395 – Later Yan is defeated by its former vassal Northern Wei at the Battle of Canhe Slope.
757 – Du Fu returns to Chang'an as a member of Emperor Xuanzong's court, after having escaped the city during the An Lushan Rebellion.
1432 – The first battle between the forces of Švitrigaila and Sigismund Kęstutaitis is fought near the town of Oszmiana (Ashmyany), launching the most active phase of the Lithuanian Civil War.
1596 – Luis de Carabajal the younger, one of the first Jewish authors in the Americas, died in an auto-da-fé during the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico City.
1660 – A woman (either Margaret Hughes or Anne Marshall) appears on an English public stage for the first time, in the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare's play Othello.
1813 – Premiere of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.
1854 – In his Apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX proclaims the dogmatic definition of Immaculate Conception, which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived free of Original Sin.
1907 – King Gustaf V of Sweden accedes to the Swedish throne.
1912 – Leaders of the German Empire hold an Imperial War Council to discuss the possibility that war might break out.
1914 – World War I: A squadron of Britain's Royal Navy defeats an inferior squadron of the Imperial German High Seas Fleet in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.
1922 – Northern Ireland ceases to be part of the Irish Free State.
1927 – The Brookings Institution, one of the United States' oldest think tanks, is founded through the merger of three organizations that had been created by philanthropist Robert S. Brookings.
1941 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares December 7 to be "a date which will live in infamy", after which the U.S. declares war on Japan.
1941 – World War II: Japanese forces simultaneously invade Shanghai International Settlement, Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies. (See December 7 for the concurrent attack on Pearl Harbor in the Western Hemisphere.)
1949 – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is established to provide aid to Palestinian refugees who left their homes during the 1948 Palestinian exodus.
1953 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers his "Atoms for Peace" speech, which leads to an American program to supply equipment and information on nuclear power to schools, hospitals, and research institutions around the world.
1962 – Workers at four New York City newspapers (this later increases to nine) go on strike for 114 days.
1963 – Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707, is struck by lightning and crashes near Elkton, Maryland, killing all 81 people on board.
1966 – The Greek ship SS Heraklion sinks in a storm in the Aegean Sea, killing over 200.
1969 – An Olympic Airways Douglas DC-6 strikes a mountain outside of Keratea, Greece, killing 90—the worst crash of a DC-6.
1971 – Indo-Pakistani War: The Indian Navy launches an attack on West Pakistan's port city of Karachi.
1972 – United Airlines Flight 553, a Boeing 737, crashes after aborting its landing attempt at Chicago Midway International Airport, killing 45. The crash is the first-ever loss of a Boeing 737.
1974 – A plebiscite results in the abolition of monarchy in Greece.
1980 – John Lennon is murdered by Mark David Chapman in front of The Dakota in New York City.
1982 – In Suriname, several opponents of the military government are killed.
1987 – The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is signed.
1987 – Frank Vitkovic shoots and kills eight people at the Australia Post building in Melbourne, before jumping to his death.
1987 – The Alianza Lima air disaster occurs.
1987 – An Israeli army tank transporter kills four Palestinian refugees and injures seven others during a traffic accident at the Erez Crossing on the Israel–Gaza Strip border, sparking the First Intifada.
1988 – A United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II crashes into an apartment complex in Remscheid, Germany, killing 5 people and injuring 50 others.
1991 – The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine sign an agreement dissolving the Soviet Union and establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States.
1991 – The Romanian Constitution is adopted in a referendum.
1998 – Eighty-one people are killed by armed groups in Algeria.
2004 – The Cusco Declaration is signed in Cusco, Peru, establishing the South American Community of Nations.
2007 – Three unidentified gunmen storm an office of Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party in Balochistan. Three PPP supporters are killed.
2009 – Bombings in Baghdad, Iraq, kill 127 and injure 448.
2010 – With the second launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the first launch of the SpaceX Dragon, SpaceX becomes the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.
2010 – The Japanese solar-sail spacecraft IKAROS passes the planet Venus at a distance of about 80,800 km.
2013 – Riots break out in Singapore after a fatal accident in Little India.