- 1577 Sir Francis Drake sets sail from England on a circumnavigationof the world
- 1774 First incident of American Revolution - 400 attack Fort William and Mary, New Hampshire
- 1920 League of nations establishes International Court of Justice in The Hague
- 2002 Enlargement of the European Union: The European Union announces that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia will become members from May 1, 2004.
- 2003 Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured near his home town of Tikrit, during Operation Red Dawn by US forces
- 1961 The Beatles sign a formal agreement to be managed by Brian Epstein
Francis G. Pease's interferometer at Mount Wilson Observatory is the first to measure the diameter of a star - the Betelgeuse
On December 13, 1920
Saint Celestine V abdicates the papacy after only five months; Celestine hoped to return to his previous life as an ascetic hermit.
On December 13, 1294
- 862 Boudouin Iron Arm & Count of Flanders, elopes with Princess Judith, daughter King Charles of West Francia
- 1951 British PM Margaret Thatcher (26) weds businessman Denis Thatcher (36) at Wesley's Chapel in City Road, London
- 2003 Italian operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti (68) weds Nicoletta Mantovani at Modena Italy's Teatro Comunale