1520: Montezuma II is murdered as Spanish conquistadors flee the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan during the night.
1857: Charles Dickens reads from A Christmas Carol at St. Martin's Hall in London, his first public reading.
1859: Jean Francois Gravelet aka Emile Blondin, a French daredevil, becomes the first man to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
1908: A mysterious explosion, possibly the result of a meteorite, levels thousands of trees in the Tunguska region of Siberia with a force approaching twenty megatons.
1934: Adolf Hitler orders the purge of his own party in the "Night of the Long Knives."
1936: Margaret Mitchell's novel, Gone With the Wind, is published.
1948: John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley demonstrate their invention, the transistor, for the first time.
1960: Alfred Hitchcock's film, Psycho, opens.
1971: Three Soviet cosmonauts die when their spacecraft depressurizes during re-entry.