History: December 25

December 25

0001 The first Christmas, according to calendar-maker Dionysus Exiguus.

0008 Birth: Jesus of Nazareth, charismatic religious leader, philosopher, life-long practicing Jew, inadvertent founder of Christianity. Note: The year is arrived at by utilizing current astronomical calculations, and is a 'best guess.' There are no useful clues as to the actual time of year the birth occurred.

0336 This is the earliest known year that Jesus' nativity is celebrated on December 25th, as mentioned in the Philocalian Calendar of A.D. 354. Jesus' birth is commemorated on January 6th in Greek Orthodoxy, although by the 400s most of the Eastern churches will have accepted the Roman date. (Bradley)

0390 Roman emperor Theodosius admits debt on mass murder in Thessalonica.

0498 Cutting out the middleman, French king Clovis baptizes himself; something even Jesus of Nazareth would not have contemplated.

0597 England adopts the Julian calendar.

0604 Battle at Etampes (Stampae): Burgundy defeats the Neustriers.

0800 Pope Leo III crowns a new Roman emperor, Charles the Great, better known as Charlemagne.

0820 Death: Leo V, the Armenian, Byzantine general, Emperor (813-20), murdered.

1121 Norbertus van Xanten founds the order of the Norbertijnen.

1223 St. Francis of Assisi assembles the first Nativity scene, in Greccio, Italy.

1492 Columbus' ship Santa Maria docks in the Dominican Republic.

1513 Death: Johannes Amerbach, Swiss publisher, printer, at about 70.

1582 Zealand/Brabant adopts the Gregorian calendar; yesterday was Dec 14th.

1621 Governor William Bradford of Plymouth forbids game playing on Christmas Day.

1624 Birth: Angelus Silesius (Johann Scheffler), German mystic; St Seelenlust.

1642 Birth: Sir Isaac Newton, in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England, physicist, mathematician, astronomer; Laws of Motion and Gravity. Author; Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

1651 The Massachusetts General Court orders a five shillings fine for "observing any such day as Christmas."

1683 Death: Kara Mustapha, Turkish grand-vizier (1676-83), executed.

1698 Birth: Jacobus Houbraken, Dutch engraver, illustrator. Above: A Houbraken print of Thomas Cromwell.

1723 Baptists from Germany, known as 'Dunkards,' hold their first immersion service in America at Germantown, Pennsylvania.

1741 Astronomer Anders Celcius introduces the Centigrade temperature scale.

1745 Prussia and Austria sign the Treaty of Dresden, giving much of Silesia to the Prussians.

1758 Halley's comet is first sighted by Johann Georg Palitzsch.

1761 Death: Elisabeth Petrovna, tsarina of Russia (1741-62), at about 51.

1763 Birth: Claude Chappe, French engineer; optical telegraph.

1776 US Revolutionary War: George Washington and his Continentals cross the Delaware River and surprise and defeat 1,400 Hessians. "...December 1776 was a desperate time for George Washington and the American Revolution. The ragtag Continental Army was encamped along the Pennsylvania shore of the Delaware River exhausted, demoralized and uncertain of its future. The troubles had begun the previous August when British and Hessian troops invaded Long Island routing the colonial forces, forcing a desperate escape to the island of Manhattan. The British followed up their victory with an attack on Manhattan that compelled the Americans to again retreat, this time across the Hudson River to New Jersey. The British followed in hot pursuit, chasing the Americans through New Jersey and by December had forced the Continental Army to abandon the state and cross the Delaware into Pennsylvania. With New Jersey in their firm control and Rhode Island successfully occupied, the British were confident that the Revolution had been crushed. The Continental Army appeared to be merely an annoyance soon to be swatted into oblivion like a bothersome bee at a picnic. To compound Washington's problems, the enlistment's of the majority of the militias under his command were due to expire at the end of the month and the troops return to their homes. Washington had to do something and quickly. His decision was to attack the British. The target was the Hessian-held town of Trenton just across the Delaware River. During the night of December 25, Washington led his troops across the ice-swollen Delaware about 9 miles north of Trenton. The weather was horrendous and the river treacherous. Raging winds combined with snow, sleet and rain to produce almost impossible conditions. To add to the difficulties, a significant number of Washington's force marched through the snow without shoes.

The next morning they attacked to the south, taking the Hessian garrison by surprise and overrunning the town. After fierce fighting, and the loss of their commander, the Hessians surrendered. Washington's victory was complete but his situation precarious. The violent weather continued - making a strike towards Princeton problematic. Washington and his commanding officers decided to..."

1800 Britain's first Christmas tree is put up at Windsor by Queen Charlotte.

1821 Birth: Clara Harlowe Barton, in Oxford, Massachusetts, nurse, founder of American Red Cross. Died 12 April 1912.

1831 Louisiana and Arkansas become the first states to observe Christmas as a holiday.

1832 Charles Darwin celebrates Christmas in St. Martin at Cape Receiver.

1833 Charles Darwin celebrates Christmas in Port Desire, Patagonia.

1834 Charles Darwin celebrates Christmas on the HMS Beagle at Tres Montes, Chile.

1835 Charles Darwin and company celebrate Christmas in Pahia, New Zealand.

1837 Battle of Okeechobee: US forces defeat the Seminole Indians.


1867 Birth: Alfred Kerr, writer.


1868 Reconstruction: Despite bitter opposition, President Andrew Johnson grants an unconditional pardon to all persons involved in the Southern rebellion. (Bradley)

1868 Death: Linus Yale, developer of the cylinder lock.

1876 Birth: Quaid-i-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, in Karachi, founder of the Republic of Pakistan (1947), governor general (1947-58). (Bradley)

1878 Death: Anna Claypoole Peale, US painter of miniatures.

1883 Birth: Maurice Utrillo, in France, painter; Port St Martin, Montmartre.

1891 Birth: Kenneth A. N. Anderson, British general; Dunkirk, North Africa.

1898 Birth: Theo Swagemakers, Dutch portrait painter.

1899 Death: Raphael Soyer, artist.

1900 Arthur Schnitzlers Leutnant Gustl is banned in Germany.

1900 Volkishness: Adolf Josef Lanz (Liebenfels) later claims that it was on this date that he founded the Order of the New Templars. Lanz said he set himself up as the order's Grand Master and adopted the swastika as his emblem. Note: Historians believe the order was not modeled along Templar lines until sometime after 1905. (Roots)

1901 Boer War: At the Battle at Tweefontein Orange-Free state, the Boers surprise attack the British.

1903 Death: Albert Schäffle, German sociologist, at 72.

1904 Birth: Gerhard Herzberg, in Canada, physicist; molecular structure-Nobel 1971.

1906 Birth: Clark M. Clifford, US Secretary of Defense (1968-69).

1907 Volkishness: Jorg Lanz Liebenfels celebrates Christmas Day by hoisting a swastika flag from the high tower of Burg Werfenstein. Two flags are flown: one displaying the Liebenfels blazon, while the other shows a red swastika surrounded by four blue fleur-de-lis upon a golden field. (Herndl; Roots)

1909 Birth: Louis van Lint, Belgian painter.

1911 Birth: Burne Hogarth, strip-cartoon artist.

1913 Birth: Henri Nannen, journalist.

1914 WW1: Troops on both sides observe an informal Christmas truce across Europe.

1914 WW1: The French battleship Jean Bart is torpedoed by an Austrian submarine in the Straits of Otranto.

1914 WW1: Dec 25-Mar 9, 1915 Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler serves at Neuve Chapelle as a Dispatch Runner with Regimental HQ, 16 Bavarian Infantry Regiment.


1922 Lenin dictates his Political testament.

1923 In Washington, DC, during Calvin Coolidge's first Christmas as president, the first electrically lit Christmas tree debuts in the White House. (Bradley)

1924 Birth: Rod Serling (Edwin Rodman), author, scriptwriter; The Twilight Zone, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Seven Days in May.

1925 Death: Sergei Jessenin, writer, at 30.

1926 Death: Yoshihito, 123rd Emperor of Japan (1912-26), at. His son, Hirohito, succeeds him as emperor (1926-1989).

1931 Birth: Carlos Castaneda, mystic, US writer; Eagle's Gift, Fire From Within.

1931 Birth: Uzo Egonu, painter, print maker.

1931 Volkishness: Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels enthusiastically reviews a book proposing a Hollow Earth Theory. The founder of the Hollow Earth doctrine is Cyrus R. Teed (1839-1908) who claimed to have undergone a spiritual illumination in 1870, when he received by revelation the tenets of this doctrine, which he called Koreshianity (Koresh is Hebrew for Cyrus). In 1903 he established a community at Estero, Florida. The doctrine was brought to Germany by Peter Bender who read the sect periodical, The Flaming Spear, while a prisoner of war in France. (Roots)

1932 Birth: José Maria Capricorne, in Curaçao, graphic designer, painter.

1935 Volkishess: The writings of Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels begin to be published by a firm in Vienna, which will continue to be involved until late 1937. No more of his writings will appear until after 1945 in Switzerland. (Roots)

1935 Scottish physicist Robert Watson-Watt patents the first practical radar system. (Lewy)

1936 The US announces new agreements that facilitate trade with Germany. (Edelheit)

1938 Death: Karel Capek, Czechoslovakian antifascist, author; Bílá Nemoc.

1939 Montgomery Ward introduces Rudolph the 9th reindeer.

1939 Diary of Leon Gladun: Jozwa got a letter. Everything's fine, they know about us at home. Supposedly we're leaving in a few days. Today a lot of news from home, simply fabulous.


1941 WW2: Japan announces the surrender of the British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong.

1942 WW2: British Colonel S. W. Bailey reaches Mihailovics headquarters.

1943 WW2: Fireside Chat #27 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt; On the Teheran and Cairo Conferences: "...On this Christmas Eve there are over ten million men in the armed forces of the United States alone. One year ago 1,700,000 were serving overseas. Today, this figure has been more than doubled to 3,800,000 on duty overseas. By next July first that number overseas will rise to over 5,000,000 men and women. That this is truly a World War was demonstrated to me when..."

1943 Church and Reich: Bishop Frings, in his Christmas sermon, again emphasizes that it is wrong to kill innocents just because they belong to another race, but again he fails to mention the word "Jew" or "non-Aryan." (Lewy)

1944 WW2: SS Col. Peiper pulls out of La Gleize (where he is trapped) in the early hours of Christmas morning. He leaves behind no fewer than 150 US Prisoners, and takes only one US officer with him. These 150 US soldiers are looked after by SS medical personnel who volunteer to stay behind. Note: During the Ardennes campaign, SS-Kampfgruppe Peiper took some 450 US Prisoners and nearly all arrived safely in Germany.

1944 WW2: Leading elements of Manteuffel's army is still four miles short of the Meuse River at Dinant. It is to be the high-water mark of the German advance.

1944 WW2: The Allies begin a strong counteroffensive in the Ardennes. The US 4th Armored Division, part of Patton's Third Army, from around Mortelange is designated to relieve Bastogne.

1944 WW2: Churchill and Anthony Eden arrive in Athens to arrange for the settlement of the Greek Civil War.

1946 Death: W. C. Fields (William Claude Dunkinfield), vaudeville pioneer, expert juggler who invented the cigar box juggle, film comedian, comedy writer, at his home in Hollywood, California, from the effects of years of excessive drinking and pneumonia at 67. Witnesses say that he drank two quarts of martinis a day, even while filming on the movie set. In his final years, Fields suffered from cirrhosis and kidney trouble, and had to wear heavy makeup in his last films to conceal the swollen veins and "gin blossoms" in his face and nose. Even when placed in a sanitarium, he had friends smuggle bottles of booze in to him against doctors' orders. The man who made light of alcohol in his films died on Christmas Day of a severe stomach hemorrhage. The comedian had a lifelong fear of returning to the poverty of his youth, and so he opened hundreds of bank accounts during his many travels, under countless aliases. Reportedly, most of the money is still unclaimed. Favorite Quote: 'I never drink water. Fish f*ck in it." (Bradley)

1950 The Coronation Stone, taken from Scone in Scotland by Edward I in 1296, is stolen from Westminster Abbey and smuggled back to Scotland. (Bradley)

1951 The Flying Enterprise, her hull cracked and badly listing, is in serious trouble. The ship had been pounded by storms and the passengers and crew huddle on the deck praying for rescue. The captain, Kurt Carlsen, stubbornly refuses to leave his ship during the rescue operation. (Bradley)

1954 Death: Liberty Hyde Bailey, US botanist; Plant breeding.

1956 Death: Robert Walser, writer, at 78.

1957 Death: Frederick Law Olmsted, US architect; Central Park.

1959 A synagogue in Cologne, Germany is desecrated with swastikas.

1961 Death: Dr. Rheinhold Rudenberg, inventor of the electron microscope.

1962 The Department of Commerce Census Clock in Washington, DC, records the US population as 188,000,000.

1968 The crew of Apollo 8 becomes the first ever to see the dark side of the moon.

1971 Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) is formed by the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

1973 Death: Ismet Inönü, Turkish Prime Minister (1923-65), at 89.

1979 The USSR airlifts an invasionary army to Afghanistan.

1983 Death: Joan Miro, Spanish surrealist, at his home in Majorca at 90.

1984 The first man-made comet is visible in the sky as a sphere of chemicals from a West German satellite appear as a yellowish-green haze and in the constellation Virgo.

1987 Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme, who had escaped prison 2 days earlier, is recaptured.

1989 A Japanese scientist achieves the coldest temp ever recorded: -271.8ºC.

1989 Romanian dictator President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena Ceausescu, are executed in the wake of the country's revolution.

1991 Mikhail Gorbachev announces his resignation as the last leader of the crumbling Soviet Union.

1992 Death: Monica Dickens, English/US journalist, author, at 77.

1995 Death: Emmanuel Levinas, philosopher, at 89.

2001 British Cabinet minister Clare Short declares that the United States must do more to help resolve the Middle East conflict.

2001 A gun battle near the Jordanian border leaves an Israeli soldier and two attackers dead.

2001 India and Pakistan move warplanes, troops, and missiles to their border as the talk of war between the countries intensified. Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee says, "We do not want war, but war is being thrust on us and we will have to face it."

2001 General Tommy Franks, aboard the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt declares that US coalition forces will continue to search the Tora Bora caves for Osama bin Laden "until we satisfy ourselves that he is there and dead."












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