474 – Emperor Leo II dies after a reign of ten months. He is succeeded by his father Zeno, who becomes sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire.
794 – Japanese Emperor Kanmu changes his residence from Nara to Kyoto.
887 – Emperor Charles the Fat is deposed by the Frankish magnates in an assembly at Frankfurt. His nephew Arnulf of Carinthia is elected as king of the East Frankish Kingdom.
1183 – The Battle of Mizushima takes place.
1292 – John Balliol becomes King of Scotland.
1405 – Sharif ul-Hāshim establishes the Sultanate of Sulu.
1511 – Henry VIII of England concluded the Treaty of Westminster, a pledge of mutual aid against the French, with Ferdinand II of Aragon.
1558 – Elizabethan era begins: Queen Mary I of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I of England.
1603 – English explorer, writer and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh goes on trial for treason.
1777 – Articles of Confederation (United States) are submitted to the states for ratification.
1796 – French Revolutionary Wars: Battle of the Bridge of Arcole: French forces defeat the Austrians in Italy.
1800 – The United States Congress holds its first session in Washington, D.C.
1810 – Sweden declares war on its ally the United Kingdom to begin the Anglo-Swedish War, although no fighting ever takes place.
1811 – José Miguel Carrera, Chilean founding father, is sworn in as President of the executive Junta of the government of Chile.
1820 – Captain Nathaniel Palmer becomes the first American to see Antarctica. (The Palmer Peninsula is later named after him.)
1831 – Ecuador and Venezuela are separated from Gran Colombia.
1839 – Oberto, Giuseppe Verdi’s first opera, opens at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy.
1856 – American Old West: On the Sonoita River in present-day southern Arizona, the United States Army establishes Fort Buchanan in order to help control new land acquired in the Gadsden Purchase.
1858 – Modified Julian Day zero.
1863 – American Civil War: Siege of Knoxville begins: Confederate forces led by General James Longstreet place Knoxville, Tennessee, under siege.
1869 – In Egypt, the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, is inaugurated.
1871 – The National Rifle Association is granted a charter by the state of New York.
1876 – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Slavonic March” is given its premiere performance in Moscow, Russia.
1878 – First assassination attempt against Umberto I of Italy by anarchist Giovanni Passannante, who was armed with a dagger. The King survived with a slight wound in an arm. Prime Minister Benedetto Cairoli blocked the aggressor, receiving an injury in a leg.
1885 – Serbo-Bulgarian War: The decisive Battle of Slivnitsa begins.
1894 – H. H. Holmes, one of the first modern serial killers, is arrested in Boston, Massachusetts.
1896 – The Western Pennsylvania Hockey League, which later became the first ice hockey league to openly trade and hire players, began play at Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park Casino.
1903 – The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party splits into two groups: The Bolsheviks (Russian for “majority”) and Mensheviks (Russian for “minority”).
1911 – Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, which is the first black Greek-lettered organization founded at an American historically black college or university, was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C.
1933 – United States recognizes Soviet Union.
1939 – Nine Czech students are executed as a response to anti-Nazi demonstrations prompted by the death of Jan Opletal. All Czech universities are shut down and more than 1,200 students sent to concentration camps. Since this event, International Students’ Day is celebrated in many countries, especially in the Czech Republic.
1947 – The Screen Actors Guild implements an anti-Communist loyalty oath.
1947 – American scientists John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain observe the basic principles of the transistor, a key element for the electronics revolution of the 20th century.
1950 – Lhamo Dondrub is officially named the 14th Dalai Lama.
1950 – United Nations Security Council Resolution 89 relating to the Palestine Question is adopted.
1953 – The remaining human inhabitants of the Blasket Islands, Kerry, Ireland, are evacuated to the mainland.
1957 – Vickers Viscount G-AOHP of British European Airways crashes at Ballerup after the failure of three engines on approach to Copenhagen Airport. The cause is a malfunction of the anti-icing system on the aircraft.
1962 – President John F. Kennedy dedicates Washington Dulles International Airport, serving the Washington, D.C., region.
1967 – Vietnam War: Acting on optimistic reports that he had been given on November 13, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson tells the nation that, while much remained to be done, “We are inflicting greater losses than we’re taking…We are making progress.”
1968 – British European Airways introduces the BAC One-Eleven into commercial service.
1968 – Viewers of the Raiders–Jets football game in the eastern United States are denied the opportunity to watch its exciting finish when NBC broadcasts Heidi instead, prompting changes to sports broadcasting in the U.S.
1969 – Cold War: Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States meet in Helsinki, Finland to begin SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.
1970 – Vietnam War: Lieutenant William Calley goes on trial for the My Lai Massacre.
1970 – Luna programme: The Soviet Union lands Lunokhod 1 on Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains) on the Moon. This is the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another world and is released by the orbiting Luna 17 spacecraft.
1973 – Watergate scandal: In Orlando, Florida, U.S. President Richard Nixon tells 400 Associated Press managing editors “I am not a crook.”
1973 – The Athens Polytechnic uprising against the military regime ends in a bloodshed in the Greek capital.
1978 – The Star Wars Holiday Special airs on CBS, receiving negative reception from critics, fans, and even Star Wars creator George Lucas.
1979 – Brisbane Suburban Railway Electrification. The first stage from Ferny Grove to Darra is commissioned.
1983 – The Zapatista Army of National Liberation is founded in Mexico.
1989 – Cold War: Velvet Revolution begins: In Czechoslovakia, a student demonstration in Prague is quelled by riot police. This sparks an uprising aimed at overthrowing the communist government (it succeeds on December 29).
1990 – Fugendake, part of the Mount Unzen volcanic complex, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan, becomes active again and erupts.
1993 – United States House of Representatives passes a resolution to establish the North American Free Trade Agreement.
1993 – In Nigeria, General Sani Abacha ousts the government of Ernest Shonekan in a military coup.
1997 – In Luxor, Egypt, 62 people are killed by six Islamic militants outside the Temple of Hatshepsut, known as Luxor massacre.
2000 – A catastrophic landslide in Log pod Mangartom, Slovenia, kills seven, and causes millions of SIT of damage. It is one of the worst catastrophes in Slovenia in the past 100 years.
2000 – Alberto Fujimori is removed from office as president of Peru.
2012 – At least 50 schoolchildren are killed in an accident at a railway crossing near Manfalut, Egypt.
2013 – Fifty people are killed when Tatarstan Airlines Flight 363 crashes at Kazan Airport, Russia.
2013 – A rare late-season tornado outbreak strikes the Midwest. Illinois and Indiana are most affected with tornado reports as far north as lower Michigan. In all around six dozen tornadoes touch down in approximately an 11-hour time period, including seven EF3 and two EF4 tornado