1620 – The Pilgrim Fathers landed at New Plymouth, MA, to found Plymouth Colony, with John Carver as Governor.
1776 – The British suffered a major defeat in the Battle of Trenton during the American Revolutionary War.
1865 – The coffee percolator was patented by James H. Mason.
1871 – The “Gods Grown Old” was performed for the first time. It ran for 64 shows.
1898 – Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium.
1908 – Texan boxer “Galveston Jack” Johnson knocked out Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia, to become the first black boxer to win the world heavyweight title.
1917 – During World War I, the U.S. government took over operation of the nation’s railroads.
1921 – The Catholic Irish Free State became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain.
1927 – The East-West Shrine football game featured numbers on both the front and back of players’ jerseys.
1941 – Winston Churchill became the first British prime minister to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.
1943 – The German battlecruiser Scharnhorst was sunk in the North Sea, during the Battle of North Cape.
1944 – Tennessee Williams’ play “The Glass Menagerie” was first performed publicly, at the Civic Theatre in Chicago, IL.
1947 – Heavy snow blanketed the Northeast United States, burying New York City under 25.8 inches of snow in 16 hours. The severe weather was blamed for about 80 deaths.
1953 – “Big Sister” was heard for the last time on CBS Radio. The show ran for 17 years.
1954 – “The Shadow” aired on radio for the last time.
1956 – Fidel Castro attempted a secret landing in Cuba to overthrow the Batista regime. All but 11 of his supporters were killed.
1959 – The first charity walk took place, along Icknield Way, in aid of the World Refugee Fund.
1974 – Comedian Jack Benny died at age 80.
1982 – The Man of the Year in “TIME” magazine was a computer. It was the first time a non-human received the honors.
1986 – Doug Jarvis, age 31, set a National Hockey League (NHL) record as he skated in his 916th consecutive game. Jarvis eventually set the individual record for most consecutive games played with 964.
1986 – “Search for Tomorrow” was seen for the last time on CBS-TV. The show had been on the air for 35-years.
1990 – Garry Kasparov beat Anatoly Karpov to retain the chess championship.
1991 – The Soviet Union’s parliament formally voted the country out of existence.
1995 – Israel turned dozens of West Bank villages over to the Palestinian Authority.
1996 – Six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, CO.
1998 – Iraq announced that it would fire on U.S. and British warplanes that patrol the skies over northern and southern Iraq.
1999 – Alfonso Portillo, a populist lawyer, won Guatemala’s first peacetime presidential elections in 40 years.
2000 – Michael McDermott, age 42, opened fire at his place of employment killing seven people. McDermott had no criminal history.
2002 – The first cloned human baby was born. The announcement was made the December 27 by Clonaid.
2004 – Under the Indian Ocean, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake sent 500-mph waves across the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. The tsunami killed at least 283,000 people in a dozen countries, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Sumatra, Thailand and India.