On This Day … 25 December


  • 36 – Forces of Emperor Guangwu of the Eastern Han, under the command of Wu Han, conquer the separatist Chengjia empire, reuniting China.
  • 336 – First documentary sign of Christmas celebration in Rome.
  • 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.
  • 1066 – William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy is crowned king of England, at Westminster Abbey, London (refer to Norman Conquest of England).
  • 1492 – The carrack Santa María, commanded by Christopher Columbus, runs onto a reef off Haiti due to an improper watch.
  • 1553 – Battle of Tucapel: Mapuche rebels under Lautaro defeat the Spanish conquistadors and executes the governor of Chile, Pedro de Valdivia.
  • 1766 – Mapuches in Chile launch a series of surprise attacks against the Spanish starting the Mapuche uprising of 1766.
  • 1776 – American War of Independence: 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.
  • 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 (Refer to American Civil War).
  • 1914 – A series of unofficial truces occur across the Western Front to celebrate Christmas.
  • 1915 – The National Protection War breaks out against the Empire of China, as military leaders Cai E and Tang Jiyao proclaim the independence of Yunnan and begin a campaign to restore the Republic.
  • 1941 – Admiral Chester W. Nimitz arrives at Pearl Harbour to assume command of the US 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.
  • 1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as President of the Soviet Union (the union itself is dissolved the next day).
    • Ukraine’s referendum is finalised 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).
  • 1933 – Basil Heatley, English runner (d. 2019).
  • 1952 – Tolossa Kotu, Ethiopian runner and coach.
  • 1953 – Kaarlo Maaninka, Finnish runner.
  • 1959 – Michael P. Anderson, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (d. 2003).
  • 1969 – Frederick Onyancha, Kenyan runner.
  • 1972 – Qu Yunxia, Chinese runner.
  • 1985 – Martin Mathathi, Kenyan runner.

People (Deaths)

  • 936 – Zhang Jingda, general of Later Tang.
  • 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).
  • 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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