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640 - John IV becomes Pope.

1294 - Pope Boniface VIII is elected Pope, replacing St. Celestine V, who had abdicated.

1515 - Thomas Wolsey is named the English Lord Chancellor.

1715 - Swedish troops occupy Norway.

1777 - Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, was discovered by James Cook.

1800 - Assassination attempt on Napoleon Bonaparte's life.

1814 - The Treaty of Ghent was signed which ended the War of 1812.

1818 - "Silent Night" composed by Franz Xaver Gruber.

1851 - Library of Congress burns.

1865 - Several US Civil War Confederate veterans form the Ku Klux Klan.

1906 - The first radio program, consisting of a poetry reading, a violin solo, and a speech, is broadcast.

1914 - World War I: The "Christmas truce" begins.

1924 - Albania becomes a republic.


1941 - Hong Kong falls to the Japanese Imperial Army.

1941 - Wake Island is conquered by Japanese forces.

1943 - US General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the supreme Allied commander.

1946 - France's Fourth Republic founded.

1951 - Libya becomes independent from Italy. Idris I is proclaimed King of Libya.

1953 - Tangiwai disaster: A railway bridge collapse at Tangiwai, New Zealand sends a fully loaded passenger train into the Whangaehu River, killing 153 people.

1953 - NBC's Dragnet becomes the first network-sponsored television program.

1954 - Laos becomes independent.

1966 - A Canadair CL44 chartered by the United States military crashes into a small village in South Vietnam, killing 129.

1968 - The crew of the USS Pueblo is released by North Korea after being held for 11 months on suspicion of spying.

1968 - The crew of Apollo 8 enter into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so.

1969 - Curt Flood writes to Bowie K. Kuhn, the Commissioner of Baseball, asking to be declared a free agent .

1974 - Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Australia.


1979 - The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan to support the country's Marxist government.

1979 - The first European Ariane rocket is launched.

1985 - A black bull blocks the Cross Harbour Tunnel in Hong Kong for three hours.

1987 - Japanese legendary rock band BOÿWY declares their breakup at the Shibuya Kokaido.

1997 - The Sid El-Antri massacre (or Sidi Lamri) in Algeria kills 50-100 people.

1997 - The Dominican Republic becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty.

2000 - The Texas 7 holds up a sports store in Irving, Texas. Police officer Aubrey Hawkins is shot during the robbery.

2002 - The New Delhi Metro opens.

2003 - The Spanish police thwarts an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives at 3:55 p.m. inside Madrid's busy Chamartín Station.

2004 - The 2004 Christmas Eve Snowstorm delivers an extremely unusual snowfall to the southern United States.


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