1729: After being ordered out of their village by French commander Sieur de Chépart, who wanted the land to expand his own tobacco plantation, Natchez Indians attack the French colony near the site of modern-day Natchez, Miss., including Fort Rosalie. Warriors killed more than 200 colonists, mostly French men, and took captive more than 300 women, children and slaves.
1777: San Jose, Calif., is founded as Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe. It is the first civilian settlement, or pueblo, in Alta California, a territory of New Spain that included all of present day California and Arizona, and portions of Nevada and Utah.
1832: Louisa May Alcott, who would become best known as author of the novel "Little Women" and its sequels "Little Men" and "Jo's Boys," is born in Germantown, Pa.
1872: Journalist and politician Horace Greeley, who famously advised "Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country" in a July 1865 editorial, dies at age 61 in Pleasantville, N.Y. Greeley was also a founder of the Liberal Republican Party and a staunch opponent of slavery. He ran for U.S. president in 1872 but lost in a landslide, becoming the only presidential candidate to have died prior to the counting of electoral votes.
1877: Thomas Edison demonstrates his phonograph for the first time.
1890: Navy defeats Army by a score of 24-0 in the first Army-Navy football game. The game was played at West Point, N.Y.
1895: Film director and choreographer Busby Berkeley, who would become famous for his elaborate musical production numbers that often involved complex geometric patterns, is born in Los Angeles, Calif.
1898: Author C. S. Lewis, best known as the author of the "The Chronicles of Narnia" book series, is born in Belfast, Ireland.
1902: The Pittsburgh Stars defeat the Philadelphia Athletics 11-0 at the Pittsburgh Coliseum, winning the first championship associated with a national professional football league. The teams played in the first National Football League, which has no connection with the modern NFL and lasted only one season.
1924: Italian composer Giacomo Puccini, whose operas include "Madame Butterfly" and "La bohème," dies from a heart attack at the age of 65 before he could complete his final opera. The last two scenes of "Turandot" would be completed by Italian composer Franco Alfano based on the Puccini's sketches.
1927: Hall of Fame baseball announcer Vin Scully, best known as the play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team ever since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1957, is born in The Bronx, N.Y.
1929: U.S. Admiral Richard Byrd becomes the first person to fly over the South Pole.
1935: Actress Diane Ladd, a three-time Oscar nominee known for movies like "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," "Wild at Heart" and "Rambling Rose," is born Rose Diane Ladner in Meridian, Miss. She's seen here with her daughter, Laura Dern, in the HBO series "Enlightened."
1944: The first surgery on a human to correct "blue baby" syndrome is performed at Johns Hopkins University by chief surgeon Alfred Blalock, pediatric cardiologist Helen Taussig and lab technician Vivien Thomas. The Blalock-Taussig shunt procedure joined an artery leaving the heart to an artery leading to the lungs, in an attempt to give the blood a second chance at oxygenation. Thousands of cyanotic children would be helped by the operation until later surgeries were developed to repair the heart defect itself.
1947: In what's labeled as "The Partition Plan," the United Nations General Assembly recommends the partition of Palestine. The plan would have created independent Arab and Jewish states and a special international regime for the City of Jerusalem. Arab leadership in and out of Palestine objected to the plan and it was never implemented.
1949: Wrestler and sportscaster Jerry "The King" Lawler, who has held 168 championships throughout his career, is born in Memphis, Tenn.
1949: Comedian and actor Garry Shandling, best known for his work on the TV shows "It's Garry Shandling's Show" and "The Larry Sanders Show," is born in Chicago, Ill.
1951: The first U.S. underground atom bomb test is detonated at Frenchman Flat, a 123-square-mile dry lake bed at the Nevada Test Site. The 1.2 kiloton explosion, codenamed "Uncle" as the last of a series of seven tests termed Operation Buster-Jangle, took place 17 feet underground and left behind a hole 53-feet deep and 260-feet wide.
1952: U.S. President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower fulfills a campaign promise by traveling to Korea to find out what can be done to end the Korean War.
1954: Filmmaker Joel Coen (right), who would go on to make movies such as "Blood Simple," "Fargo, "The Big Lebowski" and "No Country for Old Men," with his brother Ethan (left), is born in St. Louis Park, Minn.
1955: Comedian and game show host Howie Mandel, known for hosting the game show "Deal or No Deal," starring in the TV medical drama "St. Elsewhere" and for creating the children's cartoon "Bobby's World," is born in North York, Ontario, Canada.
1959: Rahm Emanuel, who would serve as the White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2010 and is now the mayor of Chicago, is born in Chicago.
1960: Actress Cathy Moriarty, an Oscar-nominee for "Raging Bull" who also has appeared in movies such as "Kindergarten Cop," "Soapdish," "Casper" (pictured), "Cop Land" and "Analyze That," is born in The Bronx, N.Y.
1961: Enos becomes the first chimpanzee launched into Earth orbit, on board Mercury Atlas 5. The spacecraft orbited the Earth twice and splashed-down off the coast of Puerto Rico. Enos' flight was a full dress rehearsal for the next Mercury launch on Feb. 20, 1962, which would make Lt. Colonel John Glenn the first American to orbit the Earth.
1962: Actor Andrew McCarthy, best known for his roles in movies such as "St. Elmo's Fire," "Pretty in Pink," "Less Than Zero" and "Weekend at Bernie's," is born in Westfield, N.J.
1963: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson establishes a commission headed up by Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Warren Commission, as it unofficially became known, would present its final report to Johnson on Sept. 24, 1964, concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy and wounding Texas Gov. John Connally and that Jack Ruby also acted alone when he killed Oswald a few days later.
1963: The Beatles' fifth single "I Want to Hold Your Hand" is released in the United Kingdom. The song would debut at No. 2 on the British single charts, blocked from the top spot by only the band's previous single, "She Loves You." After two weeks it would top the charts, staying at No. 1 for five weeks and remaining in the U.K. top 50 for 21 weeks in total. After being released in the United States by Capitol Records the day after Christmas, it would also eventually become the group's first American No. 1 single.
1964: Actor Don Cheadle, best known for his roles in movies such as "Boogie Nights," "Traffic," "Ocean's Eleven," "Crash," "Iron Man 2" and "Hotel Rwanda," is born in Kansas City, Mo.
1964: Actor Tom Sizemore, best known for his roles in films such as "Saving Private Ryan," "Black Hawk Down," "Heat" and "Pearl Harbor," is born in Detroit, Mich.
1967: In the midst of the Vietnam War, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announces his pending resignation and that he'll become president of the World Bank. When he left office on Feb. 29, 1968, he did so as the longest-serving secretary of defense ever, amassing 2,595 days between 1961 and 1969. President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded him both the Medal of Freedom and the Distinguished Service Medal for his efforts.
1968: Singer Jonathan Knight (second from left), best known as a member of the boy band New Kids on the Block, is born in Worcester, Mass.
1969: Baseball pitcher Mariano Rivera, a 13-time All-Star who played his entire 19-year career with the New York Yankees before retiring after the 2013 season, is born in Panama City, Panama. Rivera, who won five World Series titles with the Yankees, is MLB's all-time leader in saves (652) and games finished (952).
1971: Actress Gena Lee Nolin, best known for her television roles on "The Price Is Right" and "Baywatch" in the 1990s, is born in Duluth, Minn.
1972: Atari announces the release of "Pong," a simulated table tennis game. The game quickly became the first commercially successful video game, leading to the start of the video game industry.
1976: Actress Anna Faris, best known for roles in movies such as "Scary Movie," "Lost in Translation" and "The House Bunny," is born in Baltimore, Md. She's seen here with her then-fiance Chris Pratt in 2007.
1980: American journalist and social activist Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement with Peter Maurin in the 1930s, dies of a heart attack at the age of 83 in New York City. Day, a devout Catholic convert, advocated the Catholic economic theory of distributism and was considered an anarchist. The Catholic Worker Movement continues today to be a nonviolent, pacifist movement combining direct aid for the poor and homeless with nonviolent direct action on their behalf.
1981: Actress Natalie Wood, the star of such movies as "West Side Story," "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Splendor in the Grass," drowns at the age of 43 while on a weekend boating trip near Santa Catalina Island off the shore of California. Her death would be declared an accident for 31 years, but reclassified as "undetermined" in 2012 after a new investigation.
1983: Nearly four years into the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution stating that Soviet Union forces should withdraw from the country. The war would stretch on for more than five more years before Soviet troops withdrew under the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev.
1984: The single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" is released by Band Aid. The group, consisting of leading British and Irish musicians of the time, was assembled by Bob Geldof to aid in famine relief for Ethiopia. Among the participants were Phil Collins, Bono, George Michael, Sting, David Bowie and Paul McCartney. The song would become the biggest selling single in UK Singles Chart history, selling a million copies in the first week alone and staying at No. 1 for five weeks.
1986: Actor Cary Grant, best known for roles in movies such as "Gunga Din," "The Philadelphia Story," "His Girl Friday," "Notorious," "An Affair to Remember," "North by Northwest" and "Charade," dies from a brain hemorrhage at the age of 82 in Davenport, Iowa. Grant was nominated twice for Academy Awards for Best Actor, for 1941's "Penny Serenade" and 1944's "None But the Lonely Heart," but never won an Oscar. One of classic Hollywood's definitive leading men, Grant was presented with an honorary Oscar at the 42nd Academy Awards in 1970.
1990: The United Nations Security Council passes two resolutions to restore international peace and security if Iraq did not withdraw its forces from Kuwait and free all foreign hostages by Jan. 15, 1991. With Saddam Hussein refusing to pull out of Kuwait, an United Nations-authorized coalition force led by the United States would begin an aerial bombardment on Jan. 17 followed by a ground assault on Feb. 24. The effort, codenamed Operation Desert Storm, would prove to be a decisive victory for the coalition forces, who liberated Kuwait and advanced into Iraqi territory.
1991: Actor Ralph Bellamy, best known for movies such as "The Awful Truth," "His Girl Friday," "The Professionals," "Rosemary's Baby" and "Trading Places," dies from a lung ailment at the age of 87 in Santa Monica, Calif. Bellamy earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in 1937's "The Awful Truth" and also earned three Emmy Award nominations in his career. He also was a founder of the Screen Actors Guild and served as as a four-term president of Actors' Equity from 1952 to 1964.
1999: Game show host Gene Rayburn, best known for hosting various incarnations of the TV game show "Match Game" over two decades, dies of congestive heart failure at the age of 81 in Gloucester, Mass.
2001: Former Beatle George Harrison dies of lung cancer at the age of 58 in Los Angeles, Calif. Harrison, the lead guitarist for The Beatles, is known for writing songs such as "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Something" and "Here Comes the Sun" while with the band. He had a successful solo career after the band broke up and also co-founded the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys with Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison in 1988.
2005: Actress Wendie Jo Sperber, known for her roles in movies such as "Bachelor Party," "Moving Violations" and "Back to the Future" and the sitcom "Bosom Buddies" (pictured, upper left) dies of breast cancer at age 47 in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
2010: Pablo Picasso's electrician, Pierre Le Guennec, reveals 271 previously unknown works by the artist, claiming they were gifts from Picasso and his second wife, Jacqueline. Le Guennec installed burglar alarm systems at Picasso's numerous houses in France during the three years before the artist died in 1973. The cache of work, which dates from 1900 to 1932 and includes lithographs, portraits, watercolors and sketches estimated to be worth $80 million, came to light after Le Guennec and his wife contacted the Picasso Administration to authenticate the works. Picasso's son Claude Picasso, convinced the works of art were stolen, contacted the authorities and the Le Guennecs would be indicted in May 2011. All the artwork has been seized pending a court verdict.
2011: Stand-up comedian Patrice O'Neal, who had struggled with diabetes and weight issues for several years, dies at the age of 41 in Englewood, N.J., more than a month after a stroke left him paralyzed and unable to speak.
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