Today is Wednesday, Dec. 13, the 347th day of 2017. There are 18 days left in the year.
On Dec. 13, 1937, the Chinese city of Nanjing fell to Japanese forces during the Sino-Japanese War; what followed was a massacre of war prisoners, soldiers and citizens. (China maintains that up to 300,000 people were killed; Japanese nationalists say the death toll was far lower, and some maintain the massacre never happened.)
In 1642, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sighted present-day New Zealand.
In 1769, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire received its charter.
In 1862, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside launched futile attacks against entrenched Confederate soldiers during the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg; the soundly defeated Northern troops withdrew two days later.
In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit Europe while in office.
In 1928, George Gershwin's "An American in Paris" had its premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York.
In 1944, during World War II, the light cruiser USS Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze attack off Negros Island in the Philippines that claimed 133 lives.
In 1962, the United States launched Relay 1, a communications satellite which retransmitted television, telephone and digital signals.
In 1977, an Air Indiana Flight 216, a DC-3 carrying the University of Evansville basketball team on a flight to Nashville, crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 29 people on board.
In 1981, authorities in Poland imposed martial law in a crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. (Martial law formally ended in 1983.)
In 1994, an American Eagle commuter plane crashed short of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, killing 15 of the 20 people on board.
In 1996, the U.N. Security Council chose Kofi Annan of Ghana to become the world body's seventh secretary-general.
In 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar, Iraq, near his hometown of Tikrit.