1016 - English King Edmund II died.
1700 - 8,000 Swedish troops under King Charles XII defeated an army of at least 50,000 Russians at the Battle of Narva. King Charles XII died on this day.
1782 - The United States and Britain signed preliminary peace articles in Paris, ending the Revolutionary War.
1803 - Spain completed the process of ceding Louisiana to France.
1804 - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase went on trial accused of political bias. He was later acquitted by the U.S. Senate.
1835 - Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born. He wrote "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn" under the name Mark Twain.
1838 - Three days after the French occupation of Vera Cruz Mexico declared war on France.
1853 - During the Crimean War, the Russian fleet attacked and destroyed the Turkish fleet at the battle of Sinope.
1858 - John Landis Mason received a patent for the first pepper shaker with a screw-on cap.
1875 - A.J. Ehrichson patented the oat-crushing machine.
1897 - Thomas Edison's own motion picture projector had its first commercial exhibition.
1936 - London's famed Crystal Palace was destroyed in a fire. The structure had been constructed for the International Exhibition of 1851.
1939 - The Russo-Finnish War began when 20 divisions of Soviet troops invaded Finland.
1940 - Lucille Ball and Cuban musician Desi Arnaz were married.
1949 - Chinese Communists captured Chungking.
1954 - In Sylacauga, AL, Elizabeth Hodges was injured when a meteorite crashed through the roof of her house. The rock weighed 8½-pounds.
1956 - CBS replayed the program "Douglas Edward and the News" three hours after it was received on the West Coast. It was the world's first broadcast via videotape.
1962 - U Thant of Burma was elected secretary-general of the United Nations, succeeding the late Dag Hammarskjold.
1966 - The former British colony of Barbados became independent.
1967 - Julie Nixon and David Eisenhower announced their engagement.
1971 - ABC-TV aired "Brian's Song." The movie was about Chicago Bears' Brian Picolo and his friendship with Gale Sayers.
1981 - The U.S. and the Soviet Union opened negotiations in Geneva that were aimed at reducing nuclear weapons in Europe.
1982 - The motion picture "Ghandi" had its world premiere in New Delhi.
1986 - "Time" magazine published an interview with U.S. President Reagan. In the article, Reagan described fired national security staffer Oliver North as a "national hero."
1988 - Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. took over RJR Nabisco Inc. with a bid of $24.53 billion.
1989 - Alfred Herrhausen was killed in a bombing. The Red Army Faction claimed responsibility of killing Herrhausen the chairman of West Germany's largest bank.
1989 - PLO leader Yasser Arafat was refused a visa to enter the United States in order to address the U.N. General Assebly in New York City.
1993 - U.S. President Clinton signed into law the Brady Bill. The bill required a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases and background checks of prospective buyers.
1993 - Richard Allen Davis was arrested by authorities in California. Davis confessed to abducting and slaying 12-year-old Polly Klaas of Petaluma.
1995 - President Clinton became the first U.S. chief executive to visit Northern Ireland.
1998 - The Deutsche Bank AG announced that it would acquire Bankers Trust Corp. for $10.1 billion creating the world's largest financial institution.
2000 - David Spade was assaulted with a stun gun by his longtime personal assistant, David Warren Malloy. Malloy attacked Spade during a burglary of Spade's home in Beverly Hills.
2001 - For the first time in its history, McDonald's teamed up with a retail partner on its Happy Meal promotions. Toys R Us provided plush figures from its Animal Alley.
2001 - In Seattle, WA, Gary Leon Ridgeway was arrested for four of the Green River serial killings. He was pled innocent on December 18, 2001.
2004 - In Stockholm, Sweden, the Carl Larsson painting "Boenskoerd" ("Bean Harvest") was sold at auction for $730,000. The work had been in a private collection for more than a century. The Larsson work "Vid Kattegatt" ("By Kattegatt") sold for $640,000 at the same auction.