1384 John Wycliffe (died), English theologian and translator (born circa 1328)
1491 Jacques Cartier (born), French explorer (died 1557)
1514 Andreas Vesalius (born), Flemish anatomist (died 1564)
1600 The British East India Company is chartered.
1687 The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.
1695 A window tax is imposed in England, causing many householders to brick up windows to avoid the tax.
1759 Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease on the 4-acre (16,000 m2) brewery at St. James’s Gate at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness.
1831 Gramercy Park is deeded to New York, New York.
1853 A dinner party for 21 prominent scientists is held inside a hollow concrete, life-size model of an Iguanodon created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen in south London, England, United Kingdom
1857 Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa, then a small logging town, as the capital of Canada.
1869 Henri Matisse (born), French painter (died 1954)
1878 Karl Benz, working in Mannheim, Germany, filed for a patent on his first reliable two-stroke gas engine, and he was granted the patent in 1879.
1879 Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
1907 The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York, New York.
1908 Simon Wiesenthal (born), Austrian Holocaust survivor (died 2005)
1909 Manhattan Bridge opens.
1923 The chimes of Big Ben are broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.
1937 Sir Anthony Hopkins (born), Welsh-American actor and composer
1937 Avram Hershko (born), Israeli biologist, Nobel Prize laureate
1942 Andy Summers (born), English guitarist, songwriter, and producer (The Police and Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band)
1943 Sir Ben Kingsley (born), English actor
1943 John Denver (born), American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor (The John Denver Band and Chad Mitchell Trio) (died 1997)
1943 Pete Quaife (born), English bass player (The Kinks) (died 2010)
1946 President Harry S. Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II.
1948 Malcolm Campbell (died), English race car driver (born 1885)
1951 The Marshall Plan expires after distributing more than US$13.3 billion in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.
1954 Hermann Tilke (born), German race car driver and engineer
1955 General Motors becomes the first U.S. corporation to make over US$1 billion in a year.
1959 Val Kilmer (born), American actor
1960 The farthing coin ceases to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.
1967 The Youth International Party, popularly known as the “Yippies”, is founded.
1974 Tony Kanaan (born), Brazilian race car driver
1980 Marshall McLuhan (died), Canadian philosopher (born 1911)
1983 The AT&T Bell System is broken up by the United States Government.
1991 All official Soviet Union institutions have ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union is officially dissolved.
1994 This date is skipped altogether in Kiribati as the Phoenix Islands and Line Islands change time zones from UTC−11:00 to UTC+13:00 and UTC−10:00 to UTC+14:00, respectively.
1998 The European Exchange Rate Mechanism freezes the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and establishes the value of the euro currency.
1999 First President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, resigns from office, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President and successor.
1999 Five hijackers, who had been holding 155 hostages on an Indian Airlines plane, leave the plane with two Islamic clerics that they had demanded be freed.
1999 The United States Government hands control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties.
2003 Arthur R. von Hippel (died), German-American physicist (born 1898)
2004 The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).
2009 Both a blue moon and a lunar eclipse occur.
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