Though the precise origin of the date is unclear, Christmas, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, is celebrated on this day, having been first identified as the date of Jesus’ birth by Sextus Julius Africanus in 221.
1 – 1st Christmas, according to calendar-maker Dionysus Exiguus
800 – Pope Leo III crowns Charles the Great (Charlemagne), Roman Emperor
1066 – William the Conqueror is crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey, completing the Norman conquest of England
1741 – Astronomer Anders Celsius introduces Centigrade temperature scale
1868 – Despite bitter opposition, US President Andrew Johnson grants unconditional pardon to all persons involved in Southern rebellion (Civil War)
1962 – The film adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird premiered and became a classic, especially noted for Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch
1974 – Cyclone Tracy virtually destroys Darwin, Australia
1977 – Charlie Chaplin, the British comedic actor and director who is widely regarded as one of the most important figures in motion-picture history, died in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland.
1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev formally resigns as President of USSR in a televised speech
1999 – Opening of doors of St. John Lateran Pope John Paul II
2003 – The ill-fated Beagle 2 probe which was released from the Mars Express Spacecraft on December 19, disappears shortly before its scheduled landing.
2012 – 27 people are killed after an Antonov An-72 plane crashes near Shymkent, Kazakhstan
2012 – 8 people are killed and thousands left homeless after two fires strike Manila, Philippines
2016 – Russian military defence plane crashes into the Black Sea after takeoff from Sochi airport, killing all 92 on board
Births & Deaths:
2006 – American singer and songwriter James Brown, known as “the Godfather of Soul,” died at the age of 73.
Film & TV:
1962 – “To Kill a Mockingbird”, a film adaptation of the novel by Harper Lee, directed by Robert Mulligan and starring Gregory Peck, is released (Gregory Peck – Best Actor Academy Awards 1963)
1990 – “The Godfather Part III” directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Al Pacino, Diane Keaton and Andy Garcia premieres
2014 – “Unbroken”, drama film directed by Angelina Jolie and starring Jack O’Connell and Domhall Gleeson, released in the United States
1896 – “Stars & Stripes Forever” written by John Philip Sousa
1862 – 40,000 watch Union army men play baseball at Hilton Head, South Carolina
Via Britannica / On This Day