1282 – Llywelyn (Llewelyn ap Gruffydd) was killed in Cilmeri, central Wales.
1719 – The first recorded sighting of the aurora borealis took place in New England.
1769 – Edward Beran of London patented venetian blinds.
1792 – France’s King Louis XVI went before the Convention, which had replaced the National Assembly, to face charges of treason. He was convicted and condemned and was sent to the guillotine the following January.
1816 – Indiana was admitted to the Union as the 19th American state.
1844 – Dr. Horace Wells became the first person to have a tooth extracted after receiving an anesthetic for the dental procedure. Nitrous Oxide, or laughing gas, was the anesthetic.
1872 – Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback became America’s first black governor when he took office as acting governor of Louisiana.
1882 – Boston’s Bijou Theater had its first performance. It was the first American playhouse lit exclusively by electricity.
1894 – The world’s first motor show opened in Paris with nine exhibitors.
1928 – In Buenos Aires, police thwarted an attempt on the life of President-elect Herbert Hoover.
1930 – The Bank of the United States in New York failed.
1936 – Britain’s King Edward VIII abdicated in order to marry American Wallis Warfield Simpson. He became the Duke of Windsor.
1937 – The Fascist Council in Rome, withdrew Italy from the League of Nations.
1943 – The City Center of Music and Drama was dedicated in New York by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia.
1946 – The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established by the U.N. General Assembly. The fund provides relief to children in countries devastated by war.
1951 – Joe DiMaggio (New York Yankees) announced his retirement from major league baseball. DiMaggio only played for the Yankees during his 13-year career.
1961 – The first direct American military support for South Vietnam occurred when a U.S. aircraft carrier carrying Army helicopters arrived in Saigon.
1967 – The prototype of the Concorde was shown for the first time in Toulouse, France.
1973 – West German Chancellor Willy Brandt and Czech Prime Minister Lubomir Strougal formally nullified the 1938 Munich pact when they signed a treaty sanctioning Hitler’s seizure of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland.
1980 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed into law legislation creating $1.6 billion environmental “superfund” that would be used to pay for cleaning up chemical spills and toxic waste dumps.
1981 – Muhammad Ali fought his last fight. He lost his 61st fight to Trevor Berbick.
1985 – General Electric Company agreed to buy RCA Corporation for $6.3 billion. Also included in the deal was NBC Radio and Television.
1986 – The government of South Africa expanded its media restrictions by imposing prior censorship and banning coverage of a wide range of peaceful anti-apartheid protests.
1987 – Charlie Chaplin’s trademark cane and bowler hat were sold at Christie’s for £82,500.
1988 – 62 people were killed in a Mexico City marketplace when tons of illegal fireworks exploded.
1990 – Ivana Trump was divorced from Donald Trump after 12 years of marriage.
1991 – Salman Rushdie, under an Islamic death sentence for blasphemy, made his first public appearance since 1989 in New York, at a dinner marking the 200th anniversary of the First Amendment (which guarantees freedom of speech in the U.S.).
1994 – Thousands of Russian troops, armored columns and jets entered Chechnya. The move by Moscow was an effort to restore control the breakaway republic.
1994 – The world’s largest free trade zone was created when leaders of 34 Western Hemisphere nations signed a free-trade declaration known as “The Miami Process.”
1996 – In Crystal City, VA, “The Art of the Toy” opened. The exhibit was at the Patent and Trademark Office Museum.
1997 – Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams became the first political ally of the IRA to meet a British leader in 76 years. He conferred with Prime Minister Tony Blair in London.
1997 – More than 270 Tutsi refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo were killed by Juto guerillas in Mudende, Rwanda.
1997 – More than 150 countries agreed at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to control the Earth’s “greenhouse gases.”
1998 – Scientists announced that they had deciphered the entire genetic blueprint of a tiny worm.
1998 – The Mars Climate Orbiter blasted off on a nine-month journey to the Red Planet. However, the probe disappeared in September of 1999, apparently destroyed because scientists had failed to convert English measures to metric values.
1998 – Majority Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee pushed .
2000 – Mario Lemeiux, owner of Pittsburgh Penquins, announced that he would end his three-plus year retirement and become an active National Hockey League (NHL) player again. When Lemieux returned officially he became the first owner/player in NHL history.
2001 – U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft announced the first federal indictment directly related to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Zacarias Moussaoui was charged with six conspiracy charges. Moussaoui was in custody at the time of the attacks.
2001 – Ted Turner purchased 12,000 acres in Nebraska for Bison ranches.
2001 – Federal agents seized computers in 27 U.S. cities as part of “Operation Buccaneer.” The raids were used to gain evidence against an international software piracy ring.
2009 – The game Angry Birds was released.
2013 – Standard & Poors announced that Facebook would join its S&P 500 index “after the close of trading on December 20.”