In 1778, James Cook became the first European to reach the Hawaiian Islands. He called them the Sandwich Islands.
In 1871, William of Prussia was declared the first German emperor.
In 1943, Moscow announced the 16-month Nazi siege of Leningrad had been lifted.
In 1966, Indira Gandhi, daughter of the late Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, became prime minister of India.
In 1968, the United States and Soviet Union agreed on a draft of a nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
In 1983, The International Olympic Committee restored Jim Thorpe's Olympic medals to his family. They had been rescinded for Thorpe's having played professional baseball. He won gold medals in 1912 in the pentathlon and decathlon.
In 1990, Washington Mayor Marion Barry was arrested in an FBI sting at a downtown hotel and charged with buying and smoking crack cocaine.
In 1994, Iran-Contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh issued his final report on the scandal. He blasted former U.S. President George H.W. Bush for his Christmas Eve 1992 pardons of six Iran-Contra defendants.
In 1995, officials in Paris announced the discovery of a magnificent display of Paleolithic cave art in southern France.
In 1996, Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley, filed for divorce from Michael Jackson after 20 months of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences.