1521 – Martin Luther confronted the emperor Charles V in the Diet of Worms and refused to retract his views that led to his excommunication.

1838 – The Wilkes’ expedition to the South Pole set sail.

1846 – The telegraph ticker was patented by R.E. House

1847 – U.S. troops defeated almost 17,000 Mexican soldiers commanded by Santa Anna at Cerro Gordo. (Mexican-American War)

1853 – The first train in Asia began running from Bombay to Thana.

1877 – Charles Cros wrote a paper that described the process of recording and reproducing sound. In France, Cros is regarded as the inventor of the phonograph. In the U.S., Thomas Edison gets the credit.

1895 – New York State passed an act that established free public baths.

1910 – Walter R. Brookins made the first airplane flight at night.

1934 – The first Laundromat opened in Fort Worth, TX.

1937 – Leon Trotsky called for the overthrow of Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

1942 – James H. Doolittle and his squadron, from the USS Hornet, raided Tokyo and other Japanese cities.

1942 – The Vichy government capitulated to Adolf Hitler and invited Pierre Laval to form a new government in France.

1943 – Traveling in a bomber, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, was shot down by American P-38 fighters.

1945 – American war correspondent Ernie Pyle was killed by Japanese gunfire on the Pacific island of Ie Shima, off Okinawa. He was 44 years old.

1946 – The League of Nations was dissolved.

1949 – The Republic of Ireland was established.

1950 – The first transatlantic jet passenger trip was completed.

1954 – Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser seized power in Egypt.

1978 – The U.S. Senate approved the transfer of the Panama Canal to Panama on December 31, 1999.

1980 – Rhodesia became in independent nation of Zimbabwe.

1983 – The U.S. Embassy in Beirut was blown up by a suicide car-bomber. 63 people were killed including 17 Americans.

2002 – The city legislature of Berlin decided to make Marlene Dietrich an honorary citizen. Dietrich had gone to the United States in 1930. She refused to return to Germany after Adolf Hitler came to power.