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1955–Carl Perkins writes Blue Suede Shoes. Less than 48 hours later, he will record it at the Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. The tune will become one of the first records to be popular on rock, country, and rhythm & blues charts at the same time.

705–Wu Zetian, wife of Emperor Taizong of Tang, dies in Luoyang, Tang Dynasty, at age 81.

714–Pepin of Herstal, mayor of the Merovingian palace, dies at Jupille (present-day Belgium). He is succeeded by his infant grandson, Theudoald, while his wife, Plectrude, holds actual power in the Frankish Kingdom.

755–An Lushan revolts against Chancellor Yang Guozhong at Yanjing, initiating the An Lushan Rebellion during the Tang dynasty of China.

999–Adelaide of Italy dies in Seltz, Alsace, at age 68. Empress Adelaide was perhaps the most prominent European woman of the 10th century. She was the second wife of Holy Roman Emperor, Otto the Great, and was crowned as the Holy Roman Empress.

1263–Haakon IV of Norway, dies in Kirkwall, Orkney, at age 59. His reign lasted for 46 years, longer than any Norwegian king since Harald I.

1431–Henry VI of England is crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris, France.

1497–Vasco da Gama passes the Great Fish River, where Bartolomeu Dias had previously turned back to Portugal.

1575–A 8.5 earthquake strikes Valdivia, Chile.

1598–The final battle of the Seven-Year War is fought between the China and the Korean allied forces and Japanese navies, resulting in an allied forces victory.

1653–Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

1672–Polish King, John II Casimir Vasa, dies of apoplexy in Nevers, France, at age 63.

1689–The Declaration of Right is embodied in the Bill of Rights.

1731–A Boston newsletter announces that a concert of "sundry instruments" would be presented in the home of a physician. It was the first music concert in America.

1770–Composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, is born in Bonn, Germany. His grandfather and father were both musicians. He studied briefly with Mozart and Haydn. It was in Vienna, Austria, that he became famous, both as a composer and as a pianist. But in 1800, at the height of his success as a performer, he began to realize that he was going deaf. He was tempted to take his own life, but decided against it. What he produced were some of the greatest musical masterpieces of his or any age, including nine monumental symphonies, 17 string quartets, and 32 piano sonatas.

1773–The Boston Tea Party takes place as members of the Sons of Liberty, disguised as Mohawk Indians, dump hundreds of crates of tea into Boston Harbor as a protest against the Tea Act.

1775–Writer, Jane Austen, is born in Steventon, England. As a girl, she wrote spoofs of popular sentimental fiction and took part in private theatricals staged in a local barn. She finished writing her first novel, a parody called Love and Friendship, when she was 14. In 1797, her father sent the manuscript of Pride and Prejudice to a publisher in London, only to have it rejected by return post. After her father's death in 1805, she settled with her mother and sister in the village of Chawton, where, at her own expense, she published both Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. It was there that she wrote her last three novels: Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion.

1811–The first two, in a series of four severe earthquakes, occur in the vicinity of New Madrid, Missouri. They are felt all the way to the White House.

1826–Benjamin W. Edwards rides into Mexican-controlled Nacogdoches, Texas, and declares himself ruler of the Republic of Fredonia.

1838–Voortrekkers, led by Andries Pretorius and Sarel Cilliers, defeat Zulu impis, led by Dambuza (Nzobo) and Ndlela kaSompisi, in what is present-day KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

1850–The Charlotte Jane and the Randolph bring the first of the Canterbury Pilgrims to Lyttelton, New Zealand.

1864–During the American Civil War, Major General George Thomas's Union forces defeat Lieutenant General John Bell Hood's Confederate Army of Tennessee, in the Battle of Nashville.

1866–Painter, Wassily (Wassilyevich) Kandinsky, is born in Moscow, Russian Empire. He was the founder of abstract expressionism and is credited with painting one of the first purely abstract works. After successful avant-garde exhibitions, he founded the influential Munich group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). His forms evolved from fluid and organic to geometric and, finally, to pictographic.

1880–The First Boer War breaks out between the Boer South African Republic and the British Empire.

1899–Playwright and composer, Noël Coward, is born in Teddington, England. He is best known for his comedies Private Lives, Design for Living, and Blithe Spirit (a comedy about spiritualism, that premiered in London during the height of the air raids in World War II). The play went on to break box office records with a run of nearly 2,000 performances.

1903–Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel in Bombay opens its doors to guests.

1903–Female ushers are employed for the first time at the Majestic Theatre in New York City.

1905–The entertainment paper, Variety, begins publication.

1907–The American Great White Fleet begins its circumnavigation of the world.

1907–Eugene H. Farrar becomes the first singer to broadcast on the radio, singing from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York.

1912–During the First Balkan War, the Royal Hellenic Navy defeats the Ottoman Navy at the Battle of Elli.

1914–During World War I, Admiral Franz von Hipper commands a raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool, and Whitby. The attack results in public outrage towards the German navy for attacking against civilians, and against the Royal Navy for its failure to prevent the raid.

1915–Albert Einstein publishes his “General Theory of Relativity.”

1920–The Haiyuan 8.5 earthquake rocks the Gansu province in China, killing an estimated 200,000 people.

1921–Composer, Camille Saint-Saëns, dies of a heart attack in Algiers, Algeria, at age 86. He was an organist, conductor, and pianist of the Romantic era. His best known work is Carnival of the Animals.

1922–Gabriel Narutowicz, President of Poland, is assassinated by Eligiusz Niewiadomski at the Zacheta Gallery in Warsaw, Poland.

1930–Bank robber, Herman Lamm, and members of his crew are killed by a 200-strong posse, following a botched bank robbery in Clinton, Indiana.

1937–Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe attempt to escape from the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay: neither one of them is ever seen again.

1938–Adolf Hitler institutes the Cross of Honour of the German Mother.

1941–In World War II, Japanese forces occupy Miri, Sarawak.

1942–Schutzstaffel chief, Heinrich Himmler, orders that Roma candidates for extermination be deported to Auschwitz.

1944–The Battle of the Bulge begins with the surprise offensive of three German armies through the Ardennes forest.

1945–Tony Hicks, of The Hollies, is born Anthony Christopher Hicks in Nelson, Lancashire, England. The Band’s hits include Look Through Any Window, On A Carousel, Carrie Anne, King Midas in Reverse, and He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother. His son is Abbey Road Studios sound engineer, Paul Hicks.

1946–Thailand joins the United Nations.

1947–William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain build the first practical point-contact transistor.

1950–President Harry S. Truman declares a state of emergency, after Chinese troops enter the fight in support of communist North Korea.

1950–Claudia Cohen, gossip columnist and socialite, is born in Englewood, New Jersey. In 1976, she joined The New York Post as a reporter for its fledgling gossip column Page Six. She became the editor of Page Six in 1978. Noted for going for the jugular, and creating a column with savvy and a sharp edge, Cohen is credited with making Page Six a household name.

1955–Carl Perkins writes Blue Suede Shoes. Less than 48 hours later, he will record it at the Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. The tune will become one of the first records to be popular on rock, country, and rhythm & blues charts at the same time.

1957–Sir Feroz Khan Noon replaces Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar as Prime Minister of Pakistan.

1960–A United Airlines Douglas DC-8 and a TWA Lockheed Super Constellation collide over Staten Island, New York, and crash, killing all 128 people aboard both aircraft and six more people on the ground.

1965–In the Vietnam War, General William Westmoreland sends U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, a request for 243,000 more men by the end of 1966.

1965–The Beatles appear on the BBC in their own tribute The Music of Lennon-McCartney. The group performs We Can Work It Out, and there are appearances from Peter Sellers, Marianne Faithfull, Cilla Black, Peter & Gordon, Lulu, Billy J. Kramer, Esther Phillips, and Richard Anthony, who perform their versions of the songwriting duo’s songs.

1965–Writer, W. Somerset Maugham, dies in Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France, at age 91. His works include The Magician, The Letter, Of Human Bondage, The Painted Veil, The Razor's Edge, and Up at the Villa.

1966–The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is adopted.

1966–Jimi Hendrix’s first single, Hey Joe, is released.

1971–The surrender of the Pakistan Army brings an end to both the Bangladesh Liberation War and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

1971–The United Kingdom recognizes Bahrain's independence.

1971–Don McLean’s eight-minute-plus song, American Pie, is released.

1978–Cleveland, Ohio, becomes the first major American city to default on its financial obligations since the Great Depression.

1979–Libya joins four other OPEC nations in raising crude oil prices, which has an immediate, dramatic effect on the United States.

1980–Businessman, Colonel Sanders, dies of leukemia in Louisville, Kentucky, at age 90. He founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. By the time of his death, there were an estimated 6,000 KFC outlets in 48 countries worldwide, with $2 billion of sales annually.

1985–Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti are shot dead on the orders of John Gotti, who assumes leadership of New York's Gambino crime family.

1989–U.S. Appeals Court Judge, Robert Smith Vance, is assassinated by a mail bomb sent by Walter Leroy Moody, Jr.

1989–Actor, Lee Van Cleef, dies of a heart attack in Oxnard, California, at age 64. He appeared in the films High Noon, From Here to Eternity, It Conquered the World, The Tin Star, The Young Lions, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

1991–Kazakhstan declares independence from the Soviet Union.

1993–Actor, Moses Gunn, dies from complications of asthma in Guilford, Connecticut, at age 63. He appeared in the films The Great White Hope, Shaft, The Iceman Cometh, Rollerball, Roots, Ragtime, The Neverending Story, Heartbreak Ridge, and The Women of Brewster Place.

1997–Singer, Nicolette Larson, dies of cerebral edema and liver failure in Los Angeles, California, at age 45. She had a big hit with the song Lotta Love in 1978.

2007–Singer-songwriter, Dan Fogelberg, dies of prostate cancer in Deer Isle, Maine, at age 56. He is best known for his early 1980s hits, including Longer, Leader of the Band, and Same Old Lang Syne.

2009–Studio executive, Roy E. Disney, dies of stomach cancer in Newport Beach, California, at age 89. He was a longtime senior executive for The Walt Disney Company, which his father, Roy Oliver Disney, and his uncle, Walt Disney, founded. As the last member of the Disney family to be actively involved in the company, Roy Disney was often compared to his uncle and father. In 2006, Forbes magazine estimated his personal fortune at about $1.2 billion.

2013–A bus falls from an elevated highway in Manila, Philippines, killing at least 18 people and injuring 20 others.

2013–Country singer, Ray Price, dies of pancreatic cancer at age 87. In the 1960s, Price had a huge hit with Make the World Go Away. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996.

2014–Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan militants attacked an Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing 145 people, mostly school children.

2015–The Federal Reserve raises its key interest rate from a range of 0% to 0.25% to a range of 0.25% to 0.5%. It is America's first interest rate hike in nearly a decade.

2015–A bank in Minnesota is robbed by the same person a second time while an Iowa television station is doing a live update on the first robbery that had taken place. The robber was arrested shortly afterwards.

2015–Latvia's State Border Guard begins the construction of a border fence that will cover almost a third of the Latvia-Russia border. The fence is an effort to keep out migrants who attempt to illegally cross the border from Russia.

2016–China's People's Liberation Army Navy seizes an underwater drone deployed by USNS Bowditch in the South China Sea. The United States files a formal diplomatic protest and a demand for its return.

2016–Protests and looting erupts in several Venezuelan states, as citizens lack cash for gas, groceries, and Christmas gifts, since the highly used, but now worthless, 100-bolívar notes were removed from circulation. The substitute 500-bolívar notes are not available because of delays in bank deliveries.

2016–Nine people die in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, from overdoses of fentanyl.

PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Adelaide of Italy; Ludwig van Beethoven; Jane Austen; the Taj Mahal Tower Hotel; Camille Saint-Saens; Tony Hicks; Carl Perkins' pair of blue suede shoes; W. Somerset Maugham; Colonel Sanders; Nicholette Larson; and Ray Price.

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