On this date in history:
In 1799, George Washington, first president of the United States, died at his Mount Vernon home in Virginia.
In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first person to reach the South Pole.
In 1984, bank robbers killed four customers and wounded three others in Geronimo, Okla., to grab $17,000. Two suspects were arrested in San Francisco three days later.
In 1986, Nicaragua announced the arrest of American Sam Hall as a spy. Hall, a former Ohio state lawmaker, was freed less than seven weeks later.
In 1988, the United States announced the start of a "substantive dialogue" with the PLO for the first time.
In 1989, Andrei Sakharov, father of the Soviet H-bomb, dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner for defending human rights, died at age 68.
Also in 1989, opposition candidate Patricio Aylwin easily won Chile's first democratic presidential election since the 1973 coup that brought military leader Augusto Pinochet to power.
In 1993, Israel and the Vatican agreed to establish full diplomatic relations.
Also in 1993, members of the United Mine Workers union ratified a new five-year contract, ending a seven-month strike.
In 1995, in a ceremony in Paris, the four-year civil war in Bosnia-Herznegovia officially came to an end with the signing of a peace treaty.
In 1996, a runaway freighter crashed into Riverwalk on the New Orleans waterfront.
In 1997, with an eye to the planned visit to Cuba by Pope John Paul II in early 1998, President Fidel Castro announced that Christmas would be an official holiday for the first time since 1968.
In 1998, a federal judge in Los Angeles sentenced Democratic Party donor Johnny Chung to five years' probation on charges that included $20,000 in illegal gifts to the Clinton-Gore campaign. The Democratic Party had returned nearly $400,000 in gifts from Chung that were of dubious legality.