1688: James II abdicates the throne because of William of Orange landing in England.
1816: Indiana is admitted to the Union as the 19th state.
1861: A raging fire sweeps the business district of Charleston, South Carolina, adding to an already depressed economic state.
1862: Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside occupies Fredericksburg and prepares to attack the Confederates under Robert E. Lee.
1863: Union gunboats Restless, Bloomer and Caroline enter St. Andrew’s Bay, Florida, and begin bombardment of both Confederate quarters and saltworks.
1882: A production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Iolanthe” at Boston’s Bijou Theatre becomes the first performance in a theatre lit by incandescent electric lights.
1927: Nearly 400 world leaders sign a letter to President Calvin Coolidge asking the United States to join the World Court.
1930: As the economic crisis grows, the Bank of the United States closes its doors.
1933: Reports say Paraguay has captured 11,000 Bolivians in the war over Chaco.
1936: Britain’s King Edward VIII abdicates the throne to marry American Wallis Warfield Simpson.
1941: The United States declares war on Italy and Germany.
1943: U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull demands that Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria withdraw from the war.
1945: A Boeing B-29 Superfortress shatters all records by crossing the United States in five hours and 27 minutes.
1951: Joe DiMaggio announces his retirement from baseball.
1955: Israel raids Syrian positions on the Sea of Galilee.
1964: Frank Sinatra Jr., is returned home to his parents after being kidnapped for the ransom amount of $240,000.
1967: The Concorde, a joint British-French venture and the world’s first supersonic airliner, is unveiled in Toulouse, France.
1972: Challenger, the lunar lander for Apollo 17, touches down on the moon’s surface, the last time that men visit the moon.
1978: Massive demonstrations take place in Tehran against the shah.
1981: Military forces in El Salvador kill over 800 civilians in what is known as the El Mozote massacre during the Salvadoran Civil War.
1997: The Kyoto Protocol international treaty intended to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses opens for signature.
2001: The People’s Republic of China joins the World Trade Organization.
2005: Riots begin in Cronulla, a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
2006: President of Mexico Felipe Calderon launches a military-led offensive against drug cartel violence in the state of Michoacan.
2008: Bernard “Bernie” Madoff is arrested and charged with securities fraud in what was called a $50-billion Ponzi scheme.
Born on December 11
1803: Hector Berlioz, French composer and conductor (“Symphonie Fantastique,” “La Damnation de Faust”).
1843: Robert Koch, physician and medical researcher.
1882: Fiorella H. La Guardia, mayor of New York City from 1933 to 1945.
1911: Naguib Mahfouz, Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian novelist.
1918: Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Russian writer and winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize, famous for “The Gulag Archipelago.”
1922: Grace Paley, short story writer.
1926: Willie “Big Mama” Thornton, blues singer.
1937: Jim Harrison, novelist and poet (“Legends of the Fall”).
1939: Tom McGuane, novelist and screenwriter (“The Sporting Club,” “Bushwacked Piano”).
1939: Tom Hayden, social and political activist; author, politician.
1940: Donna Mills, actress (“Knots Landing” TV series, “Play Misty for Me” movie).
1943: John Kerry, politician; unsuccessful Democratic nominee for president of the United States (2004); secretary of state (2013–17).
1944: Brenda Lee, singer; her 37 U.S. chart hits in the 1960s is surpassed only by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Ray Charles and Connie Francis (“I’m Sorry,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”).
1944: Teri Garr, actress, dancer (“Tootsie,” “Mr. Mom”).
1950: Christina Onassis, businesswoman; inherited and operated the Onassis shipping business.
1981: Hamish Blake, Australian comedian, actor, author; won Gold Logie Award for “Most Popular Personality on Television”; half of award-winning comedy duo Hamish and Andy (Andy Lee).