[P. B. S. Pinchback was many things - newspaper publisher, gambler, orator, speculator, dandy, and mountebank; although racially he referred to himself by the quaint term quadroon, he chose to take pride in his accomplishments (over which he had some degree of control) rather than anything as arbitrary as the colour of his skin.]
1425 - The Catholic University of Leuven was founded as a Studium Generale courtesy of a papal bull issued by Martin V.
1531 - The Virgin of Guadalupe is said to have first appeared to Juan Diego in the Mexican town of Tepeyac.
1824 - Patriot forces led by General Antonio José de Sucre defeated a Royalist army under Viceroy José de la Serna and José de Canterac at the Battle of Ayacucho, putting an end to the Peruvian War of Independence.
1872 - Louisiana's P. B. S. Pinchback became the first black governor in US history; his tenure in Baton Rouge lasted 35 days.
1897 - The feminist newspaper La Fronde was first published in Paris by Marguerite Durand.
1905 - In France, a law separating church and state was passed.
1917 - In Palestine, Field Marshal Edmund Allenby captured Jerusalem from the Ottoman Empire.
1922 - Gabriel Narutowicz was elected the first President of Poland by the Sejm.
1931 - The Constituent Cortes approved the constitution which established the Second Spanish Republic.
1935 - Walter Liggett, an American newspaper editor and muckraker based in Minneapolis, was killed in front of his family in a gangland murder; Liggett had recently exposed the connection between gangster Kid Cann and the administration of Minnesota governor Floyd B. Olson. His daughter Marda Liggett Woodbury would grow up to write a book about her father's crusading work against corruption entitled Stopping The Presses: The Murder of Walter W. Liggett.
1946 - The Subsequent Nuremberg Trials began with the Doctors' Trial, which prosecuted Nazi doctors alleged to be involved in human experimentation.
1952 - The dense mixture of fog and coal smoke that had first descended over London on December 5th finally cleared, although the impact of the Great Smog would be felt for months.
1958 - The John Birch Society was founded in the United States.
1960 - The first episode of Britain's longest running television soap opera Coronation Street was broadcast.
1961 - Tanganyika gained its independence from the United Kingdom; today the East African territory is better known as Tanzania.
1965 - During the Kecksburg UFO Incident a fireball was seen in the skies over Michigan and Pennsylvania; witnesses later reported something crashing in the woods near Pittsburgh. In 2005 NASA admitted that it had examined an object as a result, but changed their story from its having been a meteor to some kind of Russian satellite instead.
1979 - It was announced that the virus which causes smallpox had been eradicated.
1990 - Lech Wałęsa became the first-ever directly elected President of Poland.
2008- Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested by federal officials for a number of alleged crimes including attempting to sell the US Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
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