Pope Paul VI promulgated Vatican II into ecumenical law. (1965) The Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, made a number of changes to Catholic practices, including the liturgy, the use of film and other multimedia, and the way in which other non-Catholic churches were viewed.
NAFTA was signed into law. (1993) US President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) into law on this day, virtually eliminating tariffs between the US, Mexico and Canada, and creating the world's largest free-trade zone.
US President Ronald Reagan and USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. (1987) This was the first treaty that required both nations to reduce the size of their land-based nuclear stockpiles.
John Lennon was killed by a deranged fan. (1980) Former Beatle and long-time activist John Lennon was shot outside of his apartment building in New York City by Mark David Chapman.
The Race Relations Act came into effect in Britain. (1965) The act made it a civil offense to discriminate against someone for their "color, race, or ethnic or national origins". The law only applied to public situations, and excluded discrimination in terms of employment or housing. It was later revised to include these areas in 1968.
The coaxial cable was patented. (1931) This type of cable was revolutionary at the time because it greatly reduced the interference in telecommunications. Without the coaxial cable, telephones and cable TV would have been impossible.
Pope Pius IX declared the Catholic dogma of immaculate conception. (1854) This dogma, stating that the Virgin Mary possessed a "sanctifying grace" at her birth, and therefore did not have original sin.
The second public library in Europe opened. (1609) The Biblioteca Ambrosiana opened its reading room on this day, making it the second public library in Europe, after the Bodleian Library at Oxford.
The Broadway Theater started showing musicals. (1930) It's first show was The New Yorkers, by Cole Porter. Though The Broadway Theater has gone through a few incarnations since it began showing musicals in 1930 — for a brief time, as the Cine Roma, it showed only Italian films — but it has since become one of the most famous theaters in the world.
The first television acknowledgement of pregnancy was made. (1952) CBS's I Love Lucy was the first show to make an acknowledgement of pregnancy in its December 8 episode "Lucy is Enceinte," though CBS executives did not allow the cast members to use the word pregnant. Instead, they could only use the word "expecting."