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.