1249 - Andrew of Longjumeau is dispatched by Louis IX of France as his ambassador to meet with the Khan of the Mongols.
1646 - Battle of Great Torrington, Devon - the last major battle of the first English Civil War.
1742 - Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, becomes British Prime Minister.
1804 - First Barbary War: Stephen Decatur leads a raid to burn the pirate-held frigate USS Philadelphia.
1838 - Weenen Massacre: Hundreds of Voortrekkers along the Blaukraans River, Natal are killed by Zulus.
1852 - Studebaker Brothers wagon company, precursor of the automobile manufacturer, is established.
1857 - The National Deaf Mute College (later renamed Gallaudet University) is established in Washington, D.C., becoming the first school for the advanced education of the deaf.
1859 - The French Government passes a law to set the A-note above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz, in an attempt to standardize the pitch.
1862 - American Civil War: General Ulysses S. Grant captures Fort Donelson, Tennessee.
1866 - Spencer Compton Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington becomes the British Secretary of State for War.
1868 - In New York City the Jolly Corks organization is renamed the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE).
1899 - President Félix Faure of France dies in office.
1899 - Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur Iceland's first football club is founded.
1918 - The Council of Lithuania unanimously adopts the Act of Independence, declaring Lithuania an independent state.
1923 - Howard Carter unseals the burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
1934 - Austrian Civil War ends with the defeat of the Social Democrats and the Republican Schutzbund.
1934 - Commission of Government is sworn in as form of direct rule for the Dominion of Newfoundland.
1936 - Elections bring the Popular Front to power in Spain.
1937 - Wallace H. Carothers receives a patent for nylon.
1940 - World War II: Altmark Incident: The German tanker Altmark is boarded by sailors from the British destroyer HMS Cossack. 299 British prisoners are freed.
1943 - World War II: The USSR reconquers Kharkov.
1945 - World War II: American forces land on Corregidor island in the Philippines.
1945 - World War II: First American Aircraft carrier strikes on Tokyo.
1945 - American forces recapture the Bataan Peninsula.
1947 - Canadians granted Canadian citizenship after 80 years of being British subjects. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King becomes the first Canadian citizen.
1957 - The "Toddlers' Truce", a controversial television closedown between 6.00pm and 7.00pm was abolished in the United Kingdom.
1959 - Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba after dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown on January 1.
1961 - Explorer program: Explorer 9 (S-56a) is launched.
1968 - In Haleyville, Alabama, the first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system goes into service.
1978 - The first computer bulletin board system is created (CBBS in Chicago, Illinois).
1983 - The Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia claim the lives of 71 people in Australia's worst ever fires.
1985 - The founding of Hezbollah.
1986 - The Soviet liner Mikhail Lermontov runs aground in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand.
1987 - The trial of John Demjanjuk, accused of being a Nazi guard dubbed "Ivan the Terrible" in Treblinka extermination camp, starts in Jerusalem.
1993 - Western Australia's and Australia's first woman Premier, Carmen Lawrence, is voted out of office.
1999 - In Uzbekistan, a bomb explodes and gunfire is heard at the government headquarters in an apparent assassination attempt against President Islom Karimov.
1999 - Across Europe, Kurdish rebels take over embassies and hold hostages after Turkey arrested one of their rebel leaders, Abdullah Öcalan.
2005 - The Kyoto Protocol comes into force, following its ratification by Russia.
2005 - The National Hockey League cancels the entire 2004-2005 regular season and playoffs, becoming the first major sports league in North America to do so over a labor dispute.
2006 - The last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) is decommissioned by the United States Army.