On this day:

1643 Christmas Island discovered

1809 First abdominal surgery performed by American physician Ephraim McDowell

1979 USSR invades Afghanistan 

Born on this day:

1642 Isaac Newton, English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, theologian

1876 Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Indian/Pakistani lawyer, politician, founder of Pakistan

Gone on this day:

1977 Charlie Chaplin, English actor, director, producer, screenwriter, composer