333 – Roman Emperor Constantine the Great elevates his youngest son Constans to the rank of Caesar. 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. 496 – Clovis I, king of the Franks, is baptized into the Catholic faith at Reims, by Saint Remigius. 597 – Augustine of Canterbury and his fellow-labourers baptise in Kent more than 10,000 Anglo-Saxons. 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. 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. 1130 – Count Roger II of Sicily is crowned the first king of Sicily. 1261 – John IV Laskaris of the restored Eastern Roman Empire is deposed and blinded by orders of his co-ruler Michael VIII Palaiologos. 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. 1559 – Pope Pius IV is elected. 1643 – Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean is found and named by Captain William Mynors of the English East India Company vessel, the Royal Mary. 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. 1809 – Dr. Ephraim McDowell performs the first ovariotomy, removing a 22-pound tumor. 1814 – Rev. Samuel Marsden holds the first Christian service on land in New Zealand at Rangihoua Bay. 1815 – The Handel and Haydn Society, oldest continually performing arts organization in the United States, gives its first performance. 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 1100 troops against the Seminoles at the Battle of Lake Okeechobee. 1868 – 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. 1926 – Emperor Taishō of Japan dies. His son, Prince Hirohito, succeeds him as Emperor Shōwa. 1927 – The Vietnamese Nationalist Party is founded. 1932 – A magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Gansu, China kills 275 people. 1941 – Admiral Chester W. Nimitz arrives at Pearl Harbor 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. 1946 – The first European self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction is initiated within the Soviet Union's F-1 nuclear reactor. 1947 – The Constitution of the Republic of China goes into effect. 1950 – The Stone of Scone, traditional coronation stone of British monarchs, is taken from Westminster Abbey by Scottish nationalist students. It later turns up in Scotland on April 11, 1951. 1962 – The Soviet Union conducts its final above-ground nuclear weapon test, in anticipation of the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. 1963 – Turkish Cypriot Bayrak Radio begins transmitting in Cyprus after Turkish Cypriots are forcibly excluded from Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation. 1965 – The Yemeni Nasserist Unionist People's Organisation is founded in Ta'izz 1968 – Apollo program: Apollo 8 performs the very first successful Trans-Earth injection (TEI) maneuver, sending the crew and spacecraft on a trajectory back to Earth from Lunar orbit. 1968 – Kilvenmani massacre, 44 Dalits (untouchables) are burnt to death in Kizhavenmani village, Tamil Nadu, a retaliation for a campaign for higher wages by Dalit laborers. 1974 – Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Northern Territory Australia. 1974 – Marshall Fields drives a vehicle through the gates of the White House, resulting in a four-hour standoff. 1977 – Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin meets in Egypt with its president Anwar Sadat. 1989 – Deposed President of Romania Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife, First-Deputy Prime-Minister Elena Ceaușescu are condemned to death and executed after a summary trial. 1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as General Secretary of the Soviet Union (the union itself is dissolved the next day). Ukraine's referendum is finalized and Ukraine officially leaves the Soviet Union. 2000 – Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a bill into law that officially establishes a new National Anthem of Russia, with music adopted from the anthem of the Soviet Union that was composed by Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov. 2003 – The ill-fated Beagle 2 probe, released from the Mars Express spacecraft on December 19, stops transmitting shortly before its scheduled landing. 2004 – The Cassini orbiter releases Huygens probe which successfully landed on Saturn's moon Titan on January 14, 2005. 2005 – Sri Lankan Civil War: Sri Lankan Tamil MP Joseph Pararajasingham is shot dead as he attends midnight mass at St. Mary's Cathedral, Batticaloa. 2009 – Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab unsuccessfully attempts a terrorist attack against the US while on board a flight to Detroit Metro Airport Northwest Airlines Flight 253 2012 – An Antonov An-72 plane crashes close to the city of Shymkent, killing 27 people.
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