1521: Death of Pope Leo X (r. 1513-21), who is interred in the Dominican church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Leo X formally excommunicated Martin Luther in the last year of his reign.
1154: Nicholas Breakspear becomes Pope Adrian IV (r. 1154-59), the only Englishman ever to become pontiff.
1590: Election of Pope Gregory XIV (1590-91), the third pope to rule in that year.
1854: Pope Pius IX (r. 1846-78) issued Ineffabilis Deus, which defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
1936: Death of Luigi Pirandello (b. 1867), author of the famous play Sei Personaggi in Cerca d’Autore (Six Characters in Search of an Author).
1610: Death of the German painter Adam Elsheimer (b. 1578).
1538: Pope Paul III (r. 1534-49) announced the excommunication of King Henry VIII of England.
1720: Birth of Charles Edward Stuart (d. 1788), also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or 'the Young Pretender', who is interred in St Peter's Basilica.
1655: Triumphal entry of Christina, Queen of Sweden, who abdicated following her conversion to Catholicism.
800: Pope Leo III (r. 795-816) crowned Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor in St Peter’s Basilica.
2012: Death of the scientist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1986.
335: Death of Pope Sylvester I (r. 314-35). In Italy New Year's Eve is known as the Festa di San Silvestro, in honour of Pope Sylvester I.