On This Day

Historical Events on December 24

Hagia Sophia

563 The Byzantine church Hagia Sophia in Constantinople is dedicated for the second time after being destroyed by earthquakes.

  • 640 John IV begins his reign as Catholic Pope
  • 1046 Pope Clement II, [Suitger] elected
  • 1294 Cardinal Benedetto Gaetani chosen as Pope Boniface VIII
  • 1476 400 Burgundian soldiers freeze to death during siege of Nancy
  • 1515 Thomas Wolsey appointed Lord Chancellor of England
  • 1565 Compromise of the Nobles in Habsburg Netherlands closes against inquisition
  • 1568 Uprising of Moriscos in Granada
  • 1593 Storm hits Texel: 40 ships hit, 500 killed
  • 1651 Jan van Riebeeck departs for Cape of Good Hope to found 1st permanent European settlement
  • 1715 Swedish troops occupy Norway

Historic Event

1777 Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, is discovered by James Cook

  • 1798 Russia & Britain sign Second anti-French Coalition

Historic Event

1799 Jacobin plot against Napoleon uncovered

Treaty of Ghent

1814 Treaty of Ghent signed, ending the War of 1812 between the United States, the United Kingdom and their allies

  • 1818 Christmas carol "Silent Night" composed by Franz Xaver Gruber is first sung at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, Austria
  • 1832 1st US Negro hospital founded by whites chartered, Savannah, Georgia
  • 1832 HMS Beagle anchors in Wigwam Bay at Cape Receiver
  • 1849 First great fire of early San Francisco starts east side of the Plaza, first of great seven fires in 2 years
  • 1851 Fire devastates US Library of Congress in Washington, destroys 35,000 volumes
  • 1860 Actor Joseph Jefferson's dramatization of "Rip Van Winkle" premieres in NYC
  • 1864 Battle of Gordonsville, Virginia
  • 1865 Several Confederate veterans form Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee
  • 1871 Giusseppi Verdi's "Aida" opera premieres in Cairo
  • 1874 Pope Pius IX proclaims a jubilee for 1875
  • 1884 Austria-Hungary admits King Leopold II's Congo Free State
  • 1889 Daniel Stover & William Hance patent bicycle with back pedal brake

Historic Event

1893 Henry Ford completes his first useful petrol / gasoline fuelled engine

  • 1894 Scheveningse fishing boats destroyed by storm

Historic Event

1895 George Vanderbilt opens Biltmore estate, the largest privately owned house in America at 178,926 square feet (16,622.8 m2) in Asheville, North Carolina

  • 1898 Herman Heijermans' "Ghetto" premieres in Amsterdam
  • 1900 Herman Heijermans' "Hope of Blessing" premieres in Amsterdam
  • 1900 The French Chamber of Deputies and Senate pass a bill calling for an end to agitation or prosecutions against those involved in the Dreyfus affair, which has divided France since 1894
  • 1900 Foreign powers present the Chinese Empress with their list of 'irrevocable conditions' before their nations will withdraw troops from China
  • 1901 Private companies allowed to use the word "postcard" in the US. Previously they were labelled "Private Mailing Cards" and known as "souvenir cards".
  • 1904 German SW Africa abolishes slavery of young children
  • 1906 Reginald A Fessenden became 1st to broadcast music over radio (Mass)
  • 1910 Luisa Tetrazzini sings to 250,000 people at Lotta's Fountain, San Francisco
  • 1912 Irving Fisher patents archiving system with index cards
  • 1914 German plane drops bombs on Dover, England

Music Concert

1920 Enrico Caruso gives his last public performance in NYC

  • 1921 Ottawa’s Harry Broadbent scores in 10-0 Senators blowout of the Montreal Canadiens; first in 16-game NHL record goal-scoring streak; Charlie Simmer’s 13 game streak (1979) is considered modern-day record
  • 1922 BBC broadcasts first British radio play "The Truth about Father Christmas"
  • 1922 London Coloseum opens
  • 1924 1st radio transmission of NCRV in Netherlands
  • 1924 Albania becomes a republic (ex-premier Ahmed Zogoe's coup)
  • 1924 Richard Rodgers Theater (46th St Chanin's) opens at 226 W 46th NYC
  • 1924 School in Babb's Switch, Oklahoma, catches fire, 36 die
  • 1927 Test Cricket debut of Walter Hammond, who scored 51 & took 5-36 v S Af
  • 1928 George Abbott Theater (Adelphi, 54 St) opens at 152 W 54th St NYC

Historic Event

1930 Sukarno sentenced to four years in prison by Indonesian authorities in Bandung, Dutch East Indies

  • 1930 F Garcia Lorca's "La Zapatera Prodigiosa" premieres in Madrid
  • 1932 Arturo Alessandri wins presidential election in Chile
  • 1933 Paris express train derails & kills 160, injures 300 (France)
  • 1934 Grimmett takes 9-180 for SA as Queensland make 430
  • 1935 National Council of Negro Women forms
  • 1936 1st radioactive isotope medicine administered in Berkeley, California
  • 1937 Dutch government recognizes Italian king Emanuel III as emperor of Abyssinia

Historic Event

1939 World War II: Pope Pius XII makes a Christmas Eve appeal for peace.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

1941 First ships of admiral Nagumo's Pearl Harbor fleet return to Japan

  • 1942 First powered flight of V-1 'buzz bomb', Peenemunde, Germany
  • 1942 Red army occupies German airports at Tasjinskaja & Morozowsk

Historic Event

1943 US President FDR appoints General Eisenhower Supreme Commander of the Allied forces

Historic Event

1943 Terence Rattigan's "While the Sun Shines" premieres in London

  • 1946 US General MacNarney gives 800,000 "minor Nazis" amnesty
  • 1946 French Fourth Republic is founded
  • 1948 First US completely solar heated house is occupied (Dover, Mass)
  • 1948 Greek government disbands due to state of war, press censorship
  • 1950 National Football League Championship, Cleveland Stadium: Cleveland Browns beat LA Rams, 30-28; Cleveland has 5 interceptions, Rams 1
  • 1951 1st televised opera (Amahl & Night Visitor)
  • 1951 United Kingdom of Libya gains independence from Italy via UN
  • 1953 Two fast express trains crash head-on killing 103 in Czechoslovakia
  • 1953 KHOL (now KHGI) TV channel 13 in Kearney, NB (ABC) begins broadcasting
  • 1953 KOA (now KCNC) TV channel 4 in Denver, CO (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • 1953 René Coty elected president of France
  • 1953 Wellington-Auckland (NZ) express train swept away in flood kills 166
  • 1954 Council for the Protection of Children forms in Netherlands
  • 1954 Laos gains its independence

Historic Event

1955 Author Aldous Huxley takes LSD for the first time

  • 1956 "I Love Lucy" Christmas show airs, never put in syndication
  • 1956 Ferdinand de Lesseps statue blown up in Port Said Egypt
  • 1960 Dutch bishops question papacy values

Sports History

1961 AFL Championship, Balboa Stadium, San Diego: Houston Oilers beat San Diego Chargers 10-3; Billy Cannon scores game's only TD

  • 1962 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
  • 1963 Greek & Turks riot in Cyprus
  • 1964 Shooting begins on "The Cage" the pilot for Star Trek
  • 1966 "Joyful Noise" closes at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC after 12 performances
  • 1966 Soviet spacecraft Luna 13 lands on Moon
  • 1966 USAF C144 military charter aircraft crashes near Binh Thai, Vietnam, killing 129
  • 1967 China performs nuclear test at Lop Nor, PRC
  • 1967 Pirate Radio Pegasus starts broadcasting off New Zealand
  • 1968 Apollo 8 astronauts read passages from Book of Genesis
  • 1968 WATU (now WAGT) TV channel 26 in Augusta, GA (CBS) begins broadcasting
  • 1968 Ballon d'Or: Manchester United's winger George Best wins award for best European football player ahead of teammate Bobby Charlton and Red Star Belgrade winger Dragan Džajić; first Northern Irish national to win the award

Sports History

1969 Curt Flood writes to baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn refusing to accept the Cardinals’ right to deal him and in favor of free agency [1]

  • 1970 9 Jews are convicted in Leningrad of hijacking a plane
  • 1970 Walt Disney's "Aristocats" is released
  • 1971 Peruvian Airlines Electra crashes at headwaters of Amazon, killing all except Juliane Margaret Koepcke found 10 days later
  • 1973 Ferryboat capsized off coast of Equador, drowning 200
  • 1973 District of Columbia Home Rule Act is passed, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to elect their own local government.
  • 1974 Cardinals' Lou Brock is named Sportsman of the Year

Historic Event

1974 Former US astronaut John Glenn join the Senate for Ohio

  • 1977 "Ghost to the Post", Raiders tight end Dave Casper ("The Ghost") catches a 42-yard reception to set up the Raiders' tying field goal near the end of regulation (Raiders win in OT)
  • 1979 1st Ariane rocket launched
  • 1980 Americans remembered Iran hostages by shining lights for 417 seconds
  • 1981 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • 1982 Chaminade, with a student body of only 850 students, beats #1 ranked Virginia 77-72 in a Honolulu holiday basketball classic
  • 1984 Palace coup in Mauritania

Football Awards

1985 Ballon d'Or: Juventus' French midfielder Michel Platini is named Europe's best football player for the 3rd consecutive time; beats Verona striker Preben Elkjær and Barcelona midfielder Bernd Schuster

  • 1986 French hostage Aurel Cornea, held in Lebanon for 9 months, released
  • 1986 Iran offensive against Iraqi islands of Shatt al-Arab
  • 1989 Charles Taylor enters Liberia to unseat President Samuel K Doe

Historic Event

1989 Panama's dictator, Manual Noriega, seeks asylum at Vatican embassy

Sports History

1990 Expos trade Tim Raines to White Sox for Ivan Calderon & Barry Jones

Historic Event

1990 Saddam Hussein says Israel will be Iraq's 1st target

  • 1991 Ballon d'Or: Marseille forward Jean-Pierre Papin is named Europe's best football player; first from the French League to win the trophy

Historic Event

1992 US President George H. W. Bush pardons Caspar Weinberger for Iran-contra affair

  • 1994 Four Muslim fundamentalists capture Air France pilot in Algiers
  • 1995 Ballon d'Or: PSG/Milan's Liberian striker George Weah is named Europe's best football player; first edition where players born outside Europe permitted to receive votes

Football Awards

1996 Ballon d'Or: Borussia Dortmund's German sweeper Matthias Sammer is named best football player in Europe ahead of PSV/Barcelona striker Ronaldo and Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer

  • 1997 The Sid El-Antri massacre (or Sidi Lamri) in Algeria kills 50-100 people.
  • 1997 The Dominican Republic becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty

Historic Event

1999 Opening of St Peter's Holy Door by Pope John Paul II in approach of 3rd millennium

  • 2000 The Texas 7 hold up a sports store in Irving, Texas. Police officer Aubrey Hawkins is shot during the robbery
  • 2003 Spanish police thwart an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives at 3:55 p.m. inside Madrid's busy Chamartín Station.
  • 2012 11 kindergarten children are killed after a minivan plunges into a roadside pond in Jiangxi, China