536 – Byzantine General Belisarius entered Rome while the Ostrogothic garrison peacefully left the city, returning the old capital to its empire.
730 – Battle of Marj Ardabil: the Khazars annihilated an Umayyad army and killed its commander, al-Djarrah ibn Abdullah.
1425 – The Catholic University of Leuven was founded.
1531 – The Virgin of Guadalupe first appeared to Juan Diego at Tepeyac, Mexico City.
1608 John Milton, English poet, was born (d. 1674).
1787 John Dobson, English architect, was born (d. 1865).
1793 – New York City’s first daily newspaper, the American Minerva, was established by Noah Webster.
1824 – Patriot forces led by General Antonio José de Sucre defeated a Royalist army in the Battle of Ayacucho, ending the Peruvian War of Independence.
1851 – The first YMCA in North America was established in Montreal, Quebec.
1872 – In Louisiana, P. B. S. Pinchback became the first serving African-American governor of a U.S. state.
1886 Clarence Birdseye, American frozen food manufacturer, was born (d. 1956).
1888 – Statistician Herman Hollerith installed his computing device at the United States War Department.
1899 New Zealand troops fired their first shots in the South African war.
1902 Margaret Hamilton, American actress, was born (d. 1985).
1905 In France, the law separating church and state was passed.
1922 Gabriel Narutowicz was announced the first president of Poland.
1929 Bob Hawke, 23rd Prime Minister of Australia, was born.
1933 Ashleigh Brilliant, American writer (Pot-Shots), was born.
1934 Dame Judi Dench, English actress, was born.
1935 – Walter Liggett, American newspaper editor and muckraker, was killed in gangland murder.
1937 – Second Sino-Japanese War: Battle of Nanjing – Japanese troops under the command of Lt. Gen. Asaka Yasuhiko launched an assault on Nanjing.
1940 – World War II: Operation Compass – British and Indian troops under the command of Major-General Richard O’Connor attacked Italian forces near Sidi Barrani in Egypt.
1941 Beau Bridges, American actor, was born.
1950 Joan Armatrading, St. Kitts-born English singer, was born.
1953 John Malkovich, American actor, was born.
1953 – Red Scare: General Electric announced that all communist employees would be discharged from the company.
1957 – Donny Osmond, American singer and actor, was born.
1958 Nick Seymour, Australian bassist (Crowded House), was born.
1960 The first episode of Britain’s longest running television soap opera Coronation Street was broadcast.
1961 – The trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Israel ended with verdicts of guilty on 15 criminal charges, including charges of crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people and membership of an outlawed organization.
1961 Tanganyika became independent from Britain.
1968 NLS (a system for which hypertext and the computer mouse were developed) was publicly demonstrated for the first time in San Francisco.
1979 The eradication of the smallpox virus was certified, making smallpox the first and to date only human disease driven to extinction.
1988 The Michael Hughes Bridge in Sligo, Ireland was officially opened.
1990 Lech Wałęsa became the first directly elected president of Poland.
2003 – A blast in the center of Moscow killed six people and wounds several more.
2006 – Moscow suffered its worst fire since 1977, killing 45 women in a drug rehabilitation center.
2008 – The Governor of Illinois, Rob Blagojevich, was arrested by federal officials for a number of alleged crimes including attempting to sell the United States Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama’s election to the Presidency.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.