December 9th

2008
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on suspicion of scheming to sell Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat for cash or a job for himself in the new administration. (Blagojevich was convicted of lying to the FBI. he awaits re-trial on 23 other charges.)
Rod Blagojevich
2004
Canada's Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was constitutional.
Same-sex marriage in Canada
2002
United Airlines filed the biggest bankruptcy in aviation history after losing $4 billion in the previous two years.
Executive compensation in the United States
2000
The U.S. Supreme Court ordered a temporary halt in the Florida presidential vote count.
Katherine Harris
1996
Archaeologist and anthropologist Mary Leakey died in Kenya at age 83.
Mary Leakey
1995
Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., was chosen to head the NAACP.
Kweisi Mfume
1993
The Air Force destroyed the first of 500 Minuteman II missile silos marked for elimination under an arms control treaty.
LGM-30 Minuteman
1992
Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced their separation. (They divorced in 1996.).
Diana, Princess of Wales
1990
Lech Wałęsa wins Poland's 1st direct presidential election in Poland.
Polish presidential election, 1990
1979
Smallpox declared eradicated. The World Health Organization officially certified that after a number of concentrated vaccination campaigns around the world smallpox had been eradicated. Only two infectious diseases have been completely eradicated in history: the other is Rinderpest, which is an infectious disease of cattle that was eradicated in 2011.
Smallpox
1975
President Gerald R. Ford signed a $2.3 billion seasonal loan authorization to prevent New York City from having to default.
Coinage Act of 1965
1968
NLS (a system for which hypertext and the computer mouse were developed) is publicly demonstrated for the first time in San Francisco.
The Mother of All Demos
1965
Charlie Brown Christmas makes airs for the first time on television. The popular animated musical special about Christmas was based on Charles M. Schulz's comic strip called Peanuts. The special was critically acclaimed as a telling commentary on the loss of the spirit of Christmas among Americans. It is now screened every year at Christmas time around the world.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
1961
Tanganyika gains independence. The Republic of Tanganyika was administered by the British from 1916 until 1961. Part of German East Africa, the territory was officially handed over to the British by League of Nations mandate in 1922. The Republic was short-lived. In April 1964, it joined the People's Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which became the United Republic of Tanzania in 1965.
Tanganyika
1960
First episode of Coronation Street airs. The longest running TV soap opera, this British production follows the life of people living on Coronation Street, a fictional street in a fictional suburb of Manchester.
Coronation Street
1958
The anti-Communist John Birch Society was formed in Indianapolis.
John Birch Society
1941
China declared war against Japan, Germany, and Italy.
Declarations of war during World War II
1940
British troops opened their first major offensive in North Africa during World War II.
North African Campaign
1912
Longtime House Speaker Thomas 'Tip' O'Neill was born in Cambridge, Mass.
Tip O'Neill
1907
Christmas seals went on sale for the first time, at the Wilmington, Del., post office. The proceeds went to fight tuberculosis.
Emily Bissell
1893
Auguste Vaillant bombs the French Chamber of Deputies. Auguste Vaillant, a French anarchist, bombed the French Chamber of Deputies. No one was hurt in the attack, but Vaillant was sentenced and executed for his actions.
Auguste Vaillant
1854
The poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was published in England.
The Charge of the Light Brigade (poem)
1608
Poet John Milton was born in London.
John Milton
1212
Frederick II (later also Holy Roman Emperor) crowned King of Germany in Mainz.
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
536
Byzantine General Belisarius enters Rome while the Ostrogothic garrison peacefully leaves the city, returning the old capital to its empire.
History of the Byzantine Empire