3340 BC – Earliest believed record of an eclipse. 1707 – The second Siege of Pensacola comes to end with the failure of the British to capture Pensacola, Florida. 1718 – King Charles XII of Sweden dies during a siege of the fortress of Fredriksten in Norway. 1782 – American Revolutionary War: Treaty of Paris: In Paris, representatives from the United States and the Kingdom of Great Britain sign preliminary peace articles (later formalized as the 1783 Treaty of Paris). 1786 – The Grand Duchy of Tuscany, under Pietro Leopoldo I, becomes the first modern state to abolish the death penalty (later commemorated as Cities for Life Day). 1803 – In New Orleans, Spanish representatives officially transfer the Louisiana Territory to a French representative. Just 20 days later, France transfers the same land to the United States as the Louisiana Purchase. 1804 – The Democratic-Republican-controlled United States Senate begins an impeachment trial of Federalist Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase. 1824 – Ground is broken at Allanburg, Ontario, for the building of the first Welland Canal. 1829 – First Welland Canal opens for a trial run, five years to the day from the ground breaking. 1853 – Crimean War: Battle of Sinop: The Imperial Russian Navy under Pavel Nakhimov destroys the Ottoman fleet under Osman Pasha at Sinop, a sea port in northern Turkey. 1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Franklin: The Confederate Army of Tennessee led by General John Bell Hood mounts a dramatically unsuccessful frontal assault on Union positions commanded by John McAllister Schofield around Franklin, Tennessee, with Hood losing six generals and almost a third of his troops. 1868 – A statue of King Charles XII of Sweden is inaugurated in Stockholm's Kungsträdgården. 1872 – The first-ever international football match takes place at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, between Scotland and England. 1886 – The Folies Bergère stages its first revue. 1902 – American Old West: Kid Curry Logan, second-in-command of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch gang, is sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with hard labor. 1916 – Costa Rica signs the Buenos Aires Convention, a copyright treaty. 1934 – The LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman becomes the first steam locomotive to be authenticated as reaching 100 mph. 1936 – In London, the Crystal Palace is destroyed by fire. 1939 – Winter War: Soviet forces cross the Finnish border in several places and bomb Helsinki and several other Finnish cities, starting the war. 1940 – Lucille Ball marries Desi Arnaz in Greenwich, Connecticut. 1942 – World War II: Battle of Tassafaronga; A smaller squadron of Japanese destroyers led by Raizō Tanaka defeats a U.S. cruiser force under Carleton H. Wright. 1947 – 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine begins, leading up to the creation of the state of Israel. 1953 – Edward Mutesa II, the kabaka (king) of Buganda is deposed and exiled to London by Sir Andrew Cohen, Governor of Uganda. 1954 – In Sylacauga, Alabama, United States, the Hodges meteorite crashes through a roof and hits a woman taking an afternoon nap. This is the only documented case in the Western Hemisphere of a human being hit by a rock from space. 1966 – Barbados becomes independent from the United Kingdom. 1967 – The People's Democratic Republic of Yemen becomes independent from the United Kingdom. 1967 – The Pakistan Peoples Party is founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who becomes its first chairman. 1967 – Pro-Soviet communists in the Philippines establish Malayang Pagkakaisa ng Kabataan Pilipino as its new youth wing. 1971 – Iran seizes the Greater and Lesser Tunbs from the United Arab Emirates. 1972 – Vietnam War: White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler tells the press that there will be no more public announcements concerning American troop withdrawals from Vietnam because troop levels are now down to 27,000. 1975 – The Republic of Dahomey is renamed the People's Republic of Benin. 1981 – Cold War: In Geneva, representatives from the United States and the Soviet Union begin to negotiate intermediate-range nuclear weapon reductions in Europe. (The meetings end inconclusively on December 17.) 1982 – Michael Jackson's second solo album, Thriller is released worldwide. It will become the best-selling record album in history. 1989 – Deutsche Bank board member Alfred Herrhausen is killed by a Red Army Faction terrorist bomb. 1993 – American National Football League awards 30th franchise to the Jacksonville Jaguars. 1993 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signs the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (the Brady Bill) into law. 1994 – MS Achille Lauro catches fire off the coast of Somalia. 1995 – Official end of Operation Desert Storm. 1995 – U.S. President Bill Clinton visits Northern Ireland and speaks in favour of the "Northern Ireland peace process" to a huge rally at Belfast City Hall. He calls terrorists "yesterday's men". 1998 – Exxon and Mobil sign a US$73.7 billion agreement to merge, thus creating ExxonMobil, the world's largest company. 1999 – In Seattle, United States, demonstrations against a World Trade Organization meeting by anti-globalization protesters catch police unprepared and force the cancellation of opening ceremonies. 1999 – British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems merge to form BAE Systems, Europe's largest defense contractor and the fourth largest aerospace firm in the world. 2001 – In Renton, Washington, United States, Gary Ridgway (aka The Green River Killer) is arrested. 2004 – Longtime Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings of Salt Lake City, finally loses, leaving him with US$2,520,700, television's biggest game show winnings. 2004 – Lion Air Flight 538 crash lands in Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia, killing 26. 2005 – John Sentamu becomes the first black archbishop in the Church of England with his enthronement as the 97th Archbishop of York. 2012 – An Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane belonging to Aéro-Service, crashes into houses near Maya-Maya Airport during a thunderstorm, killing at least 32 people.
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