1271 - Kublai Khan renames his empire "Yuan" (元 yuán), officially marking the start of the Yuan Dynasty of China.
1620 - The Mayflower lands in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts delivering 102 Pilgrims.
1642 - Abel Tasman becomes first European to land in New Zealand.
1777 - The United States celebrates its first Thanksgiving, celebrating the recent victory by the Americans over General John Burgoyne in the Battle of Saratoga in October
1787 - New Jersey becomes the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
1793 - Surrender of the frigate La Lutine by French royalists to Lord Hood; renamed HMS Lutine, she later becomes a famous treasure wreck.
1862 - American Civil War: In the Battle of Lexington, General Nathan Bedford Forrest defeats a Union force under Colonel Robert Ingersoll.
1865 - The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified by Georgia, fulfilling the two-thirds requirement for ratification, and abolishing Slavery in the United States.
1878 - John Kehoe, the last of the Molly Maguires is executed in Pennsylvania.
1888 - Richard Wetherill and his brother in-law discover the ancient Indian ruins of Mesa Verde.
1898 - Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat sets the new land speed record going 39.245 mph, in a Jeantaud electric car. This is the first recognized land speed record.
1900 - The Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook Narrow-gauge (2 ft 6 in or 762 mm) Railway (now the Puffing Billy Railway) in Victoria, Australia is opened for traffic.
1915 - U.S. President Woodrow Wilson marries Edith Bolling Galt Wilson.
1916 - World War I: The Battle of Verdun ends when forces under Chief of Staff Erich Von Falkenhayn suffers 337,000 casualties by the French.
1932 - The Chicago Bears defeat the Portsmouth Spartans 9-0 in the first ever NFL Championship Game. Because of a blizzard, the game was moved from Wrigley Field to the Chicago Stadium, the field measuring 80 yards long.
1935 - The Lanka Sama Samaja Party is founded in Ceylon.
1941 - Japan invades Hong Kong after British governor of Hong Kong, Mark Aitchison Young refuses to surrender to Japanese forces.
1944 - World War II: 77 B-29 Superfortress and 200 other aircraft of U.S. Fourteenth Air Force bomb Hankow, China, a Japanese supply base.
1966 - Saturn's moon Epimetheus is discovered by Richard L. Walker.
1969 - Capital punishment in the United Kingdom: Home Secretary James Callaghan's motion to make permanent the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965, which had temporarily suspended capital punishment in England, Wales and Scotland for murder (but not for all crimes) for a period of five years, is carried by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
1972 - Vietnam War: President Richard Nixon announces that the United States will engage North Vietnam in Operation Linebacker II, a series of Christmas bombings, after peace talks collapsed with North Vietnam on the 13th.
1973 - Soviet Soyuz Programme: Soyuz 13, crewed by cosmonauts Valentin Lebedev and Pyotr Klimuk, is launched from Baikonur in the Soviet Union.
1987 - Larry Wall releases the first version of the Perl programming language.
1989 - The European Community and the Soviet Union sign an agreement on trade and commercial and economic cooperation.
1996 - The Oakland, California school board passes a resolution officially declaring "Ebonics" a language or dialect.
1997 - HTML 4.0 is published by the World Wide Web Consortium.
1999 - NASA launches into orbit the Terra platform carrying five Earth Observation instruments, including ASTER, CERES, MISR, MODIS and MOPITT.
2002 - 2003 California recall: Then Governor of California Gray Davis announces that the state would face a record budget deficit of $35 billion, roughly double the figure reported during his reelection campaign one month earlier.
2008 - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda convicts Théoneste Bagosora and 2 other senior Rwandan army officers of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and sentences them to life imprisonment.