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.

1958: Singles chart:

  1. It’s Only Make Believe – Coway Twitty
  2. Hoots Mon – Lord Rockingham’s XI
  3. Tom Dooley – Lonnie Donegan
  4. Tea For Two Cha Cha – The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with Warren Covington
  5. Tom Dooley – The Kingston Trio
  6. Love Makes The World Go Round – Perry Como
  7. The Day The Rains Came – Jane Morgan
  8. High Class Baby – Cliff Richard and the Drifters
  9. Come On Let’s Go – Tommy Steele
  10. More Than Ever (Come Prima) – Malcolm Vaughan with the Mike Samms Singers
1965: The Beatles – Rubber Soul

1965: Album chart:

  1. Rubber Soul – The Beatles
  2. The Sound Of Music – Original Soundtrack
  3. Mary Poppins – Original Soundtrack
  4. Help! – The Beatles
  5. Farewell Angelina – Joan Baez
  6. Highway 61 Revisited – Bob Dylan
  7. Out Of Our Heads – The Rolling Stones
  8. Almost There – Andy Williams
  9. Magic Of The Minstrels – The George Mitchell Singers
  10. Everything’s Coming Up Dusty – Dusty Springfield

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 from a virulent form of bowel cancer.


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 pageant winner 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 power cuts.

1999: Singer-songwriter Curtis Mayfield dies aged 57 from complications of type 2 diabetes. He had been quadriplegic 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 refuses to allow his players to return to the dressing room during the half-time break. Instead he sits them on the pitch and gives the players the sharp edge of his tongue in front of the 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.

2018: Colin O’Brady becomes the first person to cross Antarctica solo and unassisted.

2021: Archbishop Desmond Tutu dies aged 90.

BIRTHDAYS: Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir, singer/arranger (The Four Tops) 88; Dermot Murnaghan, broadcaster, 66; Lars Ulrich, drummer (Metallica) 60; Jared Leto, actor/musician, 52; Beth Behrs, actress, 38; Kit Harrington, actor, 37; Hugo Lloris, goalkeeper, 37; Aaron Ramsey, footballer, 33.