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On December 25th...
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795 Pope Hadrian I died.
800 Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor.
1066 Duke William of Normandy, aka "William the Conqueror," was crowned King of England.
1223 St. Francis of Assisi assembled the first Nativity scene, at Greccio, Italy.
1635 Samuel de Champlain, French explorer and founder of Quebec, Canada, died.
1642 Mathematician Isaac Newton was born.
1643 Christmas Island was discovered and named by Captain William Mynors of the East India Ship Company vessel Royal Mary.
1761 Empress Elizabeth of Russia died.
1776 General George Washington and the Continental Army crossed the Delaware River.
1821 Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was born.
1854 James Gadsden, American statesman who negotiated the Gadsden Purchase, died.
1868 President Andrew Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to all persons involved in the "Southern Rebellion."
1878 Race car driver and designer Louis-Joseph Chevrolet was born.
1887 Hotel chain founder Conrad Hilton was born.
1890 Robert L. Ripley, of Believe It or Not! fame, was born.
1899 Actor Humphrey Bogart was born.
1906 Clark Clifford, U.S. presidential advisor and Secretary of Defense, was born.
1907 Singer Cab Calloway was born.
1914 British and German troops on the battlefields of Europe observed an unofficial day of truce, going so far as to exchange gifts and playing an impromptu football game.
1918 Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt, was born.
1924 Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, was born.
1925 Author Carlos Castaneda was born.
1926 Japanese Emperor Yoshihito died.
1938 Author Karel Capek died.
1939 Montgomery Ward introduced Rudolph as Santa's ninth reindeer.
1940 Music producer Phil Spector was born.
1945 Football player Ken Stabler was born.
1946 Singer Jimmy
Buffett was born.
1948 Singer Barbara Mandrell was born.
1949 Actress Sissy Spacek was born.
1950 The Coronation Stone, taken from Scone in Scotland by Edward I in 1296, was stolen from Westminster Abbey and smuggled back to Scotland.
1954 Singer Annie Lennox was born.
1955 NORAD headquarters answered its very first "where's Santa?" call.
1958 Singer Alannah Myles was born.
1977 Actor-director-producer Charlie Chaplin died.
1978 Venera 11 deployed a probe that descended to the surface of Venus.
1989 Billy Martin, five-time manager of the New York Yankees, died.
1995 Singer Dean Martin died.
1997 Actor Denver Pyle died.
2006 Singer James Brown died.
2008 Singer Eartha Kitt died.
2016 Singer George Michael died.
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This page was last updated on September 21, 2017.