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1499 - The Swabian War between the Swiss League and Maximilian I ended with the signing of the Peace of Basle by which the Swiss gained independence.
1735 - Sir Robert Walpole became the first British prime minister to occupy 10 Downing Street in London.
1776 - Nathan Hale was hanged as a spy by the British during the Revolutionary War.
1789 - The United States Congress authorized the office of Postmaster-General.
1789 - A Russian-Austrian army of 25,000 under Count Suvorov heavily defeated a large force of Turks at the battle of Rimnik in the Turkish-Russian Wars.
1792 - In France, the Convention declared the country to be a republic. All decisions taken by the Convention were dated "Year I of the French Republic."
1828 - Shaka, Zulu chieftain and founder of the Zulu empire, was killed by his two half-brothers after he became insane.
1862 - United States President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all slaves in rebel states free as of January 1, 1863.
1862 - Otto von Bismarck became premier of Prussia.
1914 - In World War I, German U-boats sank the British cruisers Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy in the North Sea, killing more than 1,400.
1927 - Referee Dave Barry halted the count because while boxer Gene Tunney was down; the current champion, Jack Dempsey, failed to return to his corner. By the time the ref was allowed to start counting again, Tunney was up on his feet again. He got an extra 2 to 5 seconds, which counted greatly. Tunney won both the fight and the world championship.
1934 - The worst pit disaster in Britain for 21 years killed more than 260 miners in an explosion and fire at the Gresford Mine in Wales.
1937 - On the Brunswick label, Red Norvo and his orchestra recorded the "Russian Lullaby". Later Norvo would do a more famous work with a recording including singer Dinah Shore.
1940 - France agreed to Japanese demands that it be allowed to station aircraft in Tongking, thus giving the Japanese strategic entry into French Indochina.
1943 - After 13 consecutive hours on air, singer Kate Smith finished her radio War Bond appeal. Smith's efforts resulted in a collection of $39 million dollars in bond pledges.
1949 - The Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb.
1950 - US Diplomat Ralph J. Bunche received the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first Black person to receive such an honor. Bunche's fame stemmed from his work for the US government and the United Nations. Among his many duties, he served as mediator between Israel and Arab countries with regard to Palestine.
1955 - Commercial television was beamed to thos living in Great Britain. Then rules allowed only six minutes of ads each hour and no Sunday morning television was permitted. The first ad screened was for toothpaste.
1955 - The film, To Hell and Back, starring World War II hero Audie Murphy, premiered in New York on this date.
1957 - After only 18 months, "The CBS Radio Workshop" ended. Critics said the show was “ingenious radio programming.”
1960 - Mali gained independence from France.
1961 - United States Congress approved a legislation introduced by President John F. Kennedy to create the Peace Corps. Its objectives are to "promote world peace and friendship" by sending volunteers to developing countries to assist in their social and economic development. By the year 2000, the number of volunteers is expected to increase to 10,000.
1962 - At a concert at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall fun was had by all. Included in the activities was newcomer Bob Dylan making his first appearance at Carnegie Hall.
1964 - The musical "Fiddler on the Roof" opened on Broadway, New York, and ran for 3,242 performances. Based on Sholom Aleichem's short story "Tevye and his Daughters," the play takes place in a small Jewish village in Russia in 1905, and deals with the difficulty of holding onto one's beliefs amid a hostile and changing environment.
1964 - The hour-long spy adventure series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., starring Robert Vaughn as the suave Napoleon Solo, debuted on NBC.
1973 - Henry Kissinger took the oath to become the United States Secretary of State, in what was the first time a naturalized citizen held this office.
1975 - Sara Jane Moore attempted to shoot United States President Gerald Ford outside a San Francisco, California hotel, but missed.
1980 - The conflict between Iran and Iraq developed into full-scale war.
1980 - John Lennon signed with Geffen Records, which would release the LP, "Double Fantasy". Lennon would be murdered on December 8, 1980.)
1985 - French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius admitted that French secret agents acting under orders sank the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand.
1985 - Star musicians Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Cougar Mellencamp held a benefit concert to raise funds for Middle America's financially troubled farmers. The concert, "Farm Aid," raised ten million dollars.
1988 - Canada's government apologized for the internment of Japanese-Canadians during World War II. They also promised compensation.
1989 - An Irish Republican Army bomb attack killed 10 at the Royal Marines School of Music in Deal, England.
1989 - Christian army chief General Michel Aoun accepted an Arab League plan to end the war in Lebanon.
1989 - Russian-born composer Irving Berlin, one of America's most prolific and famous writers of music, died in his sleep at age 101. His music was used in many films, including The Jazz Singer, The Cocoanuts, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Annie Get Your Gun, Blue Skies, Easter Parade, Holiday Inn, and There's No Business Like Show Business. Berlin received an Oscar for Best Song for White Christmas.
1989 - Called by some critics "Body Watch", the California-beach-based lifeguard show Baywatch debuted on NBC. Although the show had a healthy viewership, the network canceled the show after one season. Baywatch star, David Hasselhoff, took an unusual step, and investing a great deal of his own money, revived the show and offered it for syndication. He had researched the audience, and believed there was a loyal enough following to make his investment pay off. Hasselhoff proved to be right, and within a few years, Baywatch became the most-watched television show in the world, with huge audiences in England and China. It was estimated to have a collective viewership of 1 billion.
1992 - The United Nations General Assembly expelled Yugoslavia.
1996 - In Australia, Bob Dent, a cancer victim, became the first man in the world to commit legally assisted suicide under a voluntary euthanasia law from a lethal injection.
1998 - The United States and Russia signed two agreements. One was to privatize Russia's nuclear progam and the other was to stop plutonium stockpiles and nuclear scientists from leaving the country.