1492 - Christopher Columbus discovered Hispaniola (now Haiti).
1560 - Charles IX succeeded as King of France on the death of Francis II.
1766 - James Christie, founder of the famous auctioneers, held his first sale in London.
1776 - In Williamsburg, VA, at the College of William and Mary the first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized.
1782 - The first native U.S. president, Martin Van Buren, was born in Kinderhook, NY.
1797 - Napoleon Bonaparte arrived in Paris to command forces for the invasion of England.
1812 - Napoleon Bonaparte left his army as they were retreating from Russia.
1839 - General George Armstrong Custer was born in New Rumley, OH.
1848 - U.S. President Polk triggered the Gold Rush of '49 by confirming the fact that gold had been discovered in California.
1876 - The Stillson wrench was patented by D.C. Stillson. The device was the first practical pipe wrench.
1901 - Movie producer Walt Disney was born in Chicago. He created his first Mickey Mouse cartoon at the age of 27.
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1904 - The Russian fleet was destroyed by the Japanese at Port Arthur, during the Russo-Japanese War.
1908 - At the University of Pittsburgh, numerals were first used on football uniforms worn by college football players.
1913 - Britain outlawed the sending of arms to Ireland.
1932 - German physicist Albert Einstein was granted a visa making it possible for him to travel to the U.S.
1933 - Prohibition came to an end when Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
1934 - Fighting broke out between Italian and Ethiopian troops on the Somalian border.
1934 - The Soviet Union executed 66 people charged with plotting against Joseph Stalin's government.
1935 - In Montebello, CA, the first commercial hydrophonics operation was established.
1936 - The Soviet Union adopted a new Constitution under a Supreme Council.
1944 - During World War II, Allied troops took Ravenna, Italy.
1945 - The so-called "Lost Squadron" disappeared. The five U.S. Navy Avenger bombers carrying 14 Navy flyers began a training mission at the Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station. They were never heard from again.
1951 - The first push button-controlled garage opened in Washington, DC.
1955 - The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to form the AFL-CIO.
1956 - British and French forces began a withdrawal from Egypt during the Suez War.
1958 - Britain's first motorway, the Preston by-pass, was opened by Prime Minister Macmillan.
1961 - United Nations forces launched an attack in Katanga, the Congo, near Elizabethville.
1962 - The U.S. and the Soviet Union agreed to cooperate in the peaceful uses of outer space.
1971 - The Soviet Union, at United Nations Security Council, vetoed a resolution calling for a cease-fire in hostilities between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
1976 - Jacques Chirac re-founded the Gaullist party as the RPR (Rassemblement pour la République).
1977 - Egypt broke diplomatic relations with Syria, Libya, Algeria, Iraq and South Yemen due to peaceful relations with Israel.
1978 - The American space probe Pioneer Venus I, orbiting Venus, began beaming back its first information and picture of the planet.
1979 - Sonia Johnson was formally excommunicated by the Mormon Church due to her outspoken support for the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.
1983 - In west Beirut, Lebanon, more than a dozen people were killed when a car bomb shattered a nine-story apartment building.
1983 - The video arcade game "NFL Football" was unveiled in Chicago. It was the first video arcade game to be licensed by the National Football League.
1984 - Iran's official news agency quoted the hijackers of a Kuwaiti jetliner parked at Tehran airport as saying they would blow up the plane unless Kuwait released 14 imprisoned extremists.
1985 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose above 1,500 for the first time.
1986 - The Soviet Union said it would continue to abide by the SALT II treaty limits on nuclear weapons. This was despite the decision by the U.S. to exceed them.
1988 - Jim Bakker and former aide Richard Dortch were indicted by a federal grand jury in North Carolina on fraud and conspiracy charges.
1989 - Israeli soldiers killed five heavily armed Arab guerrillas who crossed the border from Egypt. The guerrillas were allegedly going to launch a terrorist attack commemorating the anniversary of the Palestinian uprising.
1989 - East Germany's former leaders were placed under house arrest.
1992 - Russian President Boris Yeltsin kept the power to appoint Cabinet ministers, defeating a constitutional amendment that would have put his team of reformers under the control of Russia's Congress.
1998 - James P. Hoffa became the head of the Teamsters union, 23 years after his father was the head. His father disappeared and was presumed dead.
2001 - In Germany, Afghan leaders signed a pact to create a temporary administration for post-Taliban Afghanistan. Two women were included in the cabinet structure. Hamid Karzai and his Cabinet were planned to take over power in Afghanistan on December 22.
2008 - The iTunes Music Store reached 300 million applications downloaded.