Top 10 Historical Events on Christmas Day

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

For most, Christmas is a sacred day of peace and good will. However it’s also been a day for some historic events throughout history. Here are just a few in chronological order:

1) William the Conqueror, 1066

After defeating Harold at the Battle of Hastings, French born William the Conqueror was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey.

2) Santa Maria Sinks, 1492

After setting sail from Spain, Columbus’ slowest ship the Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción, ran aground off the coast of Haiti. It seems that the crew fell asleep after enjoying some festivities and left the cabin boy to steer the ship.

3) Washington Crosses Delaware, 1776

George Washington, in an effort to catch the Hessians off guard, crossed the Delaware River and crushed the mercenaries.

4) Andrew Johnson Pardon, 1868

After the Civil War, those who fought on the side of the South were considered war criminals. However, despite major opposition, President Andrew Johnson granted amnesty to all of them.

5) Christmas Truce, 1914

During WWI, the Germans and the Brits held a temporary truce where both sides sang carols, exchanged greetings, and gifts. There is even a picture of both sides decorating a Christmas tree.

6) Emperor Hirohito, 1926

Emperor Hirohito of Japan was crowned emperor and served for 63 years, which is the longest reign in Japanese history. He approved the attack on Pearl Harbor which led to the U.S. response of bombing Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

7) Ruapehu, New Zealand, 1953

After it had erupted in 1945, no one really paid attention to Mt. Ruapehu after that. By 1953, the Crater Lake was at a much higher level than it was in 1945 and the debris that held in the water back collapsed. That triggered a deadly overflow that killed 151 people. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip were in New Zealand at the time and attended the state funeral of 21 unidentified victims.

8) Charlie Chaplin Dies, 1977

Charlie Chaplin was an icon in silent movies, known for the classics, ‘The Great Dictator’, ‘The Tramp’ among others. He was loved by many and has inspired generations of actors and comedians. The Briton died at his home in Switzerland at the age of 88.

9) Ceausescu Executed, 1989

For nearly a quarter of a century, Ceausescu had Romania in a stifling communist grip. During his final speech, the crowd turned against him and his family. They fled but were captured, tried, found guilty and executed all on Christmas Day. That ended communist rule in Romania.

10) Gorbachev Resigned, 1991

Since the Glasnost policy granted more freedom and transparency that led to the end of the USSR. On Christmas 1991, its chief architect resigned as President of the former USSR which was broken up into sovereign republics.

Readers Bureau, Contributor