1715 - James Stuart, the "Old Pretender", landed at Petershead after his exile in France.
1775 - A Continental naval fleet was organized in the rebellious American colonies under the command of Ezek Hopkins.
1807 - The U.S. Congress passed the Embargo Act, designed to force peace between Britain and France by cutting off all trade with Europe.
1864 - During the American Civil War, Union Gen. William T. Sherman sent a message to U.S. President Lincoln from Georgia. The message read, "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah."
1877 - The "American Bicycling Journal" went on sale for the first time.
1894 - The United States Golf Association was formed in New York City.
1894 - French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of anti-Semitism. Dreyfus was eventually vindicated.
1895 - German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen made the first X-ray, of his wife's hand.
1910 - U.S. Postal savings stamps were issued for the first time. They were discontinued in 1914.
1939 - Gloria Jacobs became the first girl to hold a world pistol record when she shot 299 out of a possible 300 points. She was 17 years old at the time.
1943 - Sporting goods manufacturers received permission to use synthetic rubber for the core of baseballs.
1941 - British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington for a wartime conference with U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt.
1956 - Colo, the first gorilla to be born in captivity, was born at the Columbus, Ohio zoo.
1956 - The last British and French forces evacuated Egypt.
1961 - James Davis became the first U.S. soldier to die in Vietnam, while U.S. involvement was still limited to the provision of military advisers.
1976 - The last show of "Let’s Make A Deal" was aired.
1984 - New York City resident Bernhard Goetz shot four black youths on a Manhattan subway. Goetz claimed they were about to rob him.
1989 - Romania's hard-line Communist ruler, Nicolae Ceausescu, was overthrown in a popular uprising.
1990 - Lech Walesa was sworn in as Poland's first popularly elected president.
1991 - The body of Lt. Col. William R. Higgins, an American hostage murdered by his captors, was found along a highway in Lebanon.
1996 - A car bomb exploded in Belfast, injuring a known IRA supporter. Police suspected that Protestant loyalists were responsible for the attack.
1998 - A unit of RJR Nabsico pled guilty to attempting to smuggle cigarettes into Canada.
2001 - Thirty Afghans, including two women, were sworn in as part of the new interim government in Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai was the head of the post-Taliban government.