1653 - Oliver Cromwell became lord protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.
1773 - Nearly 350 chests of tea were dumped into Boston Harbor off of British ships by Colonial patriots. The patriots were disguised as Indians. The act was to protest taxation without representation and the monopoly the government granted to the East India Company.
1809 - Napoleon Bonaparte was divorced from the Empress Josephine by an act of the French Senate.
1835 - In New York, 530 buildings were destroyed by fire.
1838 - The Zulu chief Dingaan was defeated by a small force of Boers at Blood River celebrated in South Africa as 'Dingaan's Day'.
1850 - The first immigrant ship, the Charlotte Jane, arrived at Lyttleton, New Zealand.
1901 - "The Tale of Peter Rabbit," by Beatrix Potter, was printed for the first time.
1916 - Gregory Rasputin, the monk who had wielded powerful influence over the Russian court, was murdered by a group of noblemen.
1940 - French Premier Petain arrested Pierre Laval after learning of a plan for Laval to seize power and set up a new government with German support.
1944 - During World War II, the Battle of the Bulge began in Belgium. It was the final major German counteroffensive in the war.
1950 - U.S. President Truman proclaimed a national state of emergency in order to fight "Communist imperialism."
1995 - NATO launched a military operation in support of the Bosnia peace agreement.
1996 - Britain's agriculture minister announced the slaughter of an additional 100,000 cows thought to be at risk of contracting BSE in an effort to persuade the EU to lift its ban on Britain.
1998 - The U.S. and Britain fired hundreds of missiles on Iraq in response to Saddam Hussein's refusal to comply with U.N. weapons inspectors.
2000 - Researchers announced that information from NASA's Galileo spacecraft indicated that Ganymede appeared to have a liquid saltwater ocean beneath a surface of solid ice. Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter, is the solar system's largest moon. The discovery is considered important since water is a key ingredient for life.
2001 - In Tora Bora, Afghanistan, tribal fighters announced that they had taken the last al-Quaida positions.
2001 - Cuba received the first commercial food shipment from the United States in nearly 40 years. The shipment was sent to help Cuba after Hurrican Michelle hit Cuba on November 4, 2001.