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1964–Radio Caroline and Radio Atlanta (later known as Caroline South and North) are joined at sea by Radio London, which arrives off Frinton (northeast of London, England). The new ship-station brought a team of “Americanized” dee jays, experienced in the art of selling themselves as much as the music. Radio London soon became king of the U.K. pirate radio scene.

484–Huneric dies and is succeeded by his nephew, Gunthamund, who becomes King of the Vandals. During his reign, Christians are protected from persecution.

558–Chlothar I is crowned King of the Franks.

562–Hagia Sophia in Constantinople reopens with a rebuilt dome after a series of earthquakes had caused the original to collapse.

583–Maya Queen, Yohl Ik’nal, is crowned ruler of Palenque.

679–Frankish King, Dagobert II, dies in a hunting incident in Stenay-sur-Meuse, Ardennes, Francia, at age 29. It is thought that he was murdered.

918–Conrad I of Germany dies from injuries sustained in battle at his home Weilburg Castle in Hesse, Germany, at age 37.

962–During the Arab-Byzantine wars, under the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, Byzantine troops storm the city of Aleppo.

1572–Theologian, Johann Sylvan, is executed in Heidelberg, Germany, for his heretical Antitrinitarian beliefs.

1652–Minister and theologian, John Cotton, dies following a month-long illness in Boston, Massachusetts, at age 67. He was a clergyman in England and the American colonies and, by most accounts, the preeminent minister and theologian of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1688–As part of the Glorious Revolution, King James II of England flees to Paris, France, after being deposed in favor of his nephew, William of Orange, and his daughter, Mary.

1777–Alexander I of Russia is born Alexander Pavlovich Romanov in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He ruled Russia during the chaotic period of the Napoleonic Wars.

1783–George Washington resigns as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland.

1823–The poem known as “The Night Before Christmas” or “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement C. Moore, is published anonymously in the Troy, New York Sentinel. The paper’s editor gives it the title, “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas.”

1876–The Constantinople Conference opens, resulting in agreement for political reforms in the Balkans.

1888–After an argument with Paul Gaugin over a woman, Vincent Van Gogh cut off part of an ear, sending it to the unfortunate lady.

1893–The opera, Hansel and Gretel, by Engelbert Humperdinck is performed for the first time.

1913–The Federal Reserve Act is signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, creating the Federal Reserve System.

1914–During World War I, Australian and New Zealand troops arrive in Cairo, Egypt.

1916–In World War I, allied forces defeat Turkish forces in the Sinai Peninsula, during the Battle of Magdhaba.

1918–Italian-American dancer and choreographer, José Greco, is born Costanzo Greco Bucci in Montorio nei Frentani, Italy. He was known for popularizing Spanish dance on the stage and screen in America, mostly in the 1950s and 1960s.

1919–The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act becomes law in the United Kingdom.

1922–BBC Radio begins daily newscasts.

1925–Pierre (Eugène) Bérégovoy, Prime Minister of France (1992-1993), is born in Déville-lès-Rouen, France.

1929–Jazz trumpeter and singer, Chet Baker, is born Chesney Henry Baker in Yale, Oklahoma. In 1952, Baker joined the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, which was an instant phenomenon. The Quartet's version of My Funny Valentine, featuring a Baker solo, was a hit, and became a tune with which Baker was intimately associated. In 1953 and 1954, Baker won the Down Beat and Metronome magazines' Readers Jazz Polls. He became an icon of the West Coast "cool school" of jazz, helped by his good looks and singing talent.

1930–Ruth Elizabeth Davis arrives in Hollywood, California, under contract to Universal Studios. Universal changes her name to Bette Davis.

1931–Actor, Tyrone Power, Sr., dies of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California, at age 62. Power's father was the youngest son of the Irish actor, Tyrone Power, from whom his son, grandson, and great grandson would later take their stage names. After an extremely prosperous 30 years of acting on the stage and touring around the world, Power moved into silent films in 1914. Initially playing the leading man, he soon switched to playing villains and proved highly successful.

1936–Colombia becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.

1936–Actor, Frederic Forrest, is born Frederic Fenimore Forrest, Jr. in Waxahachie, Texas. He appeared in the films The Don is Dead, The Conversation, The Missouri Breaks, Apocalpse Now, The Rose, One from the Heart, Valley Girl, The Stone Boy, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, The Two Jakes, Falling Down, and Andersonville. He was married to actress, Marilu Henner.

1936–Actor, James Stacy, is born Maurice William Elias in Los Angeles, California. He was seen widely on TV shows, including The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Highway Patrol, The Donna Reed Show, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, Lancer, The Streets of San Francisco, and Marcus Welby, M.D. He appeared in the films South Pacific, Summer Magic, A Swingin’ Summer, Winter A-Go-Go, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. In 1973, Stacy was hit by a drunk driver while driving his motorcycle, resulting in the amputation of his left leg and arm. He was married to actresses, Connie Stevens and Kim Darby.

1940–Businessman and politician, Mamnoon Hussain, is born in Agra, United Provinces, British Raj (present-day Uttar Pradesh, India). He was the 12th President of Pakistan.

1940–Jorma Kaukonen, guitarist for Jefferson Airplane, is born in Washington, D.C. In 1970, he formed Hot Tuna with Airplane's Jack Casady.

1941–During World War II, after 15 days of fighting, the Imperial Japanese Army occupies Wake Island.

1941–Songwriter, Tim Hardin, is born James Timothy Hardin in Eugene, Oregon. His songs include Don’t Make Promises, If I Were a Carpenter, The Lady Came from Baltimore, Misty Roses, and Reason to Believe.

1943–Actress, (Mary) Elizabeth Hartman, is born in Youngstown, Ohio. She appeared in the films A Patch of Blue, The Group, You’re a Big Boy Now, The Fixer, The Beguiled, and Walking Tall.

1943–Actor-comedian, Harry (Julius) Shearer, is born in Los Angeles, California. He is known for his long-running roles on The Simpsons, his work on Saturday Night Live, and the comedy band Spinal Tap. He appeared in the films Real Life, One Trick Pony, The Right Stuff, This Is Spinal Tap, My Stepmother Is an Alien, Oscar, The Fisher King, A League of Their Own, Wayne’s World 2, Waiting for Guffmn, Godzilla, The Truman Show, EDtv, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration.

1945–Ron Bushy, drummer for Iron Butterfly, is born in Washington, D.C.

1947–John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain, and William Shockley invent the transistor.

1948–Seven Japanese, convicted of war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, are executed at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, Japan.

1949–Ariel Bender, guitarist for Mott the Hoople, is born Luther James Grosvenor in Evesham, Worcestershire, England. Under his real name, Luther Grosvenor, he was the guitarist for Spooky Tooth.

1954–The first successful kidney transplant is performed by J. Hartwell Harrison and Joseph Murray.

1958–The dedication of Tokyo Tower, the world's highest self-supporting iron tower, takes place.

1964–Radio Caroline and Radio Atlanta (later known as Caroline South and North) are joined at sea by Radio London, which arrives off Frinton (northeast of London, England). The new ship-station brought a team of “Americanized” dee jays, experienced in the art of selling themselves as much as the music. Radio London soon became king of the U.K. pirate radio scene.

1964–Eddie Vedder, of Pearl Jam, is born Edward Louis Severson in Evanston, Illinois. With his hard-hitting and often confessional lyrical style and Jim Morrison-esque baritone, Vedder became one of the most copied lead singers in all of rock. Vedder is his mother’s maiden name. On Pearl Jam records, Vedder uses the pseudonym "Jerome Turner" for his non-musical (usually design and artwork) contributions. He has also at times used the pseudonym of "Wes C. Addle" ("West Seattle").

1968–The 82 sailors from the USS Pueblo are released after 11 months of internment in North Korea.

1969–Elton John and Bernie Taupin begin their successful songwriting partnership.

1970–The North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York, is topped out at 1,368 feet, making it the tallest building in the world.

1970–The Democratic Republic of the Congo officially becomes a single-party state.

1972–A 6.5 earthquake strikes the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, killing more than 10,000 people.

1972–The 16 survivors of the Andes flight disaster are rescued after 73 days, having survived by cannibalism.

1977–Singer-songwriter, Cat Stevens, converts to Islam, changes his name to Yusef Islam, and gives up his successful music career.

1979–During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Soviet Union forces occupy Kabul, the Afghan capital.

1982–The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announces it has identified dangerous levels of dioxin in the soil of Times Beach, Missouri.

1986–Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California, becoming the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world without aerial or ground refueling.

1982–Actor, Jack Webb, dies of heart attack in West Hollywood, California, at age 62. He is best known for role of Sergeant Joe Friday in the radio and TV series Dragnet. He appeared in the films He Walked by Night, Sunset Boulevard, Dark City, Halls of Montezuma, Pete Kelly’s Blues, and -30-.

1990–In a referendum, 88.5% of Slovenia's overall electorate vote for independence from Yugoslavia.

1996–Ronnie Scott, British musician and club owner, dies from an accidental overdose of barbiturates in England, at age 69. He opened the first Ronnie Scott's night club in London, England, in 1959, where he presented the best of the world's jazz artists.

1997–Woody Allen marries Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow.

1999–Police arrest a stalker at George Harrison’s home in Hawaii. The unemployed, Christin Keleher, appeared to be living in the empty mansion, using the phone and washing machine, along with ordering pizzas.

2000–Actor, Billy Barty, dies of heart failure in Glendale, California, at age 76. In adult life, he stood three feet, nine inches tall, due to cartilage-hair hypoplasia dwarfism, and because of his short stature, he was often cast in movies opposite taller performers for comic effect. He appeared in the films The Day of the Locust, W.C. Fields and Me, Rabbit Test, Foul Play, Hardly Working, Under the Rainbow, Legend, Tough Guys, and Willow.

2000–Comedian, pianist, and conductor, Victor Borge, dies in his sleep at his home in Greenwich, Connecticut, at age 91. Borge was popular in both Europe and America, and his unique and appealing blend of music and humor earned him the nickname "The Clown Prince of Denmark."

2002–A U.S. MQ-1 Predator is shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25 in the first combat engagement between a drone and conventional aircraft.

2003–The PetroChina Chuandongbei natural gas field explosion in Guoqiao, Kai County, Chongqing, China, kills at least 234 people.

2004–P.V. Narasimha Rao, Premier of India (1991-1996), dies of a heart attack in New Delhi, Delhi, India, at age 83. He is often referred to as the "Father of Indian Economic Reforms."

2007–An agreement is made for the Kingdom of Nepal to be abolished and the country to become a federal republic with the Prime Minister becoming head of state.

2007–Jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson, dies of kidney failure in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, at age 82. He was called the "Maharaja of the keyboard" by Duke Ellington, but simply "O.P." by his friends. He released over 200 recordings and won eight Grammy Awards. He is considered to have been one of the greatest jazz pianists, playing thousands of concerts worldwide in a career lasting more than 60 years.

2010–A monsoonal trough crosses the northeastern coast of Australia from the Coral Sea, bringing mass flooding across Queensland.

2012–Educator, Jean Harris, dies of natural causes at an assisted-living center in New Haven, Connecticut, at age 89. She was the headmistress of The Madeira School for Girls in McLean, Virginia, who made national news in the early 1980s, when she was tried and convicted of the murder of her ex-lover, Herman Tarnower, a well-known cardiologist and author of the best-selling book The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet.

2013–General and weapons designer, Mikhail Kalashnikov, dies of gastric hemorrhage in Izhevsk, Udmurtia, Russia, at age 94. He is most famous for developing the AK-47 assault rifle and its improvements, AKM and AK-74, as well as the PK machine gun.

2013–Ricky Lawson, drummer for the Yellowjackets, dies of a brain aneurysm in Long Beach, California, at age 59. He worked extensively as a session musician, collaborating with Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, and Steely Dan.

2015–Two Palestinian attackers stab passers-by at the Old City's Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, Israel, killing two people and injuring one other person. The attackers are shot and killed by two female Israeli Border Police Officers.

2015–Hacktivist collective, Anonymous, declares a cyber-war on Turkey, and claims responsibility for the major week-long cyber-attack on the country on December 14th through 21st. It accuses Turkey of supporting the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and threatens additional attacks if the alleged support continues. The group said, “We will continue attacking your internet, your root DNS, your banks, and take your government sites down. We will start to hit your airports, military assets, private state connections, and will destroy your critical banking infrastructure.”

2015–The governments of Somalia, Tajikistan, and Brunei ban celebrations of Christmas, with punishments ranging up to a five-year jail term. Each country has a majority-Muslim population.

2015–At least six people die, and dozens are injured, as major storms, packed with tornadoes, move through the American South and Midwest.

2016–Australian police raid several properties in Melbourne, and arrest seven Arab Australian men who were believed to be plotting a terrorist attack on several sites in the city for Christmas Day.

2016–An Afriqiyah Airways flight originating from Sabha, Libya, is hijacked and forced to make an emergency landing in Malta.

2016–Based on a one-week experiment with 1,095 participants in Denmark, a study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, provides evidence that Facebook use has a negative affect on most people. Taking a break from Facebook has positive effects on the two dimensions of well-being: life satisfaction increases and emotions become more positive. It was demonstrated that these effects were significantly greater for heavy Facebook users, passive Facebook users (lurkers), and Facebook users who tend to envy others.

2016–Actress, Carrie Fisher, suffers a massive heart attack while on an international flight and upon arrival is rushed to a hospital near Los Angeles International Airport in critical condition.

2016–Astronaut, Piers Sellers, dies of pancreatic cancer in Houston, Texas, at age 61. He was a British-American meteorologist and Director of the Earth Science Division at NASA/GSFC. As an astronaut, Piers was a veteran of three space shuttle missions.

PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Chlothar I; Alexander I of Russia; Jose Greco; Chet Baker; Tim Hardin; Ariel Bender; Bernie Taupin and Elton John; Jack Webb; Oscar Peterson; and Anonymous.

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