1608: Birth of poet John Milton in London.
1625: England and The Netherlands sign a military treaty.
1688: James II’s wife and son flee England for France.
1747: Great Britain and The Netherlands sign a military treaty (yes, another).
1783: The first execution at Newgate Jail in London – now the site of The Old Bailey.
1854: Alfred Tennyson’s poem “Charge of the Light Brigade” is published in “The Examiner.”
1856: The Iranian city of Bushehr surrenders to occupying British forces.
1868: The first government of William Gladstone forms. On the same day, the first traffic lights are installed outside the Palace of Westminster. They use semaphore arms and are illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps.
1899: During the Siege of Ladysmith, Boers storm King’s Post and Caesar’s Camp but are driven back.
1903: The Norwegian parliament votes for female suffrage.
1905: The French Assembly National votes for the separation of church and state.
1910: French troops occupy the Moroccan port of Agadir.
1917: British forces under General Allenby capture Jerusalem.
1918: French troops occupy Mainz in Germany.
1926: The US Golf Association accepts the use of steel shaft golf clubs.
1931: The Japanese army attacks the Chinese province of Jehol. On the same day, Spain becomes a republic.
1939: Russian planes bomb Helsinki.
1940: British assault on Benghazi, Libya, the first major allied offensive in North Africa.
1941: China declares war on Japan, Germany and Italy. On the same day, Hitler orders US ships to be torpedoed.
1952: The sunshine returns following four days of thick smog that brought London to a standstill.
1960: The first episode of Coronation Street is broadcast on ITV.
1961: Tanganyika gains independence from Britain and takes the name Tanzania.
1964: Jazz saxophonist John Coltrane’s quartet records the legendary album “A Love Supreme” at Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
1967: Nicolae Ceaușescu becomes President of Romania.
1973: Tripartite talks on Northern Ireland at Sunningdale end in an historic agreement to set up a Council of Ireland. On the same day, Arab oil ministers announce a further production cut of 5 percent for January for non-friendly countries.
- Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade
- I Love You Love Me Love – Gary Glitter
- My Coo-Ca-Choo – Alvin Stardust
- You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me – The New Seekers
- Paper Roses – Marie Osmond
- I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard
- Lamplight – David Essex
- Roll Away The Stone – Mott The Hoople
- Street Life – Roxy Music
- Why, Oh Why, Oh Why – Gilbert O’Sullivan
- Dreams Are Nothin’ More Than Wishes – David Cassidy
- Stranded – Roxy Music
- Pin Ups – David Bowie
- Sabbath Bloody Sabbath – Black Sabbath
- I’m A Writer Not A Fighter – Gilbert O’Sullivan
- And I Love You So – Perry Como
- Music For A Royal Wedding – Various Artists
- Welcome – Santana
- Rock On – David Essex
- Quadrophenia – The Who
1982: The World Boxing Council is first to reduce the length of championship fights from 15 to 12 rounds, and allows referees to order a standing 8-count for fighters in trouble.
1987: The England cricket tour of Pakistan hangs in the balance after a row erupts between England captain Mike Gatting and umpire Shakoor Rana.
1990: Lech Walesa wins Poland’s first direct presidential election.
1993: The mission to repair the Hubble telescope in outer space is declared an unqualified success.
1996: Horrett Campbell, a 33-year old paranoid schizophrenic who attacked three children and four women with a machete at an infant school teddy bears’ picnic in Wolverhampton is found guilty of seven counts of attempted murder.
2000: Tottenham defender Ledley King scores the fastest goal in English Premier League history after 9.82 seconds in a 3-3 draw at Bradford City.
2003: Ozzy Osbourne is admitted to Wexham Park Hospital in Slough, after breaking his collarbone, eight ribs and a vertebra in his neck in a quad bike accident at his UK home.
2008: Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, is arrested by federal officials for a number of alleged crimes including attempting to sell the United States Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
2010: Eric Clapton announces he is to sell off part of his extensive guitar collection to raise money for his Crossroads rehab centre in Antigua.
2014: A report is released, detailing the CIA’s use of torture on detainees between 2001-2006.
2017: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Arabi declares victory over Islamic State in Iraq. On the same day, same-sex marriage is legalised in Australia.
2019: Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson dies aged 61 following a 17-year battle with cancer. On the same day, the World Anti-Doping Agency bans Russia from all major sporting events including the Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar for manipulating laboratory data. Also, Whakaari volcano, a tourist attraction in New Zealand erupts killing 16.
BIRTHDAYS: Dame Judi Dench, actress, 87; Beau (Lloyd) Bridges, actor, 80; Joan Armatrading, singer-songwriter, 71; Michael Dorn, actor, 69; John Malcovich, actor, 68; Donny Osmond, singer, 64; Nick Seymour, bassist, (Crowded House) 63; Felicity Huffman, actress, 59; Paul Landers, guitarist (Rammstein) 57; Geoff Barrow, producer/songwriter/instrumentalist/DJ (Portishead) 50; Tre Cool (Frank Wright) drummer (Green Day) 49; Reiko Aylesworth, actress, 49; Imogen Heap, singer-songwriter, 43; Jesse Metcalfe, actor, 43; Simon Helberg, actor, 41; Jermaine Beckford, footballer, 38.