On December 21:
1118 Thomas Becket, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of Canterbury was born.
1598 Battle of Curalaba: The revolting Mapuche, led by cacique Pelentaru, inflicted a major defeat on Spanish troops in southern Chile.
1620 William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims landed on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The Landing of the Pilgrims., by Henry A. Bacon, 1877
1682 Calico Jack Rackham, English pirate, was born.
1804 Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.
1815 Thomas Couture French painter and teacher, was born.
1843 Thomas Bracken, Irish-born New Zealand, was born.
1844 – The Rochdale Pioneers commenced business at their cooperative in Rochdale, England, starting the Cooperative movement.
1861 Medal of Honor: Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor, was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.
1872 HMS Challenger, commanded by Captain George Nares, sailed from Portsmouth.
Painting of Challenger by William Frederick Mitchell
1883 The first Permanent Force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army were formed: The Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment.
1892 Rebecca West, British writer, was born.
1905 Anthony Powell, British author, was born.
1913 Arthur Wynne‘s “word-cross”, the first crossword puzzle, was published in the New York World.
1917 Heinrich Böll, German writer and Nobel laureate, was born.
1937 – Jane Fonda, American actress, was born.
1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated film, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater.
1946 Carl Wilson, American musician (The Beach Boys), was born.
1958 Charles de Gaulle was elected President of France when his Union des Démocrates pour la République party gained 78.5% of the vote.
1962 – Rondane National Park was established as Norway‘s first national park.
1964 More than 170 years of New Zealand whaling history came to a close when J. A. Perano and Company caught its last whale off the coast near Kaikoura.
1967 Louis Washkansky, the first man to undergo a heart transplant, died 18 days after the transplant.
1968 Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At 2h:50m:37s Mission elapsed time (MES), the crew performed the first ever manned Trans Lunar Injection and became the first humans to leave Earth’s gravity.
1971 New Zealand Railways (NZR) launched a new tourist-oriented steam passenger venture, the Kingston Flyer.
1979 Lancaster House Agreement: An independence agreement for Rhodesia was signed in London by Lord Carrington, Sir Ian Gilmour, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and S.C. Mundawarara.
Bishop Abel Muzorewa signing the Lancaster House Agreement seated next to British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington.
1988 A bomb exploded on board Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, killing 270.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.