1984 : Gas leak in Bhopal - India : On this day in 1984, a gas leak from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, spread over a populated area, resulting ultimately in 15,000 to 20,000 deaths and leaving some half million survivors with chronic medical ailments.
2001 : The U.S. military announced that one of the last 80 Taliban prisoners who had surrendered on December 1 after the November uprising at a prison in Mazār-e Sharīf, Afghanistan, was a U.S. citizen, John Walker Lindh.
1967 : Christiaan Barnard of South Africa performed the first human heart transplant, at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.
1895 : Anna Freud, a founder of child psychoanalysis and one of its foremost practitioners, was born in Vienna.
1861 : In a battle during the American Civil War, Federal troops ousted the Confederates from Salem, Missouri.
1854 : After hastily constructing a fortification and barricading themselves inside, miners (“diggers") working in the Eureka goldfield in Victoria, Australia, opened fire on government forces surrounding the stockade, the culmination of long-standing grievances on the part of the diggers.
1818 : Illinois was admitted as the 21st state of the United States of America.
1721 : German composer Johann Sebastian Bach married his second wife, Anna Magdalena Wilcken, daughter of a trumpeter at Weissenfels.
1552 : St. Francis Xavier, the leading Roman Catholic missionary of modern times, died of fever off the coast of China.