1531 – The Virgin of Guadalupe first appeared to Juan Diego at Tepeyac, Mexico City.
1775 – American Revolutionary War: British troops and Loyalists, misinformed about Patriot militia strength, lost the Battle of Great Bridge and ended British rule in Virginia.
1822 – French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel, in a memoir read to the Academy of Sciences, coined the terms linear polarization, circular polarization, and elliptical polarization, and reported a direct refraction experiment which verified his theory that optical rotation is a form of birefringence.
1835 – Texas Revolution: The Texian Army captured San Antonio following the Siege of Béxar.
1851 – The first YMCA in North America was established in Montreal.
1861 – American Civil War: The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War was established by Congress.
1868 – The first traffic lights were installed, outside the Palace of Westminster in London. Resembling railway signals, they used semaphore arms and were illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps.
1872 – In Louisiana, P. B. S. Pinchback became the first African American governor of a U.S. state following the impeachment of Henry C. Warmoth.
1905 – In France, a law separating church and state was passed.
1911 – A mine explosion near Briceville, Tennessee, killed 84 miners despite rescue efforts led by the United States Bureau of Mines.
1917 – World War I: Field Marshal Allenby captured Jerusalem from the Ottoman Empire.
1935 – Walter Liggett, an American newspaper editor and muckraker, was killed in a gangland murder.
1941 – World War II: China, Cuba, Guatemala, and the Philippine Commonwealth declared war on Germany and Japan.
1941 – World War II: The American 19th Bombardment Group attacked Japanese ships off the coast of Vigan, Luzon.
1946 – The subsequent Nuremberg trials began with the Doctors’ Trial, prosecuting physicians and officers alleged to be involved in Nazi human experimentation and mass murder under the guise of euthanasia.
1950 – Cold War: Harry Gold was sentenced to 30 years in jail for helping Klaus Fuchs pass information about the Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union. His testimony was later instrumental in the prosecution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
1953 – Red Scare: General Electric announced that all communist employees will be discharged from the company.
1960 – The first episode of Coronation Street, the world’s longest-running television soap opera, was broadcast in the United Kingdom.
1963 – The Supremes album Meet the Supremes was released. It was their first album.
1965 – Kecksburg UFO incident: A fireball was seen from Michigan to Pennsylvania. Witnesses reported something crashing in the woods near Pittsburgh.
1967 – Jim Morrison was arrested onstage in New Haven, CT, and charged with breach of peace and resisting arrest.
1968 – Douglas Engelbart gave what became known as “The Mother of All Demos”, publicly debuting the computer mouse, hypertext, and the bit-mapped graphical user interface using the oN-Line System (NLS).
1968 – The Supremes’ and the Temptations’ TCB (Takin’ Care of Business) special aired on NBC-TV.
1978 – “Soul Man,” John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd’s version, was released under the name, “The Blues Brothers.”
1979 – The eradication of the smallpox virus was certified, making smallpox the first of only two diseases that have been driven to extinction (with rinderpest in 2011 being the other).
1984 – The Jacksons played their last show together in Los Angeles, CA.
1992 – American troops landed in Somalia for Operation Restore Hope.
1992 – Bill Wyman left the Rolling Stones after over 30 years with the group.
2008 – Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich was arrested by federal officials for crimes including attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
2017 – The Marriage Amendment Bill received royal assent and came into effect which made Australia the 26th country to legalize same-sex marriage.
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