On This Day … 26 December


  • 1481: Battle of Westbroek: Holland defeats troops of Utrecht.
  • 1489: The forces of the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, take control of Almería from the Nasrid ruler of Granada, Muhammad XIII.
  • 1776: American Revolutionary War: In the Battle of Trenton, the Continental Army attacks and successfully defeats a garrison of Hessian forces.
  • 1790: Louis XVI of France gives his public assent to Civil Constitution of the Clergy during the French Revolution.
  • 1793: Second Battle of Wissembourg: France defeats Austria.
  • 1805: Austria and France sign the Treaty of Pressburg.
  • 1806: Battles of Pultusk and Golymin: Russian forces hold French forces under Napoleon.
  • 1825: Advocates of liberalism in Russia rise up against Czar Nicholas I but are suppressed in the Decembrist revolt in Saint Petersburg.
  • 1861: American Civil War: The Trent Affair: Confederate diplomatic envoys James Murray Mason and John Slidell are freed by the US government, thus heading off a possible war between the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • 1862: American Civil War: The Battle of Chickasaw Bayou begins.
  • 1862: Four nuns serving as volunteer nurses on board USS Red Rover are the first female nurses on a US Navy hospital ship.
  • 1862: The largest mass-hanging in US history took place in Mankato, Minnesota, where 38 Native Americans died.
  • 1943: World War II: German warship Scharnhorst is sunk off of Norway’s North Cape after a battle against major Royal Navy forces.
  • 1944 : World War II: George S. Patton’s Third Army breaks the encirclement of surrounded US forces at Bastogne, Belgium.
  • 1948: The last Soviet troops withdraw from North Korea.
  • 1972: Vietnam War: As part of Operation Linebacker II, 120 American B-52 Stratofortress bombers attacked Hanoi, including 78 launched from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, the largest single combat launch in Strategic Air Command history.
  • 1991: The Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union meets and formally dissolves the Soviet Union, ending the Cold War.
  • 1998: Iraq announces its intention to fire upon U.S. and British warplanes that patrol the northern and southern no-fly zones.

People (Births)

  • 1716: Jean François de Saint-Lambert, French soldier and philosopher (d. 1803).
  • 1751: Lord George Gordon, English lieutenant and politician (d. 1793).
  • 1837: Morgan Bulkeley, American soldier and politician, 54th Governor of Connecticut (d. 1922).
  • 1837: George Dewey, American admiral (d. 1917).
  • 1887: Arthur Percival, British general (d. 1966).
  • 1918: Georgios Rallis, Greek lieutenant and politician, 173rd Prime Minister of Greece (d. 2006).
  • 1947: James T. Conway, American general.

People (Deaths)

  • 1006: Gao Qiong, Chinese general (b. 935).
  • 1331: Philip I, Prince of Taranto, titular Latin Emperor (b. 1278).
  • 1360: Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent, English commander (b. 1314).
  • 1784: Seth Warner, American colonel (b. 1743).
  • 1925: Jan Letzel, Czech architect, designed the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (b. 1880).
  • 1966: Herbert Otto Gille, German general (b. 1897).
  • 1972: Harry S. Truman, American colonel and politician, 33rd President of the United States (b. 1884).
  • 1974: Frederick Dalrymple-Hamilton, British admiral (b. 1890).
  • 2005: Erich Topp, German commander (b. 1914).
  • 2006: Gerald Ford, American commander, lawyer, and politician, 38th President of the United States (b. 1913).
  • 2012: Ibrahim Tannous, Lebanese general (b. 1929).
  • 2014: James B. Edwards, American dentist, soldier, and politician, 3rd United States Secretary of Energy (b. 1927).

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