of the Russian heavy strategic bomber Tu-160, the world’s largest combat aircraft, largest supersonic aircraft and largest variable-sweep wing aircraft built.
1999 – NASA launches into orbit the Terra platform carrying five Earth Observation instruments, including ASTER, CERES, MISR, MODIS and MOPITT.
2002 – California gubernatorial recall: Then Governor of California Gray Davis announces that the state would face a record budget deficit of $35 billion, roughly double the figure reported during his reelection campaign one month earlier.
2005 – The Chadian Civil War begins when rebel groups, allegedly backed by neighbouring Sudan, launch an attack in Adré.
2006 – The first of a series of floods strikes Malaysia. The death toll of all flooding is at least 118, with over 400,000 people displaced.
2006 – United Arab Emirates holds its first-ever elections.
2015 – Kellingley Colliery, the last deep coal mine in Great Britain, closes.
2017 – Amtrak Cascades passenger train 501, derailed near DuPont, Washington, a city in United States near Olympia, Washington killing six people, and injuring 70 others.
2018 – List of bolides: A meteor exploded over the Bering Sea with a force over 10 times greater than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. On December 18, 2018 at 23:55 GMT.

December 19

1154 – Henry II of England is crowned at Westminster Abbey.
1187 – Pope Clement III is elected.
1490 – Anne, Duchess of Brittany, is married to Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor by proxy.
1562 – The Battle of Dreux takes place during the French Wars of Religion.
1606 – The ships Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery depart England carrying settlers who founded, at Jamestown, Virginia, the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States.
1675 – The Great Swamp Fight, a pivotal battle in King Philip’s War, gives the English settlers a bitterly won victory.
1776 – Thomas Paine publishes one of a series of pamphlets in The Pennsylvania Journal entitled “The American Crisis”.
1777 – American Revolutionary War: George Washington’s Continental Army goes into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
1796 – French Revolutionary Wars: Two British frigates under Commodore Horatio Nelson and two Spanish frigates under Commodore Don Jacobo Stuart engage in battle off the coast of Murcia.
1828 – Nullification Crisis: Vice President of the United States John C. Calhoun pens the South Carolina Exposition and Protest, protesting the Tariff of 1828.
1900 – Hopetoun Blunder: The first Governor-General of Australia John Hope, 7th Earl of Hopetoun, appoints Sir William Lyne premier of the new state of New South Wales, but he is unable to persuade other colonial politicians to join his government and is forced to resign.
1907 – Two hundred thirty-nine coal miners die in the Darr Mine Disaster in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania.
1912 – William Van Schaick, captain of the steamship General Slocum which caught fire and killed over one thousand people, is pardoned by U.S. President William Howard Taft after three-and-a-half-years in Sing Sing prison.
1920 – King Constantine I is restored as King of the Hellenes after the death of his son Alexander of Greece and a plebiscite.
1924 – The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is sold in London, England.
1924 – German serial killer Fritz Haarmann is sentenced to death for a series of murders.
1927 – Three Indian revolutionaries, Ram Prasad Bismil, Roshan Singh and Ashfaqulla Khan, are executed by the British Raj for participation in the Kakori conspiracy.
1929 – The Indian National Congress promulgates the Purna Swaraj (the Declaration of the Independence of India).
1932 – BBC World Service begins broadcasting as the BBC Empire Service.
1941 – World War II: Adolf Hitler appoints himself as head of the Oberkommando des Heeres.
1941 – World War II: Limpet mines placed by Italian divers heavily damage HMS Valiant and HMS Queen Elizabeth in Alexandria harbour.
1945 – John Amery, British Fascist, is executed at the age of 33 by the British Government for treason.
1946 – Start of the First Indochina War.
1956 – Irish-born physician John Bodkin Adams is arrested in connection with the suspicious deaths of more than 160 patients. Eventually he is convicted only of minor charges.
1961 – India annexes Daman and Diu, part of Portuguese India.
1967 – Harold Holt, the Prime Minister of Australia, is officially presumed dead.
1972 – Apollo program: The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans, and Harrison Schmitt, returns to Earth.
1974 – Nelson Rockefeller is sworn in as Vice President of the United States under President Gerald Ford under the provisions of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
1981 – Sixteen lives are lost when the Penlee lifeboat goes to the aid of the stricken coaster Union Star in heavy seas.
1983 – The original FIFA World Cup trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, is stolen from the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Confederation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
1984 – The Sino-British Joint Declaration, stating that China would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the United Kingdom would restore Hong Kong to China with effect from July 1, 1997 is signed in Beijing, China by Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher.
1986 – Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union, releases Andrei Sakharov and his wife from exile in Gorky.
1995 – The United States Government restores federal recognition to the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Native American tribe.
1997 – SilkAir Flight 185 crashes into the Musi River, near Palembang in Indonesia, killing 104.
1998 – President Bill Clinton is impeached by the United States House of Representatives, becoming the second President of the United States to be impeached.
2000 – The Leninist Guerrilla Units wing of the Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist attack a Nationalist Movement Party office in Istanbul, Turkey, killing one person and injuring three.
2001 – A record high barometric pressure of 1085.6 hPa (32.06 inHg) is recorded at Tosontsengel, Khövsgöl, Mongolia.
2001 – Argentine economic crisis: December riots: Riots erupt in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2012 – Park Geun-hye is elected the first female president of South Korea.
2013 – Spacecraft Gaia is launched by European Space Agency.
2016 – Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov is assassinated while at an art exhibition in Ankara. The assassin, Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, is shot and killed by Turkish guards.
2016 – A vehicular attack in Berlin, Germany, kills and injures multiple people at a Christmas market.

December 20-24

December 20

AD 69 – Vespasian, formerly a general under Nero, enters Rome to claim the title of Emperor.
1192 – Richard I of England is captured and imprisoned by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after the Third Crusade.
1334 – Cistercian Jacques Fournier is elected Pope Benedict XII.
1606 – The Virginia Company loads three ships with settlers and sets sail to establish Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas.
1803 – The Louisiana Purchase is completed at a ceremony in New Orleans.
1808 – Peninsular War: The Siege of Zaragoza begins.
1808 – The original Covent Garden Theatre in London is destroyed by a fire, along with most of the scenery, costumes and scripts.
1832 – HMS Clio under the command of Captain Onslow arrives at Port Egmont under orders to take possession of the Falkland Islands
1860 – South Carolina becomes the first state to attempt to secede from the United States.
1915 – World War I: The last Australian troops are evacuated from Gallipoli.
1917 – Cheka, the first Soviet secret police force, is founded.
1924 – Adolf Hitler is released from Landsberg Prison.
1941 – World War II: First battle of the American Volunteer Group, better known as the “Flying Tigers” in Kunming, China.
1942 – World War II: Japanese air forces bomb Calcutta, India.
1946 – The popular Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life is first released in New York City.
1948 – Indonesian National Revolution: The Dutch military captures Yogyakarta, the temporary capital of the newly-formed Republic of Indonesia.
1951 – The EBR-1 in Arco, Idaho becomes the first nuclear power plant to generate electricity. The electricity powered four light bulbs.
1952 – A United States Air Force C-124 crashes and burns in Moses Lake, Washington killing 87.
1955 – Cardiff is proclaimed the capital city of Wales, United Kingdom.
1957 – The initial production version of the Boeing 707 makes its first flight.
1967 – A Pennsylvania Railroad Budd Metroliner exceeds 155 mph on their New York Division, also present day Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.
1968 – The Zodiac Killer kills Betty Lou Jenson and David Faraday in Vallejo, California.
1971 – The international aid organization Doctors Without Borders is founded by Bernard Kouchner and a group of journalists in Paris, France.
1973 – The Prime Minister of Spain, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, is assassinated by a car bomb attack in Madrid.
1984 – The Summit Tunnel fire, one of the largest transportation tunnel fires in history, burns after a freight train carrying over one million liters of gasoline derails near the town of Todmorden, England, in the Pennines.
1985 – Pope John Paul II announces the institution of World Youth Day.
1987 – In the worst peacetime sea disaster, the passenger ferry Doña Paz sinks after colliding with the oil tanker Vector in the Tablas Strait in the Philippines, killing an estimated 4,000 people (1,749 official).
1989 – The United States invasion of Panama deposes Manuel Noriega.
1991 – A Missouri court sentences the Palestinian militant Zein Isa and his wife Maria to death for the honor killing of their daughter Palestina.
1995 – NATO begins peacekeeping in Bosnia.
1995 – American Airlines Flight 965, a Boeing 757, crashes into a mountain 50 km north of Cali, Colombia killing 159.
1999 – Macau is handed over to China by Portugal.
2004 – A gang of thieves steal £26.5 million worth of currency from the Donegall Square West headquarters of Northern Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, one of the largest bank robberies in British history.
2007 – Elizabeth II becomes the oldest monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, seven months and 29 days.
2007 – The Portrait of Suzanne Bloch (1904), by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, and O Lavrador de Café by Brazilian modernist painter Cândido Portinari, are stolen from the São Paulo Museum of Art.

December 21

AD 69 – The Roman Senate declares Vespasian emperor of Rome, the last in the Year of the Four Emperors.
1124 – Pope Honorius II is consecrated, having been elected after the controversial dethroning of Pope Celestine II.
1140 – Conrad III of Germany besieges Weinsberg.
1237 – The city of Ryazan is sacked by the Mongol army of Batu Khan.
1361 – The Battle of Linuesa is fought in the context of the Spanish Reconquista between the forces of the Emirate of Granada and the combined army of the Kingdom of Castile and of Jaén resulting in a Castilian victory.
1598 – Battle of Curalaba: The revolting Mapuche, led by cacique Pelentaru, inflict a major defeat on Spanish troops in southern Chile.
1620 – Plymouth Colony: William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims land on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
1826 – American settlers in Nacogdoches, Mexican Texas, declare their independence, starting the Fredonian Rebellion.
1832 – Egyptian–Ottoman War: Egyptian forces decisively defeat Ottoman troops at the Battle of Konya.
1844 – The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers commences business at its cooperative in Rochdale, England, starting the Cooperative movement.
1861 – Medal of Honor: Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor, is signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.
1872 – Challenger expedition: HMS Challenger, commanded by Captain George Nares, sails from Portsmouth, England.
1879 – World premiere of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark.
1883 – The Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment, the first Permanent Force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army, are formed.
1907 – The Chilean Army commits a massacre of at least 2,000 striking saltpeter miners in Iquique, Chile.
1910 – An underground explosion at the Hulton Bank Colliery No. 3 Pit in Over Hulton, Westhoughton, England, kills 344 miners.
1913 – Arthur Wynne’s “word-cross”, the first crossword puzzle, is published in the New York World.
1919 – American anarchist Emma Goldman is deported to Russia.
1923 – United Kingdom and Nepal formally signed an agreement of friendship, called the Nepal–Britain Treaty of 1923, which superseded the Treaty of Sugauli signed in 1816.
1936 – First flight of the Junkers Ju 88 multi-role combat aircraft.
1937 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the world’s first full-length animated feature, premieres at the Carthay Circle Theatre.
1941 – World War II: A formal treaty of alliance between Thailand and Japan is signed in the presence of the Emerald Buddha in Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand.
1946 – An 8.1 Mw earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Nankaidō, Japan, kills over 1,300 people and destroys over 38,000 homes.
1963 – “Bloody Christmas” begins in Cyprus, ultimately resulting in the displacement of 25,000–30,000 Turkish Cypriots and destruction of more than 100 villages.
1965 – International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination is adopted.
1967 – Louis Washkansky, the first man to undergo a human-to-human heart transplant, dies in Cape Town, South Africa, having lived for 18 days after the transplant.
1968 – Apollo program: Apollo 8 is launched from the Kennedy Space Center, placing its crew on a lunar trajectory for the first visit to another celestial body by humans.
1970 – First flight of F-14 multi-role combat aircraft.
1973 – The Geneva Conference on the Arab–Israeli conflict opens.
1979 – Lancaster House Agreement: An independence agreement for Rhodesia is signed in London by Lord Carrington, Sir Ian Gilmour, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and S.C. Mundawarara.
1988 – A bomb explodes on board Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, killing 270. This is to date the deadliest air disaster to occur in British soil.
1988 – The first flight of Antonov An-225 Mriya, the largest aircraft in the world.
1992 – A Dutch DC-10, flight Martinair MP 495, crashes at Faro Airport, killing 56.
1995 – The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control.
1999 – The Spanish Civil Guard intercepts a van loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to use to blow up Torre Picasso in Madrid, Spain.
1999 – Cubana de Aviación Flight 1216 overshoots the runway at La Aurora International Airport, killing 18.
2004 – Iraq War: A suicide bomber killed 22 at the forward operating base next to the main U.S. military airfield at Mosul, Iraq, the single deadliest suicide attack on American soldiers.

December 22

AD 69 – Emperor Vitellius is captured and murdered at the Gemonian stairs in Rome.
401 – Pope Innocent I is elected.
856 – Damghan earthquake: An earthquake near the Persian city of Damghan kills an estimated 200,000 people, the sixth deadliest earthquake in recorded history.
880 – Luoyang, eastern capital of the Tang dynasty, is captured by rebel leader Huang Chao during the reign of Emperor Xizong.
1135 – Stephen of Blois becomes King of England
1216 – Pope Honorius III approves the Dominican Order through the papal bull of confirmation Religiosam vitam.
1622 – Bucaramanga, Colombia is founded.
1769 – Sino-Burmese War: The war ends with an uneasy truce.
1788 – Nguyễn Huệ proclaims himself Emperor Quang Trung, in effect abolishing on his own the Lê dynasty.
1790 – The Turkish fortress of Izmail is stormed and captured by Alexander Suvorov and his Russian armies.
1807 – The Embargo Act, forbidding trade with all foreign countries, is passed by the U.S. Congress, at the urging of President Thomas Jefferson.
1808 – Ludwig van Beethoven conducts and performs in concert at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, with the premiere of his Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony, Fourth Piano Concerto (performed by Beethoven himself) and Choral Fantasy (with Beethoven at the piano).
1851 – India’s first freight train is operated in Roorkee, India.
1864 – Savannah, Georgia falls to the forces of General Sherman.
1885 – Itō Hirobumi, a samurai, became the first Prime Minister of Japan.
1888 – The Christmas Meeting of 1888, considered to be the official start of the Faroese independence movement.
1890 – Cornwallis Valley Railway begins operation between Kentville and Kingsport, Nova Scotia.
1891 – Asteroid 323 Brucia becomes the first asteroid discovered using photography.
1894 – The Dreyfus affair begins in France, when Alfred Dreyfus is wrongly convicted of treason.
1920 – The GOELRO economic development plan is adopted by the 8th Congress of Soviets of the Russian SFSR.
1921 – Opening of Visva-Bharati College, also known as Santiniketan College, now Visva Bharati University, India.
1937 – The Lincoln Tunnel opens to traffic in New York City.
1939 – Indian Muslims observe a “Day of Deliverance” to celebrate the resignations of members of the Indian National Congress over their not having been consulted over the decision to enter World War II with the United Kingdom.
1940 – World War II: Himara is captured by the Greek army.
1942 – World War II: Adolf Hitler signs the order to develop the V-2 rocket as a weapon.
1944 – World War II: Battle of the Bulge: German troops demand the surrender of United States troops at Bastogne, Belgium, prompting the famous one word reply by General Anthony McAuliffe: “Nuts!”
1944 – World War II: The Vietnam People’s Army is formed to resist Japanese occupation of Indochina, now Vietnam.
1948 – Sjafruddin Prawiranegara established the Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia (Pemerintah Darurat Republik Indonesia, PDRI) in West Sumatra.
1951 – The Selangor Labour Party is founded in Selangor, Malaya.
1963 – The cruise ship Lakonia burns 180 miles (290 km) north of Madeira, Portugal with the loss of 128 lives.
1964 – The first test flight of the SR-71 (Blackbird) took place at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.
1965 – In the United Kingdom, a 70 mph speed limit is applied to all rural roads including motorways for the first time.
1968 – Cultural Revolution: People’s Daily posted the instructions of Mao Zedong that “The intellectual youth must go to the country, and will be educated from living in rural poverty.”
1974 – Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli vote to become the independent nation of Comoros. Mayotte remains under French administration.
1974 – The house of former British Prime Minister Edward Heath is attacked by members of the Provisional IRA.
1978 – The pivotal Third Plenum of the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is held in Beijing, with Deng Xiaoping reversing Mao-era policies to pursue a program for Chinese economic reform.
1984 – Bernhard Goetz shoots four would-be muggers on an express train in Manhattan section of New York, New York.
1987 – In Zimbabwe, the political parties ZANU and ZAPU reach an agreement that ends the violence in the Matabeleland region known as the Gukurahundi.
1989 – Communist President of Romania Nicolae Ceaușescu is overthrown by Ion Iliescu after days of bloody confrontations. The deposed dictator and his wife flee Bucharest in a helicopter as protesters erupt in cheers.
1989 – Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate re-opens after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.
1990 – Lech Wałęsa is elected President of Poland.
1990 – Final independence of Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia after termination of trusteeship.
1996 – ABX Air Flight 827 crashes near Narrows, Virginia, killing all six people on board.
1997 – Acteal massacre: Attendees at a prayer meeting of Roman Catholic activists for indigenous causes in the small village of Acteal in the Mexican state of Chiapas are massacred by paramilitary forces.
1997 – Hussein Farrah Aidid relinquishes the disputed title of President of Somalia by signing the Cairo Declaration, in Cairo, Egypt. It is the first major step towards reconciliation in Somalia since 1991.
2001 – Burhanuddin Rabbani, political leader of the Northern Alliance, hands over power in Afghanistan to the interim government headed by President Hamid Karzai.
2001 – Richard Reid attempts to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.
2008 – An ash dike ruptured at a solid waste containment area in Roane County, Tennessee, releasing 1.1 billion US gallons (4,200,000 m3) of coal fly ash slurry.
2010 – The repeal of the Don’t ask, don’t tell policy, the 17-year-old policy banning homosexuals serving openly in the United States military, is signed into law by President Barack Obama.
2016 – A study finds the VSV-EBOV vaccine against the Ebola virus between 70-100% effective, and thus making it the first proven vaccine against the disease.
2017 – The UN Security Council votes 15–0 in favor of additional sanctions on North Korea, including measures to slash the country’s petroleum imports by up to 90%.
2018 – A tsunami caused by an eruption of Anak Krakatau in Indonesia killed at least 430 people and injured almost a thousand more.

December 23

484 – Huneric dies and is succeeded by his nephew Gunthamund, who becomes king of the Vandals. During his reign Christians are protected from persecution.
558 – Chlothar I is crowned King of the Franks.
583 – Maya queen Yohl Ik’nal is crowned ruler of Palenque.
679 – King Dagobert II is murdered while hunting.
962 – Arab–Byzantine wars: Under the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, Byzantine troops storm the city of Aleppo.
1572 – Theologian Johann Sylvan is executed in Heidelberg for his heretical Antitrinitarian beliefs.
1598 – Arauco War: Governor of Chile Martín García Óñez de Loyola is killed in the Battle of Curalaba by Mapuches led by Pelantaru.
1688 – As part of the Glorious Revolution, King James II of England flees from England to Paris, France after being deposed in favor of his nephew, William of Orange and his daughter Mary.
1783 – George Washington resigns as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland.
1793 – The Battle of Savenay: A decisive defeat of the royalist counter-revolutionaries in War in the Vendée during the French Revolution.
1815 – The novel Emma by Jane Austen is first published.
1876 – First day of the Constantinople Conference which resulted in agreement for political reforms in the Balkans.
1893 – The opera Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck is first performed.
1913 – The Federal Reserve Act is signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, creating the Federal Reserve System.
1914 – World War I: Australian and New Zealand troops arrive in Cairo, Egypt.
1916 – World War I: Battle of Magdhaba: Allied forces defeat Turkish forces in the Sinai Peninsula.
1919 – Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 becomes law in the United Kingdom.
1936 – Colombia becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
1941 – World War II: After 15 days of fighting, the Imperial Japanese Army occupies Wake Island.
1947 – The transistor is first demonstrated at Bell Laboratories.
1948 – Seven Japanese military and political leaders convicted of war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East are executed by Allied occupation authorities at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, Japan.
1954 – First successful kidney transplant is performed by J. Hartwell Harrison and Joseph Murray.
1968 – The 82 sailors from the USS Pueblo are released after eleven months of internment in North Korea.
1970 – The North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York, New York is topped out at 1,368 feet (417 m), making it the tallest building in the world.
1970 – The Democratic Republic of the Congo officially becomes a one-party state.
1972 – A 6.5 magnitude earthquake strikes the Nicaraguan capital of Managua killing more than 10,000.
1972 – The 16 survivors of the Andes flight disaster are rescued after 73 days, having reportedly survived by cannibalism.
1979 – Soviet–Afghan War: Soviet Union forces occupy Kabul, the Afghan capital.
1984 – After experiencing an engine fire, Aeroflot Flight 3519 attempts to make an emergency landing at Krasnoyarsk International Airport but crashes, killing 110 of the 111 people on board.
1986 – Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California becoming the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world without aerial or ground refueling.
1990 – History of Slovenia: In a referendum, 88.5% of Slovenia’s overall electorate vote for independence from Yugoslavia.
2002 – A U.S. MQ-1 Predator is shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25 in the first combat engagement between a drone and conventional aircraft.
2003 – PetroChina Chuandongbei natural gas field explosion, Guoqiao, Kai County, Chongqing, China, killing at least 234.
2007 – An agreement is made for the Kingdom of Nepal to be abolished and the country to become a federal republic with the Prime Minister becoming head of state.
2015 – A bomb explodes at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport, killing one airport cleaner. The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks claim responsibility for the attack four days later.

December 24

502 – Chinese emperor Xiao Yan names Xiao Tong his heir designate.
640 – Pope John IV is elected.
759 – Tang dynasty poet Du Fu departs for Chengdu, where he is hosted by fellow poet Pei Di.
820 – Emperor Leo V is assassinated in the Hagia Sophia at Constantinople and is succeeded by Michael II.
1144 – The capital of the crusader County of Edessa falls to Imad ad-Din Zengi, the atabeg of Mosul and Aleppo.
1294 – Pope Boniface VIII is elected, replacing St. Celestine V, who had resigned.
1500 – A joint Venetian–Spanish fleet captures the Castle of St. George on the island of Cephalonia.
1737 – The Marathas defeat the combined forces of the Mughal Empire, Rajputs of Jaipur, Nizam of Hyderabad, Nawab of Awadh and Nawab of Bengal in the Battle of Bhopal.
1777 – Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, is discovered by James Cook.
1800 – The Plot of the rue Saint-Nicaise fails to kill Napoleon Bonaparte.
1814 – Representatives of Britain and the United States sign the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.
1818 – The first performance of “Silent Night” takes place in the church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.
1826 – The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy begins that night, wrapping up the following morning.
1846 – British acquired Labuan from the Sultanate of Brunei for Great Britain.
1851 – The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., burns.
1865 – Jonathan Shank and Barry Ownby form The Ku Klux Klan.
1868 – The Greek Presidential Guard is established as the royal escort by King George I.
1871 – The Opera Aida opens in Cairo, Egypt.
1906 – Radio: Reginald Fessenden transmits the first radio broadcast; consisting of a poetry reading, a violin solo, and a speech.
1911 – Lackawanna Cut-Off railway line opens in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
1913 – The Italian Hall disaster in Calumet, Michigan results in the deaths of 73 Christmas party participants (including 59 children) when someone falsely yells “fire”.
1914 – World War I: The “Christmas truce” begins.
1920 – Gabriele D’Annunzio surrendered the Italian Regency of Carnaro in the city of Fiume to Italian armed forces.
1924 – Albania becomes a republic.
1929 – Assassination attempt on Argentine President Hipólito Yrigoyen.
1939 – World War II: Pope Pius XII makes a Christmas Eve appeal for peace.
1941 – World War II: Kuching is conquered by Japanese forces.
1941 – World War II: Benghazi is conquered by British forces.
1942 – World War II: French monarchist, Fernand Bonnier de La Chapelle, assassinates Vichy French Admiral François Darlan in Algiers, Algeria.
1943 – World War II: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower is named Supreme Allied Commander for the Invasion of Normandy.
1945 – Five of nine children become missing after their home in Fayetteville, West Virginia, is burned down.
1951 – Libya becomes independent from Italy. Idris I is proclaimed King of Libya.
1952 – First flight of Britain’s Handley Page Victor strategic bomber.
1953 – Tangiwai disaster: In New Zealand’s North Island, at Tangiwai, a railway bridge is damaged by a lahar and collapses beneath a passenger train, killing 151 people.
1964 – Vietnam War: Viet Cong operatives bomb the Brinks Hotel in Saigon, South Vietnam to demonstrate they can strike an American installation in the heavily guarded capital.
1966 – A Canadair CL-44 chartered by the United States military crashes into a small village in South Vietnam, killing 129.
1968 – Apollo program: The crew of Apollo 8 enters into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed ten lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures.
1969 – Nigerian troops capture Umuahia, the Biafran capital.
1973 – District of Columbia Home Rule Act is passed, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to elect their own local government.
1974 – Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Australia.
1980 – Witnesses report the first of several sightings of unexplained lights near RAF Woodbridge, in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom, an incident called “Britain’s Roswell”.
1994 – Air France Flight 8969 is hijacked on the ground at Houari Boumediene Airport, Algiers, Algeria. Over the course of three days three passengers are killed, as are all four terrorists.
1997 – The Sid El-Antri massacre in Algeria kills between 50 and 100 people.
1999 – Indian Airlines Flight 814 is hijacked in Indian airspace between Kathmandu, Nepal, and Delhi, India. The aircraft landed at Kandahar in Afghanistan. The incident ended on December 31 with the release of 190 survivors (one passenger is killed).
2003 – The Spanish police thwart an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives at 3:55 p.m. inside Madrid’s busy Chamartín Station.
2005 – Chad–Sudan relations: Chad declares a state of war against Sudan following a December 18 attack on Adré, which left about 100 people dead.
2008 – Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group, begins a series of attacks on Democratic Republic of the Congo, massacring more than 400.
2018 – A helicopter crash kills Martha Érika Alonso, first female Governor of Puebla, Mexico, and her husband Rafael Moreno Valle Rosas, former governor.

December 25-29

December 25

274 – A temple for Sol Invictus is dedicated in Rome by Emperor Aurelian.
333 – Roman Emperor Constantine the Great elevates his youngest son Constans to the rank of Caesar.
336 – First documentary sign of Christmas celebration in Rome.
350 – Vetranio meets Constantius II at Naissus (Serbia) and is forced to abdicate his title (Caesar). Constantius allows him to live as a private citizen on a state pension.
508 – Clovis I, king of the Franks, is baptized into the Catholic faith at Reims, by Saint Remigius.
597 – Augustine of Canterbury and his fellow-labourers baptise in Kent more than 10,000 Anglo-Saxons.
800 – The Coronation of Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor, in Rome.
1000 – The foundation of the Kingdom of Hungary: Hungary is established as a Christian kingdom by Stephen I of Hungary.
1013 – Sweyn Forkbeard takes control of the Danelaw and is proclaimed king of England.
1025 – Coronation of Mieszko II Lambert as king of Poland.
1066 – William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy is crowned king of England, at Westminster Abbey, London.
1076 – Coronation of Bolesław II the Generous as king of Poland.
1100 – Baldwin of Boulogne is crowned the first King of Jerusalem in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
1130 – Count Roger II of Sicily is crowned the first king of Sicily.
1261 – Eleven-year-old John IV Laskaris of the restored Eastern Roman Empire is deposed and blinded by orders of his co-ruler Michael VIII Palaiologos.
1492 – The carrack Santa María, commanded by Christopher Columbus, runs onto a reef off Haiti due to an improper watch.
1553 – Battle of Tucapel: Mapuche rebels under Lautaro defeat the Spanish conquistadors and executes the governor of Chile, Pedro de Valdivia.
1559 – Pope Pius IV is elected.
1758 – Halley’s Comet is sighted by Johann Georg Palitzsch, confirming Edmund Halley’s prediction of its passage. This was the first passage of a comet predicted ahead of time.
1776 – George Washington and the Continental Army cross the Delaware River at night to attack Hessian forces serving Great Britain at Trenton, New Jersey, the next day.
1793 – General “Mad Anthony” Wayne and a 300 man detachment identify the site of St. Clair’s 1791 defeat by the large number of unburied human remains at modern Fort Recovery, Ohio.
1809 – Dr. Ephraim McDowell performs the first ovariotomy, removing a 22-pound tumor.
1814 – Rev. Samuel Marsden holds the first Christian service on land in New Zealand at Rangihoua Bay.
1815 – The Handel and Haydn Society, oldest continually performing arts organization in the United States, gives its first performance.
1826 – The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy concludes after beginning the previous evening.
1831 – The Great Jamaican Slave Revolt begins; up to 20% of the island’s slaves mobilize in an ultimately unsuccessful fight for freedom.
1837 – Second Seminole War: American general Zachary Taylor leads 1,100 troops against the Seminoles at the Battle of Lake Okeechobee.
1868 – Pardons for ex-Confederates: United States President Andrew Johnson grants an unconditional pardon to all Confederate veterans.
1914 – A series of unofficial truces occur across the Western Front to celebrate Christmas.
1932 – A magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Gansu, China kills 275 people.
1941 – Admiral Chester W. Nimitz arrives at Pearl Harbor to assume command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet
1941 – World War II: Battle of Hong Kong ends, beginning the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.
1941 – Admiral Émile Muselier seizes the archipelago of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, which become the first part of France to be liberated by the Free French Forces.
1946 – The first European self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction is initiated within the Soviet Union’s F-1 nuclear reactor.
1950 – The Stone of Scone, traditional coronation stone of British monarchs, is taken from Westminster Abbey by Scottish nationalist students. It later turns up in Scotland on April 11, 1951.
1951 – A bomb explodes at the home of Harry T. Moore and Harriette V. S. Moore, early leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, killing Harry instantly and fatally wounding Harriette.
1962 – The Soviet Union conducts its final above-ground nuclear weapon test, in anticipation of the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
1963 – Turkish Cypriot Bayrak Radio begins transmitting in Cyprus after Turkish Cypriots are forcibly excluded from Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.
1968 – Apollo program: Apollo 8 performs the very first successful Trans-Earth injection (TEI) maneuver, sending the crew and spacecraft on a trajectory back to Earth from Lunar orbit.
1968 – Kilvenmani massacre: Forty-four Dalits (untouchables) are burnt to death in Kizhavenmani village, Tamil Nadu, a retaliation for a campaign for higher wages by Dalit laborers.
1977 – Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin meets in Egypt with its president Anwar Sadat.
1989 – Romanian Revolution: Deposed President of Romania Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena, are condemned to death and executed after a summary trial.
1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as President of the Soviet Union (the union itself is dissolved the next day). Ukraine’s referendum is finalized and Ukraine officially leaves the Soviet Union.
2003 – UTAGE Flight 141, a Boeing 727-223, crashes at the Cotonou Airport in Benin, killing 151 people.
2003 – The ill-fated Beagle 2 probe, released from the Mars Express spacecraft on December 19, stops transmitting shortly before its scheduled landing.
2004 – The Cassini orbiter releases Huygens probe which successfully landed on Saturn’s moon Titan on January 14, 2005.
2012 – An Antonov An-72 plane crashes close to the city of Shymkent, killing 27 people.
2016 – A Russian Defence Ministry Tupolev Tu-154 carrying members of the Alexandrov Ensemble crashes into the Black Sea shortly after takeoff, killing all 92 people on board.

December 26

887 – Berengar I is elected as king of Italy by the lords of Lombardy. He is crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy at Pavia.
1481 – Battle of Westbroek: Holland defeats troops of Utrecht.
1489 – The forces of the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, take control of Almería from the Nasrid ruler of Granada, Muhammad XIII.
1776 – American Revolutionary War: In the Battle of Trenton, the Continental Army attacks and successfully defeats a garrison of Hessian forces.
1790 – Louis XVI of France gives his public assent to Civil Constitution of the Clergy during the French Revolution.
1793 – Second Battle of Wissembourg: France defeats Austria.
1799 – Henry Lee III’s eulogy to George Washington in congress declares him as “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen”. (This is not to be confused with Washington’s funeral on December 18.)
1805 – Austria and France sign the Treaty of Pressburg.
1806 – Battles of Pultusk and Golymin: Russian forces hold French forces under Napoleon.
1811 – A theater fire in Richmond, Virginia kills the Governor of Virginia George William Smith and the president of the First National Bank of Virginia Abraham B. Venable.
1825 – Advocates of liberalism in Russia rise up against Czar Nicholas I but are suppressed in the Decembrist revolt in Saint Petersburg.
1860 – The first ever inter-club English association football match takes place between Hallam and Sheffield football clubs in Sheffield.
1861 – American Civil War: The Trent Affair: Confederate diplomatic envoys James Murray Mason and John Slidell are freed by the United States government, thus heading off a possible war between the United States and the United Kingdom.
1862 – American Civil War: The Battle of Chickasaw Bayou begins.
1862 – Four nuns serving as volunteer nurses on board USS Red Rover are the first female nurses on a U.S. Navy hospital ship.
1862 – The largest mass-hanging in U.S. history took place in Mankato, Minnesota, where 38 Native Americans died.
1871 – Gilbert and Sullivan collaborate for the first time, on their lost opera, Thespis. It does modestly well, but the two would not collaborate again for four years.
1898 – Marie and Pierre Curie announce the isolation of radium.
1919 – Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox is sold to the New York Yankees by owner Harry Frazee, allegedly establishing the Curse of the Bambino superstition.
1941 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day in the United States.
1943 – World War II: German warship Scharnhorst is sunk off of Norway’s North Cape after a battle against major Royal Navy forces.
1944 – World War II: George S. Patton’s Third Army breaks the encirclement of surrounded U.S. forces at Bastogne, Belgium.
1948 – Cardinal József Mindszenty is arrested in Hungary and accused of treason and conspiracy.
1948 – The last Soviet troops withdraw from North Korea.
1963 – The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There” are released in the United States, marking the beginning of Beatlemania on an international level.
1966 – The first Kwanzaa is celebrated by Maulana Karenga, the chair of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach.
1968 – The Communist Party of the Philippines is established by Jose Maria Sison, breaking away from the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas-1930.
1972 – Vietnam War: As part of Operation Linebacker II, 120 American B-52 Stratofortress bombers attacked Hanoi, including 78 launched from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, the largest single combat launch in Strategic Air Command history.
1975 – Tu-144, the world’s first commercial supersonic aircraft, surpassing Mach 2, went into service.
1991 – The Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union meets and formally dissolves the Soviet Union, ending the Cold War.
1994 – Four Armed Islamic Group hijackers seize control of Air France Flight 8969. When the plane lands at Marseille, a French Gendarmerie assault team boards the aircraft and kills the hijackers.
1998 – Iraq announces its intention to fire upon U.S. and British warplanes that patrol the northern and southern no-fly zones.
1999 – The storm Lothar sweeps across Central Europe, killing 137 and causing US$1.3 billion in damage.
2003 – The 6.6 Mw  Bam earthquake shakes southeastern Iran with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), leaving more than 26,000 dead and 30,000 injured.
2004 – The 9.1–9.3 Mw  Indian Ocean earthquake shakes northern Sumatra with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). One of the largest observed tsunamis follows, affecting the coastal areas of Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Indonesia; death toll is estimated at 227,898.
2004 – Orange Revolution: The final run-off election in Ukraine is held under heavy international scrutiny.
2009 – China opens the world’s longest high-speed rail route, which links Beijing and Guangzhou.
2015 – During the December 2015 North American storm complex, a Tornado Outbreak occurred in the DFW Metroplex, with the most notable tornadoes being an EF2, EF3, and an EF4. About a dozen people died due to various reasons, 10 of which due to the EF4, which did substantial damage to the suburb of Rowlett.

December 27

537 – The construction of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople is completed.
1512 – The Spanish Crown issues the Laws of Burgos, governing the conduct of settlers with regard to native Indians in the New World.
1521 – The Zwickau prophets arrive in Wittenberg, disturbing the peace and preaching the Apocalypse.
1655 – Second Northern War/the Deluge: Monks at the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa are successful in fending off a month-long siege.
1657 – The Flushing Remonstrance articulates for the first time in North American history that freedom of religion is a fundamental right.
1703 – Portugal and England sign the Methuen Treaty which gives preference to Portuguese imported wines into England.
1814 – War of 1812: The American schooner USS Carolina is destroyed. It was the last of Commodore Daniel Patterson’s makeshift fleet that fought a series of delaying actions that contributed to Andrew Jackson’s victory at the Battle of New Orleans.
1831 – Charles Darwin embarks on his journey aboard HMS Beagle, during which he will begin to formulate his theory of evolution.
1836 – The worst ever avalanche in England occurs at Lewes, Sussex, killing eight people.
1845 – Ether anesthetic is used for childbirth for the first time by Dr. Crawford Long in Jefferson, Georgia.
1845 – Journalist John L. O’Sullivan, writing in his newspaper the New York Morning News, argues that the United States had the right to claim the entire Oregon Country “by the right of our manifest destiny”.
1911 – “Jana Gana Mana”, the national anthem of India, is first sung in the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress.
1918 – The Great Poland Uprising against the Germans begins.
1922 – Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō becomes the first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned in the world.
1927 – Kern and Hammerstein’s musical play Show Boat, considered to be the first true American musical play, opens at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Broadway.
1929 – Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin orders the “liquidation of the kulaks as a class”.
1932 – Radio City Music Hall, “Showplace of the Nation”, opens in New York City.
1935 – Regina Jonas is ordained as the first female rabbi in the history of Judaism.
1939 – The 7.8 Mw  Erzincan earthquake shakes eastern Turkey with a maximum Mercalli intensity of XI (Extreme). At least 32,700 people were killed.
1939 – Winter War: Finland holds off a Soviet attack in the Battle of Kelja.
1945 – The International Monetary Fund is created with the signing of an agreement by 29 nations.
1949 – Indonesian National Revolution: The Netherlands officially recognizes Indonesian independence. End of the Dutch East Indies.
1966 – The Cave of Swallows, the largest known cave shaft in the world, is discovered in Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
1968 – Apollo program: Apollo 8 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.
1978 – Spain becomes a democracy after 40 years of fascist dictatorship.
1979 – The Soviet Union invades the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
1983 – Pope John Paul II visits Mehmet Ali Ağca in Rebibbia’s prison and personally forgives him for the 1981 attack on him in St. Peter’s Square.
1985 – Palestinian guerrillas kill eighteen people inside the airports of Rome, Italy, and Vienna, Austria.
1989 – The Romanian Revolution concludes, as the last minor street confrontations and stray shootings abruptly end in the country’s capital, Bucharest.
1996 – Taliban forces retake the strategic Bagram Airfield which solidifies their buffer zone around Kabul, Afghanistan.
1997 – Protestant paramilitary leader Billy Wright is assassinated in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.
2002 – Two truck bombs kill 72 and wound 200 at the pro-Moscow headquarters of the Chechen government in Grozny, Chechnya, Russia.
2004 – Radiation from an explosion on the magnetar SGR 1806-20 reaches Earth. It is the brightest extrasolar event known to have been witnessed on the planet.
2007 – Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated in a shooting incident.
2007 – Riots erupt in Mombasa, Kenya, after Mwai Kibaki is declared the winner of the presidential election, triggering a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis.
2008 – Operation Cast Lead: Israel launches 3-week operation on Gaza.
2009 – Iranian election protests: On the Day of Ashura in Tehran, Iran, government security forces fire upon demonstrators.

December 28

169 BC – The menorah is lit to rededicate the Holy Temple of Jerusalem after two centuries of foreign rule and religious oppression and a seven-year revolt. The menorah burns for eight days without the sufficient fuel needed to do so, birthing the holiday Hanukkah.
418 – Pope Boniface I is elected.
457 – Majorian is acclaimed emperor of the Western Roman Empire and recognized by Emperor Leo I the Thracian.
484 – Alaric II succeeds his father Euric and becomes king of the Visigoths. He establishes his capital at Aire-sur-l’Adour (Southern Gaul).
893 – An earthquake destroys the city of Dvin, Armenia.
1065 – Edward the Confessor’s Romanesque monastic church at Westminster Abbey is consecrated.
1308 – The reign of Emperor Hanazono of Japan begins.
1659 – The Marathas defeat the Adilshahi forces in the Battle of Kolhapur.
1768 – King Taksin’s coronation achieved through conquest as a king of Thailand and established Thonburi as a capital.
1795 – Construction of Yonge Street, formerly recognized as the longest street in the world, begins in York, Upper Canada (present-day Toronto).
1832 – John C. Calhoun becomes the first Vice President of the United States to resign.
1835 – Osceola leads his Seminole warriors in Florida into the Second Seminole War against the United States Army.
1836 – South Australia and Adelaide are founded.
1836 – Spain recognizes the independence of Mexico with the signing of the Santa María–Calatrava Treaty.
1846 – Iowa is admitted as the 29th U.S. state.
1879 – Tay Bridge disaster: The central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom collapses as a train passes over it, killing 75.
1885 – Indian National Congress, a political party of India, is founded in Bombay Presidency, British India.
1895 – The Lumière brothers perform for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines.
1895 – Wilhelm Röntgen publishes a paper detailing his discovery of a new type of radiation, which later will be known as x-rays.
1902 – The Syracuse Athletic Club defeated the New York Philadelphians, 5–0, in the first indoor professional football game, which was held at Madison Square Garden.
1908 – The 7.1 Mw  Messina earthquake shakes Southern Italy with a maximum Mercalli intensity of XI (Extreme), killing between 75,000 and 200,000.
1912 – The first municipally owned streetcars take to the streets in San Francisco.
1918 – Constance Markievicz, while detained in Holloway prison, became the first woman to be elected MP to the British House of Commons.
1941 – World War II: Operation Anthropoid, the plot to assassinate high-ranking Nazi officer Reinhard Heydrich, commences.
1943 – Soviet authorities launch operation Operation Ulussy, beginning the deportation of the Kalmyk nation to Siberia and Central Asia.
1943 – World War II: After eight days of brutal house-to-house fighting, the Battle of Ortona concludes with the victory of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division over the German 1st Parachute Division and the capture of the Italian town of Ortona.
1944 – Maurice Richard becomes the first player to score eight points in one game of NHL ice hockey.
1948 – The DC-3 airliner NC16002 disappears 50 miles south of Miami.
1956 – Chin Peng, David Marshall and Tunku Abdul Rahman meet in Baling, Malaya to try and resolve the Malayan Emergency situation.
1958 – “Greatest Game Ever Played”: Baltimore Colts defeat the New York Giants in the first ever National Football League sudden death overtime game at New York’s Yankee Stadium.
1967 – Muriel Siebert becomes the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.
1973 – The United States Endangered Species Act is signed into law by Pres. Richard Nixon.
1989 – A magnitude 5.6 earthquake hits Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, killing 13 people.
2006 – War in Somalia: The militaries of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government and Ethiopian troops capture Mogadishu unopposed.
2009 – Forty-three people die in a suicide bombing in Karachi, Pakistan, where Shia Muslims are observing the Day of Ashura.
2014 – Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 crashes into the Karimata Strait en route from Surabaya to Singapore, killing all 162 people aboard.
2014 – Nine people die and another 19 are reported missing, when the MS Norman Atlantic catches fire in the Strait of Otranto, in the Adriatic Sea, in Italian waters.

December 29

875 – Charles the Bald, King of the Franks, is crowned as Holy Roman Emperor Charles II.
1170 – Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, is assassinated inside Canterbury Cathedral by followers of King Henry II; he subsequently becomes a saint and martyr in the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.
1427 – The Ming army begins its withdraw from Hanoi, ending the Chinese domination of Đại Việt.
1503 – The Battle of Garigliano (1503) was fought between a Spanish army under Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba and a French army commanded by Ludovico II, Marquess of Saluzzo
1508 – Portuguese forces under the command of Francisco de Almeida attack Khambhat at the Battle of Dabul.
1778 – American Revolutionary War: Three thousand British soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell capture Savannah, Georgia.
1812 – USS Constitution, under the command of Captain William Bainbridge, captures HMS Java off the coast of Brazil after a three-hour battle.
1835 – The Treaty of New Echota is signed, ceding all the lands of the Cherokee east of the Mississippi River to the United States.
1845 – In accordance with International Boundary delimitation, the United States annexes the Republic of Texas, following the manifest destiny doctrine. The Republic of Texas, which had been independent since the Texas Revolution of 1836, is thereupon admitted as the 28th U.S. state.
1851 – The first American YMCA opens in Boston, Massachusetts.
1860 – The launch of HMS Warrior, with her combination of screw propeller, iron hull and iron armour, renders all previous warships obsolete.
1874 – The military coup of Gen. Martinez Campos in Sagunto ends the failed First Spanish Republic and the monarchy is restored as Prince Alfonso is proclaimed King of Spain.
1876 – The Ashtabula River railroad disaster occurs, leaving 64 injured and 92 dead at Ashtabula, Ohio.
1890 – Wounded Knee Massacre on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 300 Lakota are killed by the United States 7th Cavalry Regiment.
1911 – Mongolia gains independence from the Qing dynasty, enthroning 9th Jebtsundamba Khutughtu as Khagan of Mongolia.
1911 – Sun Yat-sen becomes the provisional President of the Republic of China; he formally takes office on January 1, 1912.
1916 – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the first novel by James Joyce, was first published as a book by an American publishing house B. W. Huebschis after it had been serialized in The Egoist (1914–15).
1930 – Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s presidential address in Allahabad introduces the two-nation theory and outlines a vision for the creation of Pakistan.
1934 – Japan renounces the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930.
1937 – The Irish Free State is replaced by a new state called Ireland with the adoption of a new constitution.
1940 – World War II: In the Second Great Fire of London, the Luftwaffe fire-bombs London, England, killing almost 200 civilians.
1949 – KC2XAK of Bridgeport, Connecticut becomes the first Ultra high frequency (UHF) television station to operate a daily schedule.
1972 – Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 (a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar) crashes in the Florida Everglades on approach to Miami International Airport, Florida, killing 101 of the 176 people on board.
1975 – A bomb explodes at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, killing 11 people and injuring 74.
1989 – Czech writer, philosopher and dissident Václav Havel is elected the first post-communist President of Czechoslovakia.
1989 – The Nikkei 225 for the Tokyo Stock Exchange hits its all-time intra-day high of 38,957.44 and closing high at 38,915.87, serving as the apex of the Japanese asset price bubble.
1992 – Fernando Collor de Mello, president of Brazil, tries to resign amidst corruption charges, but is then impeached.
1994 – Turkish Airlines Flight 278 (a Boeing 737-400) crashes on approach to Van Ferit Melen Airport in Van, Turkey, killing 57 of the 76 people on board.
1996 – Guatemala and leaders of Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity sign a peace accord ending a 36-year civil war.
1997 – Hong Kong begins to kill all the city’s 1.25 million chickens to stop the spread of a potentially deadly influenza strain.
1998 – Leaders of the Khmer Rouge apologize for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed over one million lives.
2003 – The last known speaker of Akkala Sami dies, rendering the language extinct.
2006 – UK settles its Anglo-American loan, post-WWII loan debt.
2011 – Samoa and Tokelau skip straight to December 31 when moving from one side of the International Date Line to another.
2012 – A Tupolev Tu-204 airliner crashes in a ditch between the airport fence and the M3 highway after overshooting a runway at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia, killing five people and leaving three others critically injured.
2013 – A suicide bomb attack at the Volgograd-1 railway station in the southern Russian city of Volgograd kills at least 18 people and wounds 40 others.

December 30-31

December 30

999 – Battle of Glenmama: The combined forces of Munster and Meath under king Brian Boru inflict a crushing defeat on the allied armies of Leinster and Dublin near Lyons Hill in Ireland.
1066 – Granada massacre: A Muslim mob storms the royal palace in Granada, crucifies Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacres most of the Jewish population of the city.
1419 – Hundred Years’ War: Battle of La Rochelle
1460 – Wars of the Roses: Lancastrians kill the 3rd Duke of York and win the Battle of Wakefield.
1702 – Queen Anne’s War: James Moore, Governor of the Province of Carolina, abandons the Siege of St. Augustine.
1813 – War of 1812: British soldiers burn Buffalo, New York.
1816 – The Treaty of St. Louis between the United States and the united Ottawa, Ojibwa, and Potawatomi Indian tribes is proclaimed.
1825 – The Treaty of St. Louis between the United States and the Shawnee Nation is proclaimed.
1853 – Gadsden Purchase: The United States buys land from Mexico to facilitate railroad building in the Southwest.
1890 – Following the Wounded Knee Massacre, the United States Army and Lakota warriors face off in the Drexel Mission Fight.
1896 – Filipino patriot and reform advocate José Rizal is executed by a Spanish firing squad in Manila.
1896 – Canadian ice hockey player Ernie McLea scores the first hat-trick in Stanley Cup play, and the Cup-winning goal as the Montreal Victorias defeat the Winnipeg Victorias 6–5.
1897 – The British Colony of Natal annexes Zululand.
1903 – A fire at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, Illinois kills at least 605.
1905 – Former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg is assassinated at the front gate of his home in Caldwell.
1906 – The All-India Muslim League is founded in Dacca, East Bengal, British India (later Dhaka, Bangladesh).
1916 – Russian mystic and advisor to the Tsar Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was murdered by a loyalist group led by Prince Felix Yusupov. His frozen, partially-trussed body was discovered in a Moscow river three days later.
1916 – The last coronation in Hungary is performed for King Charles IV and Queen Zita.
1922 – The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is formed.
1927 – The Ginza Line, the first subway line in Asia, opens in Tokyo, Japan.
1935 – The Italian Air Force bombs a Swedish Red Cross hospital during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.
1936 – The United Auto Workers union stages its first sitdown strike.
1943 – Subhas Chandra Bose raises the flag of Indian independence at Port Blair.
1944 – King George II of Greece declares a regency, leaving the throne vacant.
1947 – Cold War: King Michael I of Romania is forced to abdicate by the Soviet Union-backed Communist government of Romania.
1958 – The Guatemalan Air Force sinks several Mexican fishing boats alleged to have breached maritime borders, killing three and sparking international tension.
1965 – Ferdinand Marcos becomes President of the Philippines.
1972 – Vietnam War: The United States halts heavy bombing of North Vietnam.
1993 – Israel establishes diplomatic relations with Vatican City and also upgrades to full diplomatic relations with Ireland.
1996 – Proposed budget cuts by Benjamin Netanyahu spark protests from 250,000 workers who shut down services across Israel.
1997 – In the worst incident in Algeria’s insurgency, the Wilaya of Relizane massacres, 400 people from four villages are killed.
2000 – Rizal Day bombings: A series of bombs explode in various places in Metro Manila, Philippines within a period of a few hours, killing 22 and injuring about a hundred.
2004 – A fire in the República Cromagnon nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina kills 194.
2005 – Tropical Storm Zeta forms in the open Atlantic Ocean, tying the record for the latest tropical cyclone ever to form in the North Atlantic basin.
2006 – Madrid–Barajas Airport is bombed.
2006 – The Indonesian passenger ferry MV Senopati Nusantara sinks in a storm, resulting in at least 400 deaths.
2006 – Former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein is executed.
2009 – A segment of the Lanzhou–Zhengzhou–Changsha pipeline ruptures in Shaanxi, China, and approximately 150,000 l (40,000 US gal) of diesel oil flows down the Wei River before finally reaching the Yellow River.
2009 – A suicide bomber kills nine people at Forward Operating Base Chapman, a key facility of the Central Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan.
2013 – More than 100 people are killed when anti-government forces attack key buildings in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

December 31

406 – Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.
535 – Byzantine general Belisarius completes the conquest of Sicily, defeating the Gothic garrison of Palermo (Panormos), and ending his consulship for the year.
870 – Battle of Englefield: The Vikings clash with ealdorman Æthelwulf of Berkshire. The invaders are driven back to Reading (East Anglia), many Danes are killed.
1225 – The Lý dynasty of Vietnam ends after 216 years by the enthronement of the boy emperor Trần Thái Tông, husband of the last Lý monarch, Lý Chiêu Hoàng, starting the Trần dynasty.
1229 – James I the Conqueror, King of Aragon enters Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma, Spain) thus consummating the Christian reconquest of the island of Majorca.
1501 – The First Battle of Cannanore commences.
1600 – The British East India Company is chartered.
1660 – James II of England is named Duke of Normandy by Louis XIV of France.
1687 – The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.
1757 – Empress Elizabeth I of Russia issues her ukase incorporating Königsberg into Russia.
1759 – Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness.
1775 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Quebec: British forces repulse an attack by Continental Army General Richard Montgomery.
1790 – Efimeris, the oldest Greek newspaper of which issues have survived till today, is published for the first time.
1796 – The incorporation of Baltimore as a city.
1831 – Gramercy Park is deeded to New York City.
1853 – A dinner party is held inside a life-size model of an iguanodon created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen in south London, England.
1857 – Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa, then a small logging town, as the capital of Canada.
1862 – American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln signs an act that admits West Virginia to the Union, thus dividing Virginia in two.
1862 – American Civil War: The Battle of Stones River begins near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
1878 – Karl Benz, working in Mannheim, Germany, filed for a patent on his first reliable two-stroke gas engine, and he was granted the patent in 1879.
1879 – Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
1906 – Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar signs the Persian Constitution of 1906.
1907 – The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in Manhattan.
1944 – World War II: Hungary declares war on Nazi Germany.
1944 – World War II: Operation Nordwind, the last major German offensive on the Western Front begins.
1946 – President Harry S. Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II.
1951 – Cold War: The Marshall Plan expires after distributing more than US$13.3 billion in foreign aid to rebuild Western Europe.
1955 – General Motors becomes the first U.S. corporation to make over US$1 billion in a year.
1956 – The Romanian Television network begins its first broadcast in Bucharest.
1961 – RTÉ, Ireland’s state broadcaster, launches its first national television service.
1963 – The Central African Federation officially collapses, subsequently becoming Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.
1965 – Jean-Bédel Bokassa, leader of the Central African Republic army, and his military officers begins a coup d’état against the government of President David Dacko.
1968 – The first flight of the Tupolev Tu-144, the first civilian supersonic transport in the world.
1981 – A coup d’état in Ghana removes President Hilla Limann’s PNP government and replaces it with the Provisional National Defence Council led by Flight lieutenant Jerry Rawlings.
1983 – The AT&T Bell System is broken up by the United States Government.
1983 – Benjamin Ward is appointed New York City Police Department’s first ever African American police commissioner.
1983 – In Nigeria a coup d’état led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari ends the Second Nigerian Republic.
1986 – Arson at the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico kills 97 people and injures 140.
1991 – All official Soviet Union institutions have ceased operations by this date five days after the Soviet Union is officially dissolved.
1992 – Czechoslovakia is peacefully dissolved in what is dubbed by media as the Velvet Divorce, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
1994 – This date is skipped altogether in Kiribati as the Phoenix Islands and Line Islands change time zones from UTC−11:00 to UTC+13:00 and UTC−10:00 to UTC+14:00, respectively.
1994 – The First Chechen War: Russian army began a New Year’s storming of Grozny.
1998 – The European Exchange Rate Mechanism freezes the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and establishes the value of the euro currency.
1999 – The first President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, resigns from office, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President and successor.
1999 – The United States Government hands control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties.
1999 – Indian Airlines Flight 814 hijacking ended after seven days with the release of 190 survivors at Kandahar Airport, Afghanistan.
2000 – The last day of the 20th Century and 2nd Millennium.
2004 – The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).
2009 – Both a blue moon and a lunar eclipse occur.
2010 – Tornadoes touch down in midwestern and southern United States, including Washington County, Arkansas; Greater St. Louis, Sunset Hills, Missouri, Illinois, and Oklahoma, with a few tornadoes in the early hours. A total 36 tornadoes touched down, resulting in the deaths of nine people and $113 million in damages.
2011 – NASA succeeds in putting the first of two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory satellites in orbit around the Moon.
2014 – A New Year’s Eve celebration stampede in Shanghai kills at least 36 people and injures 49 others.
2015 – A fire broke out at the Downtown Address Hotel in Downtown Dubai, United Arab Emirates located near the Burj Khalifa two hours before the fireworks display was due to commence. Sixteen injuries were reported; one had a heart attack, another suffered a major injury, and fourteen others with minor injuries.
2018 – 39 people were killed after a 10-storey building in the Industrial Russian City of Magnitogorsk collapsed. 

What happened in other months