1512: The laws of Burgos give New World natives legal protection against abuse and authorize Negro slavery.
1831: HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin on board, departs from Plymouth. It will eventually visit the Galapagos Islands, where Darwin will form his theories on evolution.
1862: Union Gen. William Rosecrans’ army begins moving slowly toward Murfreesboro, Tennessee, from Nashville.
1913: Charles Moyer, president of the Miners Union, is shot in the back and dragged through the streets of Chicago.
1915: In Ohio, iron and steel workers go on strike for an eight-hour day and higher wages.
1932: Radio City Music Hall opens.
1933: Josef Stalin calls tensions with Japan a grave danger.
1939: A series of vicious earthquakes take 11,000 lives in Turkey.
1941: Japanese bombers attack Manila, despite its claim as an open city.
1944: Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army, spearheaded by the 4th Armored Division, relieves the surrounded city of Bastogne in Belgium.
1945: The International Monetary Fund and the Bank for Reconstruction and Development are created.
1947: The new Italian constitution is promulgated in Rome.
1950: The United States and Spain resume relations for the first time since the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.
1956: Segregation on buses in Tallahassee, Florida, is outlawed.
1968: The United States agrees to sell F-4 Phantom jets to Israel.
1979: President Hafizullah Amin of Afghanistan is ousted and murdered in a coup backed by the Soviet Union, beginning a war that will last more than 10 years.
1983: President Ronald Reagan takes all responsibility for the lack of security in Beirut that allowed a terrorist on a suicide mission to kill 241 Marines.
1984: Four Polish officers are tried for the slaying of the Rev. Jerzy Popieluszko.
1985: Palestinian guerrillas kill 18 people at airports in Rome and Vienna.
1996: Taliban forces retake strategic Bagram Airfield during Afghan civil war.
2001: China receives permanent normal trade relations with the U.S.
2004: Radiation reaches Earth from the brightest extrasolar event ever witnessed, an explosion of magnetar SGR 1806-20.
2007: After Mwai Kibaki is declared the winner of Kenya’s presidential elections, rioting begins in Mombasa, precipitating an economic, humanitarian and political crisis.
2007: Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto assassinated.
Born on December 27
1571: Johannes Kepler, German astronomer and mathematician.
1822: Louis Pasteur, French chemist and microbiologist.
1829: Hinton Helper, southern abolitionist who wrote “The Impending Crisis.”
1901: Marlene Dietrich, German-born singer and actress.
1919: Maj. Gen. Charles Sweeney, the pilot of Bocks Car, the B-29 that dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.
1943: Cokie Roberts, American broadcast journalist.
1948: Gerard Depardieu, one of the most prolific character actors in film history; won two Cesar awards from France’s Academie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema and a Golden Globe (“Green Card,” “Cyrano de Bergerac”).
1962: Bill Self, college men’s basketball coach; named the National Coach of the Year in 2000, 2009 and 2011 by The Sporting News and Associated Press National Coach of the Year 2009.
1971: Savannah Guthrie, journalist; co-host of NBC’s “The Today Show.”
1975: Heather O’Rourke, child actress discovered at age 5 by Stephen Spielberg; she died at age 12 (“Poltergeist” film series).