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.
Thomas Gray 1716
Juan Lovera 1778
Laurent Clerc 1785
Charles Babbage 1792
Goerge Dewey 1837
Henry Miller (Valentine) 1891
Mao Zedong (Tse-tung) 1893
Richard Widmark 1914
Steve Allen 1921
Alan King 1927
Donald Moffat 1930
Abdul "Duke" Fakir (The Four Tops) 1935
Phil Spector 1940
Jane Lapotaire 1944
John Walsh 1945
Joyce Jillson 1946
Carlton Fisk (MLB) 1947
Ozzie Smith 1954
Brian Westrum (Sons of the Desert) 1962
Lars Ulrich (Metallica) 1963
Audrey Wiggins 1967
Peter Klett (Candlebox) 1969
Jared Leto 1971
1678 - Composer Johann Georg Pisendel was born.
1762 - Composer Franz Wilhelm Tausch was born.
1931 - George Gershwin’s musical, "Of Thee I Sing," opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York City. It became the first American musical to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
1939 - W.C. Handy recorded the classic "St. Louis Blues."
1955 - Bill Haley and the Comets' "See You Later Alligator" was released by Decca Records.
1961 - Jay & the Americans recorded "She Cried."
1963 - Capitol Records released the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" backed with "I Saw Her Standing There."
1967 - The Dave Brubeck Quartet formally disbanded after Paul Desmond left the group.
1967 - The Beatles film, "Magical Mystery Tour," premiered on BBC-TV.
1968 - Led Zeppelin began its first U.S. tour in Boston.
1987 - Run D.M.C.'s Jason Mizell was hospitalized when his Jeep was hit head-on by a driver going the wrong-way.
1997 - The movie "Spice World" was released in the United Kingdom.