On This Day … 25 December


  • 333: Roman Emperor Constantine the Great elevates his youngest son Constans to the rank of Caesar.
  • 350: Vetranio meets Constantius II at Naissus (Serbia) and is forced to abdicate his title (Caesar). Constantius allows him to live as a private citizen on a state pension.
  • 800: The coronation of Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor, in Rome.
  • 1000: The foundation of the Kingdom of Hungary: Hungary is established as a Christian kingdom by Stephen I of Hungary.
  • 1013: Sweyn Forkbeard takes control of the Danelaw and is proclaimed king of England.
  • 1025: Coronation of Mieszko II Lambert as king of Poland.
  • 1066: William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy is crowned king of England, at Westminster Abbey, London.
  • 1076: Coronation of Bolesław II the Generous as king of Poland.
  • 1100: Baldwin of Boulogne is crowned the first King of Jerusalem in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
  • 1130: Count Roger II of Sicily is crowned the first king of Sicily.
  • 1261: Eleven-year-old John IV Laskaris of the restored Eastern Roman Empire is deposed and blinded by orders of his co-ruler Michael VIII Palaiologos.
  • 1553: Battle of Tucapel: Mapuche rebels under Lautaro defeat the Spanish conquistadors and executes the governor of Chile, Pedro de Valdivia.
  • 1776: George Washington and the Continental Army cross the Delaware River at night to attack Hessian forces serving Great Britain at Trenton, New Jersey, the next day.
  • 1793: General “Mad Anthony” Wayne and a 300 man detachment identify the site of St. Clair’s 1791 defeat by the large number of unburied human remains at modern Fort Recovery, Ohio.
  • 1826: The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy concludes after beginning the previous evening.
  • 1831: The Great Jamaican Slave Revolt begins; up to 20% of Jamaica’s slaves mobilise in an ultimately unsuccessful fight for freedom.
  • 1837: Second Seminole War: American general Zachary Taylor leads 1,100 troops against the Seminoles at the Battle of Lake Okeechobee.
  • 1868: Pardons for ex-Confederates: United States President Andrew Johnson grants an unconditional pardon to all Confederate veterans.
  • 1914: A series of unofficial truces occur across the Western Front to celebrate Christmas.
  • 1941: Admiral Chester W. Nimitz arrives at Pearl Harbour to assume command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet
  • 1941: World War II: Battle of Hong Kong ends, beginning the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.
  • 1941: Admiral Émile Muselier seizes the archipelago of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, which become the first part of France to be liberated by the Free French Forces.
  • 1962: The Soviet Union conducts its final above-ground nuclear weapon test, in anticipation of the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
  • 1989: Romanian Revolution: Deposed President of Romania Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena, are condemned to death and executed after a summary trial.
  • 1991: Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as President of the Soviet Union (the union itself is dissolved the next day). Ukraine’s referendum is finalized and Ukraine officially leaves the Soviet Union.
  • 2016: A Russian Defence Ministry Tupolev Tu-154 carrying members of the Alexandrov Ensemble crashes into the Black Sea shortly after takeoff, killing all 92 people on board.

People (Births)

  • 1757: Benjamin Pierce, American general and politician, 17th Governor of New Hampshire (d. 1839).
  • 1821: Clara Barton, American nurse and humanitarian, founder of the American Red Cross (d. 1912).
  • 1891: Kenneth Arthur Noel Anderson, Indian-English general and politician, Governor of Gibraltar (d. 1959).
  • 1908: Ernest L. Massad, American general (d. 1993).
  • 1916: Ahmed Ben Bella, Algerian soldier and politician, 1st President of Algeria (d. 2012).
  • 1918: Anwar Sadat, Egyptian lieutenant and politician, 3rd President of Egypt, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1981).
  • 1959: Michael P. Anderson, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (d. 2003).

People (Deaths)

  • 940: Makan ibn Kaki, Iranian general.
  • 1635: Samuel de Champlain, French soldier, geographer, and explorer (b. 1567).
  • 1676: William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle, English soldier and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire (b. 1592).
  • 1683: Kara Mustafa Pasha, Ottoman general and politician, 111th Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire (b. 1634).
  • 1730: Henry Scott, 1st Earl of Deloraine, Scottish peer and general (b. 1676).
  • 1824: William Lawless, Irish revolutionary, later French Army general (b. 1772).
  • 1933: Francesc Macià, Catalan colonel and politician, 122nd President of Catalonia (b. 1859).
  • 1961: Owen Brewster, American captain, lawyer, and politician, 54th Governor of Maine (b. 1888).
  • 1973: İsmet İnönü, Turkish general and politician, 2nd President of Turkey (b. 1884).
  • 1989: Nicolae Ceaușescu, Romanian general and politician, 1st President of Romania (b. 1918).
  • 2016: Valery Khalilov, Russian military musician and composer (b. 1952).

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