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(Redirected from 4 December)
Up to 1900
- 771 – Austrasian King Carloman dies, leaving his brother Charlemagne King of the now complete Frankish Kingdom.
- 963 - Pope Leo VIII is elected.
- 1110 – First Crusade: The Crusaders conquer Sidon.
- 1154 - Nicholas Breakspear is elected to become Pope Adrian IV, and is the only Englishman to have been Pope.
- 1259 – Kings Louis IX of France and Henry III of England agree to the Treaty of Paris, in which Henry renounces his claims to French-controlled territory on continental Europe (including Normandy) in exchange for Louis withdrawing his support for English rebels.
- 1563 – The final session of the Council of Trent is held (it opened on December 13, 1545).
- 1619 – 38 colonists from Berkeley Parish in England disembark in Virginia and give thanks to God (this is considered to be the first Thanksgiving in the Americas).
- 1639 – Jeremiah Horrocks made the first observation of a transit of Venus. (November 24 under the Julian calendar.)
- 1674 – Father Jacques Marquette founds a mission on the shores of Lake Michigan to minister to the Illiniwek (the mission would later grow into the city of Chicago, Illinois).
- 1676 – Battle of Lund: A Danish army under the command of King Christian V of Denmark engages the Swedish army commanded by Field Marshal Simon Grundel-Helmfelt.
- 1745 - Charles Edward Stuart's army reaches Derby, its furthest point during the second Jacobite Rising.
- 1783 – At Fraunces Tavern in New York City, United States General George Washington formally bids his officers farewell.
- 1791 – The first issue of The Observer, the world's first Sunday newspaper, is published.
- 1829 – In the face of fierce opposition, British governor Lord William Bentinck carries a regulation declaring that all who abetted suttee in India were guilty of culpable homicide.
- 1864 – American Civil War: Sherman's March to the Sea - At Waynesboro, Georgia, forces under Union General Judson Kilpatrick prevent troops led by Confederate General Joseph Wheeler from interfering with Union General William T. Sherman's campaign destroying a wide swath of the South on his march to the Atlantic Ocean from Atlanta (Union forces did suffer more than three times the Confederate casualties, however).
- 1867 – Former Minnesota farmer Oliver Hudson Kelley founds the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry (better known today as the Grange movement).
- 1872 – The crewless American ship Mary Celeste is found by the British brig Dei Gratia (the ship was abandoned for 9 days but was only slightly damaged).
- 1875 – Notorious New York City politician Boss Tweed escapes from prison and flees to Cuba, then Spain.
- 1881 - The first edition of the Los Angeles Times is published.
- 1893 - First Matabele War: A patrol of 34 British South African company soldiers is ambushed and wiped out by more than 3,000 Matabele warriors on the Shangani River in Matabeleland in present-day Zimbabwe.
1901 – 1950
- 1906 – Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity in the United States established for men of African descent, was founded at Cornell University.
- 1909 - The Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team is founded.
- 1918 – United States President Woodrow Wilson sails for the World War I peace talks in Versailles, becoming the first United States President to travel to Europe while in office.
- 1921 – The Virginia Rappe manslaughter trial against Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle ends in a hung jury.
- 1934 - Daisetzuan National Park is created in Japan.
- 1937 - The first issue of the Dandy is published.
- 1942 – Holocaust: In Warsaw, Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Wanda Filipowicz set up Żegota.
- 1943 – World War II: In Yugoslavia, resistance leader Marshal Tito proclaims a provisional democratic Yugoslav government in-exile.
- 1943 – United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt closes the Works Progress Administration.
- 1944 - World War II: An Allied air raid on the German city of Heilbronn kills 6,500 people.
- 1945 – By a vote of 65 to 7, the United States Senate approves United States participation in the United Nations (the UN was established on October 24, 1945).
1951 – 2000
- 1951 – Mir Waiz Maulvi Muhammad Yusouf appointed President of Azad Kashmir Government.
- 1952 – Great Smog of 1952: A cold fog descends upon London, combining with air pollution and killing up to 12,000 in the weeks and months that follow.
- 1954 - The first Burger King opens in Miami, Florida.
- 1958 – Dahomey (present-day Benin) becomes a self-governing country within the French Community.
- 1967 – Vietnam War: US and South Vietnamese forces engage NLF troops in the Mekong Delta.
- 1969 – Black Panther members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark are shot and killed in their sleep during a raid by 14 Chicago, Illinois police officers.
- 1969 – Surfer Greg Noll rides a 65-foot wave on the North Shore of Oahu, still the highest ever recorded.
- 1971 – UN Security Council calls emergency session to consider deteriorating situation between India and Pakistan.
- 1971 – The Montreux Casino in Switzerland is set ablaze by someone wielding a flare gun during a Frank Zappa concert.
- 1974 - A Dutch Douglas DC-8 airliner, carrying Indonesian pilgrims to Mecca, crashes in Colombo, Sri Lanka, killing all 191 people on board.
- 1975 – Suriname joins the UN.
- 1977 – Jean-Bédel Bokassa, president of the Central African Republic, crowns himself Emperor Bokassa I of the Central African Empire.
- 1977 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 653 is hijacked and crashes in Tanjong Kupang, Johor, killing 100.
- 1978 – Following the murder of Mayor George Moscone, Dianne Feinstein becomes San Francisco, California's first woman mayor (she served until January 8, 1988).
- 1979 – The Hastie fire in Hull, kills three schoolboys and eventually leads police to arrest Bruce George Peter Lee.
- 1980 – The rock group Led Zeppelin formally announce their breakup.
- 1981 – South Africa grants "homeland" Ciskei independence (not recognized outside South Africa).
- 1982 – The People's Republic of China adopts its current constitution.
- 1984 - Sri Lankan Civil War: Sri Lankan army soldiers kill between 107 and 150 civilians.
- 1984 - Hezbollah militants hijack a Kuwaiti Airlines plane, killing 4 passengers.
- 1991 – Journalist Terry Anderson is released after 7 years in captivity as a hostage in Beirut (he was the last and longest-held American hostage in Lebanon).
- 1991 – United States airline Pan Am ends operations.
- 1992 – Somali Civil War: President George H. W. Bush orders 28,000 US troops to Somalia.
- 1993 – A truce is concluded between the government of Angola and UNITA rebels.
- 1994 – Pakistan wins World Hockey Championship after 12 years, beating the Netherlands by four goals to three, in Sydney.
- 1998 – Unity, the second module of the International Space Station, is launched.
- 2001 – Lisa Beamer, wife of Todd Beamer, through the Todd M. Beamer Foundation, registers  the trademark "Let's Roll" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office less than three months after his death in the September 11 attacks in the United States.
- 2005 – Tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong protested for democracy and called on the Government to allow universal and equal suffrage.
- 2006 – An adult giant squid is caught on video for the first time near the Ogasawara Islands of Japan.
- 2009 – A fire in a night club in Perm, Russia, kills 113 people.
Up to 1900
- 34 - Persius, Roman poet (d. 62)
- 1555 - Heinrich Meibom, German poet and historian (d. 1625)
- 1595 - Jean Chapelain, French poet (d. 1674)
- 1647 - Daniel Eberlin, German composer and conductor (d. 1715)
- 1711 – Barbara of Portugal, Queen of Spain (d. 1758)
- 1713 - Gasparo Gozzi, Italian critic and playwright (d. 1785)
- 1791 - Jane Franklin, British adventurer (d. 1875)
- 1795 – Thomas Carlyle, Scottish writer and historian (d. 1881)
- 1798 - Jules Armand Dufaure, 33rd Prime Minister of France (d. 1884)
- 1808 – Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria (d. 1888)
- 1817 - Nikoloz Baratashvili, Georgian poet (d. 1845)
- 1835 – Samuel Butler, English writer (d. 1902)
- 1844 - Franz Xavier Wernz, German religious leader (d. 1914)
- 1849 – Crazy Horse, Native American leader (d. 1877)
- 1852 - Orest Khvolson, Russian physicist (d. 1934)
- 1861 – Hannes Hafstein, 1st Prime Minister of Iceland (d. 1922)
- 1861 – Lillian Russell, American actress and singer (d. 1922)
- 1865 – Edith Cavell, British nurse (d. 1915)
- 1875 – Rainer Maria Rilke, Austrian poet and writer (d. 1926)
- 1878 - Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia (d. 1918)
- 1881 – Erwin von Witzleben, German general and Resistance activist (d. 1944)
- 1889 - Lloyd Bacon, American actor and director (d. 1955)
- 1892 – Liu Bocheng, Chinese military commander (d. 1986)
- 1892 – Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain (d. 1975)
- 1895 – Fung Yu-lan, Chinese philosopher (d. 1990)
- 1899 - Charlie Spencer, English footballer and manager (d. 1953)
1901 – 1950
- 1908 – Alfred Hershey, American bacteriologist (d. 1997)
- 1910 – R. Venkataraman, 8th President of India (d. 2009)
- 1913 - Robert Adler, American physicist and inventor (d. 2007)
- 1913 - Mark Robson, Canadian-American movie director, producer and editor
- 1914 – Claude Renoir, French cinematographer (d. 1993)
- 1917 - Movita Castaneda, American actress and singer
- 1918 – Robert Ettinger, American academic and pioneer of Cryonics (d. 2011)
- 1919 - I. K. Gujral, Prime Minister of India (d. 2012)
- 1921 – Deanna Durbin, Canadian actress (d. 2013)
- 1921 – Carlos Franqui, Cuban writer and journalist (d. 2010)
- 1923 - Charles Keating, American lawyer, financier and real estate developer (d. 2014)
- 1923 - John Krish, British screenwriter and director
- 1925 – Lino Lacedelli, Italian mountain climber (d. 2009)
- 1927 - Gae Aulenti, Italian architect and designer (d. 2012)
- 1930 – Ronnie Corbett, Scottish actor and comedian
- 1930 - Jim Hall, American jazz guitarist, composer and arranger (d. 2013)
- 1932 - Roh Tae-woo, former President of South Korea
- 1933 – Horst Buchholz, German actor (d. 2003)
- 1939 – Freddy Cannon, American rock musician
- 1939 - Etienne Mourrut, French politician (d. 2014)
- 1940 – Gary Gilmore, American murderer (d. 1977)
- 1944 – Anna McGarrigle, Canadian folk musician, singer and songwriter
- 1944 – Dennis Wilson, American musician (d. 1983)
- 1944 - Chris Hillman, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
- 1945 - Roberta Bondar, Canadian astronaut
- 1949 – Jeff Bridges, American actor
- 1949 - Pamela Stephenson, New Zealand-born actress and psychologist
1951 – 1975
- 1951 – Gary Rossington, American musician (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
- 1951 - Patricia Wettig, American actress and playwright
- 1953 - Jean-Marie Pfaff, Belgian footballer
- 1954 - Tony Todd, American actor and movie producer
- 1955 – Philip Hammond, British politician
- 1955 - Cassandra Wilson, American singer
- 1956 - Bernard King, American basketball player
- 1957 - Eric S. Raymond, American computer programmer and author
- 1959 - Christa Rothenburger, German speed skater
- 1960 – Glynis Nunn, Australian athlete
- 1962 - Nixon Kiprotich, Kenyan middle-distance runner
- 1963 – Sergey Bubka, Ukrainian pole vaulter
- 1964 – Sertab Erener, Turkish singer
- 1964 - Marisa Tomei, American actress
- 1965 - Alex de la Iglesia, Spanish movie director, screenwriter and producer
- 1965 – Ulf Kirsten, German footballer
- 1966 - Fred Armisen, American actor, writer, producer, director, musician and comedian
- 1969 – Jay-Z, American rapper
- 1972 – Jassen Cullimore, Canadian ice hockey player
- 1973 – Tyra Banks, American model
- 1974 - Tadahito Iguchi, Japanese baseball player
- 1976 – Mbo Mpenza, Belgian footballer
- 1979 – Jay DeMerit, American footballer
- 1982 – Waldo Ponce, Chilean footballer
- 1984 – Lindsay Felton, American actress
- 1984 - Lauren London, American actress
- 1984 - Brooke Adams, American wrestler and model
- 1985 - Krista Siegfrids, Finnish singer
- 1986 - Kaija Udras, Estonian skier
- 1987 – Orlando Brown, American actor
- 1988 - Andriy Pylyavskyi, Ukrainian footballer
- 1990 - Igor Sjunin, Estonian triple jumper
- 1990 - Lukman Haruna, Nigerian footballer
- 1992 - Jean-Claude Iranzi, Rwandan footballer
- 1992 - Guan Xueting, Chinese ice dancer
Up to 1900
- 749 - John of Damascus, Syrian monk, priest and saint (b. 676)
- 771 – Carloman, Frankish ruler
- 1075 - Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne (b. 1010)
- 1123 – Omar Khayyam, Persian poet, philosopher, astronomer and mathematician (b. 1048)
- 1214 – William the Lion, King of Scotland (b. 1143)
- 1334 – Pope John XXII (b. 1249)
- 1576 - George Joachim Rheticus, Austrian-Slovakian mathematician (b. 1544)
- 1609 - Alexander Hume, Scottish poet (b. 1560)
- 1642 – Cardinal Richelieu (b. 1885)
- 1679 – Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher (b. 1588)
- 1680 - Thomas Bartholin, Danish physician, mathematician and theologian (b. 1616)
- 1696 – Empress Meisho of Japan (b. 1624)
- 1798 – Luigi Galvani, Italian physicist (b. 1737)
- 1828 – Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1770)
- 1850 – William Sturgeon, British physicist and inventor (b. 1783)
- 1891 - Frederick Whitaker, Prime Minister of New Zealand (b. 1812)
- 1893 – John Tyndall, Irish physicist (b. 1820)
- 1894 - Leon Ribbett, Governor of New Jersey (b. 1836)
- 1897 - Griffith Rhys Jones, Welsh conductor (b. 1834)
1901 – 2000
- 1902 - Charles Dow, American journalist (b. 1851)
- 1916 - Preston Lea, Governor of New Jersey (b. 1841)
- 1926 - Ivana Kobilca, Slovenian poet (b. 1861)
- 1935 – Charles Robert Richet, French physiologist, won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1850)
- 1935 - Johan Halvorsen, Norwegian violinist, composer and conductor (b. 1864)
- 1937 - Wilbur L. Adams, Governor of Delaware (b. 1884)
- 1938 - Tamanishiki San'emon, Japanese sumo wrestler (b. 1903)
- 1942 - Juhan Kukk, Estonian politician (b. 1885)
- 1945 – Thomas Hunt Morgan, American geneticist and embryologist (b. 1866)
- 1967 - Bert Lahr, American actor and singer (b. 1895)
- 1971 - Shunryu Suzuki, Japanese-American spiritual teacher (b. 1904)
- 1975 – Hannah Arendt, German philosopher (b. 1906)
- 1976 – Benjamin Britten, English composer (b. 1913)
- 1976 - Tommy Bolin, American guitarist (b. 1951)
- 1980 – Francisco Sa Carneiro, Prime Minister of Portugal (b. 1934)
- 1980 – Stanislawa Walasiewicz, Polish athlete (b. 1911)
- 1984 - Jack Mercer, American animator, screenwriter, voice actor and singer (b. 1910)
- 1987 – Rouben Mamoulian, Armenian-American movie director (b. 1897)
- 1993 – Frank Zappa, American musician (b. 1940)
- 2000 - Henck Arron, 1st Prime Minister of Suriname (b. 1936)
- 2004 - Elizabeth Azcona Cranwell, Argentine poet and translator (b. 1933)
- 2007 – Pimp C, American rapper (b. 1973)
- 2009 – Eddie Fatu, professional wrestler better known as Umaga (b. 1973)
- 2011 – Dev Anand, Indian actor, director and producer (b. 1923)
- 2011 – Socrates, Brazilian footballer (b. 1954)
- 2011 – Matti Yrjana Joensuu, Finnish crime fiction writer (b. 1948)
- 2012 - Miguel Calero, Colombian footballer (b. 1971)
- 2012 – Besse Cooper, American supercentenarian, oldest person in the world from June 21, 2011 (b. 1896)
- 2013 - Joana Raspall i Juanola, Catalan writer (b. 1913)
- 2014 - Claudia Emerson, American poet (b. 1957)
- 2014 - V. R. Krishna Iyer, Indian judge (b. 1914)
- 2014 - Lynne Kosky, Australian politician (b. 1958)
- 2014 - Jeremy Thorpe, English politician (b. 1929)
- Navy Day (India and Italy)
- Miners' Day (Poland)
- Thai Environment Day
- Tupou I Day (Tonga)
- St. Barbara - Christian Saint