It is a well-known fact that December is a special month and there are a lot of reasons for this accession and the 25th is just extra special on its own.
For many people, 25th December is just a day to mark the birth of Christ. To some, it is a day to get the family together and stay away from office desks. To others it is just a sign that the year is about to be overthrown. This article reveals 20 +1 reasons why 25th December is much more than just the above.
In this we discuss the 20+1 very important historical events that took place on this day. Please note that these events are not in order of importance. All the date is in AD
1. Coronation of Charles the Great (Charlemagne), Roman Emperor in 800
Charles the great known as Charlemagne was one of the greatest rulers of the Middle ages. He ruled the Franks (a group of tribes in West Germany) but conquered Italy and the Saxons and expanded his territory into the Western and Central Europe. Charlemagne was known as the founder of the French and German Kingdoms and was responsible for unifying most parts of Western Europe. On this day, he was crowned as the Roman emperor by Pope Leo III and he ruled from 800 to 814 AD.
2. Gorbachev’s Resignation (1991)
On the 25th December of 1991 two events occurred which shifted the balance of power in the world politics. Mikhail Gorbachev was the 8th leader of the Soviet Union. On this day he resigned his post as the president of the union. Following his resignation the Soviet Union (one of the greatest superpowers of the 20th Century was officially dissolved.
The other event that occurred was the referendum which saw Ukraine removed from the Soviet Union. These two events were instrumental to the breakdown of the Union.
3. First Game of Ice Hockey (1855)
Officially, the first recorded indoor ice hockey game was played on 3rd March 1875 at the Victoria Rink in Montreal, Canada but it is believed that the first time it was actually played was on 25th December 1855.
It is narrated that while soldiers of the Royal Canadian Rifles at the Tête du Pont barracks were clearing ice from Lake Ontario, they began to play a game using field hockey sticks and lacrosse balls and this marked the birth of now one of the most watched International games –Ice Hockey.
4. In 1809 – first ovariotomy
Dr. Ephraim McDowell an American physician and pioneer surgeon and known as the father of abdominal surgery perform the first ovariotomy, removing a 22-pound tumor. It is one of the most renowned landmarks of the American Surgical history. The procedure was done on Jane Todd Crawford on Christmas day.
5. Internet test run for the first time
I remember I was asking myself someday whether there was a moment when there was no internet. In fact it is hard to imagine how life was then, perhaps our fathers can tell us more. Don’t look too far, just moments before 25th December of 1990 there wasn’t World Wide Web. The internet actually got its first test run in 1990 on Christmas Day.
I think it might have been a great moment info.cern.ch first ever server was launched online. I am told it use to take hours to load half a webpage but at least there was internet. Tech legends at CERM led by Tim Berners-Lee worked to make this happen. Today you are reading this yet with no idea where on earth I am.
6. In 1831 – The Great Jamaican Slave Revolt begins
On the Christmas day of 1831 when the world was engrossed in celebration up to 20% of the slaves of the Jamaican island mobilized a revolution for freedom. Though the revolt ended ultimately unsuccessfully, it marked an important start to the fight for freedom even though the trade was ended elsewhere around 1807.
7. 1968 –Apollo 8 reaches the moon’s orbit
The Appolo 8 mission involving 3 astronauts Frank F. Borman, II, James A. Lovell, Jr. and William A. Anders was launched on 21st December of 1968. They became the first human to escape the gravitational pull of the earth but they took off the orbit on Christmas day.
8. 100 –Kingdom of Hungary Formed (1000 AD)
The kingdom of Hungary was formed following the coronation of Stephen I by Pope Sylvester II on the 25th of December, 1000. This legitimized Hungary as a Western kingdom that was separate from the Holy Roman and Byzantine empires. This led to a massive reconstruction of Hungarian society.
9. In 597 England adopts Julian calendar
England adopted the Julian calendar England on the Christmas of 597 which was used until January 1st of 1752 when the Gregorian calendar was adopted.
10. 1914 World War I Christmas Truce
The series of unofficial impromptu truces on the Christmas of 1914 during the World War I is one of the most glorious events of 25th December. The soldiers of Germany, Russia, France, and Britain call a Christmas truce with soldiers crossing the area of no man’s land calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. They sang carols and exchanged gifts. Joint Christmas services were also held for the involved troops. Though this was not the first of its kind during the war but none could be compared to this on the scale how widespread it was. A lot has been said about this historic event.
11. Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware (1776 )
On the 25th of Christmas 1776, General Washington carried out the brave act that will see him win several battles and become the first president of the great United States of America.
Washington crossed the Delaware River in the cold of the night in his efforts to catch the Hessian army unprepared in New Jersey. He succeeded in his exploit as most of the soldiers were disorganized by the celebrations.
It is said that out of the 2,400 men who crossed with him only 4 fell in the conquest that saw the Hessian army fleeing in fear. The army with him however wasn’t enough to hold against the Hessian Army hence they had to cross back on the same day but with nearly 1000 Hessian. This victory was important because it helped in instilling back courage into the Army after they had lost series of battles to the British Army.
12. 1492 The day of the Santa Maria struck
Santa Maria was the largest of the 3 ships used by Christopher Columbus on his first travels. On the 25th of December flagship the Santa Maria was struck and it ran around and sunk on the north coast of Hispaniola. The crew left found a colony (present day America) on their return to Spain.
13. 1741 Astronomer Anders Celsius introduces Centigrade temperature scale
The Celsius scale is a unit of measurement of temperature which was introduced by the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius on the Christmas day of 1741.
14. William the Conqueror Crowned (1066 )
On the 25th of December 1066 in England at the Westminster Abbey, London William the conqueror was being crowned the King of England which followed his legendary invasion of the British Isles. The then Duke of Normandy was victorious over King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings which ended in 1066.
His 21 –year rule was characterized by great works such as the Tower of London which helped him gain more acceptances among the subjects. This saw the influence of Norman culture on the English life. Today it is said that about 1/3 of English words originated from French, this happened because William gave lands to his French allies to settle.
15. 1760 Jupiter Hammon publishes his poetry
Jupiter Hammon was an African American slave and he composed his poem “An Evening Thought” making it the 1st poetry published by an African American 1761.
16. Surrender of Hong Kong 1941
On December 8, 194, a day after Pearl Harbor, Japanese soldiers started a bombing raid on the city. The British army started evacuating the Chinese population to Philippines.
As soon as the Japanese troops learned of this, they sent their navy to block all the roots the British were using.
The Japanese army surrounded the city too making it difficult to flee by land. The British army was then cut off from outside aid and as they begun to starve and dehydrate of taste they British raised the white flag to signal their surrender on the morning of Christmas. Sources have stated that this tactics used was criminal as Japanese had not declared war on British prior to that event but it was this that set them up for the invasion of China.
17. 1758 – Halley’s Comet is sighted
Halley’s Comet become visible on earth every 75 to 76 years and had been recorded as far as 240 BC. But it was in 1705 that Edmond Halley asserted that it was the same object that was reappearing and predicted that it would return on 1758.
True to his words the Comet was spotted on the 25th December of 1758 Johann Georg Palitzsh. This was the first passage of a comet predicted ahead of time.
18. 1946 – Nuclear reactor
The first European self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction is initiated within the Soviet Union’s F-1 nuclear reactor
19. The birth of Sir Isaac Newton
On the 25th of December, 1642 the man who will grow into one of the world most extraordinary scientist was born in Lincolnshire, England. Even if you were not a science student at the school you might still have come across the Newton’s laws of motion. He doctored this not by reading but by intuitive observation. He invented Calculus too and became professor of Mathematics at age 24. I think it will be easier to list what he was not rather what he was. Science today has Newton to thank.
20. First recorded celebration of Christmas
There has been lots of debate as to why December 25th is Christmas day which is largely believe to mark the birth of Christ. Fact is, nobody is too sure which day Jesus was born. Some people are of the view that the date 25th December was selected because it was already used by many civilizations and pagan religions as a holiday to celebrate the winter solstice.
However the first celebration of Christmas was recorded in a list of Roman bishops compiled in 354 AD. It was written 25 Dec.: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae, which means December 25th Christ Born in Bethlehem, Judea.
Now am sure you would be wondering why I said 20+1 instead of just 21. Well, I was born on 25 December too, year of birth available on request.