This day in history (Dec. 27)
1814 – War of 1812: The American schooner USS Carolina is destroyed. It was the last of Commodore Daniel Patterson's makeshift fleet that fought a series of delaying actions that contributed to Andrew Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans.
1831 – Charles Darwin embarks on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, during which he will begin to formulate the theory of evolution.
1836 – The worst ever avalanche in England occurs at Lewes, Sussex, killing eight people.
1845 – Ether anesthetic is used for childbirth for the first time by Dr. Crawford Long in Jefferson, Georgia.
1845 – Journalist John L. O'Sullivan, writing in his newspaper the New York Morning News, argues that the United States had the right to claim the entire Oregon Country "by the right of our manifest destiny".
1911 – "Jana Gana Mana", the national anthem of India, is first sung in the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress.
1918 – The Great Poland Uprising against the Germans begins.
1922 – Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō becomes the first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned in the world.
1923 – Daisuke Namba, a Japanese student, tries to assassinate the Prince Regent Hirohito.
1927 – Show Boat, considered to be the first true American musical play, opens at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Broadway.
1929 – Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin orders the "liquidation of the kulaks as a class", ostensibly as an effort to spread socialism to the countryside.
1932 – Radio City Music Hall, "Showplace of the Nation", opens in New York City.
1939 – Erzincan, Turkey, is hit by an earthquake, killing 30,000.
1939 – Winter War: Finland holds off a Soviet attack in the Battle of Kelja.
1942 – The Union of Pioneers of Yugoslavia is founded.
1945 – The World Bank and International Monetary Fund are created with the signing of an agreement by 29 nations.
1949 – Indonesian National Revolution: The Netherlands officially recognizes Indonesian independence. End of the Dutch East Indies.
1966 – The Cave of Swallows, the largest known cave shaft in the world, is discovered in Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
1968 – Apollo program: Apollo 8 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.
1978 – Spain becomes a democracy after 40 years of fascist dictatorship.
1979 – The Soviet Union invades the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
1983 – Pope John Paul II visits Mehmet Ali Ağca in Rebibbia's prison and personally forgives him for the 1981 attack on him in St. Peter's Square.
1985 – Palestinian guerrillas kill eighteen people inside the airports of Rome, Italy, and Vienna, Austria.
1989 – The Romanian Revolution concludes, as the last minor street confrontations and stray shootings abruptly end in the country's capital, Bucharest.
1996 – Taliban forces retake the strategic Bagram Airfield which solidifies their buffer zone around Kabul, Afghanistan.
1997 – Protestant paramilitary leader Billy Wright is assassinated in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.
2001 – China is granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States.
2002 – Two truck bombs kill 72 and wound 200 at the pro-Moscow headquarters of the Chechen government in Grozny, Chechnya, Russia.
2004 – Radiation from an explosion on the magnetar SGR 1806-20 reaches Earth. It is the brightest extrasolar event known to have been witnessed on the planet.
2007 – Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated in a shooting incident.
2007 – Riots erupt in Mombasa, Kenya, after Mwai Kibaki is declared the winner of the presidential election, triggering a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis.
2008 – Operation Cast Lead: Israel launches 3-week operation on Gaza.
2009 – Iranian election protests: On the Day of Ashura in Tehran, Iran, government security forces fire upon demonstrators.