0871 - England's King Alfred defeated the Danes at the Battle of Ashdown.
1205 - Philip of Swabia was crowned as King of the Romans.
1453 - Frederick III erected Austria into an Archduchy.
1540 - King Henry VIII of England was married to Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife.
1720 - The Committee of Inquiry on the South Sea Bubble published its findings.
1759 - George Washington and Martha Dandridge Custis were married.
1838 - Samuel Morse publicly demonstrated the telegraph for the first time.
1896 - The first American women’s six-day bicycle race was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
1900 - In India, it was reported that millions of people were dying from starvation.
1900 - Off of South Africa, the British seized the German steamer Herzog. The boat was released on January 22, 1900.
1912 - New Mexico became the 47th U.S. state.
1930 - The first diesel-engine automobile trip was completed after a run of 792 miles from Indianapolis, IN, to New York City, NY.
1931 - Thomas Edison executed his last patent application.
1941 - Richard Widmark made his debut on radio in "The Home of the Brave."
1941 - Alice Marble made her professional tennis debut when she defeated Ruth Hardwick of Great Britain at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
1942 - The first commercial around-the-world airline flight took place. Pan American Airlines was the company that made history with the feat.
1942 - The National Collegiate Football Rules Committee abolished the Y formation.
1945 - The Battle of the Bulge ended with 130,000 German and 77,000 Allied casualties.
1950 - Britain recognized the Communist government of China.
1952 - "Peanuts" debuted in Sunday papers across the United States.
1963 - "Wild Kingdom" premiered on NBC.
1967 - U.S. and South Vietnamese forces launched a major offensive, known as Operation "Deckhouse V", in the Mekong River delta.
1974 - CBS radio debuted "Radio Mystery Theatre."
1975 - The Broadway show "The Wiz" opened.
1975 - ABC-TV debuted "A.M. America."
1982 - William G. Bonin was convicted in Los Angeles, CA, of being the "freeway killer" who had murdered 14 young men and boys.
1987 - After a 29-year lapse, the Ford Thunderbird was presented with the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award. It was the first occurrence of a repeat winner of the award.
1994 - Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the right leg by an assailant at Cobo Arena in Detroit, MI. Four men were later sentenced to prison for the attack, including Tonya Harding's ex-husband.
1998 - The spacecraft Lunar Prospect was launched into orbit around the moon. The craft was crashed into the moon, in an effort to find water under the lunar surface, on July 31, 1999.
1999 - The 106th U.S. Congress opened. The first item on the agenda was the impeachment proceedings of U.S. President Bill Clinton. The trial was set to begin January 7, 1999.
1999 - Bob Newhart received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1558 - Calais, the last English possession on mainland France, was recaptured by the French.
1610 - Galileo Galilei sighted four of Jupiter's moons. He named them Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.
1782 - The Bank of North America opened in Philadelphia. It was the first commercial bank in the United States.
1785 - French aeronaut/balloonist Jean-Pierre Blanchard successfully made the first air-crossing of the English Channel from the English coast to France.
1789 - Americans voted for the electors that would choose George Washington to be the first U.S. president.
1887 - Thomas Stevens completed the first worldwide bicycle trip. He started his trip in April 1884. Stevens and his bike traveled 13,500 miles in almost three years time.
1894 - W.K. Dickson received a patent for motion picture film.
1896 - "Fannie Farmer Cookbook" cookbook was published.
1904 - The distress signal "CQD" was established. Two years later "SOS" became the radio distress signal because it was quicker to send by wireless radio.
1926 - George Burns and Gracie Allen were married.
1927 - Transatlantic telephone service Service began between New York and London. 31 calls were made on this first day.
1927 - In Hinckley IL, the Harlem Globetrotters played their first game.
1929 - The debut of "Buck Rogers 2429 A.D." occurred in newspapers around the U.S. The title of the comic strip was later changed to "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century."
1932 - Chancellor Heinrich Brüning declared that Germany cannot, and will not, resume reparations payments.
1935 - French Foreign Minister Pierre Laval and Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini signed the Italo-French agreements.
1940 - "Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch" debuted on CBS Radio. The show aired for 16 years.
1941 - The NBC Blue radio network presented "The Squeaky Door" for the first time. The show was later known as "Inner Sanctum."
1942 - The World War II siege of Bataan began.
1949 - The announcement of the first photograph of genes was shown at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
1953 - U.S. President Harry Truman announced the development of the hydrogen bomb.
1954 - The Duoscopic TV receiver was unveiled this day. The TV set allowed the watching of two different shows at the same time.
1959 - The United States recognized Fidel Castro's new government in Cuba.
1968 - The cost of a U.S. first class stamp was raised to 6 cents.
1975 - OPEC agreed to raise crude oil prices by 10%, which began a time of world economic inflation.
1979 - Vietnamese forces captured the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, overthrowing the Khmer Rouge government.
1980 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed legislation that authorized $1.5 billion in loans for the bail out of Chrysler Corp.
1989 - Crown Prince Akihito became the emperor of Japan following the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito.
1990 - The Leaning Tower of Pisa was closed to the public. The accelerated rate of "leaning" raised fears for the safety of its visitors.
1996 - Alvaro Arzu was elected president of Guatemala.
1996 - One of the biggest blizzards in U.S. history hit the eastern states. More than 100 deaths were later blamed on the severe weather.
1998 - Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky signed an affidavit denying that she had an affair with U.S. President Clinton.
1999 - U.S. President Clinton went on trial before the Senate. It was only the second time in U.S. history that an impeached president had gone to trial. Clinton was later acquitted of perjury and obstruction of justice charges.
2002 - Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates introduced a new device code named Mira. The device was tablet-like and was a cross between a handheld computer and a TV remote control.
2009 - Russia shut off all gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin publicly endorsed the move and urged greater international involvement in the energy dispute.
2010 - Apple's iPad was unveiled.
1642 - Astronomer Galileo Galilei died in Arcetri, Italy.
1675 - The first corporation was charted in the United States. The company was the New York Fishing Company.
1790 - In the United States, George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address.
1815 - The Battle of New Orleans began. The War of 1812 had officially ended on December 24, 1814, with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent. The news of the signing had not reached British troops in time to prevent their attack on New Orleans.
1838 - Alfred Vail demonstrated a telegraph code he had devised using dots and dashes as letters. The code was the predecessor to Samuel Morse's code.
1853 - A bronze statue of Andrew Jackson on a horse was unveiled in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC. The statue was the work of Clark Mills.
1856 - Borax (hydrated sodium borate) was discovered by Dr. John Veatch.
1877 - Crazy Horse (Tashunca-uitco) and his warriors fought their final battle against the U.S. Cavalry in Montana.
1886 - The Severn Railway Tunnel, Britain's longest, was opened.
1889 - The tabulating machine was patented by Dr. Herman Hollerith. His firm, Tabulating Machine Company, later became International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).
1894 - Fire caused serious damage at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, IL.
1900 - U.S. President McKinley placed Alaska under military rule.
1900 - In South Africa, General White turned back the Boers attack of Ladysmith.
1901 - The first tournament sanctioned by the American Bowling Congress was held in Chicago, IL.
1908 - A catastrophic train collision occurred in the smoke-filled Park Avenue Tunnel in New York City. Seventeen were killed and thirty-eight were injured. The accident caused a public outcry and increased demand for electric trains.
1916 - During World War I, the final withdrawal of Allied troops from Gallipoli took place.
1918 - U.S. President Woodrow Wilson announced his Fourteen Points as the basis for peace upon the end of World War I.
1921 - David Lloyd George became the first prime minister tenant at Chequers Court, Buckinghamshire.
1929 - William S. Paley appeared on CBS Radio for the first time to announce that CBS had become the largest regular chain of broadcasting chains in radio history.
1935 - The spectrophotometer was patented by A.C. Hardy.
1952 - Marie Wilson came to TV as "My Friend Irma".
1955 - After 130 home basketball wins, Georgia Tech defeated Kentucky 59-58. It was the first Kentucky loss at home since January 2, 1943.
1957 - Jackie Robinson announced his retirement from major league baseball in an article that appeared in "LOOK" magazine.
1958 - Bobby Fisher, at the age of 14, won the United States Chess Championship for the first time.
1959 - Charles De Gaulle was inaugurated as president of France's Fifth Republic.
1960 - The NCAA met in New York and voted against reviving the unlimited substitution rule for college football.
1964 - U.S. President Lyndon Johnson declared a "War on Poverty."
1961 - Robert Goulet made his national TV debut this night on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on CBS.
1962 - Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was exhibited in America for the first time at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The next day the exhibit opened to the public.
1973 - Secret peace talks between the United States and North Vietnam resumed near Paris, France.
1973 - The trial opened in Washington, of seven men accused of bugging Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, DC.
1975 - Ella Grasso became the governor of Connecticut. She was the first woman to become a governor of a state without a husband preceding her in the governor’s chair.
1982 - American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) settled the Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit against it by agreeing to divest itself of the 22 Bell System companies.
1982 - The U.S. Justice Department withdrew an antitrust suit against IBM.
1987 - The Dow Jones industrial average closed over the 2000 mark for the first time at 2,002.25.
1992 - U.S. President George H.W. Bush collapsed during a state dinner in Tokyo. White House officials said Bush was suffering from stomach flu.
1993 - Bosnian President Izetbegovic visited the U.S. to plead his government's case for Western military aid and intervention to halt Serbian aggression.
1994 - Tonya Harding won the ladies' U.S. Figure Skating Championship in Detroit, MI, a day after Nancy Kerrigan dropped out because of a clubbing attack that injured her right knee. The U.S. Figure Skating Association later took the title from Harding because of her involvement in the attack.
1997 - Mister Rogers received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1998 - Ramzi Yousef was sentenced to life in prison for his role of mastermind behind the World Trade Center bombing in New York.
1998 - Scientists announced that they had discovered that galaxies were accelerating and moving apart and at faster speeds.
1999 - The top two executives of Salt Lake City's Olympic Organizing Committee resigned amid disclosures that civic boosters had given cash to members of the International Olympic Committee.
1999 - British Prime Minister Tony Blair concluded a three-day visit to South Africa.
2005 - The rate for U.S. First Class mail was raised to 39¢.
2009 - In Egypt, archeologists entered a 4,300 year old pyramid and discovered the mummy of Queen Sesheshet.
1793 - Jean-Pierre Blanchard made the first successful balloon flight in the U.S.
1799 - British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger introduced income tax, at two shillings (10p) in the pound, to raise funds for the Napoleonic Wars.
1848 - The first commercial bank was established in San Francisco, CA.
1861 - The state of Mississippi seceded from the United States.
1894 - The New England Telephone and Telegraph Company put the first battery-operated switchboard into operation in Lexington,MA.
1902 - New York State introduced a bill to outlaw flirting in public.
1905 - In Russia, the civil disturbances known as the Revolution of 1905 forced Czar Nicholas II to grant some civil rights.
1929 - The Seeing Eye was incorporated in Nashville, TN. The company's purpose was to train dogs to guide the blind.
1936 - The United States Army adopted the semi-automatic rifle.
1937 - The first issue of "Look" went on sale. Within a month, "Look" became a biweekly magazine.
1940 - Television was used for the first time to present a sales meeting to convention delegates in New York City.
1951 - The United Nations headquarters officially opened in New York City.
1961 - The play, "Rhinoceros," opened on Broadway.
1969 - The supersonic aeroplane Concorde made its first trial flight, at Bristol.
1972 - The ocean liner Queen Elizabeth was destroyed by fire in Hong Kong harbor.
1972 - British miners went on strike for the first time since 1926.
1981 - Hockey Hall of Famer, Phil Esposito, announced that he would retire as a hockey player after the New York Rangers-Buffalo Sabres hockey game. The game ended in a tie. (NHL)
1984 - Clara Peller was first seen by TV viewers in the "Where's the Beef?" commercial campaign for Wendy's.
1986 - Kodak got out of the instant camera business after 10 years due to a loss in a court battle that claimed that Kodak copied Polaroid patents.
1991 - U.S. secretary of state Baker and Iraqi foreign minister Aziz met for 61/2 hours in Geneva, but failed to reach any agreement that would forestall war in the Persian Gulf.
1995 - Russian cosmonaut Valeri Poliakov, 51, completed his 366th day in outer space aboard the Mir space station, breaking the record for the longest continuous time spent in outer space.
1997 - Tamil rebels attacked a military base in Sri Lanka. 200 soldiers and 140 rebels were killed.
2000 - ABC-TV began airing "The Mole."
2002 - Yasmine Bleeth was sentenced to two years of probation, regular drug tests, 100 hours of community service and pay the court costs in connection to a cocaine-possession charge.
2002 - The U.S. Justice Department announced that it was pursuing a criminal investigation of Enron Corp. The company had filed for bankruptcy on December 2, 2001.
2003 - Archaeologists announced that they had found five more chambers in the tomb of Qin Shihuang, China's first emperor. The rooms were believed to cover about 750,000 square feet.
2006 - Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane received stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a dual ceremony.
1840 - The penny post, whereby mail was delivered at a standard charge rather than paid for by the recipient, began in Britain.
1861 - Florida seceded from the United States.
1863 - Prime Minister Gladstone opened the first section of the London Underground Railway system, from Paddington to Farringdon Street.
1870 - John D. Rockefeller incorporated Standard Oil.
1901 - Oil was discovered at the Spindletop oil field near Beaumont, TX.
1911 - Major Jimmie Erickson took the first photograph from an airplane while flying over San Diego, CA.
1920 - The League of Nations ratified the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending World War I with Germany.
1920 - The League of Nations held its first meeting in Geneva.
1927 - Fritz Lang's film "Metropolis" was first shown, in Berlin.
1928 - The Soviet Union ordered the exile of Leon Trotsky.
1943 - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sailed from Miami, FL, to Trinidad thus becoming the first American President to visit a foreign country during wartime.
1943 - The quiz show, "The Better Half," was heard for the first time on Mutual Radio.
1946 - The first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly took place with 51 nations represented.
1949 - Vinyl records were introduced by RCA (45 rpm) and Columbia (33.3 rpm).
1950 - Ben Hogan appeared for the first time in a golf tournament since an auto accident a year earlier. He tied ‘Slammin’ Sammy Snead in the Los Angeles Open, however, Hogan lost in a playoff.
1951 - Donald Howard Rogers piloted the first passenger jet on a trip from Chicago to New York City.
1957 - Harold Macmillan became prime minister of Britain, following the resignation Anthony Eden.
1963 - The Chicago Cubs became the first baseball club to hire an athletic director. He was Robert Whitlow. (MLB)
1971 - "Masterpiece Theatre" premiered on PBS with host Alistair Cooke. The introduction drama series was "The First Churchills."
1978 - The Soviet Union launched two cosmonauts aboard a Soyuz capsule for a redezvous with the Salyut VI space laboratory.
1981 - In El Salvador, Marxist insurgents launched a "final offensive".
1984 - The United States and the Vatican established full diplomatic relations for the first time in more than a century.
1986 - The uncut version of Jerome Kern’s musical, "Showboat", opened at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
1990 - Chinese Premier Li Peng ended martial law in Beijing after seven months. He said that crushing pro-democracy protests had saved China from "the abyss of misery."
1990 - Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc. completed a $14 billion merger. The new company, Time Warner, was the world's largest entertainment company.
1994 - In Manassas, VA, Lorena Bobbitt went on trial. She had been charged with maliciously wounding her husband John. She was acquitted by reason of temporary insanity.
1997 - Shelby Lynne Barrackman was strangled to death by her grand-father when she licked the icing off of cupcakes. He was convicted of the crime on September 15, 1998.
2000 - It was announced that Time-Warner had agreed to buy America On-line (AOL). It was the largest-ever corporate merger priced at $162 billion. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the deal on December 14, 2000.
2001 - American Airlines agreed to acquire most of Trans World Airlines (TWA) assets for about $500 million. The deal brought an end to the financially troubled TWA.
2002 - In France, the "Official Journal" reported that all women could get the morning-after contraception pill for free in pharmacies.
2003 - North Korea announced that it was withdrawing from the global nuclear arms control treaty and that it had no plans to develop nuclear weapons.
2007 - The iTunes Music Store reached 1.3 million feature length films sold and 50 million television episodes sold.