In 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Alaska's graduated excise tax on canned salmon.
In 1931, 20 tons of dynamite was set off at the Alaska-Juneau gold mine to bring down an estimated 750,000 tons of rock.
In 1979, state and federal judges refused to cancel the planned Beaufort Sea oil & gas lease sale, scheduled for Dec. 11.
In the nation
In 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
In 1796, electors chose John Adams to be the second president of the United States.
In 1836, Martin Van Buren was elected the eighth president of the United States.
In 1946, fire broke out at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta. The blaze killed 119 people, including hotel founder W. Frank Winecoff.
In 1963, during the Army-Navy game, videotaped instant replay was used for the first time in a live sports telecast, as CBS re-showed a 1-yard touchdown run by Army quarterback Rollie Stichweh. Navy beat Army, 21-15.
In 1972, America's last moon mission to date was launched as Apollo 17 blasted off from Cape Canaveral.
In 1987, 43 people were killed in the crash of a Pacific Southwest Airlines jetliner in California after a gunman apparently opened fire on a fellow passenger and the two pilots.
In 1999, NASA scientists all but gave up hope of contacting the Mars Polar Lander, last heard from four days earlier as it began its descent toward the Red Planet.
In the world
In 1941, Japanese forces attacked American and British territories and possessions in the Pacific, including the home base of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
In 1972, Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos, was stabbed and seriously wounded by an assailant who was then shot dead by her bodyguards.
In 1983, in Madrid, Spain, an Aviaco DC-9 collided on a runway with an Iberia Air Lines Boeing 727 that was accelerating for takeoff, killing all 42 people aboard the DC-9 and 51 aboard the Iberia jet.
In 1988, a major earthquake in the Soviet Union devastated northern Armenia. Official estimates put the death toll at 25,000.
In 1994, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher in Gaza City, pledged to protect Israelis from militant extremists.
In 2003, allies of President Vladimir Putin won a sweeping victory in Russia's parliamentary elections. Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth of Britain and its former colonies, which had suspended it for alleged abuses of civil liberties.