1154 - Henry II became King of England.
1562 - The Battle of Dreux was fought between the Huguenots and the Catholics, beginning the French Wars of Religion.
1732 - Benjamin Franklin began publishing "Poor Richard's Almanac."
1776 - Thomas Paine published his first "American Crisis" essay.
1777 - General George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, PA, to camp for the winter.
1842 - Hawaii's independence was recognized by the U.S.
1843 - Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" was first published in England.
1871 - Corrugated paper was patented by Albert L. Jones.
1887 - Jake Kilrain and Jim Smith fought in a bare knuckles fight which lasted 106 rounds and 2 hours and 30 minutes. The fight was ruled a draw and was halted due to darkness.
1903 - The Williamsburg Bridge opened in New York City. It opened as the largest suspension bridge on Earth and remained the largest until 1924. It was also the first major suspension bridge to use steel towers to support the main cable.
1907 - A coalmine explosion in Jacobs Creek, PA, killed 239 workers.
1917 - The first games of the new National Hockey League (NHL) were played. Five teams made up the league: Toronto Arenas, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs, the Montreal Canadiens and the Montreal Wanderers.
1918 - Robert Ripley began his "Believe It or Not" column in "The New York Globe".
1932 - The British Broadcasting Corp. began transmitting overseas with its "Empire Service" to Australia.
1957 - Meredith Wilson’s "The Music Man" opened at the Majestic Theatre in New York City. It ran for 1,375 shows.
1957 - Air service between London and Moscow was inaugurated.
1959 - Penn State’s Nittany Lions beat Alabama, 7-0, in the first Liberty Bowl football game.
1959 - Walter Williams died in Houston, TX, at the age of 117. He was said to be the last surviving veteran of the U.S. Civil War.
1961 - "Judgment At Nuremberg" opened in New York City.
1972 - Apollo 17 splashed down in the Pacific, ending the Apollo program of manned lunar landings.
1973 - Johnny Carson started a fake toilet-paper scare on the "Tonight Show."
1978 - Indira Gandhi was expelled from the Lok Sabha for contempt and imprisoned.
1979 - ESPN televised its first NHL game. The teams were the Washington Capitals and the Hartford Whalers.
1984 - Wayne Gretzky, 23, of the Edmonton Oilers, became only the 18th player in the National Hockey League (NHL) to score more than 1,000 points.
1984 - Ted Hughes was appointed England's poet laureate.
1984 - Britain and China signed an accord returning Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997.
1985 - Jan Stenerud announced his retirement from the NFL. The football kicker held the record for the most career field goals with 373.
1985 - ABC Sports announced that it was severing ties with Howard Cosell and released ‘The Mouth’ from all TV commitments. Cosell continued on ABC Radio for another five years.
1986 - The Soviet Union announced it had freed dissident Andrei Sakharov from internal exile, and pardoned his wife, Yelena Bonner.
1986 - Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh was appointed to investigate the Iran-Contra issue.
1989 - U.S. troops invaded Panama to overthrow the regime of General Noriega.
1990 - Bo Jackson (Los Angeles Raiders) became the first athlete to be chosen for All Star Games in two sports.
1996 - The school board of Oakland, CA, voted to recognize Black English, also known as "ebonics." The board later reversed its stance.
1997 - "Titanic" opened in American movie theaters.
1998 - U.S. President Bill Clinton was impeached on two charges of perjury and obstruction of justice by the U.S. House of Representatives.
1998 - A four-day bombing of Iraq by British and American forces ended.
2000 - The U.N. Security Council voted to impose sanctions on Afghanistan's Taliban rulers unless they closed all terrorist training camps and surrender U.S. embassy bombing suspect Osama bin Laden.
2003 - Images for the new design for the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site were released. The building slopes into a spire that reaches 1,776 feet.
2008 - U.S. President George W. Bush signed a $17.4 billion rescue package of loans for ailing auto makers General Motors and Chrysler.