December 24 in history

On December 24:

1754 George Crabbe, British poet and naturalist, was born  (d. 1832).

1777  Kiritimati, (Christmas Island) was discovered by James Cook.

1814  The Treaty of Ghent was signed ending the War of 1812.


1822 Matthew Arnold, British poet, was born (d. 1888).


1865  Several U.S. Civil War Confederate veterans formed the Ku Klux Klan.


1880  Johnny Gruelle, American cartoonist, children’s book writer and creator of Raggedy Ann was born (d. 1888 1938).

1893  Harry Warren, American composer and lyricist (Chattanooga Choo Choo – I Only Have Eyes for You), was born (d. 1981).

1905 Howard Hughes, American film producer and inventor, was born (d. 1976).

1906  Reginald Fessenden transmitted the first radio broadcast; consisting of a poetry reading, a violin solo, and a speech.

1914  World War I: The “Christmas truce” began.

 British and German troops meeting in No man’s land during the unofficial truce.

1922 Ava Gardner, American actress, was born (d. 1990).

1923 George Patton IV, American general, was born (d. 2004).

George Patton IV DF-ST-84-01686.JPEG

1924  Albania became a republic.

1927  Mary Higgins Clark, American author, was born.

1941  World War II: Hong Kong fell to the Japanese Imperial Army.

1943 General Dwight D. Eisenhower became Supreme Allied Commander.

1946  France‘s Fourth Republic was founded.

Flag Coat of arms

1948 Frank Oliver, New Zealand rugby player, was born.

1951 Libya became independent from Italy. Idris I was proclaimed King.

1953 Tangiwai railway disaster – The worst railway disaster in New Zealand’s history occurred on Christmas Eve 1953 when the Wellington-Auckland night express plunged into the flooded Whangaehu River, just west of Tangiwai in the central North Island. The accident happened after a railway bridge was destroyed by a lahar.

Tangiwai railway disaster

1955  NORAD Tracked Santa for the first time in what will become an annual Christmas Eve tradition.

1957 Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, was born.
1961 Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, was born.
1968 The crew of Apollo 8 entered 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.
Ed Miliband, leader of the British Labour Party, was born.

1974  Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin.


1979 – The first European Ariane rocket was launched.

1997 – The Sid El-Antri massacre (or Sidi Lamri) in Algeria killed 50-100 people.

2000 – The Texas 7 held up a sports store in Irving, Texas,  Police officer Aubrey Hawkins was murdered during the robbery.

2003 – Spanish police thwarted an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives at 3:55 p.m. inside Madrid’s Chamartín Station.

 Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

4 Responses to December 24 in history

  1. Charmaine says:

    I don’t want to be picky but Johnny Gruelle died in 1938 not 1888.

    Merry Christmas and thanks for these, my daily read.


  2. Andrei says:

    Christmas Eve – what most people even Christians don’t know is the Church’s day starts at Sunset – so Christmas day really begins tonight when the Sun goes down theologically speaking.

    From there in the Church the services for the hours of the day starting with Vespers are sung – leading to Midnight Liturgy celebrated after the midnight hours.

    In my Childhood people would gradually drift in to the Church throughout the night until it was filled for Midnight hours and the Liturgy. We would be home by about 5am and were allowed to open one gift before going to bed.

    It was all a glimpse of Paradise.


  3. homepaddock says:

    You’re welcome to pick – it would have been difficult for him to have achieved much in only eight years. It was Matthew Arnold who died in 1888, I copied and pasted that date by mistake.

    Merry Christmas to you too, I’m pleased you enjoy the reading.


  4. homepaddock says:

    Andrei – in Argentina Christmas Eve is when people come together to celebrate. I think many European countries do that.

    The church I went to when growing up always had a Christmas Eve carol service which finished with the choir leading the congregation out singing as a symbol of taking Christmas to the world.


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