This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
December 25 is the 359th day of the year (360th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are six days remaining until the end of the year. This day is commonly known as Christmas Day.
On this day in 1818, the first performance of “Silent Night” takes place in the church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.
The original lyrics of the song Stille Nacht were written in Austria by the priest Father Joseph Mohr and the melody was composed by the Austrian headmaster Franz Xaver Gruber. In 1859, John Freeman Young (second Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Florida) published the English translation that is most frequently sung today. The version of the melody that is generally sung today differs slightly (particularly in the final strain) from Gruber’s original, which was a sprightly, dance-like tune in 6/8, as opposed to the slow, meditative lullaby version generally sung today. Today, the lyrics and melody are in the public domain.
333 – Roman Emperor Constantine the Great elevates his youngest son Constans to the rank of Caesar.
336 – First documentary sign of Christmas celebration in ancient 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 baptises in Kent more than 10,000 Anglo-Saxons.
800 – 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.
1066 – William the Conqueror is crowned king of England, at Westminster Abbey, London.
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 Lascaris of the restored Eastern Roman Empire is deposed and blinded by orders of his co-ruler Michael VIII Palaeologus.
1553 – Battle of Tucapel: Mapuche rebels under Lautaro defeats the Spanish conquistadors and executes the governor of Chile, Pedro de Valdivia.
1599 – The city of Natal, Brazil is founded.
1643 – Christmas Island found and named by Captain William Mynors of the East India Company vessel, the Royal Mary.
1776 – George Washington and his army cross the Delaware River to attack the Kingdom of Great Britain’s Hessian mercenaries in Trenton, New Jersey.
1818 – The first performance of “Silent Night” takes place in the church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.
1826 – The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy concludes after beginning the previous evening.
1837 – Battle of Lake Okeechobee: United States forces defeat Seminole Native Americans.
1868 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson grants unconditional pardon to all Civil War Confederate soldiers.
1914 – World War I: Known as the Christmas truce, German and British troops on the Western Front temporarily cease fire.
1926 – Emperor Taisho of Japan dies. His son, Prince Hirohito succeeds him as Emperor Showa.
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.
1946 – The first in Europe artificial, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was initiated within Soviet nuclear reactor F-1.
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.
1963 – Turkish Cypriot Bayrak Radio begins transmitting in Cyprus after Turkish Cypriots are forcibly excluded from Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.
1965 – The Yemeni Nasserite Unionist People’s Organisation is founded in Taiz
1968 – Apollo program: Apollo 8 performs the very first successful Trans Earth Injection (TEI) maneouver, sending the crew and spacecraft on a trajectory back to Earth from Lunar orbit.
1968 – 42 Dalits are burned alive in Kilavenmani village, Tamil Nadu, India, a retaliation for a campaign for higher wages by Dalit labourers.
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 – Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin meets in Egypt with President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat.
1989 – Nicolae Ceausescu, former communist dictator of Romania and his wife Elena are condemned to death and executed under a wide range of charges.
1990 – The first successful trial run of the system which would become the World Wide Web.
1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as president 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, disappears shortly before its scheduled landing.
2004 – Cassini orbiter releases Huygens probe which successfully landed on Saturn’s moon Titan on January 14, 2005.
2007 – A tiger at the San Francisco Zoo escapes from its enclosure and attacks three people, killing one.
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
* Christian Feast Day:
o Anastasia of Sirmium (Catholic Church)
* Christmas Day, Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. (International)
* Constitution Day (Taiwan)
* Malkh-Festival (Nakh peoples of Chechenya and Ingushetia)
* Quaid-e-Azam’s Day (Pakistan)
* The first day of the Cali Fair (Cali)