1861: Lord Lyons, the British minister to America, presents a formal complaint to Secretary of State William Seward regarding the Trent affair.
1900: The Federal Party, which recognizes American sovereignty, is formed in the Philippines.
1919: Great Britain institutes a new constitution for India.
1921: President Warren G. Harding frees Socialist Eugene Debs and 23 other political prisoners.
1933: Pope Pius XI condemns the Nazi sterilization program.
1937: London warns Rome to stop anti-British propaganda in Palestine.
1939: The first Canadian troops arrive in Britain.
1940: Chiang Kai-shek dissolves all Communist associations in China.
1941: Despite throwing back an earlier Japanese amphibious assault, the U.S. Marines and Navy defenders on Wake Island capitulate to a second Japanese invasion.
1944: Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower confirms the death sentence of Pvt. Eddie Slovik, the only American shot for desertion since the Civil War.
1947: President Harry S. Truman grants a pardon to 1,523 who had evaded the World War II draft.
1948: Japan’s prime minister, Hideki Tojo and six other collaborators are hanged for war crimes.
1950: Gen. Walton H. Walker, the commander of the Eighth Army in Korea, is killed in a jeep accident. Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgeway is named his successor.
1967: U.S. Navy SEALs are ambushed during an operation southeast of Saigon.
1974: The B-1 bomber makes its first successful test flight.
1986: The Voyager completes the first nonstop flight around the globe on one load of fuel. The experimental aircraft, piloted by Americans Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California after nine days and four minutes in the sky.
1990: In a referendum on Sovlenia’s independence from Yugoslovia, 88.5% vote in favor of independence.
2002: An Iraqi MiG-25 shoots down a U.S. MQ-1 Predator drone.
Born on December 23
1777: Alexander I, czar of Russia.
1790: Jean François Champollion, French founder of Egyptology who deciphered the Rosetta Stone.
1805: Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church.
1867: Madame C. J. Walker, first female African American millionaire.
1933: Emperor Akihito of Japan. Broke with tradition by marrying Michiko Shoda, the first nonaristocrat to join the royal family.
1935: Paul Hornung, pro football player; member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1938: Bob Kahn, computer scientist and engineer; co-developed the Transmission Control Protocol that web browsers use to connect to servers on the World Wide Web.
1943: Queen Silvia of Sweden (born Silvia Renate Sommerlath); spouse of King Carl XVI Gustaf.
1944: U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark; while serving as supreme allied commander Europe in NATO (1997–2000), he commanded Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo War.
1952: William Kristol, American politician, journalist; founded The Weekly Standard, an influential neoconservative opinion publication.
1953: Maria Vladimirovna, grand duchess of Russia.