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1944–A single-engine plane carrying Swing bandleader and U.S. Army Major, Glenn Miller, disappears in thick fog over the English Channel while en route to Paris, France. Miller was 40 years old. The true fate of the plane and its passengers has never been determined.

37–Roman Emperor, Nero, is born Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus in Antium, Italy (present-day Anzio and Nettuno). He was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian Dynasty. Nero was adopted by his grand-uncle, Claudius, to become his heir and successor, and ascended to the throne following Claudius' death.

130–Roman Emperor, Lucius Verus, is born Lucius Ceionius Commodus in Rome, Italy. He ruled together with his adoptive brother, Marcus Aurelius, as co-Emperor from 161 until his death in 169.

533–Byzantine General Belisarius defeats the Vandals, commanded by King Gelimer, at the Battle of Tricamarum.

687–Pope Sergius I is elected.

1025–Byzantine Emperor, Basil II, dies in Constantinople, at age 67. He was known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young.

1072–Alp Arslan, second Sultan of the Seljuk Empire, dies from a dagger wound near the banks of the Oxus, at age 42. As Sultan, he greatly expanded Seljuk territory and consolidated power, defeating rivals to the south and northwest. His victory over the Byzantines at Manzikert ushered in the Turkish settlement of Anatolia. For his military prowess, personal valour, and fighting skills, he obtained the name Alp Arslan, which means "Heroic Lion."

1161–In the Jin-Song wars, military officers conspire against Emperor Wanyan Liang of the Jin dynasty after a military defeat at the Battle of Caishi. They assassinate the emperor at his camp.

1167–Sicilian Chancellor, Stephen du Perche, moves the royal court to Messina to prevent a rebellion.

1256–Mongol forces, under the command of Hulagu Khan, enter and destroy the Hashshashin stronghold at Alamut Castle (in present-day Iran) as part of their offensive on Islamic southwest Asia.

1467–Stephen III of Moldavia defeats Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, with the latter being injured three times at the Battle of Baia.

1651–Castle Cornet in Guernsey, the last stronghold which had supported the King in the Third English Civil War, surrenders.

1675–Painter, Johannes Vermeer, dies after a short illness in Delft, Dutch Republic, at age 43. He specialized in domestic, interior scenes of middle-class life. Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime. He evidently was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.

1778–In the American Revolutionary War, British and French fleets clash in the Battle of St. Lucia.

1791–The United States Bill of Rights becomes law when ratified by the Virginia General Assembly.

1832–Engineer, (Alexandre) Gustave Eiffel, is born in Dijon, Côte-d'Or, France. He specialized in building iron bridges. He was also called upon to create the iron framework for the Statue of Liberty. But his most famous work was the iron tower in Paris that bears his name, the Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, France.

1864–In the American Civil War, Union forces, under George Thomas, almost completely destroy the Army of Tennessee, under John Hood.

1879–Rudolf von Laban, modern dance choreographer, is born in Pozsony, Kingdom of Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Empire. He is known as one of the pioneers of modern dance in Europe and is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of dance. One of his great contributions to dance was his publication of Kinetographie Laban in 1928, a dance notation system that came to be called Labanotation and is still used as one of the primary movement notation systems in dance. His theories of choreography and movement are now foundations of modern dance and dance notation (choreology).

1890–Sioux Indian, Chief Sitting Bull, and 11 other tribe members are killed in Grand River, South Dakota, during a fracas with Indian police.

1892–Oil magnate, J. Paul Getty, is born Jean Paul Getty in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He founded the Getty Oil Company, and in 1957, Fortune magazine named him the richest living American,, while the 1966 Guinness Book of Records named him as the world's richest private citizen, worth an estimated $1.2 billion (approximately $8.7 billion in 2014). At his death, he was worth more than $2 billion (approximately $8.3 billion in 2014). Getty was an avid collector of art and antiquities and his collection formed the basis of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, and over $661 million (approximately $2.7 billion in 2014) of his estate was left to the museum after his death.

1905–The Pushkin House is established in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to preserve the cultural heritage of Alexander Pushkin.

1906–The London Underground's Great Northern, Piccadilly, and Brompton Railway opens.

1910–A&R man, John Hammond Sr., is born in New York, New York. He discovered Billie Holiday in 1933, and signed both Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to recording contracts.

1911–Bandleader, Stan Kenton, is born Stanley Newcomb Kenton in Wichita, Kansas. He was a pianist, composer, and arranger who led an innovative, influential, and often controversial American jazz orchestra in the 1950s and 1960s.

1912–Designer and architect, Ray Kaiser Eames, is born Ray-Bernice Alexandra Kaiser in Sacramento, California. She worked with her husband, Charles Eames, in creating iconic modern furniture designs of molded wood and plastic. The design office of Charles and Ray Eames functioned for more than four decades (1943-1988) in the former Bay Cities Garage on Washington Boulevard in Venice, California. The name Eames is synonymous with what is now considered mid-20th century “retro” style.

1915–Chanteuse, Edith Piaf, a.k.a. "The Little Sparrow," is born in Paris, France.

1913–Nicaragua becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires Convention.

1914–In World War I, the Serbian Army recaptures Belgrade from the invading Austro-Hungarian Army.

1914–A gas explosion at Mitsubishi Hojo coal mine in Kyushu, Japan, kills 687 people.

1917–An armistice between Russia and the Central Powers is signed.

1918–Actor, Jeff Chandler, is born Ira Grossel in Brooklyn, New York. He appeared in the films Roses Are Red, Mr. Belvedere Goes to College, Sword in the Desert, Abandoned, Broken Arrow, The Desert Hawk, Bird of Paradise, Smuggler’s Island, Red Ball Express, Son of Ali Baba, Girls in the Night, War Arrow, Foxfire, Female on the Beach, The Spoilers, Away All Boats, The Tattered Dress, Jean Eagels, Man in the Shadow, Thunder in the Sun, The Plunderers, Return to Peyton Place, and Merrill's Marauders.

1922–Disc jockey, Alan Freed, who is credited with coining the term “rock ‘n’ roll,” is born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

1923–Television producer, Pierre Cossette, is born Pierre Maurice Joseph Cossette in Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada. He produced the first TV broadcast of the Grammy Awards in 1971.

1933–The 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution officially becomes effective, repealing the 18th Amendment that prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol.

1939–Gone with the Wind receives its premiere at Loew's Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.

1941–German troops murder over 15,000 Jews at Drobytsky Yar, a ravine southeast of the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, Soviet Union.

1942–The Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse, begins during the Guadalcanal Campaign.

1942–Dave Clark, of The Dave Clark Five, is born David Clark in Tottenham, North London, England. The group’s hit include Glad All Over, Bits and Pieces, Can't You See That She's Mine, I Knew It All the Time, Because, Catch Us If You Can, and Over and Over. The band also starred in the rock and roll movie Catch Us If You Can (Having a Wild Weekend in the U.S.) Clark never married, but he was once romantically linked with television personality, Cathy McGowan.

1943–Jazz pianist, Fats Waller, dies of pneumonia on a train bound from Los Angeles, California, to New York.

1945–Duing the U.S. occupation of Japan, General Douglas MacArthur orders that Shinto be abolished as the country’s state religion.

1946–U.S. backed Iranian troops evict the leadership of the breakaway Republic of Mahabad, putting an end to the Iran crisis of 1946.

1944–A single-engine plane carrying Swing bandleader and U.S. Army Major, Glenn Miller, disappears in thick fog over the English Channel while en route to Paris, France. Miller was 40 years old. The true fate of the plane and its passengers has never been determined.

1946–Carmine Appice, drummer for Vanilla Fudge, is born in Staten Island, New York.

1947–Rodney Bingenheimer is born in Mountain View, California. He was the subject of a documentary by late filmmaker, George Hickenlooper, titled Mayor of the Sunset Strip, which told the story of a groupie-turned-kingmaker with a knack for making friends in the music industry. He formed friendships with pop stars of the day, such as The Byrds and Sonny & Cher, for whom he was a live-in publicist.

1954–The Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands is signed.

1960–Richard Pavlick is arrested for plotting to assassinate U.S. President-Elect John F. Kennedy.

1960–King Mahendra of Nepal suspends the country's constitution, dissolves parliament, dismisses the cabinet, and imposes direct rule.

1960–A chart topper: Wonderland by Night by Bert Kaemphert.

1961–Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death after being found guilty by an Israeli court of 15 criminal charges, including charges of crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and membership of an outlawed organization.

1962–Actor, Charles Laughton, dies of kidney cancer in Hollywood, California, at age 63. He was trained in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and first appeared professionally on the stage in 1926. Laughton played a wide range of classical and modern parts, making a big impact in Shakespeare at the Old Vic. He appeared in the films The Private Life of Henry VIII, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Les Miserables, Mutiny on the Bounty, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hobson’s Choice, Witness for the Prosecution, Spartacus, and Advise & Consent.

1965–Gemini 6A, crewed by astronauts Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford, is launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida. Four orbits later, it achieves the first space rendezvous with Gemini 7.

1966–Visionary and movie producer, Walt Disney, dies of lung cancer in Burbank, California, at age 65. It is rumored that he was put into “suspended animation,” but his family denies this, saying that his remains were cremated on December 17, 1966. Disney was an entrepreneur, cartoonist, animator, and voice actor. Disney was a prominent figure within the American animation industry and throughout the world, and is regarded as a cultural icon, known for his influence and contributions to mainstream entertainment during the 20th century. He and his brother, Roy O. Disney, co-founded The Walt Disney Company. Disney and his staff created numerous famous fictional characters including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. He was also the creator of the original Disneyland Theme Park in Anaheim, California. Other such parks, around the world, would follow.

1967–The Silver Bridge over the Ohio River collapses, killing 46 people.

1967–The Beach Boys meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Paris, France, and begin to learn Transcendental Meditation.

1968–Grace Slick, performing with the Jefferson Airplane on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, appears in blackface and raises a black-leather glove in the black power salute at the conclusion of Crown of Creation. The incident is one of several which leads to the show's cancellation the following season.

1969–John Lennon and Yoko Ono launch their "War Is Over" campaign by handing out posters and buying billboard space for their message in 12 cities around the world. That night, the Lennons sponsor a concert to benefit UNICEF, at the Lyceum Ballroom in London, England, called “Peace for Christmas.” After a number of support bands play, the Plastic Ono Supergroup, featuring John and Yoko, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann, Bobby Keys, Billy Preston, Keith Moon, Delaney & Bonnie, Alan White, and Jim Gordon, perform Cold Turkey and Don’t Worry Kyoko. Other acts on the bill: The Rascals, Desmond Dekker and the Aces, Blue Mink, and Black Velvet.

1970–Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 successfully land on Venus. It is the first successful soft landing on another planet.

1970–The South Korean ferry, Namyong Ho, capsizes in the Korea Strait, killing over 300 people.

1972–ABC-TV broadcasts the John Lennon “One to One Concert” that was filmed on August 30th.

1973–John Paul Getty III, grandson of American billionaire, J. Paul Getty, is found alive near Naples, Italy, after being kidnapped by an Italian gang on July 10th.

1973–The American Psychiatric Association votes 13-0 to remove homosexuality from its official list of psychiatric disorders, the DSM-II.

1976–Western Samoa becomes a member of the United Nations.

1976–The oil tanker, MV Argo Merchant, runs aground near Nantucket, Massachusetts, causing one of the worst marine oil spills in history.

1978–President Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will recognize the People's Republic of China and sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

1978–Actor, Chill Wills, dies of cancer in Encino, California, at age 76. He appeared in the films Way Out West, Boom Town, Meet Me in St. Louis, Leave Her to Heaven, The Harvey Girls, The Yearling, Francis, Giant, Where the Boys Are, The Wheeler Dealers, and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

1981–A suicide car bombing targeting the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, levels the building and kills 61 people, including Iraq's Ambassador to Lebanon. The attack is considered the first modern suicide bombing.

1981--Dreamland opens in Queensland on Australia’s Gold Coast. The park is made up of several themed lands: Ocean Parade, DreamWorks Experience, Wiggles World, Gold Rush Country, Rocky Hollow, Tiger Island, and the Dreamworld Corroboree. These lands have a collection of rides, animal exhibits, shows, food outlets, and merchandise shops.

1988–James Brown, charged with numerous offenses, including illegal possession of drugs and firearms, aggravated assault, and failure to stop for the police, is sentenced to six and a half years’ imprisonment.

1993–The Downing Street Declaration is issued by British Prime Minister John Major and Irish Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds.

1994–Palau becomes a member of the United Nations.

1997–Tajikistan Airlines Flight 3183 crashes in the desert near Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, killing 85 people.

2000–The third reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Russia is shut down.

2001–The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after 11 years and $27,000,000 spent to fortify it without fixing its famous “lean.”

2005–The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is introduced into USAF active service.

2009–Boeing's 787 Dreamliner makes its maiden flight from Seattle, Washington.

2009–Evangelist, Oral Roberts, dies in Newport Beach, California, at age 91. He founded the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association Oral Roberts University. His ministries reached millions of followers worldwide spanning a period of over six decades.

2010–A boat carrying 90 asylum seekers crashes into rocks off the coast of Christmas Island, Australia, killing 48 people.

2010–Film director, Blake Edwards, dies of pneumonia in Santa Monica, California, at age 88. He had suffered for 15 years from chronic fatigue syndrome and depression. His films include Mister Cory, The Perfect Furlough, Operation Petticoat, High time, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Days of Wine and Roses, The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark, The Party, Wild Rovers, 10, S.O.B., Victor Victoria, That’s Life, and Blind Date.

2013–Actress, Joan Fontaine, dies of natural causes in Carmel Highlands, California, at age 96. She appeared in the films Quality Street, Gunga Din, The Women, Rebecca, Suspicion, Jane Eyre, Born to Be Bad, Ivanhoe, The Bigamist, Island in the Sun, Until They Sail, A Certain Smile, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Tender Is the Night.

2014–Man Haron Monis takes 18 hostages inside a cafe in Martin Place in Sydney, Australia, for 16 hours. Monis and two hostages are killed when police raid the cafe the following morning.

2015–Saudi Arabia announces the formation of a 34-member Islamic military alliance against terrorism, which includes Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, and Pakistan. The alliance will have a joint operations center based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

2015–Comedian-actor, Bill Cosby, in response to multiple accusations of sexual assault and misconduct, files a defamation suit against seven accusers in a U.S. federal court in Massachusetts.

2015–The Soyuz TMA-19M, consisting of Expedition 46 crew members Yuri Malenchenko (RSA), Timothy Kopra (NASA), and Tim Peake (ESA), launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for the International Space Station (ISS). Peake becomes the first Briton to represent the European Space Agency at the ISS.

2015–Merriam-Webster picks the suffix “ism” as word of the year. The top “isms” earning high traffic spikes and big bumps in lookups on the dictionary company's website in 2015 over the year are socialism, fascism, racism, feminism, communism, capitalism, and terrorism.

2016–A Pegasus rocket successfully deploys the CYGNSS hurricane observation satellite constellation for NASA.

2016–Arizona Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, holds a press conference showing findings from two different forensic experts of "nine points of forgery," alleging that President Obama's long form birth certificate was forged. He also claims to have found the birth certificate used to make the forgery.

2016–Actress and dancer, Fran Jeffries, dies of multiple myeloma in Los Angeles, California, at age 79. She appeared in the films The Buccaneer, The Pink Panther, Sex and the Single Girl, Harum Scarum, and A Talent for Loving. She was married to singer, Dick Haymes.

PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Roman Emperor, Nero; Johannes Vermeer; Chief Sitting Bull; Ray Kaiser Eames; Dave Clark; Rodney Bingenheimer; Charles Laughton; Walt Disney; John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "War Is Over" campaign; Chill Wills; the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor No. 3; Joan Fontaine; and Fran Jeffries.

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