On This Day in History December 24

December 24 – Events:

  • 563 – The Byzantine church Hagia Sophia in Constantinople is dedicated for the second time after being destroyed by earthquakes.
  • 962 – Byzantine troops destroy the Emir of Aleppo, thoroughly sacking the city.
  • 1294 – Pope Boniface VIII is elected Pope, replacing St. Celestine V, who had abdicated.
  • 1777 – Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, is discovered by James Cook.
  • 1814 – The Treaty of Ghent is signed ending the War of 1812.
  • 1818 – “Silent Night” is composed by Franz Joseph Gruber, first sung the next day.
  • 1851 – Library of Congress burns.
  • 1865 – Several U.S. Civil War Confederate veterans form the Ku Klux Klan.
  • 1889 – Daniel Stover & William Hance patent the bicycle with back pedal brake.
  • 1906 – Radio: Reginald Fessenden transmits the first radio broadcast; consisting of a poetry reading, a violin solo, and a speech.
  • 1910 – Luisa Tetrazzini sings to 250,000 people at Lot’s fountain.
  • 1914 – World War I: The “Christmas truce” begins.
  • 1924 – Albania becomes a republic.
  • 1929 – Assassination attempt on Argentine President Hipólito Yrigoyen.
  • 1933 – Paris express train derails and kills 160, injures 300.
  • 1936 – First radioactive isotope medicine administered in Berkeley, California.
  • 1939 – World War II: Pope Pius XII makes a Christmas Eve appeal for peace.
  • 1941 – World War II: Hong Kong falls to the Japanese Imperial Army.
  • 1941 – World War II: Kuching is conquered by Japanese forces.
  • 1942 – World War II: French monarchist, Fernand Bonnier de La Chapelle, assassinates Vichy French Admiral François Darlan in Algiers.
  • 1942 – World War II: First powered flight of V-1 buzz bomb, Germany.
  • 1943 – World War II: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the Supreme Allied Commander.
  • 1946 – France’s Fourth Republic is founded.
  • 1951 – Libya becomes independent from Italy. Idris I is proclaimed King of Libya.
  • 1953 – Tangiwai disaster: A railway bridge collapse at Tangiwai, New Zealand sending a fully loaded passenger train into the Whangaehu River and killing 153 people.
  • 1953 – Two fast express trains crash head-on killing 103 in Czechoslovokia.
  • 1954 – Laos gains its independence.
  • 1956 – “I Love Lucy” Christmas show airs; it was never put in syndication.
  • 1961 – Houston Oilers beat San Diego Chargers 10-3 in AFL championship game.
  • 1966 – A Canadair CL-44 chartered by the United States military crashes into a small village in South Vietnam, killing 129.
  • 1968 – The crew of the USS Pueblo is released by North Korea after being held for 11 months on suspicion of spying.
  • 1968 – Apollo Program: The crew of Apollo 8 enters into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed 10 lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures that became the famous Christmas Eve Broadcast, one of the most watched programs in history.
  • 1970 – Walt Disney’s “The Aristocats” is released.
  • 1973 – Ferryboat capsizes off the coast of Ecuador, drowning 200.
  • 1974 – Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Australia.
  • 1979 – The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan to support the country’s Marxist government.
  • 1979 – The first European Ariane rocket is launched.
  • 1980 – Americans remembered Iran hostages by shining lights for 417 seconds.
  • 1997 – The Sid El-Antri massacre (or Sidi Lamri) in Algeria kills 50-100 people.
  • 1989 – Panama’s dictator, Manual Noriega, seeks asylum in the Vatican embassy.
  • 1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as head of the Soviet Union.
  • 1997 – The Dominican Republic becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty.
  • 2000 – The Texas 7 hold up a sports store in Irving, Texas. Police officer Aubrey Hawkins is shot during the robbery.
  • 2003 – The Spanish police thwart an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives at 3:55 p.m. inside Madrid’s busy Chamartín Station.

December 24 – Birthdays:

  • 3 BC – Galba, Roman Emperor (d. 69)
  • 1166 – King John of England (d. 1216)
  • 1389 – John VI, Duke of Brittany (d. 1442)
  • 1475 – Thomas Murner, German writer (d.c. 1537)
  • 1491 – Ignatius of Loyola, Spanish founder of the Jesuit order (d. 1556)
  • 1508 – Pietro Carnesecchi, Italian humanist (d. 1567)
  • 1588 – Constance of Austria, queen of Poland (d. 1631)
  • 1609 – Philip Warwick, English writer and politician (d. 1683)
  • 1635 – Mariana of Austria, second wife of king Philip IV of Spain (d. 1696)
  • 1698 – William Warburton, English Bishop of Gloucester (d. 1779)
  • 1724 – Johann Conrad Ammann, Swiss physician and naturalist (d. 1811)
  • 1745 – Benjamin Rush, doctor and Founding Father of the United States (d. 1813)
  • 1754 – George Crabbe, British poet and naturalist (d. 1832)
  • 1761 – Jean-Louis Pons, French astronomer (d. 1831)
  • 1784 – Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna of Russia (d. 1803)
  • 1798 – Adam Mickiewicz, Polish poet (d. 1855)
  • 1809 – Kit Carson, American frontiersman (d. 1868)
  • 1812 – Karl Eduard Zachariae, German jurist (d. 1894)
  • 1818 – James Prescott Joule, British physicist (d. 1889)
  • 1822 – Matthew Arnold, British poet (d. 1888)
  • 1837 – Elisabeth of Bavaria a.k.a Sissi, Empress of Austria (d. 1898)
  • 1843 – Lydia Koidula, Estonian poet (d. 1886)
  • 1845 – King George I of Greece (d. 1913)
  • 1867 – Kantaro Suzuki, 42nd Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1948)
  • 1868 – Emanuel Lasker, German chess player (d. 1941)
  • 1879 – Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, Queen Consort to Christian X (d. 1952)
  • 1879 – Émile Nelligan, Quebec poet (d. 1941)
  • 1880 – Johnny Gruelle, American cartoonist, children’s book writer and creator of
  • 1881 – Juan Ramón Jiménez, Spanish writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1958)
  • 1886 – Michael Curtiz, Hungarian-born director (d. 1962)
  • 1887 – Louis Jouvet, French actor and producer (d. 1951)
  • 1893 – Harry Warren, American composer and lyricist (Chattanooga Choo Choo – I Only Have Eyes for You) (d. 1981)
  • 1894 – Georges Guynemer, French aviator (d. 1917)
  • 1895 – E. Roland Harriman, American financier (d. 1978)
  • 1898 – Héctor Scarone, Uruguayan footballer (d. 1967)
  • 1898 – Baby Dodds, American jazz drummer (d. 1959)
  • 1900 – Joey Smallwood, Canadian politician, Premier of Newfoundland (d. 1991)
  • 1904 – Joseph Moses Juran, American industrial engineer and philanthropist.
  • 1905 – Howard Hughes, American film producer and inventor (d. 1976)
  • 1906 – Franz Waxman, German film composer (d. 1967)
  • 1907 – I. F. Stone, American journalist (d. 1989)
  • 1910 – Fritz Leiber, American writer (d. 1992)
  • 1910 – Max Miedinger, typeface designer, famous for creating Helvetica in 1957. (d. 1980)
  • 1914 – Ralph Marterie, American trumpet player and big band leader (d. 1978)
  • 1914 – Herbert Reinecker, German writer
  • 1917 – Kim Jong-suk, Wife of Kim Il-sung, mother of Kim Jung-Il, “The Heroine of the Anti-Japanese Revolution” (d. 1949)
  • 1920 – Evgeniya Rudneva, Russian World War II heroine (d. 1944)
  • 1922 – Ava Gardner, American actress (d. 1990)
  • 1923 – George Patton IV, American general (d. 2004)
  • 1923 – Michael DiBiase, American wrestler (d. 1969)
  • 1924 – Lee Dorsey, American singer (d. 1986)
  • 1924 – Grigory Kriss, Russian Olympic champion fencer
  • 1925 – Mohd. Rafi, Indian actor and playback singer (d. 1980)
  • 1926 – Paul Buissonneau, French-born Quebec theatre director
  • 1929 – Mary Higgins Clark, American author
  • 1931 – Mauricio Kagel, Argentine composer
  • 1931 – Ray Bryant, American jazz pianist and composer
  • 1932 – On Kawara, Japanese conceptual artist
  • 1937 – Félix Miéli Venerando, Brazilian football player
  • 1938 – Bobby Henrich, American baseball player
  • 1938 – Valentim Loureiro, Portuguese politician, and former football chairman of Boavista F.C. and Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Profissional
  • 1941 – John Levene, British actor
  • 1943 – Tarja Halonen, President of Finland
  • 1944 – Daniel Johnson, Jr., Quebec politician, Premier of Quebec
  • 1944 – Mike Curb, American musician, record company executive and politician
  • 1944 – Oswald Gracias, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bombay
  • 1944 – Barry Chuckle, British comedian
  • 1945 – Lemmy, British singer, bassist (Motörhead)
  • 1945 – Nicholas Meyer, American author
  • 1945 – Steve Smith, Canadian Comedian, The New Red Green Show, Duct Tape Forever
  • 1946 – Brenda Howard, American bisexual activist (d. 2005)
  • 1946 – Jeff Sessions, American politician
  • 1947 – Kevin Sheedy, coach of Australian Football League club Essendon FC
  • 1948 – Frank Oliver, New Zealand rugby player
  • 1949 – Randy Neugebauer, American politician
  • 1949 – Warwick Brown, Australian racing driver
  • 1950 – Dana Gioia, American poet
  • 1951 – John D’Acquisto, baseball player
  • 1953 – François Loos, French politician
  • 1954 – José María Figueres, Costa Rican politician
  • 1955 – Grand L. Bush, American actor
  • 1955 – Clarence Gilyard, American actor
  • 1957 – Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan
  • 1957 – Diane Tell, Quebec singer
  • 1958 – Munetaka Higuchi, Japanese drummer
  • 1959 – Keith Deller, British darts player
  • 1959 – Anil Kapoor, Indian actor
  • 1960 – Glenn McQueen, American animator (d. 2002)
  • 1960 – Carol Vorderman, British television presenter
  • 1961 – Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan Republic
  • 1961 – Jay Wright, American basketball coach
  • 1963 – Jay Bilas, American basketball analyst
  • 1963 – Mary Ramsey, American singer (10,000 Maniacs)
  • 1963 – Caroline Aherne, British comedienne, writer and actress
  • 1964 – Mark Valley, American actor
  • 1966 – Diedrich Bader, American actor
  • 1967 – Mikhail Shchennikov, Russian race walker
  • 1968 – Doyle Bramhall II, American guitarist
  • 1969 – Mark Millar, Scottish comic book writer
  • 1970 – Amaury Nolasco, American actor
  • 1970 – Will Oldham, American singer and songwriter
  • 1971 – Christopher Daniels, American professional wrestler
  • 1971 – Ricky Martin, Puerto Rican singer
  • 1971 – Giorgos Alkaios, Greek singer
  • 1972 – Alvaro Mesen, Costa Rican footballer
  • 1973 – Eddie Pope, American soccer player
  • 1973 – Stephenie Meyer, Author
  • 1974 – Marcelo Salas, Chilean footballer
  • 1974 – Ryan Seacrest, American television host
  • 1978 – Yildiray Bastürk, Turkish footballer
  • 1979 – Chris Hero, American professional wrestler
  • 1980 – Tomas Kalnoky, American musician (Streetlight Manifesto)
  • 1981 – Dima Bilan, Karachay-Russian pop artist
  • 1982 – Aiba Masaki, Japanese singer and actor
  • 1982 – Robert Carmine, American singer
  • 1985 – David Ragan, American race car driver
  • 1986 – Edward Southall, British composer
  • 1986 – Riyo Mori, Miss Universe 2007 from Japan

December 24 – Deaths:

  • 427 – Archbishop Sisinnius I of Constantinople
  • 820 – Leo V, Byzantine Emperor (assassinated) (b. 775)
  • 1257 – John I, Count of Hainaut (b. 1218)
  • 1453 – John Dunstaple, English composer (b. 1390)
  • 1524 – Vasco da Gama, Portuguese explorer (b. 1469)
  • 1660 – Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (b. 1631)
  • 1707 – Noël Coypel, French painter (b. 1628)
  • 1813 – Empress Go-Sakuramachi of Japan (b. 1740)
  • 1863 – William Makepeace Thackeray, British writer (b. 1811)
  • 1865 – Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, British painter and writer (b. 1793)
  • 1868 – Adolphe d’Archiac, French paleontologist and geologist (b. 1802)
  • 1872 – William John Macquorn Rankine, British physician and engenier (b. 1820)
  • 1873 – Johns Hopkins, Baltimore philanthropist and businessman (b. 1795)
  • 1889 – Jan Jakob Lodewijk ten Kate, Dutch poet and clergyman (b. 1819)
  • 1898 – Sharbel Makhluf, Lebanese monk canonized in 1977 by Pope Paul VI (b. 1828)
  • 1914 – John Muir, British naturalist (b. 1838)
  • 1935 – Alban Berg, Austrian composer (b. 1885)
  • 1938 – Bruno Taut, German architect (b. 1880)
  • 1941 – Siegfried Alkan, German composer (b. 1858)
  • 1942 – François Darlan, vice-premier of Vichy France (b. 1881)
  • 1957 – Norma Talmadge, American actress (b. 1893)
  • 1965 – William M. Branham, Christian minister (b. 1906)
  • 1971 – Maria Koepcke, ornithologist (b. 1924)
  • 1972 – Gisela Richter, British art historian (b. 1882)
  • 1972 – Melville Ruick, American actor (b. 1898)
  • 1975 – Bernard Herrmann, American film composer (b. 1911)
  • 1976 – Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza, heir to the throne of Portugal (b. 1907)
  • 1977 – Samael Aun Weor, Columbian writer (b. 1917)
  • 1980 – Karl Dönitz, German naval admiral, and last leader of Nazi Germany (b. 1891)
  • 1980 – Siggie Nordstrom, model, actress, entertainer, socialite and lead singer of The Nordstrom Sisters (b. 1893)
  • 1982 – Louis Aragon, French writer (b. 1897)
  • 1984 – Peter Lawford, British actor (b. 1923)
  • 1985 – Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, Last Lincoln descendant (b. 1904)
  • 1986 – Gardner Fox, American writer (b. 1911)
  • 1987 – Joop den Uyl, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (b. 1919)
  • 1987 – M. G. Ramachandran, Chief Minister of the Tamil Nadu (b. 1917)
  • 1990 – Thorbjørn Egner, Norwegian author (b. 1922)
  • 1992 – Peyo, Belgian comics artist, and creator of The Smurfs (b. 1928)
  • 1992 – Bobby LaKind, American musician and singer (The Doobie Brothers) (b. 1945)
  • 1993 – Norman Vincent Peale, American writer (b. 1898)
  • 1994 – John Boswell, American historian (b. 1947)
  • 1994 – Rossano Brazzi, Italian actor and singer (b. 1916)
  • 1997 – Toshiro Mifune, Japanese actor (b. 1920)
  • 1997 – Pierre Péladeau, Quebec businessman, founder of Quebecor (b. 1925)
  • 1999 – João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo, President of Brazil (b. 1918)
  • 1999 – Maurice Couve de Murville, French politician, Prime minister of France (b. 1907)
  • 1999 – Bill Bowerman, American track and field coach
  • 2000 – John Cooper, English race car designer (b. 1923)
  • 2000 – Nick Massi, American singer (The Four Seasons) (b. 1935)
  • 2002 – Kjell Aukrust, Norwegian author (b. 1920)
  • 2002 – Laci Peterson, American murder victim (b. 1975)
  • 2004 – Johnny Oates, baseball player and manager (b. 1946)
  • 2005 – Michael Vale, American commercial actor (b. 1922)
  • 2006 – “Braguinha”, Brazilian songwriter (b. 1907)
  • 2006 – Kenneth Sivertsen, Norwegian singer, poet and comedian (b. 1961)
  • 2006 – Frank Stanton, American television executive (b. 1908)
  • 2007 – Nicholas Pumfrey, British judge (b. 1951)
  • 2007 – Akbar Radi, Iranian dramatist and playwright (b. 1939)

December 24 – Holidays:

  • Christmas Eve
  • Calendar of saints: Feast of Saint Adela and Saint Irmina.
  • The Declaration of Christmas Peace takes place in the Old Great Square of Turku, Finland’s official Christmas City, according to old traditions dating back to the Middle Ages.
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