1783 - George Washington returned home to Mount Vernon, after the disbanding of his army following the Revolutionary War.
1788 - Maryland voted to cede a 100-square-mile area for the seat of the national government. About two-thirds of the area became the District of Columbia.
1823 - The poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement C. Moore (" 'Twas the night before Christmas...") was published.
1888 - Following a quarrel with Paul Gauguin, Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh cut off part of his own earlobe.
1893 - The Engelbert Humperdinck opera "Hansel und Gretel" was first performed, in Weimar, Germany.
1922 - The British Broadcasting Corporation began daily news broadcasts.
1951 - A National Football League (NFL) championship game was televised nationally for the first time. The Los Angeles Rams beat the Cleveland Browns 24-17. The DuMont Network had paid $75,000 for the rights to the game.
1965 - A 70-mph speed limit was introduced in Britain.
1986 - The experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, completed the first non-stop, around-the-world flight without refueling as it landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
1987 - Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, serving a life sentence for the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ford in 1975, escaped from the Alderson Federal Prison for Women in West Virginia. She was recaptured two days later.