While the 25th of December is associated with the birth of Jesus Christ, festive parties, turkey consumption, gift-giving, and general pleasure, it also commemorates a number of significant historical events, many of which are far from cheerful.
We examine some of the most notable events that occurred on Christmas Day.
Charlemagne is known as the “Father of Europe” because he was able to unite most of Western Europe under the Carolingian Empire during his lifetime, which is regarded the first phase in the history of the Holy Roman Empire, which would remain for a thousand years.
Pope Leo III proclaimed the Frankish king Charlemagne as “Emperor of the Romans” on Christmas Day 800 AD, resurrecting the title 300 centuries after the fall of the historic Western Roman Empire.
During his thirteen-year reign, Europe experienced a time of Christian growth and cultural renewal.
The Fight of Hastings, possibly the most famous and era-defining battle in English history, took place on October 14, 1066, when Duke William of Normandy (commonly known as William the Conqueror) beat King Harold II of England’s army.
Following the battle, William moved on to London, slaying any remaining resistance and completing his conquest of England’s mainland. William was anointed King of England on December 25, 1066, in Westminster Abbey, becoming the country’s first Norman king, ending over 600 years of Anglo-Saxon rule.
Huge cultural, social, and political transformations occurred during the Norman era, which had a significant impact on both English and European history.
We’ve all heard the story about how an apple fell on Isaac Newton’s head, causing him to develop his universal gravitational law. While historians disagree whether the apple truly fell on his head, the impact Newton had on science is undeniable, as he is widely regarded as one of the most significant scientists of all time.
Pyotr Konchalovsky’s Pushkin at the Mikhailovsky
The bright Englishman, who was born on Christmas Day 1642, came into this world as a holiday present to all mankind. He would go on to create the laws of motion and become a pioneer in many other sciences, including algebra, astrology, and philosophy, in addition to defining gravity. It is impossible to overestimate his contribution to humanity through our awareness of the world around us.
The American Revolutionary War appeared to be all but done for the American colonies by the time Christmas rolled around in 1776. The Continental Army’s morale had been shattered by a succession of setbacks by the British, which had also resulted in a reduction in personnel due to desertions.
General George Washington, the eventual first president of the United States, led his 2,400-strong army across the cold Delaware River on the night of December 25, 1776, in urgent need of a win. A Hessian garrison (German mercenaries under British command) was partying on the other side of the river, unconscious to the army slinking approaching their position.
Doris Kearns-Goodwin, a presidential historian, of George Washington
Washington and his soldiers easily overcame the enemy with little bloodshed, seizing supplies and prisoners, which they quickly transported across the river. The risky raid had paid off; the colonial forces had received a much-needed morale boost, which led to more successes on the battlefield. The war’s tide had shifted, and American history had been irrevocably altered.
It is one of the most well-known demonstrations of generosity, humanity, and peace, a ray of hope in the midst of brutal slaughter and conflict.
The First World War was a violent and unpleasant conflict in which only death seemed to thrive due to advanced armaments and shambolic leadership. Among the mud, bullets, shells, and blood, on Christmas Day 1944, an event occurred that gave many people hope that humanity might still survive even on the killing fields.
British, French, and German forces decided to lay down their arms and meet in No Man’s Land to distribute gifts, sing songs, and possibly (historians question this) kick a football around together. Despite the fact that the unofficial ‘Christmas Truce’ only lasted a few hours, its message of hope in the face of adversity lives on to this day.
On Christmas Day, a number of persons who had a significant impact on the world passed away, one of which was Charlie Chaplin. Many consider the humorous British actor to be one of the most important individuals in the history of the film business, with a career spanning more than 75 years.
Chaplin rose to prominence during the silent film period, with his 1915 feature ‘The Tramp’ gaining him international renown. Chaplin, a virtuoso of physical humor, was a perfectionist who wrote, directed, produced, composed, edited, and acted in most of his films. Many of his films, like “City Lights” (1931) and “The Great Dictator,” are considered among the best of all time (1940).
Chaplin died in his sleep on December 25, 1977, at the age of 88, leaving the world without one of cinema’s first global superstars.
The Soviet Union, which was founded in 1922, had a prominent influence in global politics during the bulk of the twentieth century. The world held its collective breath on countless occasions as America and the Soviet Union flirted dangerously with the brink of nuclear destruction.
The USSR eventually fell apart, and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the USSR, resigned on Christmas Day 1991. The Soviet Union was officially dissolved the next day. As one period came to a close, another began for Russia, this time under Boris Yeltsin’s leadership.
What things have happened on Christmas Day?
13 surprising things that happened on Christmas Day
1066: William the Conqueror crowned King of England. …
1868: Pardoning Confederate soldiers. …
1899: Humphrey Bogart born. …
1989: Ceausescu executed. …
336: Christmas first celebrated. …
1989: Billy Martin dies. …
1962: “To Kill a Mockingbird” released. …
1991: Gorbachev quits.
This Day in History: December 25
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
What happened on Christmas Day during Charlemagne’s reign?
On Christmas Day in the year 800, Charlemagne, King of the Franks, was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in the city of Rome. This was a momentous occasion in the Christian West, where Imperial authority had ceased to be acknowledged after the fall of the last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476
Christmas is a time of celebration and remembrance. It is a day when Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, but it has also become a secular holiday celebrated by people of many faiths around the world. Whether you are celebrating Christmas this year or not, we hope that you take some time to remember all that has happened on this day throughout history.
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