1154: Henry II is crowned king of England.
1562: The French Wars of Religion between the Huguenots and the Catholics begins with the Battle of Dreux.
1793: French troops recapture Toulon from the British.
1862: Confederate Gen. Nathan B. Forrest begins tearing up the railroads in Union generals Grant and Rosecrans’ rear, causing considerable delays in the movement of Union supplies.
1900: The French Parliament votes amnesty for everyone involved in the Dreyfus Affair.
1909: American socialist women denounce suffrage as a movement of the middle class.
1941: Japanese land on Hong Kong and clash with British troops.
1941: Adolf Hitler assumes the position of commander in chief of the German army.
1942: The British advance 40 miles into Burma in a drive to oust the Japanese from the colony.
1944: During the Battle of the Bulge, American troops begin pulling back from the twin Belgian cities of Krinkelt and Rocherath in front of the advancing German army.
1945: Congress confirms Eleanor Roosevelt as U.S. delegate to the United Nations.
1950: The North Atlantic Council names Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower as supreme commander of Western European defense forces.
1959: Reputed to be the last civil war veteran, Walter Williams dies at 117 in Houston.
1974: Nelson Rockefeller is sworn in as vice president of the United states after a House of Representatives vote.
1982: Four bombs explode at South Africa’s only nuclear power station in Johannesburg.
1984: British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang sign an agreement that committed Britain to return Hong Kong to China in 1997 in return for terms guaranteeing a 50-year extension of its capitalist system. Hong Kong was leased by China to Great Britain in 1898 for 99 years.
1998: President Bill Clinton is impeached. The House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against President Clinton, charging him with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. Clinton was the second president in American history to be impeached.
2001: The highest barometric pressure ever recorded (1085.6 hPa, 32.06 inHg) occurs at Tosontsengel, Khovsgol, Mongolia.
2001: Rioting begins in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the country’s economic crisis.
2012: Park Geun-hye is elected president of South Korea, the nation’s first female chief executive.
Born on December 19
1683: Philip V, the first Bourbon king of Spain.
1820: Mary Ashton Livermore, a temperance worker, women’s rights activist, lecturer, and writer. Founded her own suffrage paper, the Agitator, in 1869.
1906: Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet general secretary of the Communist Party and president of the Supreme Soviet from 1964 until 1982.
1915: Edith Piaf, internationally famous French cabaret singer, best remembered for her songs “La Vie en Rose” and “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rein.”
1933: Cicely Tyson, actress, best remembered for her role in “The Autobiography of Ms. Jane Pittman.”
1940: Phil Ochs, singer, songwriter, producer; best known for his protest songs of the 1960s.
1941: Maurice White, singer, songwriter, musician, producer; founder of the band Earth, Wind & Fire; member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame and Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
1943: U.S. Marine Corps four-star general James L. Jones Jr.; supreme allied commander in Europe (2003–2006); commandant of the Marine Corps (1999–2003); national security advisor (2009–2010).