1789 - Father John Carroll was appointed as the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States of America.
1832 - Joseph Smith, III, was born. He was the first president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was also the son of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism.
1851 - Charles Henry Dow was born. He was the founder of Dow Jones & Company.
1860 - Abraham Lincoln was elected to be the sixteenth president of the United States.
1861 - Jefferson Davis was elected as the president of the Confederacy in the U.S.
1861 - The inventor of basketball, James Naismith, was born.
1869 - The first official intercollegiate football game was played in New Brunswick, NJ.
1894 - William C. Hooker received a patent for the mousetrap.
1903 - Philippe Bunau-Varilla, as Panama's ambassador to the United States, signed the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty. The document granted rights to the United States to build and indefinitely administer the Panama Canal Zone and its defenses.
1913 - Mohandas K. Gandhi was arrested as he led a march of Indian miners in South Africa.
1917 - During World War I, Candian forces take the village of Passchendaele, Belgium, in the Third Battle of Ypres.
1923 - Jacob Schick was granted a patent for the electric shaver.
1935 - Edwin H. Armstrong announced his development of FM broadcasting.
1952 - The first hydrogen bomb was exploded at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
1961 - In the Saraha Desert of Algeria, a natural gas well ignited when a pipe ruptured. The flames rose between 450 feet and 800 feet. The fire burned until April 28, 1962 when a team led by Red Adair used explosives to deprived the fire of oxygen. (Devil's Cigarette Lighter)
1962 - The U.N. General Assembly adopts a resolution that condemned South Africa's racist apartheid policies. The resolution also called for all member states to terminate military and economic relations with South Africa.
1965 - The Freedom Flights program began which would allow 250,000 Cubans to come to the United States by 1971.
1967 - Phil Donahue began a TV talk show in Dayton, OH. The show was on the air for 29 years.
1973 - NASA's Pioneer 10 spacecraft began photographing Jupiter.
1975 - King Hassan II of Morocco launches the Green March, a mass migration of 300,000 unarmed Moroccans, that march into the nation of Western Sahara.
1977 - 39 people were killed when an earthen dam burst, sending a wall of water through the campus of Toccoa Falls Bible College in Georgia.
1983 - U.S. Army choppers dropped hundreds of leaflets over northern and central Grenada. The leaflets urged residents to cooperate in locating any Grenadian army or Cuban resisters to the U.S-led invasion.
1984 - For the first time in 193 years, the New York Stock Exchange remained open during a presidential election day.
1985 - Leftist guerrillas belonging to Columbia's April 19 Movement seized control of the Palace of Justice in Bogota.
1986 - Former Navy radioman John A. Walker Jr., was sentenced in Baltimore to life imprisonment. Walker had admitted to being the head of a family spy ring.
1986 - U.S. intelligence sources confirmed a story run by the Lebanese magazine Ash Shiraa that reported the U.S. had been secretly selling arms to Iran in an effort to secure the release of seven American hostages.
1989 - In the hopes of freeing U.S. hostages held in Iran, the U.S. announced that it would unfreeze $567 million in Iranian assets that had been held since 1979.
1990 - About 20% of the Universal Studios backlot in southern California was destroyed in an arson fire.
1991 - Kuwait celebrated the dousing of the last of the oil fires ignited by Iraq during the Persian Gulf War.
1995 - Art Modell, the owner of the Cleveland Browns, announced plans to move his team to Baltimore. (Maryland)
1995 - Mark Messier scored his 500th NHL goal.
1996 - Michael Jordan scored 50 points for the 29th time in his NBA career.
1998 - The Islamic militant group Hamas exploded a car bomb killing the two attackers and injuring 21 civilians.
1999 - Australian voters rejected a referendum to drop Britain's queen as their head of state.
2001 - In London, the "Lest We Forget" exhibit opened at the National Memorial Arboretum. Fred Seiker was the creator of the 24 watercolors. Seiker was a prisoner of war that had been forced to build the Burma Railroad, the "railway of death," for the Japanese during World War II.
2001 - In Madrid, Spain, a car bomb injured about 60 people. The bomb was blamed on Basque separatists.
2001 - Ten people were executed in Beijing, China. The state newspaper of China said that all of the people executed were robbers and killers aged 20-23.
2001 - Disney's "Mickey's Magical Christmas - Snowed In at the House Of Mouse" was released on video and DVD.
Disney movies, music and books