Shimla, Dec. 31
The World Health Organization first learned of “viral pneumonia” cases in Wuhan, China; the disease was later determined to be COVID-19, which became a global pandemic the following year.
Taipei 101, then the tallest building in the world, reaching a height of 1,667 feet (508 metres), opened in Taipei, Taiwan.
The United States officially handed over control of the Panama Canal to Panama.
The Soviet Union legally ceased to exist, Russia and other former Soviet republics having declared themselves independent and having founded the Commonwealth of Independent States on December 21, 1991.
Baseball great Roberto Clemente died in an airplane crash en route to Nicaragua with relief supplies collected for earthquake survivors.
George C. Marshall, the U.S. Army chief of staff during World War II (1939–45), U.S secretary of state (1947–49) and of defense (1950–51), architect of the Marshall Plan for European recovery, and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1953, was born.
Henri Matisse, the artist often regarded as the most important French painter of the 20th century, was born.
American troops under General Richard Montgomery and Colonel Benedict Arnold were defeated by the British in the Battle of Quebec.
The East India Company, formed for the exploitation of trade with East and Southeast Asia and India, was incorporated by English royal charter.