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2014–Rock singer, Joe Cocker, dies of lung cancer in Crawford, Colorado, at age 70. Cocker bought 40 acres of property and built a hillside mansion, which he called Mad Dog Ranch, when he moved to Colorado. His hits include Cry Me a River, Feeling Alright, The Letter, and With a Little Help From My Friends. He toured with a group of other popular musicians in 1970 as “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.”

69–Roman Emperor, Vitellius, dies at the hands of Vespasian's troops in Rome, Italy, at age 54. His last words were, "Yet I was once your Emperor."

244–Roman Emperor, Diocletian, is born in Salona (present-day Solin, Croatia).

401–Pope Innocent I is elected.

856–An earthquake near the Persian city of Damghan, kills an estimated 200,000 people, and is the sixth deadliest earthquake in recorded history.

880–Luoyang, eastern capital of the Tang dynasty, is captured by rebel leader, Huang Chao, during the reign of Emperor Xizong.

1135–Stephen of Blois becomes King of England.

1178–Emperor Antoku of Japan is born Tokohit-shinno. Antoku was named crown prince at around one month of age. He ascended the throne at the age of two. He held no actual power, and his grandfather, Taira no Kiyomori, ruled in his name, though not officially.

1216–Pope Honorius III approves the Dominican Order through the papal bull of confirmation Religiosam vitam.

1622–Bucaramanga, Colombia, is founded.

1769–The Sino-Burmese War ends with an uneasy truce.

1788–Nguyen Hue proclaims himself Emperor Quang Trung, in effect abolishing on his own the Le dynasty.

1790–The Turkish fortress of Izmail is stormed and captured by Alexander Suvorov and his Russian armies.

1807–The Embargo Act, forbidding trade with all foreign countries, is passed by the U.S. Congress, at the urging of President Thomas Jefferson.

1808–Ludwig van Beethoven conducts and performs in concert at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, Austria, with the premiere of his Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony, Fourth Piano Concerto (performed by Beethoven himself) and Choral Fantasy (with Beethoven at the piano).

1809–Judge and politician, William Cooper, dies from a blow to the head sustained during an argument with a political opponent after a public meeting in Albany, New York, at age 55. It was later believed that he simply died of natural causes. He founded Cooperstown, New York.

1849–Fyodor Dostoevsky is led out for execution, then pardoned at the last moment.

1851–India's first freight train is operated in Roorkee, India.

1864–Savannah, Georgia, falls to the forces of General Sherman in the American Civil War.

1858–Italian composer, Giacomo Puccini, is born Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini in Lucca in Tuscany, Italy. He wrote the operas La bohème, Tosca, and Madame Butterfly.

1867–Artist, Théodore Rousseau, dies from lingering illness in Barbizon, France, at age 55. He shared the difficulties of the romantic painters of 1830, in securing a place in the annual Paris exhibition. The influence of classically trained artists was against them, and it was not until 1848 that Rousseau presented adequately to the public. There are a number of good paintings by him in the Louvre, and the Wallace collection contains one of his most important Barbizon paintings.

1882–The first string of Christmas tree lights is created by Thomas Edison.

1885–Samurai, Ito Hirobumi, becomes the first Prime Minister of Japan.

1890–Cornwallis Valley Railway begins operation between Kentville and Kingsport, Nova Scotia, Canada.

1891–Asteroid 323 Brucia becomes the first asteroid discovered using photography.

1894–The Dreyfus affair begins in France, when Alfred Dreyfus is wrongly convicted of treason.

1905–Painter, Kenneth Rexroth, is born in South Bend, Indiana. He was an essayist, poet, translator, and early champion of the Beat movement. Along with several collections of his own work, he will also write the literary history entitled American Poetry in the Twentieth Century, and become a prolific translator of Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Latin, and Spanish poetry. He was descended from a long line of socialists, suffragettes, and abolitionists. Expelled from high school, he hung around bohemian clubs, eventually investing a small inheritance in one, and met such as Clarence Darrow, Sherwood Anderson, Ben Hecht, and Carl Sandburg in Chicago, Illinois. He began to publish regularly after moving to San Francisco, California, where he participated in the Federal Writers Project. In the 1950s, he published more than a dozen volumes of poetry, translations, and essays, and became forever linked with the Beat movement when, in 1955, he was emcee for Allen Ginsberg's first public reading of "Howl."

1907–Actress, Peggy Ashcroft, is born Edith Margaret Emily Ashcroft in Croydon, Surrey, England. She appeared in the films The 39 Steps, The Nun’s Story, Secret Ceremony, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Joseph Andrews, A Passage to India, When the Wind Blows, and Madame Sousatzka.

1912–Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Johnson and 43rd First Lady of the United States, is born Claudia Alta Taylor in Karnack, Texas. Her daughter are Lynda Bird Johnson and Luci Baines Johnson.

1915–Actress, Barbara Billingsley, is born Barbara Lillian Combes in Los Angeles, California. She is best known for the role of June Cleaver on the TV sitcom Leave It to Beaver.

1917–Television game show host, Gene Rayburn, is born Eugene Jelyevich in Christopher, Illinois. Gene chose the stage name "Rayburn" by randomly sticking his finger in the phone book. He is best known as the host of various editions of the popular show The Match Game for over two decades.

1920–The GOELRO economic development plan is adopted by the 8th Congress of Soviets of the Russian SFSR.

1921–Visva-Bharati College, also known as Santiniketan College (present-day Visva Bharati University), opens in India.

1922–Actress, Ruth Roman, is born in Lynn, Massachusetts. She appeared in the films Good Sam, Champion, The Window, Colt .45, Dallas, Strangers on a Train, Young Man with Ideas, The Far Country, Look in Any Window, and Impulse.

1937–The Lincoln Tunnel opens to traffic in New York City.

1939–Indian Muslims observe a "Day of Deliverance" to celebrate the resignations of members of the Indian National Congress over their not having been consulted over the decision to enter World War II with the United Kingdom.

1939–Blues singer, Ma Rainey, known as the "Mother of the Blues," dies of a heart attack in Rome, Georgia, at age 53. On stage she wore a sequined gown and a necklace of gold coins. She recorded such essential blues songs as See See Rider and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

1942–Adolf Hitler signs an order to develop the V-2 rocket as a weapon.

1944–During World War II, in the Battle of the Bulge, German troops demand the surrender of U.S. troops at Bastogne, Belgium, prompting the famous one word reply by General Anthony McAuliffe: "Nuts!"

1944–The Vietnam People's Army is formed to resist Japanese occupation of Indochina (present-day Vietnam).

1945–Private Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a battalion scout with the 106th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army, is captured during the Battle of the Bulge. He and his fellow prisoners are billeted in a slaughterhouse, and put to work in a factory producing malt syrup for pregnant women. About six weeks after their capture, they take refuge in an underground meat locker during the firebombing of Dresden, and afterwards are put to work removing corpses from air raid shelters. He will later use the experience as the basis for his novel Slaughterhouse-Five (1969).

1945–News anchor and television journalist, (Lila) Diane Sawyer, is born in Glasgow, Kentucky. She was the anchor of ABC News's nightly flagship program ABC World News, a co-anchor of ABC News's morning news program Good Morning America, and Primetime news magazine. She was married to film director, Mike Nichols.

1946–Pamela (Susan) Courson is born in Weed, California. She was the long-time companion and common-law wife of Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors. Courson and Morrison met at a nightclub called The London Fog on the Sunset Strip in 1965, while she was an art student at Los Angeles City College. The song Love Street is about Courson’s house in Laurel Canyon.

1946–Rick Nielsen, of Cheap Trick, is born Richard Alan Nielsen in Elmhurst, Illinois. The band’s biggest hits were I Want You to Want Me and Dream Police.

1947–The Constituent Assembly of Italy approves the Constitution of Italy.

1948–Sjafruddin Prawiranegara establishes the Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia (Pemerintah Darurat Republik Indonesia, PDRI) in West Sumatra.

1949–Maurice (Ernest) Gibb, of The Bee Gees, is born in Douglas, Isle of Man. He was a founding member of The Bee Gees: his role in the group focused on melody and arrangements, providing backing vocal harmony, and playing a variety of instruments. His brothers are Barry Gibb, fraternal twin Robin Gibb, and Andy Gibb. He was married to pop singer, Lulu.

1949–Robin (Hugh) Gibb, of The Bee Gees, is born in Douglas, Isle of Man. He sang lead vocal on many of the group’s biggest hits. As an instrumentalist, Gibb primarily played a variety of keyboards, notably piano, organ, and Mellotron. His brothers are Barry Gibb, fraternal twin Maurice Gibb, and Andy Gibb.

1951–The Selangor Labour Party is founded in Selangor, Malaya.

1956–Aquafair opens in north Miami, Florida. Aquafair is a Steel Pier like winter attraction, with a water-based show featuring acts imported from Atlantic City and owner George A. Hamid, Sr.'s signature diving horse act. The park also offers trained porpoises, animal displays, and alligator wrestling.

1956–Colo, the first gorilla to be bred in captivity, is born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio.

1960–Luther (Roderick) Campbell, of 2 Live Crew, is born in Miami, Florida. He is a record label owner, rap performer (taking the non-rapping role of promoter), and actor.

1961–James Davis becomes the first U.S. soldier to die in Vietnam, while U.S. involvement is still limited to the provision of military advisers.

1962–Actor, Ralph Fiennes, is born Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. He appeared in the films Schindler’s List, Quiz Show, Strange Days, The English Patient, Oscar and Lucinda, The Avengers, Maid in Manhattan, The Constant Gardener, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Duchess, The Hurt Locker, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

1963–The official 30-day mourning period for President John F. Kennedy comes to an end.

1963–The cruise ship, Lakonia, burns 180 miles north of Madeira, Portugal, killing 128 people.

1963–The Beatles Come to Town, a newsreel documentary by Pathe news, is played in British cinemas.

1964–The first test flight of the SR-71 (Blackbird) takes place at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.

1964–Comedian, Lenny Bruce, is convicted of obscenity.

1965–For the first time in the United Kingdom, a 70 mph speed limit is applied to all rural roads, including motorways. Previously, there had been no speed limit.

1965–A chart topper: Over and Over by The Dave Clark Five.

1968–People's Daily posts the instructions of Mao Zedong stating that "The intellectual youth must go to the country, and will be educated from living in rural poverty." This was known as the Down to the Countryside Movement.

1970–Lawyer and politician, Ted Cruz, is born Rafael Edward Cruz in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is the junior U.S. Senator from Texas. He is a candidate for President of the United States in the 2016 presidential election.

1971–After Yoko Ono tries to take her daughter from her father, Tony Cox, a court awards custody of the child to him. Ono is allowed to visit Kyoko, but only if she posts a $20,000 bond as a guarantee that she won’t kidnap the child. A year later, to the day, Tony Cox, will be arrested for violating Yoko’s custody rights.

1974–Grande Comore, Anjouan, and Mohéli vote to become the independent nation of Comoros. Mayotte remains under French administration.

1974–The house of former British Prime Minister, Edward Heath, is attacked by members of the Provisional IRA.

1978–The pivotal Third Plenum of the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is held in Beijing, China, with Deng Xiaoping reversing Mao-era policies to pursue a program for Chinese economic reform.

1978–The stage version of Harry Nilsson’s, The Point, opens in London, England, with stars Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz.

1979–Film producer and studio executive, Darryl F. Zanuck, dies of cancer in Palm Springs, California, at age 77. His funeral was attended by almost every surviving movie star in Hollywood. He played a major part in the Hollywood studio system and was one of its longest survivors having started during the silent era. He was the mastermind behind Cinemascope: the widescreen version of film that is common today. As a producer, his films include Tobacco Road, How Green Was My Valley, The Razor’s Edge, Gentleman’s Agreement, The Snake Pit, All About Eve, The Longest Day, and The Chapman Report.

1981–In London, England, a Sotheby’s auction of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia includes: an Abbey Road street sign that sells for $600; an autographed program from The Beatles’ Royal Command Performance that fetches $2,000; John and Cynthia Lennon’s marriage certificate that sells for $850; and an autographed program from the world premiere of The Beatles film Help! brings in $2,100.

1984–Bernhard Goetz shoots four would-be muggers on an express train in the Manhattan section of New York, New York.

1987–In Zimbabwe, the political parties ZANU and ZAPU reach an agreement that ends the violence in the Matabeleland region known as the Gukurahundi.

1989–Communist President of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu, is overthrown by Ion Iliescu after days of bloody confrontations. The deposed dictator and his wife flee Bucharest in a helicopter as protesters erupt in cheers.

1989–Berlin's Brandenburg Gate re-opens after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.

1989–Irish-French writer, Samuel Beckett, dies at age 83. He was the author of the absurdist masterpiece Waiting for Godot, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.

1990–Lech Walesa is elected President of Poland.

1990–The independence of Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia is finalized after termination of trusteeship.

1995–Actress, Butterfly McQueen, dies from burns sustained in an accidental fire in Augusta, Georgia, at age 84. She is best known for the role of Prissy in Gone with the Wind. She also appeared in the films Cabin in the Sky, I Dood It, Mildred Pierce, Duel in the Sun, and The Mosquito Coast.

1997–Attendees at a prayer meeting of Roman Catholic activists for indigenous causes in the small village of Acteal, in the Mexican state of Chiapas, are massacred by paramilitary forces.

1997–Hussein Farrah Aidid relinquishes the disputed title of President of Somalia by signing the Cairo Declaration, in Cairo, Egypt. It is the first major step towards reconciliation in Somalia since 1991.

1999–Korean Air Cargo Flight 8509, a Boeing 747-200F, crashes shortly after take-off from London Stansted Airport due to pilot error. All four crew members are killed.

2001–Burhanuddin Rabbani, political leader of the Northern Alliance, hands over power in Afghanistan to the interim government headed by President Hamid Karzai.

2001–Richard Reid attempts to blow up a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.

2002–Joe Strummer, of The Clash, dies suddenly of an undiagnosed congenital heart defect in Broomfield, Somerset, England, at age 50. The Clash's politicised lyrics, musical experimentation, and rebellious attitude had a far-reaching influence on alterantive rock. Their biggest hit was Rock the Casbah.

2008–An ash dike ruptures at a solid waste containment area in Roane County, Tennessee, releasing 1.1 billion gallons of coal fly ash slurry.

2010–The repeal of the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy (the 17-year-old policy banning homosexuals serving openly in the United States military) is signed into law by President Barack Obama.

2014–Rock singer, Joe Cocker, dies of lung cancer in Crawford, Colorado, at age 70. Cocker bought 40 acres of property and built a hillside mansion, which he called Mad Dog Ranch, when he moved to Colorado. His hits include Cry Me a River, Feeling Alright, The Letter, and With a Little Help From My Friends. He toured with a group of other popular musicians in 1970 as “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.”

2015–American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, SpaceX, makes history by sending the first orbital rocket into space and landing the first stage back on the ground at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This achieves a step toward reusable rockets.

2015–At least 30 people are injured from an explosion at a gas pipeline near Villahermosa, Mexico.

2015–Actor, Nicolas Cage, agrees to turn over a dinosaur skull he bought for $276,000, not knowing it had been stolen. The skull will be returned to the Mongolian government.

2016–President-elect Donald Trump names his former presidential campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, as his Counselor to the President. He also names RNC Communications Director, Sean Spicer, as White House Press Secretary, and Jason Miller as White House Communications Director.

2016–The Commission on Human Rights launches an investigation into alleged murders committed by current Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte.

2016–As many as 80 inmates take over a section of HM Prison Swaleside on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, England.

2016–President-elect Donald Trump calls President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, who agrees to postpone a United Nations resolution regarding Israel.

2016–President Barack Obama scraps the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), a registration system for Muslim immigrants.

PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Diocletian; William Cooper; Kenneth Rexrock; Barbara Billingsley; Ma Rainey; Pamela Courson; Robin and Maurice Gibb; Ralph Fiennes; Over and Over by The Dave Clark Five; Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones in The Point; Samuel Beckett; and Joe Cocker.

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