1696 - Connecticut Route 108, third oldest highway in Connecticut laid out to Trumbull.
1724 - Tumult of Thorn – religious unrest was followed by the execution of nine Protestant citizens and the mayor of Thorn (Toruń) by Polish authorities.
1732 - The Royal Opera House opens at Covent Garden, London.
1776 - Marquis de Lafayette attempts to enter the American military as a major general.
1787 - Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the US Constitution.
1862 - US Civil War: Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas.
1900 - Max Planck, in his house at Grunewald, on the outskirts of Berlin, discovers the law of black body emission.
1917 - World War I: The United States declares war on Austria-Hungary.
1930 - W1XAV in Boston, Massachusetts broadcasts video from the CBS radio orchestra program, The Fox Trappers. The broadcast also includes the first television commercial in the United States, an advertisement for I.J. Fox Furriers, who sponsored the radio show.
1940 - The first prototype Fairey Barracuda flew
1941 - World War II: Attack on Pearl Harbor – The Imperial Japanese Navy attacks the US Pacific Fleet and its defending Army Air Forces and Marine air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Because of the time difference due to the International Date Line, the events of December 8 occurred while the date was still December 7 to the east of this line.
1946 - A fire at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia kills 119 people, the deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history.
1949 - Chinese Civil War: The government of Republic of China moves from Nanking to Taipei.
1962 - Prince Rainier III of Monaco revises the principality's constitution, devolving some of his power to advisory and legislative councils.
1963 - Instant replay is used for the first time in a Army-Navy game.
1965 - Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras simultaneously lift mutual excommunications that had been in place since 1054.
1966 - A fire at an army barracks in Erzurum, Turkey kills 68 people.
1970 - The first ever general election on the basis of direct adult franchise is held in Pakistan for 313 National Assembly seats.
1971 - Pakistan President Yahya Khan announces formation of a Coalition Government at Centre with Nurul Amin as Prime Minister and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto as Vice-Prime Minister.
1972 - Apollo 17, the last Apollo moon mission, is launched. The crew takes the photograph known as "The Blue Marble" as they leave the Earth.
1975 - Indonesia invades East Timor.
1982 - In Texas, Charles Brooks, Jr. becomes the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the United States.
1983 - An Iberia Airlines Boeing 727 collides with an Aviaco DC-9 in dense fog while the two airliners are taxiing down the runway at Madrid Barajas International Airport, killing 93 people.
1987 - Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 crashes near Paso Robles, California, killing all 43 on board, after a disgruntled passenger shoots his ex-boss traveling on the flight, then shoots both pilots and himself.
1987 - Alianza Lima air disaster. A plane crashed killing all Alianza Lima team in Ventanilla, Callao, Peru.
1988 - Yasser Arafat recognizes the right of Israel to exist.
1988 - Spitak Earthquake: In Armenia an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale kills nearly 25,000, injures 15,000 and leaves 400,000 homeless.
1993 - The Long Island Rail Road massacre: Passenger Colin Ferguson murders six people and injures 19 others on the LIRR in Nassau County, New York.
1995 - The Galileo spacecraft arrives at Jupiter, a little more than six years after it was launched by Space Shuttle Atlantis during Mission STS-34.
1999 - The RIAA files a lawsuit against the Napster file-sharing client, on charges of copyright infringement.
2003 - The Conservative Party of Canada is officially recognized after the merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.
2005 - Rigoberto Alpizar, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 924 who allegedly claimed to have a bomb, is shot and killed by a team of U.S. federal air marshals at Miami International Airport.
2006 - A tornado struck Kensal Green, North West London, seriously damaging around 150 properties.
2007 - The Hebei Spirit oil spill began in South Korea after a crane barge being towed by tug collided with the Very Large Crude Carrier, Hebei Spirit.