It happened today – this day in history – December 22

1688: James II supporter the Earl of Danby occupies York.

1689: An earthquake strikes Innsbruck, Austria.

1790: The supposedly impenetrable Turkish fortress of Izmail is stormed and captured by Suvorov and his Russian armies during the Russo-Turkish War.

1807: The US Embargo Act prohibits American ships from trading in foreign ports, as a result of involvement in hostilities between France and Britain.

1808: Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphonies No. 5 and No. 6, Choral Fantasy and Piano Concerto No. 4 (with the composer as soloist) premiere in Vienna.

1810: The British frigate HMS Minotaur sinks, killing 480.

1849: The execution of Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky by firing squad is called off at the last second.

1858: Birth of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini.

1880: Novelist George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) dies on her 61st birthday.

1882: The first Christmas tree lights are created by Thomas Edison.

1883: Composer Edgard Varèse is born in France.

1885: Samurai Itō Hirobumi becomes the first Prime Minister of Japan.

1894: Claude Debussy’s “Prélude à l’apres-midi d’un faune” premieres in Paris. On the same day, French artillery officer Alfred Dreyfus is court-martialed for treason, triggering worldwide claims of anti-Semitism. He is later vindicated.

1907: Camille Saint-Saëns’ ballet “Le Cygne” with choreography by Mikhail Fokine, premieres in St Petersburg.

1919: The US deports 250 alien radicals.

1932: The first Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film “Flying Down to Rio,” premieres in New York.

1939: Finland launches a counter offensive against Russia at Petsamo.

1941: Winston Churchill arrives in Washington, D.C. for a wartime conference. On the same day, Tito establishes the first Proletarian Brigade in Yugoslavia.

1943: Children’s writer Beatrix Potter dies aged 77.

1944: Silent film star Harry Langdon dies aged 60.

1956: The United Nations Emergency Force takes over in Egypt after British and French forces withdraw from Port Said and Port Fuad ending the Suez Crisis.

1964: American comedian Lenny Bruce is convicted of obscenity. He was pardoned posthumously on December 23 2003. On the same day, Manchester United striker Denis Law wins the Ballon d’Or.

1965: Britain sets the national maximum road speed limit at 70mph. On the same day, legendary journalist and broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, father of David and Jonathan, dies aged 52.

1970: War criminal, Treblinka SS commander Franz Stangl, is sentenced to life imprisonment.

1972: 14 survivors from a plane that crashed in the Argentine Andes ten weeks earlier are discovered by the Chilean Air Force. They had survived by eating dead passengers. On the same day, 12,000 people are killed when an earthquake strikes Managua, Nicaragua. Also, Tommy Docherty is appointed manager of Manchester United.


1974: The IRA bombs the home of the Conservative leader and former Prime Minister Edward Heath hours before a ceasefire comes into effect.

1978: Faces drummer Kenney Jones is announced as the late Keith Moon’s replacement in The Who.

1980: Stiff Records releases an album in the UK called ‘The Wit and Wisdom of Ronald Reagan.’ The entire disc contains 40 minutes of silence.

1981: Argentine general Leopoldo Galtieri is sworn in as president by the military junta.

1983: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak meets with PLO leader Yasser Arafat.

1984: Vigilante Bernhard Goetz shoots four black muggers after they accosted him on a subway train in New York.

1985: Singles chart:

  1. Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin’ Stevens
  2. Saving All My Love For You – Whitney Houston
  3. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid
  4. West End Girls – Pet Shop Boys
  5. Walking In The Air – Aled Jones
  6. Last Christmas – Wham!
  7. Separate Lives – Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin
  8. I’m Your Man – Wham!
  9. Dress You Up – Madonna
  10. See The Day – Dee C Lee
1985: Madonna – Like A Virgin

Album chart:

  1. Now – The Christmas Album – Various Artists
  2. Now That’s What I Call Music! 6 – Various Artists
  3. Hits 3 – Various Artists
  4. Brothers In Arms – Dire Straits
  5. Promise – Sade
  6. Love Songs – George Benson
  7. Like A Virgin – Madonna
  8. The Singles Collection – Spandau Ballet
  9. The Love Album – Various Artists
  10. The Greatest Hits Of 1985 – Various Artists

1987: Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue is pronounced ‘dead on arrival’ in an ambulance when his heart stopped beating for two minutes. He is given two shots of adrenaline in his chest to revive him. Fellow band members are prematurely informed of his death.

1989: Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, opens for the first time in nearly 30 years. On the same day, Romania ousts Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu after 23 years. Also, writer Samuel Becket dies aged 83.

1990: Lech Walesa is sworn in as Poland’s first popularly elected president.

1992: Dutch striker Marco van Basten wins the Ballon d’Or.

1994: The Italian government of Silvio Berlusconi resigns.

1997: An independent inquiry is announced into the BSE outbreak and the damage inflicted on the farming industry.

1998: French midfielder Zinedine Zidane wins the Ballon d’Or.

1999: The Spanish Civil Guard finds another van loaded with 750 kg of explosives near Calatayud (Zaragoza) one day after a similar discovery in Madrid.

2000: Madonna marries film director Guy Ritchie at Skibo Castle, Scotland.

2001: Shoe bomber Richard Reid attempts to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes. On the same day, Burhanuddin Rabbani, political leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance, hands over power in Afghanistan to the interim government headed by President Hamid Karzai.

2002: Joe Strummer (John Mellor), formerly of The Clash, dies aged 50 of a heart attack.

2003: Guerrillas in Colombia release Briton Mark Henderson and four Israelis who had been kidnapped in September.

2010: The Abbey Road zebra crossing, made famous after appearing on the cover of The Beatles album of the same name, was given Grade II listed status.

2014: Singer Joe Cocker dies of lung cancer aged 70.

2017: The UN Security Council votes for additional sanctions on North Korea, including measures to slash the country’s petrol imports by up to 90%.

2018: A tsunami hits Indonesia’s Sunda Strait killing over 400 after part of the Anak Krakatoa volcano slips into the sea. On the same day, former Liberal Democrats leader Paddy Ashdown dies of bladder cancer aged 77.

BIRTHDAYS: James Burke, broadcaster, 85; Héctor Elizondo, actor, 85; Dick Parry, saxophonist, 79; Rick Nielsen, guitarist/songwriter (Cheap Trick) 73; Noel Edmonds, TV personality, 73; Ricky Ross, singer-songwriter (Deacon Blue) 64; Frank Gambale, jazz guitarist, 63; Ralph Fiennes, ,actor, 59; Dina Meyer, actress, 53; Vanessa Paradis, singer/actress, 49; Kate Tempest, poet, 35; Meghan Trainor, singer-songwriter, 28.