- 1154 - Henry II of England is crowned at Westminster Abbey.
- 1606 - The Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery depart England carrying settlers who, at Jamestown, Virginia, found the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States.
- 1776 - Thomas Paine publishes one of a series of pamphlets in the Pennsylvania Journal titled The American Crisis.
- 1777 - American Revolutionary War: George Washington's Continental Army goes into winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
- 1916 - World War I: Battle of Verdun – On the Western Front, the French Army successfully holds off the German Army and drives it back to its starting position.
- 1932 - BBC World Service begins broadcasting
- 1941 – World War II: Adolf Hitler becomes Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the German Army.
- 1946 – Start of the First Indochina War.
- 1972 - Apollo program: The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt, returns to Earth.