1842 – Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd in Springfield, IL.
1846 – A patent for an artificial leg was granted to Benjamin Palmer.
1847 – Scottish obstetrician James Young Simpson discovered the anethestic qualities of chloroform.
1880 – James and John Ritty patented the first cash register.
1922 – In Egypt, Howard Carter discovered the entry of the lost tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen.
1924 – Nellie T. Ross of Wyoming was elected America’s first woman governor so she could serve out the remaining term of her late husband, William B. Ross.
1939 – During World War II, the U.S. modified its neutrality stance with the Neutrality Act of 1939. The new policy allowed cash-and-carry purchases of arms by belligerents.
1939 – At the 40th National Automobile Show the first air-conditioned car was put on display.
1942 – During World War II, Axis forces retreated from El Alamein in North Africa. It was a major victory for the British.
1952 – In the United States, the National Security Agency (NSA) was established.
1956 – Soviet forces enter Hungary in order to suppress the uprising that had begun on October 23, 1956.
1965 – Lee Ann Roberts Breedlove became the first woman to exceed 300 mph when she went 308.5 mph.
1970 – Former King Peter II of Yugoslavia died in Denver, CO. He was the first European king or queen to die and to be buried in the U.S.
1979 – Iranian militants seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 63 Americans hostage (90 total hostages). The militants, mostly students, demanded that the U.S. send the former shah back to Iran to stand trial. Many hostages were later released, but 52 were held for the next 14 months.
1981 – The second scheduled flight of the space shuttle Columbia was canceled with only 31 seconds left in the countdown.
1984 – Nicaragua held its first free elections in 56 years.
1985 – Soviet defector Vitaly Yurchenko announced he was returning to the Soviet Union. He had charged that he had been kidnapped by the CIA.
1989 – About a million East Germans filled the streets of East Berlin in a pro-democracy rally.
1990 – Iraq issued a statement saying it was prepared to fight a “dangerous war” rather than give up Kuwait.
1991 – Ronald Reagan opened his presidential library in Simi Valley, CA. The dedication ceremony was attended by President Bush and former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald R. Ford and Richard M. Nixon. It was the 1st gathering of 5 U.S. chief executives.
1995 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, 73 years old, was assassinated by right-wing Israeli Yigal Amir after attending a peace rally.
1999 – Cristina Saralegui received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1999 – The United Nations imposed economic sanctions against the Taliban that controlled most of Afghanistan. The sanctions were imposed because the Taliban had refused to turn over Osama bin Laden, who had been charged with masterminding the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
2001 – Hurrican Michelle hit Cuba destroying crops and thousands of homes. The United States made the gesture of sending humanitarian aid. On December 16, 2001, Cuba received the first commercial food shipment from the U.S. in nearly 40 years.
2010 – Microsoft’s Kinect was launched worldwide.