It happened today – this day in history – December 24

1515: Thomas Wolsey is appointed Lord Chancellor of England.

1524: Death of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama

1777: James Cook discovers Christmas Island (Kiritimati).

1814: The Treaty of Ghent is signed, ending the War of 1812 between the United States, the United Kingdom and its allies.

1818: The Christmas carol “Silent Night” is sung for the first time at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, Austria.

1851: Fire devastates the US Library of Congress in Washington.

1863: Death of novelist William Makepeace Thackeray aged 52.

1865: Several Confederate veterans form the Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee.

1871: Giusseppi Verdi’s opera “Aida” premieres in Cairo.

1877: Thomas Edison files a patent for the phonograph.

1914: A German plane drops bombs on Dover.

1924: Albania becomes a republic.

1943: US President Franklin D Roosevelt appoints General Dwight D Eisenhower Supreme Commander of the Allied forces.

1954: Laos gains its independence.

1966: Soviet unmanned spacecraft Luna 13 lands on the Moon.

1968: George Best wins the Ballon d’Or.

1975: Film soundtrack composer Bernard Hermann dies aged 64.

1989: Charles Taylor enters Liberia to unseat President Samuel K Doe.

1994: Playwright John Osbourne dies aged 65

2008: Death of playwright Harold Pinter aged 78..

2016: Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt dies in hospital in Marbella, Spain aged 68. On the same day, author Richard Adams dies aged 96.

BIRTHDAYS: Jan Akkerman, guitarist (Focus) 73; Carol Vorderman, TV personality, 59; Ed Milliband, former politician, 50; Ricky Martin, singer, 48; Stephenie Meyer, author, 46; Ryan Seacrest, broadcaster, 45; Louis Tomlinson, singer (One Direction) 28.

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]