On This Day … 23 December


  • 484: Following the death of Huneric, his nephew Gunthamund becomes king of the Vandals, effectively ending the campaign against Christianity.
  • 558: Chlothar I is crowned King of the Franks.
  • 962: Arab–Byzantine wars: Under the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, Byzantine troops storm the city of Aleppo.
  • 1598: Arauco War: Governor of Chile Martín García Óñez de Loyola is killed in the Battle of Curalaba by Mapuches led by Pelantaru.
  • 1688: As part of the Glorious Revolution, King James II of England flees from England to Paris, France after being deposed in favor of his nephew, William of Orange and his daughter Mary.
  • 1783: George Washington resigns as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland.
  • 1793: The Battle of Savenay: A decisive defeat of the royalist counter-revolutionaries in War in the Vendée during the French Revolution.
  • 1914: World War I: Australian and New Zealand troops arrive in Cairo, Egypt.
  • 1916: World War I: Battle of Magdhaba: Allied forces defeat Turkish forces in the Sinai Peninsula.
  • 1919: Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 becomes law in the United Kingdom.
  • 1941: World War II: After 15 days of fighting, the Imperial Japanese Army occupies Wake Island.
  • 1948: Seven Japanese military and political leaders convicted of war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East are executed by Allied occupation authorities at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, Japan.
  • 1968: The 82 sailors from the USS Pueblo are released after eleven months of internment in North Korea.
  • 1979: Soviet–Afghan War: Soviet Union forces occupy Kabul, the Afghan capital.
  • 1986: Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California becoming the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world without aerial or ground refuelling.
  • 1990: History of Slovenia: In a referendum, 88.5% of Slovenia’s overall electorate vote for independence from Yugoslavia.
  • 2002: A US MQ-1 Predator is shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25 in the first combat engagement between a drone and conventional aircraft.
  • Day of all level operational control structures servicemen (Ukraine).

People (Births)

  • 1613: Carl Gustaf Wrangel, Swedish field marshal and politician, Lord High Constable of Sweden (d. 1676).
  • 1758: Nathan Wilson, American soldier and politician (d. 1834).
  • 1843: Richard Conner, American sergeant, Medal of Honour recipient (d. 1924).
  • 1896: Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Italian lieutenant and author (d. 1957).
  • 1907: James Roosevelt, American general and politician (d. 1991).
  • 1910: Kurt Meyer, German general (d. 1961).
  • 1918: Helmut Schmidt, German soldier, economist, and politician, 5th Chancellor of Germany (d. 2015).
  • 1919: Kenneth M. Taylor, American general and pilot (d. 2006).
  • 1923: James Stockdale, American admiral and pilot, Medal of Honour recipient (d. 2005).
  • 1932: Richard Clark Barkley, American soldier, academic, and diplomat, United States Ambassador to East Germany (d. 2015).
  • 1944: Wesley Clark, American general.
  • 1950: Richard Dannatt, Baron Dannatt, British general.

People (Deaths)

  • 1575: Akiyama Nobutomo, Japanese samurai (b. 1531).
  • 1675: Caesar, duc de Choiseul, French general and diplomat (b. 1602).
  • 1779: Augustus Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol, British admiral and politician, Chief Secretary for Ireland (b. 1724).
  • 1795: Henry Clinton, British general and politician (b. 1730).
  • 1930: Mustafa Fehmi Kubilay, Turkish lieutenant and educator (b. 1906).
  • 1939: Anthony Fokker, Indonesia-born Dutch pilot and engineer, designed the Fokker Dr.I and Fokker D.VII (b. 1890).
  • 1948: Akira Mutō, Japanese general (b. 1883).
  • 1948: Hideki Tojo, Japanese general and politician, 40th Prime Minister of Japan (b. 1884).
  • 1948: Seishirō Itagaki, Japanese general (b. 1885).
  • 1948: Heitarō Kimura, Japanese general (b. 1888).
  • 1948: Iwane Matsui, Japanese general (b. 1878).
  • 1948: Kenji Doihara, Japanese general (b. 1883).
  • 1953: Lavrentiy Beria, Georgian-Russian general and politician, Russian Minister of Internal Affairs (b. 1899).
  • 1954: René Iché, French soldier and sculptor (b. 1897).
  • 1961: Kurt Meyer, German general (b. 1910).
  • 1970: Aleksander Warma, Estonian lieutenant and politician, Prime Minister of Estonia in exile (b. 1890).
  • 1972: Andrei Tupolev, Russian engineer, designed the Tupolev Tu-95 and Tupolev Tu-104 (b. 1888).
  • 2009: Robert L. Howard, American colonel, Medal of Honour recipient (b. 1939).
  • 2009: Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme, Tibetan general and politician (b. 1910).
  • 2010: Fred Hargesheimer, American soldier and pilot (b. 1916).
  • 2013: Mikhail Kalashnikov, Russian general and weapons designer, designed the AK-47 rifle (b. 1919).
  • 2015: Bülent Ulusu, Turkish admiral and politician, 18th Prime Minister of Turkey (b. 1923).

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