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1484 - Pope Innocent VIII issues the Summis desiderantes, a papal bull that deputizes Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger as inquisitors to root out alleged witchcraft in Germany and leads to one of the severest witchhunts in European history.

1492 - Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola.

1560 - Francis II of France dies and is succeeded by Charles IX of France.

1590 - Niccolò Sfondrati becomes Pope Gregory XIV.

1766 - In London, James Christie holds his first sale.

1776 - At the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, the Phi Beta Kappa is founded as the first scholastic fraternity in the United States.

1830 - World premiere of Hector Berlioz's most famous work Symphonie Phantastique in Paris.

1831 - Former US President John Quincy Adams takes his seat in the House of Representatives.

1848 - California Gold Rush: In a message before the U.S. Congress, US President James K. Polk confirms that large amounts of gold had been discovered in California.

1892 - Sir John Thompson becomes the fourth Prime Minister of Canada.

1926 - Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin is premiered.

1932 - German-born Swiss physicist Albert Einstein is granted an American visa.

1933 - Prohibition ends: Utah becomes the 36th U.S. state to ratify the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution, thus establishing the required 75% of states needed to enact the amendment (this overturned the 18th Amendment which had outlawed alcohol in the United States).


1934 - Abyssinia Crisis: Italian troops attack Wal Wal in Abyssinia, taking four days to capture the city.

1936 - The Soviet Union adopts a new constitution and the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic is established as a full Union Republic of the USSR.

1941 - In Battle of Moscow Zhukov launched a massive Soviet counter-attack against the German army, with the biggest offensive launched against Army Group Centre.

1941 - John Steinbeck's book Sea of Cortez is published (Steinbeck used knowledge gained writing this book to develop the marine biologist character Doc (see Ed Ricketts) in Cannery Row).

1945 - Flight 19, a squadron of five U.S. Navy TBF Avenger bombers on a training flight out of Fort Lauderdale, is lost in the Bermuda Triangle.

1952 - The Abbott and Costello Show, starring comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, debuts on American television.

1955 - The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merge and form the AFL-CIO.

1955 - Martin Luther King, Jr. leads the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 12/5/1955-12/21/1956.

1958 - Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) is inaugurated in the UK by Queen Elizabeth II when she speaks to the Lord Provost in a call from Bristol to Edinburgh.

1958 - The Preston bypass, the UK's first stretch of motorway opens to traffic for the first time, now part of the M6 and M55 motorways.

1964 - Vietnam War: For his heroism in battle earlier in the year, Captain Roger Donlon of Saugerties, New York is awarded the first Medal of Honor of the war.

1974 - Party Political Broadcast, the final episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, is broadcast on BBC 2.

1976 - United Nations General Assembly adopts Pakistan resolution on security of non-Nuclear States.


1977 - Egypt breaks diplomatic relations with Syria, Libya, Algeria, Iraq and South Yemen. The move is in retaliation to the Declaration of Tripoli against Egypt.

1978 - The Soviet Union signs a 'friendship treaty' with the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.

1979 - Sonia Johnson is formally excommunicated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for her outspoken criticism of the church concerning the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

1992 - Kent Conrad of North Dakota resigns his seat in the United States Senate and is sworn into the other seat from North Dakota, becoming the only US Senator ever to have held two seats on the same day.

2001 - World Record set for longest recorded kiss in New York.

2005 - The 2005 Southeast Asian Games end in Manila.

2005 - The Lake Tanganyika earthquake causes significant damage, mostly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

2005 - The Civil Partnership Act comes into effect in the United Kingdom, and the first civil partnership is registered there.


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