Friday, 25 December 2020

December 25, 2020

1,225 years ago

Died on this date
Adrian I, 95
. Roman Catholic Pope, 772-795. Adrian I, the son of a Roman nobleman, succeeded Stephen III as Pope. He enjoyed friendly relations with Charlemagne, and encouraged him to wage war against Muslims in Spain. Adrian I was succeeded on the papal throne by Leo III.

1,220 years ago


Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III at St. Peter’s basilica in Rome.

1,200 years ago

Died on this date
Leo V, 65 (?)
. Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, 813-820. Leo V "the Armenian", the son of a patrician, was a senior general who seized the throne when he forced Michael I to abdicate. Emperor Leo ended the decade-long war with the Bulgars and initiated the second period of Byzantine Iconoclasm, but was assassinated in the Hagia Sophia at Constantinople by supporters of one of his most trusted generals, Michael the Amorian, who succeeded him as Emperor Michael II.

1,020 years ago

Hungary was established as a Christian kingdom under Stephen I.

920 years ago

Baldwin I was crowned the first king of Jerusalem in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

890 years ago

Ruggero II was crowned King of Sicily by Antipope Anacletus II in Palermo.

190 years ago


The Best Friend of Charleston became the first regularly scheduled steam locomotive passenger train in the United States, making its initial run on the first six miles of track of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company.

140 years ago

Died on this date
Fridolin Anderwert, 52
. President-elect of the Swiss National Council, 1880. Mr. Anderwert was a district judge (1853-1856) before serving on the Thurgau Grand Council and the National Council, holding the presidency of the latter (1870-1871). He was regarded as a radical of the left, and was significantly involved in the total revision of the Swiss Federal Constitution. Mr. Anderwert became a member of the Swiss Federal Council in 1875, served as Minister of Justice, and on December 7, 1880, was elected President of the National Council for 1881. Immediately upon his election, Mr. Anderwert was subjected to attacks in the press, which included allegations that he was a regular guest at brothels. Mr. Anderwert committed suicide by shooting himself; according to the autopsy, a significant enlargement of the heart had seriously affected his health, probably triggering severe depression.

80 years ago

Died on this date
Agnes Ayres, 48
. U.S. actress. Miss Ayres, born Agnes Eyre Henkel, achieved popularity in silent movies from the late 1910s through the mid-'20s. Her career was aided by her affair with Paramount Pictures founder Jesse Lasky, and declined after the relationship ended in 1923. Miss Ayres was best known for playing Lady Diana Mayo in The Sheik (1921) and The Son of the Sheik (1926). She died from a cerebral hemorrhage.

General Andrew McNaughton organized the First Canadian Corps with two divisions in Aldershot, England. Reports from Hungary indicated that more than 150,000 German troops had been transported by train through Hungary to Romania in the past two days. British officials estimated that Malta had withstood 203 Italian air attacks, and that 35 Italian bombers had been shot down there since Italy had entered the war in June 1940. Verne Marshall of the U.S. No Foreign Wars Committee said that war would not have broken out in Europe were it not for "unwritten" foreign commitments made by the U.S.A.

Official estimates placed the world's current combatant naval strength at 1,600 units, exceeding 5 million tons, with the United States building 329 craft--more than Germany, Italy, and Japan combined. U.S. Senator Burton K. Wheeler (Democrat--Montana) said that President Franklin D. Roosevelt should make a determined effort to bring peace to Europe before additional aid was granted to the United Kingdom, and criticized plans to send equipment to Britain as "an evasion of our Neutrality Act."

Panamanian President Arnulfo Arias issued a decree abrogating the 1904 constitution, replacing it with the new one adopted by the National Assembly in November 1940 and accepted in a plebiscite on December 15.

American Magnesium Corporation denied that the German I.G. Farbenindustrie A.G. controlled magnesium patents in the United States, and was thus able to restrict production.

Earl "Red" Blaik, head coach at Dartmouth College since 1934, was named head coach at the United States Military Academy.

75 years ago

Nationalist Chinese forces under General Tu Li-ming began a drive to clear the province of Jehol west of Liaconing of Communist troops, and was moving in on Mukden. A U.S. Naval court sentenced 11 Japanese officers to hang for the mass execution of 96 American airmen on Kwajalein in October 1943.

The Chinese government gave its assent to the proposed peace treaties between the Allies and Axis states as agreed upon in Moscow by U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes, U.S.S.R. Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, and U.K. Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin.

General Damaso Arenas was named commander in chief of the Bolivian Army.

Economics and finance
The French finance ministry announced a devaluation of the franc to 119.107 to the U.S. dollar.

70 years ago

World events
Tibet reported that the Dalai Lama had left Lhasa for India with a caravan guarded by 600 soldiers in a trip that would take several weeks.

The Paraguayan government put down an attempted Christmas revolt by a dissident "red banner" faction of the ruling Colorado Party.

Politics and government
The South Korean National Assembly voted to move from Seoul to Pusan, but President Syngman Rhee said that the government was confident that Seoul could be held, and the government intended to remain there.

Four Scottish university students removed the Stone of Scone, used in the coronations of Scottish and British monarchs, from Westminster Abbey in London.

World welterweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson (121-1-2), fighting as a middleweight, concluded a series of five bouts in Europe within a month by scoring a technical knockout of Hans Stretz (30-3-5) in the 5th round at Haus der Technik in Frankfurt.

50 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in New Zealand (RIANZ): Joanne--Michael Nesmith & the First National Band

#1 single in Ireland (IRMA): I Hear You Knocking--Dave Edmunds

South Africa's Top 10 (Springbok Radio)
1 Looky Looky--Giorgio (2nd week at #1)
2 Cracklin' Rosie--Neil Diamond
3 Indiana Wants Me--R. Dean Taylor
4 Zanzibar--Wanda Arletti
5 Paranoid--Black Sabbath
6 Woodstock--Matthews Southern Comfort
7 You Can Get it if You Really Want--Desmond Dekker
8 Yo Yo--Chris Andrews
9 Burning Bridges--The Mike Curb Congregation
10 Cha-La-La, I Need You--Shuffles

Singles entering the chart were San Bernadino by Christie (#17); and See Me, Feel Me by the Who (#18).

Vancouver's Top 10 (CKVN)
1 My Sweet Lord--George Harrison (3rd week at #1)
2 Black Magic Woman--Santana
3 He Ain't Heavy...He's My Brother--Neil Diamond
4 Immigrant Song--Led Zeppelin
5 Domino--Van Morrison
6 Be My Baby--Andy Kim
7 Stoned Love--The Supremes
8 One Less Bell to Answer--The 5th Dimension
9 Pay to the Piper--The Chairmen of the Board
10 Love the One You're With--Stephen Stills

Singles entering the chart were If I were Your Woman by Gladys Knight & the Pips (#27); Apeman by the Kinks (#28); Rose Garden by Lynn Anderson (#29); and The Green Grass Starts to Grow by Dionne Warwick (#30).

The Basque nationalist guerrillas who had kidnapped West German businessman and diplomat Eugen Biehl in San Sebastian on December 1 released him. They had kidnapped Mr. Biehl in protest against the court-martial of 16 fellow Basques.

40 years ago

Died on this date
Fred Emney, 80
. U.K. actor and comedian. Mr. Emney was a music hall entertainer before appearing in his first movie in 1935. He played character roles as the "posh fat bloke," usually gruff and wearing a monocle, in films such as Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines (1965); Oliver! (1968); and The Italian Job (1969). Mr. Emney also had his own television show in the 1950s.

30 years ago

At the movies
Alice, written and directed by Woody Allen and starring Mia Farrow, Joe Mantegna, William Hurt, Blythe Danner, and Keye Luke, opened in theatres.

British computer programmer Tim Berners-Lee introduced WorldWideWeb, the world's first web browser and WYSIWYG HTML editor.

25 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): Me and You--Alexia

#1 single in Norway (VG-lista): Gangsta's Paradise--Coolio featuring L.V. (11th week at #1)

#1 single in Germany (Media Control): Earth Song--Michael Jackson (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in Canada (RPM): Hand in My Pocket--Alanis Morissette (4th week at #1)

Died on this date
Dean Martin, 78
. U.S. singer and actor. Mr. Martin, born Dino Paul Crocetti and nicknamed the "King of Cool," was one of the most popular entertainers in the United States from the 1950s through the 1970s. He first became prominent as the straight man in a comedy duo with Jerry Lewis in the late 1940s, and Martin and Lewis became the most popular comedy team of the early 1950s, splitting up in 1956. Mr. Martin achieved success in movies such as The Young Lions (1958); Some Came Running (1958); Rio Bravo (1959); The Sons of Katie Elder (1965); and The Silencers (1966), in addition to several films he co-starred in as part of the Hollywood "Rat Pack." Mr. Martin hosted The Dean Martin Show, a comedy-variety program that had a successful run on NBC from 1965-1974. While he was performing with Mr. Lewis and acting in movies and television, Mr. Martin had a successful career as a recording artist, with hit singles such as That's Amore (1953); Memories are Made of This (1955); and Everybody Loves Somebody (1964).

Dallas (12-4) 37 @ Arizona (4-12) 13

Dallas running back Emmitt Smith rushed for his 25th touchdown of the season, breaking the league record set by John Riggins of the Washington Redskins in 1983, as the Cowboys defeated the Cardinals at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

20 years ago

Russian president Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill officially adopting a new national anthem, with music by Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov originally composed for the anthem of the Soviet Union.

10 years ago

Died on this date
Carlos Andrés Pérez Rodríguez, 88
. President of Venezuela, 1974-1979, 1989-1993. Mr. Pérez, nicknamed "El Gocho," was one of the founders of Acción Democrática, the dominant party in Venezuela in the second half of the 20th century. He represented Táchira in the Chamber of Deputies (1947-1948, 1958-1960, 1964-1968), and was Minister of Home Affairs (1962-1963) before winning the presidential election in December 1973. His first term as President was known as "Saudi Venezuela," as the country benefited from high oil prices as a result of the Arab embargo imposed after the Yom Kippur War. Mr. Pérez's administration was accused of excessive spending, debt, and corruption, and AD was a Senator (1974-1994, 1999-2000). Mr. Pérez was re-elected President in 1988, and survived two coup attempts in 1992 led by Lieutenant-Colonel Hugo Chávez. Mr. Pérez was forced to resign by the Supreme Court in May 1993 for embezzling 250 million bolívars (approximately U.S. $2.7 million) from a presidential discretionary fund. He was sentenced in 1996 to 28 months in prison, and lost his Senate seat when the 1999 Constitution abloished the Senate. Mr. Pérez was in the Dominican Republic in 2001 when a court ordered his arrest on charges of embezzlement of public funds. A formal extradition request was made in 2002, but he fled to Miami. Mr. Pérez suffered a partially-disabling stroke in 2003, and died in Miami of respiratory failure.

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