NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope launched in joint effort with ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, South America.
New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara equals Ernie Nevers 1929 NFL record of 6 touchdowns in a match in the Saints’ 52-33 win over the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, was released.
Cassini orbiter released the Huygens probe, which successfully landed on Saturn’s moon Titan.
Mikhail Gorbachev resigned from his position as Prime Minister of the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev had only served as Prime Minister for one year, during which time the Soviet Union rapidly collapsed around him. Gorbachev’s resignation signaled the end of the Soviet Union, with the state’s Council of the Republics voting to dissolve the union the very next day.
The show trial of Romanian Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu occurred.
Along with his wife Elena, they were tried on charges of genocide and personal enrichment. The trial lasted for just one hour before the couple was found guilty. They were executed by firing squad just a few minutes after the trial ended. Source
Paul McCartney and actress Jane Asher announced their engagement.
To Kill a Mockingbird film was released.
Robert Mulligan directed this film adaptation of the novel by Harper Lee. The film starred Gregory Peck, who went on to win Best Actor at the Academy Awards.
The play “Why Marry?” opened at the Astor Theatre in New York City.
“Why Marry?” was the first dramatic play to win a Pulitzer Prize.
George Washington crossed Delaware, in which he surprised and defeated 1,400 Hessians.
Johann Georg Palitzsch sighted the return of Halley’s Comet.
Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony forbade game playing on Christmas.
The Santa Maria sunk.
Christopher Columbus’ flagship ran aground and sunk on the north coast of Hispaniola. The crew was left to found a colony while Columbus returned to Spain.
William the Conqueror was crowned king of England at Westminster Abbey, London.
He was Duke of Normandy from 1035. On this day, he became the first Norman monarch of England.
Christmas was celebrated in Rome, marking the first time in recorded history that the holiday was celebrated.