Servius Sulpicius Galba, 6th Roman Emperor born
Justinian, Emperor of Byzantium, dedicates Hagia Sophia's new dome
Assassination of Leo V "the Armenian," Eastern Roman Emperor
Edessa captured by Zangi, Atabeg of Mosul This action inspires the 2nd Crusade.
John I "Lackland," King of England born
The British composer (and astronomer) John Dunstable died.
Death of St. John of Kanti
Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama -- who had discovered a sea route around Africa to India -- died in Cochin, India.
Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, pardons the murderers of Riccio
American diplomat Silas Deane born
Physician and chemist Benjamin Rush (`father of psychiatry' the 1st American to recognize alcoholism as a disease; signer of America's Declaration of Independence) born
Frontiersman Kit (Christopher) Carson born
The War of 1812 officially ended as the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium.
Franz Gruber of Oberndorf, Germany composed the music for "Silent Night" to words written by Josef Mohr. The traditional song was sung for the first time during Midnight Mass this night.
Physicist James Joule (Joule's Law) born
Poet and essayist Matthew Arnold born
The London Philharmonic gave its premiere of Beethoven's Ninth. The orchestra commissioned the work but Beethoven let it be played in Vienna first in violation of the contract.
The Library of Congress and part of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., were destroyed by fire.( about 35,000 volumes of books were destroyed)
Several veterans of the Confederate Army formed a private social club in Pulaski, Tennessee, called the Ku Klux Klan.
Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Aida" had its world premiere in Cairo, Egypt, to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal.
Daniel Stover and William Hance, of Freeport, Illinois, patented the back pedal brake for bicycles. It would later be known as the safety brake and became a standard feature on most brands of bikes.
Composer (Salvatore Guaragna) Harry Warren (Best Song Oscars: Lullaby of Broadway , You'll Never Know , On the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe [w/Johnny Mercer-1946]) born
Industrialist Howard Hughes born
Canadian physicist Reginald A. Fessenden became the first person to broadcast a music program over radio, from Brant Rock, Massachusetts.
Journalist I.F. (Isidor Feinstein) Stone born
Enrico Caruso gave his last public performance, singing in Jacques Halevy's "La Juive" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Songwriter-bandleader Dave Bartholomew born
Actress (Lucy Johnson) Ava Gardner (The Barefoot Contessa, Earthquake, The Long Hot Summer, The Night of the Iguana; once married to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, Frank Sinatra) born
Notre Dame football coach (1918-1930) Knute Rockne said he opposed elimination of the forward pass since it has helped "to curb the brutality of football."
Choreographer Robert (Khan) Joffrey (The Joffrey Ballet) born
Actress Jill Bennett (For Your Eyes Only, The Old Curiosity Shop, The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Sheltering Sky) born
Pianist and composer Ray Bryant ( Slow Freight, Little Susie, Cubano Chant, The Madison Time, Sack of Woe, After Hours) born
Alban Berg died, he was 51. Berg died without completing his 12-tone opera "Lulu." Berg's music did fairly well in the years immediately after his death, because his compositions are more expressive.
Federal health administrator Anthony S. Fauci born
Adm. Jean Louis Darlan, the French administrator of North Africa, was assassinated as a sympathizer of the French Vichy regime.
President Roosevelt appointed General Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces as part of Operation "Overlord."
The Andrews Sisters starred in the debut of "The Andrews Sisters' Eight-To-The-Bar-Ranch" on ABC Radio. Patty, Maxene and LaVerne ran a fictional dude ranch. George `Gabby' Hayes was a regular guest along with Vic Schoen's Orchestra. The program aired until 1946.
Recording company executive Mike Curb born
Playwright and director Nicholas Meyer ( Star Trek 6 Undiscovered Country, Company Business, Time After Time, born
Rock singer and musician (Ian Kilmister) Lemmy (Motorhead) born
Actress Sharon Farrell born
Football player `Mean' Joe Green born
Gian Carlo Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors," the first opera written specifically for television, was first broadcast by NBC TV.
"Dragnet", starring Jack Webb as Detective Joe Friday, became the first network program to be sponsored.
Actor Clarence Gilyard ("Walker, Texas Ranger") born
The lovely Lennon Sisters debuted as featured vocalists on "The Lawrence Welk Show" on ABC. They became regulars with Welk within a month and stayed on the show until 1968.
Actress Stephanie Hodge born
Rock musician Ian Burden (The Human League) born
Rock singer Mary Ramsey (10,000 Maniacs) born
Actor Diedrich Bader ("The Drew Carey Show") born
The crew of the U.S. Navy ship, "Pueblo", were released by North Korea. The Captain of the "Pueblo", Commander Lloyd M. Bucher, and 82 of his crew had been held for 11 months after the ship was seized by North Korea.
The "Apollo Eight" astronauts (Lovell, Anders and Borman), orbiting the moon 250,000 miles from home, were reading verses from their bible and transmitting a message to all mankind calling for "peace on earth."
Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Australia
Americans remembered the US hostages in Iran by burning candles or shining lights for 417 seconds -- one second for each day of captivity.
In Lebanon, the kidnappers of Terry Anderson released a videotape in which the Associated Press correspondent told his family he was in good health, and said to President Reagan, "Surely by now you know what must be done and how you can do it." (Anderson was freed nearly four years later.)
President-elect Bush nominated Elizabeth H. Dole, onetime transportation secretary, to be his secretary of labor.
Ousted Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega, who had succeeded in eluding US forces, took refuge at the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Panama City.
With three weeks left before the United Nations deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, hundreds of thousands of U-S troops marked Christmas Eve with muted celebrations and a heightened state of alert.
President Bush pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and five others in the Iran-Contra scandal.
President-elect Clinton appointed Bruce Babbitt interior secretary, Mike Espy agriculture secretary and Federico Pena transportation secretary; Clinton also chose Zoe Baird to be attorney general, but the nomination fell apart over Baird's hiring of illegal aliens as domestic workers.
The Reverend Norman Vincent Peale, who had blended Christian and psychiatric principles into a message of "positive thinking," died in Pawling, New York, at age 95.
British playwright John Osborne ("Look Back in Anger") died at age 65.
Armed Islamic fundamentalists hijacked an Air France Airbus A-300 carrying 227 passengers at the Algiers airport; three passengers were killed during the siege before the hijackers were killed by French commandos in Marseille two days later.
In a Christmas message to U-S troops in Bosnia, President Clinton praised their peace mission to a land exhausted by war.
Fire broke out at the Philadelphia Zoo, killing 23 rare gorillas, orangutans, gibbons and lemurs.
The streets of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, turned violent as demonstrators traded blows with supporters of President Slobodan Milosevic, and then were clubbed by riot police.
Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune died in suburban Tokyo at age 77.
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the aging revolutionary known as "Carlos the Jackal," was sentenced by a French court to life in prison for the 1975 murders of two French investigators and a Lebanese national.
Ignoring NATO warnings, Serb tanks and troops struck an ethnic Albanian stronghold in Kosovo
Most of California's citrus crop was considered ruined after three straight nights of freezing cold.
Five hijackers seized an Indian Airlines jet with 189 people aboard, forcing the aircraft on a journey across South Asia and into the Middle East. (The eight-day ordeal resulted in the death of one passenger and India's release of three jailed pro-Kashmir militants in exchange for the rest of the hostages.)
Tolls may be needed for NSW Pacific Highway upgrade
Bolivian President Evo Morales convinces EU to pay for study of coca
Bomb explodes in crowded SÃ£o Paulo street
Egypt court sentences opposition leader
Haiti might have to postpone elections again
New South Wales ALP loses support first time under premier Iemma
Chad declares border with Sudan a "military operations zone".
US Student reveals book visit a hoax
Allegations of three candidates' drug ties resurface in Haitian presidential race
U.S. taskforce encourages vote to decide Puerto Rico status
Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani killed in airstrike
Analysis reveals that New York City tunnels are susceptible to attacks
Inhabited tropical island lost to rising seas
Iran dismisses United Nations resolution imposing sanctions
Video clip from YouTube used to track down suspected murderer
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to start wiki-based search engine
Ethiopian fighter jets attack Somalian towns
Belgian Chamber of Representatives backs interim government
Astronomers say asteroid could hit Mars
Lordi release future Dark Floors soundtrack 'Beast Loose in Paradise' as single
Germany announces large child porn investigation
Nepalese monarchy to become republic
NBA 2K8 Asia Championship: Taiwan Stage Highlights
11 dead after snow storms in US
Jazz pianist Oscar Peterson dies at 82
Four French tourists killed in Mauritania
Eight men and several Spinka charities charged with tax fraud in Los Angeles
German composer Harald Genzmer dies at age 98
Closure of GuantÃ¡namo prison will take longer than expected
Israeli forensic institute illegally harvested organs in the '90s
Two killed, 47 injured in coach crash in Cornwall, England
Mexican helicopter crash leaves soldier dead
Illinois high school girls basketball: Geneva wins Benet-Naperville North tournament
U.S. Senate passes landmark health care reform bill
American actor Arnold Stang dies at age 91
Fifty injured, five critically, as coach overturns in Norwich, England
U.S. vice president Joe Biden says positive consensus on same-sex marriage is 'inevitable'
Scottish politician going to jail after perjury conviction
Colombian crime gang boss, hundreds of members surrender
Gingrich, Perry fail to qualify for Virginia Republican presidential primary ballot
Lansing, Michigan airport designated 'aerotropolis'
Scottish Midlothian car crash kills three