TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1782, provisional articles of peace were signed in Paris between Britain and the United States, under which Britain recognized U.S. independence.
In 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Finland.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Bill, a major gun-control measure.
In 1999, Exxon Corp. and Mobil. Corp. completed their merger, creating the largest publicly held oil company in the world.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), clergyman/satirist; Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) (1835-1910), writer; Winston Churchill (1874-1965), British politician; Dick Clark (1929-2012), TV personality/producer; Bill Walsh (1931-2007), football coach; Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989), political activist; Ridley Scott (1937- ), filmmaker; Mandy Patinkin (1952- ), singer/actor; Billy Idol (1955- ), singer-songwriter; Bo Jackson (1962- ), football and baseball player; Ben Stiller (1965- ), actor; Amy Ryan (1969- ), actress; Clay Aiken (1978- ), singer; Magnus Carlsen (1990- ), chess grandmaster.
TODAY'S FACT: Mark Twain published a number of pieces in newspapers and periodicals under a variety of pen names, including Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, W. Epaminondas Adrastus Blab and John Snooks.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1991, the U.S. women's soccer team defeated Norway 2-1 to win the first Women's World Cup.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." -- Mark Twain, "Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World"
TODAY'S NUMBER: 66 million -- copies sold of Michael Jackson's "Thriller," making it the best-selling album of all time, according to Guinness World Records. The album was released on this day in 1982.
TODAY'S MOON: Between last quarter moon (Nov. 29) and new moon (Dec. 7).