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- 1432 – The first battle between the forces of Švitrigaila and Sigismund Kestutaitis is fought near the town of Oszmiana (Ashmyany), launching the most active phase of the Lithuanian Civil War.
- 1660 – A woman (either Margaret Hughes or Anne Marshall) appears on an English public stage for the first time, in the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare's play Othello.
- 1854 – In his Apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX proclaims the dogmatic definition of Immaculate Conception, which holds that the Virgin Mary was born free of original sin.
- 1907 – King Gustaf V of Sweden accedes to the Swedish throne.
- 1912 – Leaders of the German Empire hold an Imperial War Council to discuss the possibility that war might break out.
- 1914 – A squadron of Britain's Royal Navy defeats an inferior squadron of the Imperial German High Seas Fleet in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.
- 1927 – The Brookings Institution, one of the United States' oldest think tanks, is founded through the merger of three organizations that had been created by philanthropist Robert S. Brookings.
- 1941 – United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares December 7 to be "a date which will live in infamy", after which the U.S. and the Republic of China declare war against Japan.
- 1941 – Japanese forces simultaneously invade Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies. These happen concurrently with the Attack on Pearl Harbor, which was on December 7 in the United States.
- 1949 – United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is established to provide aid to Palestinian refugees who left their homes during the 1948 Palestinian exodus.
- 1953 – United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers his "Atoms for Peace" speech, and the U.S. launches its "Atoms for Peace" program that supplied equipment and information to schools, hospitals, and research institutions around the world.
- 1962 – Workers at four New York City newspapers (this later increases to nine) go on strike for 114 days.
- 1963 – Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707, is struck by lightning and crashes near Elkton, Maryland, United States, killing all 81 people on board.
- 1966 – The Greek ship sinks in a storm in the Aegean Sea, killing over 200.
- 1971 – Indo-Pakistani War: The Indian Navy launches an attack on West Pakistan's port city of Karachi.
- 1972 – United Airlines Flight 553 crashes after aborting its landing attempt at Chicago Midway International Airport, killing 45.
- 1974 – A plebiscite results in the abolition of monarchy in Greece.
- 1980 – John Lennon, an English musician (former member of The Beatles), and peace activist, is murdered by Mark David Chapman, a mentally unstable fan, in front of The Dakota apartment building in New York City.
- 1982 – In Suriname, several opponents of the military government are killed.
- 1987 – The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is signed.
- 1987 – Frank Vitkovic shoots and kills eight people at the Australia Post building in Melbourne, before jumping to his death.
- 1987 – The Alianza Lima air disaster occurs.
- 1987 – An Israeli army tank transporter kills four Palestinian refugees and injures seven others during a traffic accident at the Erez Crossing on the Israel–Gaza Strip border, sparking the First Intifada.
- 1988 – A United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II crashes into an apartment complex in Remscheid, Germany, killing 5 people and injuring 50 others.
- 1991 – The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine sign an agreement dissolving the Soviet Union and establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States.
- 1991 – The Romanian Constitution is adopted in a referendum.
- 1993 – The North American Free Trade Agreement is signed into law by US President Bill Clinton.
- 1998 – Eighty-one people are killed by armed groups in Algeria.
- 1998 – The Australian Cricket Board's cover-up of Shane Warne and Mark Waugh's involvement with bookmakers is revealed.
- 2002 – The Caribbean Community Heads of Government meet with the Government of Cuba and declare the date to be "CARICOM-Cuba Day"—to celebrate diplomatic ties between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Cuba.
- 2004 – The Cuzco Declaration is signed in Cuzco, Peru, establishing the South American Community of Nations.
- 2007 – Benazir Bhutto, first and only female former Prime Minister of Pakistan, had her PPP Office stormed by unidentified gunmen. Three supporters are killed.
- 2009 – Bombings in Baghdad, Iraq kill 127 and injure 448.
- 2010 – With the second launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the first launch of the SpaceX Dragon, SpaceX becomes the first privately held company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.
- 2010 – The Japanese solar-sail spacecraft IKAROS passes the planet Venus at a distance of about 80,800 km.
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- imieniny: Alojzy, Apollo, Boguwola, Elfryda, Euchariusz, Euchary, Hildemar, Makary, Maria, Narcyza, Patapiusz, Potapiusz, Romaryk, Świedarg i Wirginiusz.
- Buddyzm - Dzień Oświecenia Buddy - najważniejsze buddyjskie święto w roku
- Kościół katolicki - Uroczystość Niepokalanego Poczęcia Najświętszej Maryi Panny (dzień wolny w wielu katolickich krajach)
- Bułgaria - Dzień Studenta
- Falklandy - Dzień Bitwy
- Guam - Dzień Matki Boskiej Camarin
- Panama - Dzień Matki
- Uzbekistan - Święto Konstytucji
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