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- 211 – Publius Septimius Geta, co-emperor of Rome, is lured to come without his bodyguards to meet his brother Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (Caracalla), to discuss a possible reconciliation. When he arrives the Praetorian Guard murders him and he dies in the arms of his mother Julia Domna.
- 324 – Licinius abdicates his position as Roman Emperor.
- 1154 – Henry II of England is crowned at Westminster Abbey.
- 1490 – Anne, Duchess of Brittany, is married to Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor by proxy.
- 1606 – The Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery depart England carrying settlers who found, at Jamestown, Virginia, the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States.
- 1776 – Thomas Paine publishes one of a series of pamphlets in the Pennsylvania Journal titled The American Crisis.
- 1777 – American Revolutionary War: George Washington's Continental Army goes into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
- 1796 – French Revolutionary Wars: Two British frigates under Commodore Horatio Nelson and two Spanish frigates under Commodore Don Jacobo Stuart engage in battle off the coast of Murcia.
- 1828 – Nullification Crisis: Vice President of the United States John C. Calhoun pens the South Carolina Exposition and Protest, protesting the Tariff of 1828.
- 1843 – Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol goes on sale.
- 1900 – Hopetoun Blunder: The first Governor-General of Australia John Hope, 7th Earl of Hopetoun, appointed Sir William Lyne as premier of the new state New South Wales, but he is unable to persuade other colonial politicians to join his government and is forced to resign.
- 1907 – A group of 239 coal miners die during a mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania.
- 1912 – William H. Van Schaick, captain of the steamship General Slocum which caught fire and killed over 1,000 people, is pardoned by U.S. President William Howard Taft after three-and-a-half-years in Sing Sing prison.
- 1916 – World War I: Battle of Verdun – On the Western Front, the French Army successfully holds off the German Army and drives it back to its starting position.
- 1920 – King Constantine I is restored as King of the Hellenes after the death of his son Alexander I of Greece and a plebiscite.
- 1924 – The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is sold in London, England.
- 1927 – Three Indian revolutionaries viz. Ram Prasad Bismil, Roshan Singh and Ashfaqulla Khan were executed by the British government.
- 1932 – BBC World Service begins broadcasting as the BBC Empire Service
- 1941 – World War II: Adolf Hitler becomes Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the German Army.
- 1941 – World War II: Limpet mines placed by Italian divers sink the and in Alexandria harbour.
- 1946 – Start of the First Indochina War.
- 1956 – Irish-born physician John Bodkin Adams is arrested in connection with the suspicious deaths of more than 160 patients. Eventually he is convicted only of minor charges.
- 1961 – India annexes Daman and Diu, part of Portuguese India.
- 1963 – Zanzibar gains independence from the United Kingdom as a constitutional monarchy, under Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah.
- 1964 – The South Vietnamese military junta of Nguyen Khanh dissolved the High National Council and arrested some of the members.
- 1967 – Prime Minister of Australia Harold Holt is officially presumed dead.
- 1972 – Apollo program: The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt, returns to Earth.
- 1975 – John Paul Stevens is appointed a justice of The United States Supreme Court.
- 1981 – Sixteen lives are lost when the Penlee lifeboat goes to the aid of the stricken coaster Union Star in heavy seas.
- 1983 – The original FIFA World Cup trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, is stolen from the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Confederation in Rio de Janeiro.
- 1984 – The Sino-British Joint Declaration, stating that the People's Republic of China would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the United Kingdom would restore Hong Kong to China with effect from July 1, 1997 is signed in Beijing by Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher.
- 1986 – Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union, releases Andrei Sakharov and his wife from exile in Gorky.
- 1995 – The United States Government restores federal recognition to the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indian tribe.
- 1997 – SilkAir Flight 185 crashes into the Musi River, near Palembang in Indonesia, killing 104.
- 1998 – Lewinsky scandal: The United States House of Representatives forwards articles I and III of impeachment against President Bill Clinton to the Senate.
- 2000 – The Leninist Guerrilla Units wing of the Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist attack a Nationalist Movement Party office in Istanbul, killing one person and injuring three.
- 2001 – A record high barometric pressure of 1085.6 hPa (32.06 inHg) is recorded at Tosontsengel, Khövsgöl Province, Mongolia.
- 2001 – Argentine economic crisis: December 2001 riots – Riots erupt in Buenos Aires.
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