1720 – Caribbean pirate ‘Calico Jack’ is captured by the Royal Navy. John “Jack” Rackham was born the day after Christmas in 1682 and was known as ‘Calico Jack’ after the clothing he often wore. He was active during the “Golden Age of Piracy” which lasted from 1650 to 1730 ( And of course, is still carried on off the eastern coast of Africa today.) Back then, the area concerned was the Caribbean. He’s best known for the design of his skull and crossbones flag and that fact that his band of pirates included two females. One was his lover Anne Bonny.
He appears to have been a rather smart, conniving, persuasive fellow (even obtaining a Royal pardon at one point) who outsmarted captains above him in the chain of command and Navies who were cocky enough to think they had him cornered. He ventured far enough north to rob and steal from ships leaving the port of New York, but most of his plundering occurred in the Caribbean. He was captured by a bounty hunter and hanged in Port Royal on November 18, 1720 and his body then gibbeted on display at a main entrance to Port Royal now known as Rackham’s Cay.
1781 – The Patent of Toleration, providing limited freedom of worship, is approved in Habsburg Monarchy.
1803 – The United States Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase.
1818 – The Convention of 1818 is signed between the United States and the United Kingdom, which settles the Canada-United States border on the 49th parallel for most of its length.
1827 – In the Battle of Navarino, a combined Turkish and Egyptian fleet is defeated by British, French, and Russian naval forces in the last significant battle fought with wooden sailing ships.
1947 – The House Committee on Un-American Activities begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a blacklist that prevents some from working in the industry for years.
1947 – The United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan establish diplomatic relations for the first time.
1968 – Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis.
1973 – “Saturday Night Massacre”: United States President Richard Nixon fires U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus after they refuse to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who is finally fired by Robert Bork.
2011 – Libyan Civil War: National Transitional Council rebel forces capture ousted Libyan dictator Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte and kill him shortly thereafter.
1632 – Christopher Wren, English physicist, mathematician, and architect, designed St Paul’s Cathedral (d. 1723)
1874 – Charles Ives, American composer (d. 1954)
1882 – Bela Lugosi, Hungarian-American actor
1885 – Jelly Roll Morton, American pianist, composer, and bandleader (Red Hot Peppers and New Orleans Rhythm Kings) (d. 1941)
1925 – Art Buchwald, American soldier and journalist
1931 – Mickey Mantle, American baseball player and sportscaster (d. 1995)
1940 – Robert Pinsky, American poet and critic
1713 – Archibald Pitcairne, Scottish physician and academic (b. 1652)
1910 – David B. Hill, 29th Governor of New York (b. 1843)
1964 – Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States (b. 1874)
2014 – René Burri, Swiss photographer and journalist (b. 1933)
2014 – Oscar de la Renta, Dominican-American fashion designer (b. 1932)