It happened today – this day in history – December 26

1492: The first Spanish settlement La Navidad in the New World is founded in modern day Haiti by Christopher Columbus.

1606: The first known performance of Shakespeare’s tragedy “King Lear” before the court of King James I at Whitehall.

1620: Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathory is uncovered as the most prolific female serial killer in history.

1776: George Washington defeats Hessians at the Battle of Trenton in the American Revolutionary War.

1791: Charles Babbage, inventor of the calculating machine, is born in London.

1860: The first ever inter-club football match between Hallam F.C. and Sheffield F.C. at Sandygate Road ground in Sheffield.

1871: Gilbert and Sullivan collaborate for the first time, on their lost opera, “Thespis”.

1891: Author Henry Miller is born in New York.

1908: Boxer Jack Johnson beats defending champion Tommy Burns in the 14th round when police stop the fight in Sydney, Australia, to become the first black man to win the world heavyweight title.

1916: Joseph Joffre becomes marshal of France.

1941: Winston Churchill becomes the first British Prime Minister to address a joint meeting of the US Congress, warning that the Axis will “stop at nothing”. On the same day, jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald marries convicted drug dealer Benny Kornegay.

1943: The British sink the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst.

1944: Budapest is surrounded by the Soviet army. On the same day, the Tennessee Williams play play “The Glass Menagerie” premieres in Chicago.

1951: Release of the John Huston film “The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.

1966: Jimi Hendrix writes “Purple Haze” backstage at the Upper Cut Club, London.

1967: BBC Television ridiculously broadcasts The Beatles film ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ in black and white. The next day, the British press pronounces the film an utter disaster. The negative reaction is so strong that a US television deal for broadcasting the movie is cancelled.

1970: British Olympic medallist Lillian Board MBE dies aged 22 after losing a battle against a virulent form of bowel cancer.

1971: Singles chart:


  1. Ernie (The Fastest Mikman In The West – Benny Hill
  2. Jeepster – T.Rex
  3. Something Tells Me – Cilla Black
  4. I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing – The New Seekers
  5. Thene From Shaft – Isaac Hayes
  6. Softly Whispering I Love You – The Congregation
  7. Tokoloshe Man – John Kongos
  8. No Matter How I Try – Gilbert O’Sullivan
  9. Soley Soley – Middle Of The Road
  10. Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves – Cher
1971: Led Zeppelin IV

Album chart:

  1. Electric Warrior – T. Rex
  2. Hot Hits 8 – Various Artists
  3. Twelve Songs Of Christmas – Jim Reeves
  4. Four Symbols – Led Zeppelin
  5. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
  6. Teaser And The Firecat – Cat Stevens
  7. Elvis’ Christmas Album – Elvis Presley
  8. Imagine – John Lennon
  9. Pictures At An Exhibition – ELP
  10. A Nod’s As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse – The Faces

1972: Bayern Munich defender Franz Beckenbauer wins the Ballon d’Or. On the same day, former US President Harry Truman dies aged 88.

1974: Comedian Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelski) dies of pancreatic cancer aged 80.

1976: The Sex Pistols record God Save The Queen at Wessex Studios, London.

1978: Former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi is released from jail.

1979: Soviet Special forces take over the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan.

1985: Zoologist Dian Fossey is murdered in Rwanda aged 53.

1986: Actress Elsa Lanchester dies aged 84.

1996: Six-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey is found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado.

1998: Iraq announces its intention to fire upon US and British warplanes that patrol the northern and southern no-fly zones. On the same day, severe gales over Ireland, northern England, and southern Scotland cause widespread disruption and widespread power cuts.

1999: Singer-songwriter Curtis Mayfield dies aged 57 from complications of type 2 diabetes. He had been paralysed from the neck down since August 1990 when stage lighting equipment fell on him at an outdoor concert in New York.

2003: An earthquake devastates the Iranian city of Bam, killing tens of thousands and destroying the citadel of Arg-é Bam.

2004: A massive tsunami caused by an undersea earthquake kills more than 230,000 people in 13 countries across southern Asia.

2006: Michael Jackson files a lawsuit against his former accountants, claiming they withdrew $2.5 million a year from his bank accounts but did not properly pay his bills. On the same day, Teddy Sheringham scores for West Ham Utd in a 2-1 loss to Portsmouth at Upton Park to become the oldest goalscorer in Premier League history at 40 years, 268 days. Also, former US President Gerald Ford dies aged 93.

2008: With Hull City trailing 4-0 at Manchester City, manager Phil Brown refused to allow his players to return to the dressing room during the half-time break. Instead he sat them on the pitch and gave the players the sharp edge of his tongue in front of the 5500 travelling fans.

2012: Gerry Anderson, creator of classic TV series Supercar, Fireball XL5, Singray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlett and others, dies from Alzheimer’s disease aged 83. On the same day, Singer Fontella Bass dies after a heart attack aged 72.

BIRTHDAYS: Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir, singer/arranger (The Four Tops) 86; Dermot Murnaghan, broadcaster, 64; Lars Ulrich, drummer (Metallica) 58; Jared Leto, actor/musician, 50; Beth Behrs, actress, 36; Kit Harrington, actor, 35; Hugo Lloris, goalkeeper, 35; Aaron Ramsey, footballer, 31.