Today in History: December 24

Today in History
December 24

1638 The Ottomans under Murad IV recapture Baghdad from Safavid Persia.
1812 Joel Barlow, aged 58, American poet and lawyer, dies from exposure near Vilna, Poland, during Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. Barlow was on a diplomatic mission to the emperor for President Madison.
1814 A treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain, ending the War of 1812, is signed at Ghent, Belgium. The news does not reach the United States until two weeks later (after the decisive American victory at New Orleans).
1861 The USS Gem of the Sea destroys the British blockade runner Prince of Wales off the coast at Georgetown, S.C.
1862 A Christmas present arrives a day early for the Federal troops at Columbus, Kentucky, in the way of artillery on board the USS New Era.
1914 Over 577,000 Allied soldiers are to spend Christmas as prisoners in Germany.
1917 The Kaiser warns Russia that he will use an “iron fist” and a “shining sword” if peace is spurned.
1943 General Dwight D. Eisenhower is appointed the Allied Supreme Commander, even though almost everyone believed the position would go to American Chief of Staff George C. Marshall.
1947 An estimated 20,000 communists, led by guerrilla General Markos Vafiadis proclaim the Free Greek Government in northern Greece. They issue a call to arms to establish the regime throughout the nation.
1956 African Americans defy a city law in Tallahassee, Florida, and occupy front bus seats.
1963 New York’s Idlewild Airport is renamed JFK Airport in honor of the murdered President Kennedy.
1964 The U.S. headquarters in Saigon is hit by a bomb killing two officers.
1966 A Soviet research vehicle soft-lands on the moon.
1967 The Greek Junta frees ex-Premier Papandreou.
1968 The first pictures of an Earth-rise over the moon are seen as the crew of Apollo 8 orbits the moon.
1970 Nine GIs are killed and nine are wounded by friendly fire in Vietnam.
1972 Hanoi bars all peace talks with the United States until U.S. air raids over North Vietnam stop.
1974 An oil tanker’s spill pollutes 1,600 square miles of Japan’s Inland Sea.
1974 Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, destroying more than 70 percent of the city’s buildings, including 80 percent of its houses.
2005 Chad declares a state of war against Sudan in the wake of the Dec. 18 attack on the town of Adre, in which approximately 100 people were killed.
Born on December 24
1166 King John of England.
1745 Benjamin Rush, American medical pioneer and signer of the Declaration of Independence.
1809 Christopher Kit Carson, one of the most famous mountain men and scouts in the West.
1905 Howard Hughes, American industrialist, aviator, film producer, and director.
1922 Ava Gardner, film actress (The Barefoot Contessa, The Sun Also Rises).
1923 US Army Major General George S. Patton IV, son of Gen. George Patton of World War II fame.
1929 Mary Higgins Clark, author of suspense novels (Where are the Children, Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting).
1955 Scott Fischer, mountain climber and guide; the first American to reach the summit of Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest mountain.
1971 Ricky Martin, Puerto Rican pop musician, actor, author; was a member of the boy group Menudo before launching a successful solo career (“Livin’ la Vida Loca”).
1973 Stephenie Meyer, author best known for her young-adult, vampire romance series Twilight.
1974 Ryan Seacrest, radio personality, TV host; host of American Idol TV talent competition.

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