- 406 - Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gallia.
- 535 - Byzantine General Belisarius completes the conquest of Sicily, defeating the Ostrogothic garrison of Syracuse, and ending his consulship for the year.
- 1687 - The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.
- 1775 - American Revolutionary War: Battle of Quebec, British forces repulse an attack by Continental Army generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold.
- 1857 - Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa, Ontario, as the capital of Canada.
- 1862 - American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln signs an act that admits West Virginia to the Union (thus dividing Virginia in two).
- 1862 - American Civil War: The Battle of Stones River is fought near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
- 1879 - Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time.
- 1891 - A new immigration depot is opened on Ellis Island, New York.
- 1904 - The first New Year's Eve celebration is held in Times Square, then known as Longacre Square, in New York, New York.
- 1944 - World War II: Hungary declares war on Germany.
- 1946 - President Harry S. Truman officially proclaims the end of hostilities in World War II.