On December 24:
1754 George Crabbe, British poet and naturalist, was born.
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.
1865 Several U.S. Civil War Confederate veterans form the Ku Klux Klan.
1880 Johnny Gruelle, American cartoonist, children’s book writer and creator of Raggedy Ann was born.
1893 Harry Warren, American composer and lyricist (Chattanooga Choo Choo – I Only Have Eyes for You), was born.
1905 Howard Hughes, American film producer and inventor, was born.
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.
1923 George Patton IV, American general, was born.
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 becamee Supreme Allied Commander.
1946 France‘s Fourth Republic was founded.
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.
1955 NORAD Tracked Santa for the first time in what will become an annual Christmas Eve tradition.
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.
1974 Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin.
1979 – The first European Ariane rocket was launched.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.