497 BC – The first Saturnalia festival was celebrated in ancient Rome.
942 Assassination of William I of Normandy.
1531 – Pope Clement VII established a parallel body to the Inquisition in Lisbon, Portugal.
1577 Francis Drake set sail from Plymouth on a secret mission to explore the Pacific Coast of the Americas for Queen Elizabeth I.
1583 – Cologne War: Forces under Ernest of Bavaria defeated the troops under Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg at the Siege of Godesberg.
1586 – Emperor Go-Yozei became Emperor of Japan.
1637 – Shimabara Rebellion: Japanese peasants led by Amakusa Shiro rose against daimyo Matsukura Shigeharu.
1773 At Wharehunga Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound, 10 men who were with James Cook’s navigator Tobias Furneaux died at the hands of Ngati Kuia and Rangitane, led by their chief, Kahura.
1819 Simón Bolívar declared the independence of the Republic of Gran Colombia in Angostura (now Ciudad Bolívar in Venezuela).
1853 – Pierre Paul Émile Roux, French physician, co-founded the Pasteur Institute (d. 1933)
1874 – William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canadian economist and politician, 10th Prime Minister of Canada was born(d. 1950)
1889 New Zealand’s Eifel tower opened at the South Seas Exhibition.
1904 Paul Cadmus, American artist, was born (d. 1999).
1915 André Claveau, French singer, was born (d. 2003).
1918 Culmination of the Darwin Rebellion as some 1000 demonstrators march on Government House in Darwin.
1936 Tommy Steele, English singer and actor, was born.
1937 Kerry Packer, Australian businessman, was born (d. 2005).
1938 Peter Snell, New Zealand runner, was born.
1939 Battle of the River Plate – The Admiral Graf Spee was scuttled by Captain Hans Langsdorff outside Montevideo.
1944 Major Major, No. 1 Dog, 2NZEF, and member/mascot of 19 Battalionsince 1939, died of sickness in Italy. He was buried with full military honours at Rimini.
1945 – Jacqueline Wilson, English author and academic, was born.
1947 First flight of the Boeing B-47 Stratojet strategic bomber.
1961 Sara Dallin, English singer (Bananarama), was born.
1967 Prime Minister of Australia Harold Holt disappeared while swimming near Portsea, Victoria and was presumed drowned.
1969 The SALT I (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) began.
1969 Project Blue Book: The United States Air Force closed its study of UFOs, stating that sightings were generated as a result of “A mild form of mass hysteria, Individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetrate a hoax or seek publicity, psychopathological persons, and misidentification of various conventional objects.”
1989 Pilot episode of The Simpsons aired in the United States.
2005 – Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicated the throne as King of Bhutan.
2009 – MV Danny F II sank off the coast of Lebanon, resulting in the deaths of 44 people and over 28,000 animals.
2013 – The anti-corruption operation in Turkey begins with high profile detainments.
2014 – The United States and Cuba re-established diplomatic relationsafter severing them 55 years ago.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.