* 116 – Emperor Trajan sends laureatae to the Roman Senate at Rome on account of his victories and being conqueror of Parthia.
* 1249 – Andrew of Longjumeau is dispatched by Louis IX of France as his ambassador to meet with Mongol Khagan of the Mongol Empire.
* 1646 – Battle of Torrington, Devon – the last major battle of the first English Civil War.
* 1742 – Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, becomes British Prime Minister.
* 1804 – First Barbary War: Stephen Decatur leads a raid to burn the pirate-held frigate USS Philadelphia.
* 1852 – Studebaker Brothers wagon company, precursor of the automobile manufacturer, is established.
* 1862 – American Civil War: General Ulysses S. Grant captures Fort Donelson, Tennessee.
* 1866 – Spencer Compton Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington becomes British Secretary of State for War.
* 1899 – Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur Iceland's first football club is founded.
* 1918 – The Council of Lithuania unanimously adopts the Act of Independence, declaring Lithuania an independent state.
* 1923 – Howard Carter unseals the burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
* 1934 – The Austrian Civil War ends with the defeat of the Social Democrats and the Republican Schutzbund.
* 1936 – Elections bring the Popular Front to power in Spain.
* 1937 – Wallace H. Carothers receives a United States patent for nylon.
* 1940 – World War II: Altmark Incident: The German tanker Altmark is boarded by sailors from the British destroyer HMS Cossack. 299 British prisoners are freed.
* 1943 – World War II: Red Army troops re-enter Kharkov.
* 1945 – World War II: American forces land on Corregidor Island in the Philippines.
* 1957 – The "Toddlers' Truce", a controversial television close down between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm is abolished in the United Kingdom.
* 1959 – Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba after dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown on January 1.
* 1960 – The U.S. Navy submarine USS Triton begins Operation Sandblast, setting sail from New London, Connecticut, to begin the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe.
* 1961 – Explorer program: Explorer 9 (S-56a) is launched.
* 1961 – The DuSable Museum of African American History is chartered.
* 1962 – Flooding in the coastal areas of West Germany kills 315 and destroys the homes of about 60,000 people.
* 1968 – In Haleyville, Alabama, the first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system goes into service.
* 1978 – The first computer bulletin board system is created (CBBS in Chicago, Illinois).
* 1983 – The Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia kill 75.
* 1985 – Hezbollah is founded.
* 1986 – The Soviet liner MS Mikhail Lermontov runs aground in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand.
* 1987 – The trial of John Demjanjuk, accused of being a Nazi guard dubbed "Ivan the Terrible" in Treblinka extermination camp, starts in Jerusalem.
* 1991 – Nicaraguan Contras leader Enrique Bermúdez is assassinated in Managua.
* 1998 – China Airlines Flight 676 crashes into a road and residential area near Chiang Kai-shek International Airport in Taiwan, killing all 196 aboard and six more on the ground.
* 1999 – In Uzbekistan, a bomb explodes and gunfire is heard at the government headquarters in an apparent assassination attempt against President Islam Karimov.
* 1999 – Across Europe, Kurdish rebels take over embassies and hold hostages after Turkey arrests one of their rebel leaders, Abdullah Öcalan.
* 2005 – The Kyoto Protocol comes into force, following its ratification by Russia.
* 2005 – The National Hockey League cancels the entire 2004-2005 regular season and playoffs, becoming the first major sports league in North America to do so over a labor dispute.
* 2006 – The last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) is decommissioned by the United States Army.