On This Day

Historical Events on December 23

  • 619 Boniface V begins his reign as Catholic Pope
  • 962 Byzantine-Arab Wars: Under the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, Byzantine troops storm the city of Aleppo, recovering the tattered tunic of John the Baptist

Historic Event

1482 The Peace of Atrecht (now Arras) concluded between Louis XI of France and Maximilian of Austria, ending the War of the Burgundian Succession

  • 1493 Georg Alt's German translation of Hartmann Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle is published.
  • 1588 "The Day of the Dagger" Henry, Duke of Guise, leader of the Catholic League is assassinated by the bodyguards of King Henry III at the Château de Blois

Historic Event

1620 French huguenots declare war on King Louis XIII

  • 1672 Giovanni Cassini discovers Rhea, a satellite of Saturn
  • 1688 King James II, the last Roman Catholic British monarch flees to France from William of Orange

Historic Event

1690 English astronomer John Flamsteed observes Uranus without realizing it's undiscovered

  • 1692 Nahum Tate is appointed the third Poet Laureate by English monarchs William and Mary
  • 1715 Russian/Prussian troops occupy Stralsund

Historic Event

1724 Emperor Charles VI names Archduchess Maria Elisabeth of Austria land guardian of the Austrian Netherlands

  • 1751 France sets plan to tax clergymen
  • 1776 Continental Congress negotiates a war loan of $181,500 from France

Historic Event

1779 Benedict Arnold court-martialed for improper conduct

Historic Event

1783 US General George Washington resigns his military commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Army to Congress

  • 1788 Maryland votes to cede a 10 square mile area for District of Columbia

Historic Event

1793 Thomas Jefferson warns of slave revolts in the West Indies

Historic Publication

1815 "Emma" By Jane Austen by published by John Murray in London [1]

  • 1823 "Visit from St Nicholas" by C Moore published in Troy (NY) Sentinel
  • 1832 Dutch troops in Antwerp surrender
  • 1834 Joseph Hansom of London receives patent for Hansom cabs
  • 1852 1st Chinese theater in US, the Celestial John, opens in San Francisco

Historic Event

1862 Union General Ben "Beast" Butler is proclaimed a "felon, outlaw & common enemy of mankind" by Jefferson Davis

  • 1876 Turkey's 1st constitution proclaimed

Historic Event

1888 Vincent van Gogh cuts off his left ear with a razor, after argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, and sends to a prostitute for safe keeping

Music Premiere

1893 Opera "Hansel und Gretel" by Engelbert Humperdinck and his sister Adelheid Wette premieres in Weimar, conducted by Richard Strauss

  • 1899 British Field Marshal Lord Roberts departs Southampton for South Africa for the 2nd Boer War
  • 1899 Tentative Turkish & German treaty on construction of Baghdad railway
  • 1900 As American forces defeat Filipino insurgents and impose civil authority, some Filipinos form a Federal Party with a platform recognizing US sovereignty
  • 1907 1st all-steel passengar railroad coach completed, Altoona, Pennsylvania
  • 1909 Albert I becomes the third King of the Belgians

Theater Premiere

1911 Frank Wedekind's play "Oaha, die Satire der Satire" premieres in Munich

  • 1911 Opera "I Gioielli Della Madonna" is produced (Berlin)
  • 1912 1st "Keystone Kops" film, entitled "Hoffmeyer's Legacy"
  • 1912 Aswan Low Dam in Nile begins operation

Assassination Attempt on Lord Charles Hardinge

1912 Indian revolutionary underground in Bengal and Punjab, headed by Rash Behari Bose attempt to assassinate Viceroy of India Lord Hardinge, by throwing homemade bomb into Viceroys's Howdah (elephant carriage) during ceremonial procession in Delhi. Although wounded, the Viceroy survives. Investigations lead to the Delhi conspiracy trial.

Historic Event

1913 US President Woodrow Wilson signs Federal Reserve Act into law

  • 1914 World War I: Australian and New Zealand troops arrive in Cairo, Egypt
  • 1915 J Kern/S Greene's musical "Very Good Eddie" premieres in NYC
  • 1916 World War I: Battle of Magdhaba - Allied forces defeat Turkish forces in Egypt's Sinai peninsula
  • 1917 3 British warships come close to Holland
  • 1919 1st hospital ship built to move wounded naval personnel launched
  • 1919 Alice H Parker patents gas heating furnace
  • 1920 Government of Ireland Act / Home Rule Act passed partitioning Ireland

Historic Event

1921 Visva-Bharati University is inaugurated in Santiniketan, West Bengal, India, founded by Rabindranath Tagore

Historic Event

1921 Gangster Carlo Gambino enters the United States as an illegal immigrant on the SS Vincenzo Florio

  • 1922 BBC Radio began daily newscasts

Catholic Encyclical

1922 Pope Pius XI pleas for peace: encyclical Ubi arcano

  • 1923 Yankees pitcher Carl Mays sold to Reds for $85,000
  • 1926 KEX-AM in Portland OR begins radio transmissions
  • 1928 NBC sets up a permanent, coast-to-coast radio network

Contract of Interest

1930 Bette Davis arrives in Hollywood under contract to Universal Studios

  • 1930 Police Bureau of Criminal Alien Investigation started in NYC

NHL Record

1933 Montreal Canadiens center Howie Morenz scores in 3-0 win v Detroit Red Wings; his NHL record 249th career goal

  • 1933 Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe sentenced to death for setting the German Reichstag on fire
  • 1933 Train crash in Eastern Paris; 230 die
  • 1936 Colombia becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty
  • 1937 First flight of the Vickers Wellington bomber
  • 1938 Discovery of the first modern coelacanth in South Africa
  • 1939 Finnish counter offensive at Summa
  • 1939 South Australia score 7-821 against Queensland

Historic Event

1940 John Van Druten's "Old Acquaintance" premieres in NYC

  • 1941 American forces on Wake Island surrender to Japanese
  • 1941 British troops overrun Benghazi, Libya
  • 1941 Japan begins assault on Rangoon, Burma
  • 1942 Allies air attack on Den Helder, Netherlands
  • 1943 1st telecast of a complete opera (Hansel & Gretel), Schenectady, NY

Appointment of Interest

1943 General Bernard Montgomery told he is appointed commandant for D-day

  • 1944 Beginning of 'the harsh winter', contributes to the famine that develops in the Netherlands

Catholic Encyclical

1945 Pope Pius XII encyclical Orientals omnes, about Rutheense church

  • 1946 Belgian Council of State forms
  • 1946 Highest ridership in NYC subway history (8.8 million passengers)
  • 1946 University of Tennessee refuses to play Duquesne University after they suggested they may use a black player in their basketball game

Music History

1948 "Cinderella" the first full-length ballet by Frederick Ashton with music by Sergei Prokofiev is first presented by Sadler's Wells Ballet at Covent Garden, London

  • 1951 Last Belgian communities get electricity
  • 1951 National Football League Championship, LA Memorial Coliseum: Los Angeles Rams beat Cleveland Browns, 24-17; first coast-to-coast televised NFL title game
  • 1952 Alain Bombard arrives in Barbados after 65 days at sea proving his theory that a shipwrecked person could survive with almost no provisions, despite having lost 25 kg (65 lbs) in weight
  • 1953 Dodgers 2nd baseman Jim Gilliam wins NL Rookie of Year
  • 1954 The first human kidney transplant is performed by Dr. Joseph E. Murray at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1957 Test cricket debut for all-time great Australian wicketkeeper Wally Grout and future captain and coach Bobby Simpson, 1st Test v South Africa in Johannesburg
  • 1958 Musical Revue "Party with Comden & Green" opens at John Golden NYC for 38 performances
  • 1958 Abdallah Ibrahim forms government in Morocco
  • 1960 Jan De Quay's Dutch government falls
  • 1960 King Saud of Saudi Arabia takes power
  • 1961 KICU TV channel 43 in Visalia-Fresno, CA (IND) begins broadcasting
  • 1961 Train accident in Italy, 70 die

Historic Event

1961 Fidel Castro announces Cuba will release 1,113 prisoners from failed 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion for $62M worth of food & medical supplies

  • 1962 Cuba starts returning US prisoners from Bay of Pigs invasion
  • 1962 AFL Championship, Jeppesen Stadium, Houston: Dallas Texans beat Houston Oilers, 20-17; Tommy Brooker lands winning 25-yard field goal in overtime
  • 1963 The Beach Boys 1st appearance on "Shindig"
  • 1963 Fire on Greek ship Laconia, 128 die
  • 1964 India & Ceylon hit by cyclone, about 4,850 killed
  • 1966 Britain's rock TV show "Ready Steady Go" last program
  • 1967 Brussels: NATO Council accept "Flexible Response" strategy
  • 1968 1st US case of space motion sickness
  • 1968 82 members of US intelligence ship Pueblo released by North Korea

Historic Event

1968 Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders become the 1st men to orbit the Moon

Football Awards

1969 Ballon d'Or: Milan midfielder Gianni Rivera wins award for best European football player ahead of Cagliari forward Luigi Riva and Bayern Munich striker Gerd Müller

Historic Event

1970 7,511th performance of Agatha Christie's play "The Mousetrap" (record) in London's West End

  • 1970 French author Régis Debray freed in Bolivia
  • 1970 NYC World Trade Center reaches highest point (411 m)
  • 1970 USSR performs nuclear test
  • 1970 A Protestant man is shot dead at his home in Belfast, North Ireland

Historic Event

1971 British Prime Minister Edward Heath visits Northern Ireland and expresses his determination to end the violence

  • 1972 16 plane crash survivors rescued from Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 after 72 days on the Andean Mountains, after only surviving through cannibalism
  • 1972 6.25 Earthquake destroys central Managua Nicaragua, 10,000 die
  • 1972 B. S. Chandrasekhar takes 8-79 India v England at Delhi
  • 1972 New York Islanders end 15 games winless streak
  • 1972 "Immaculate Reception" Steelers turns around a 7-6 defeat with a last second touchdown reception against Raiders to win 13-7
  • 1973 6 Persian Gulf nations double their oil prices
  • 1973 French Caravelle airliner crashes in Morocco, 106 killed
  • 1974 "Good News" opens at St James Theater NYC for 16 performances

Music History

1974 Premier of Dmitri Shostakovich' Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti song cycle in Leningrad

  • 1975 US Congress passes Metric Conversion Act
  • 1975 Peter Seitz makes Andy Messersmith & Dave McNally free agents

Music History

1977 Singer Cat Stevens formally converts to Islam, taking the name Yusuf Islam

NHL Record

1978 NY Islanders center Bryan Trottier sets NHL record scoring 6 points - 4 goals & 2 assists - in 2nd period of 9-4 win over rival NY Rangers; adds goal & assist for game total 8 points; Islanders undefeated home streak stands at 16 games

  • 1979 NY Islanders greatest shutout lose (8-0) vs Chicago Black Hawks
  • 1979 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • 1981 Geoffrey Boycott becomes leading run-scorer in Test Cricket with 8033
  • 1982 The United States Environmental Protection Agency announces it has identified dangerous levels of dioxin in the soil of Times Beach, Missouri.
  • 1983 Journal "Science" publishes 1st report on nuclear winter
  • 1984 West Indies batsman Viv Richards scores 208 vs Ausatralia in test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
  • 1986 Experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan & Jeana Yeager, complete 1st nonstop, round-the-world flight without refueling lands

Historic Event

1987 Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, serving a life sentence for attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford, escapes from Alderson Prison

  • 1987 Buffalo goaltender Tom Barrasso leads the Sabres to a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings to record his 100th NHL victory; makes him the youngest player to reach milestone at just 22 years, 9 months
  • 1990 Comedy "Lettice & Lovage" closes at Barrymore Theater NYC after 284 performances
  • 1990 Slovenians vote to secede from Yugoslavia
  • 1991 NY Daily News publisher Kevin Maxwell resigns
  • 1994 Baseball owners impose salary cap, fiercely opposed by players

Historic Event

1994 Fearing arrest by the FBI, Whitey Bulger flees Boston, and successfully hides from law enforcement for the next 16 years

  • 1996 Four women ordained priests in Jamaica, 1st in 330-year Anglican history

Sports History

1997 Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson is quickest to reach 500 wins (682 games)

NHL Record

1997 Colorado Avalanche Jari Kurri is 8th NHLer to score 600 career goals

  • 1997 Terry Nichols found guilty of manslaughter in Oklahoma bombing
  • 1997 US Agriculture Department estimates it costs $149,820 to raise a child to 18
  • 1997 A Channukah candle is officially lighted in Vatican City for the 1st time to celebrate Hanukkah and to reconcile Roman Catholics and Jews [1]

Film Release

1997 "As Good as It Gets" film released written and directed by James L. Brooks, starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt

Football Awards

1997 Ballon d'Or: Barcelona/Inter's Brazilian striker Ronaldo wins his first of 2 best football player in Europe awards ahead of Real Madrid forward Predrag Mijatović and Juventus midfielder Zinedine Zidane

  • 2000 Cricket Women's World Cup: New Zealand defeats Australia by 4 runs
  • 2002 A MQ-1 Predator is shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25, making it the first time in history that an aircraft and a modern unmanned drone had engaged in combat
  • 2003 PetroChina Chuandongbei natural gas field explosion, Guoqiao, Kai, Chongqing, China, killing at least 234.
  • 2004 Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean is hit by an 8.1 magnitude earthquake.
  • 2005 Azerbaijan Airlines Flight 217 from Baku, Azerbaijan, to Aktau, Kazakhstan crashes shortly after takeoff killing 23 people.
  • 2005 Chad declares a state of war against Sudan following a December 18 attack on Adré, which left about 100 people dead
  • 2012 200 civilians are killed by Syrian government warplanes in Helfaya, Syria
  • 2012 The Seleka rebel coalition takes over Bambari, the third largest town in the Central African Republic
  • 2016 United Nations Security Council adopts a landmark resolution demanding a halt to all Israeli settlement in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967. Resolution 2334 was moved by New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela and passed 14-0 with a US abstention.