Top 10 Historical Events That Happened on Christmas

Which major historical events happened exactly on Christmas?

by Iva Rizova

Every day of the year keeps the history of many events. Some of the more exciting or significant, others not so much. We all know December 25th as the Nativity of Christ. And logically, this is the first thought that comes to your mind when it comes to this day of the year. But we at The Dope Lists decided to check out what happened on the most significant Christian holiday over the years. Who says Christmas is boring?

The coronation of Charlemagne

He is a Frankish king, often called the ‘father of Europe’. He united much of the continent within one state and introduced many legal and educational reforms that led to cultural development for the first time since the collapse of the Roman Empire. In 800, Pope Leo III crowned him ‘Emperor of the Romans’ in St. Peter’s Basilica. 43 years later, Charlemagne’s grandchildren signed the Treaty of Verdun, which divided the Carolingian Empire into three parts: France, Germany, and Italy.

The coronation of William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror

After the legendary invasion of William in the British Isles and the victory over King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings, the Duke of Normandy was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey. Many Norman customs and laws became part of the English way of life. One of his tactics for consolidating power was to give land to his French-speaking allies. This changed the development of the English language and became the reason why almost a third of the modern language is derived from French words.

The armistice during the First World War

The Christmas spirit seems to be stronger than we think. Proof of this is its manifestation in the most unexpected place possible – the battlefield during the First World War. The initiators of the truce were the Germans who decorated the trenches with Christmas trees and candles and began to sing Christmas carols. Their example was followed by soldiers in the enemy camp. Suddenly, they rushed to the ground between the trenches to congratulate themselves on the holiday. They shared cigarettes and a sip of whiskey, played football, and some even exchanged gifts.

Apollo 8 makes the first orbit around the Moon

In 1968, astronauts Frank Bormann, Jim Lovell, and William Anders spent the night before Christmas in orbit around the Moon. The last-minute modified expedition made Apollo 8 and its team leaders in many things. The three astronauts became the first people to leave Earth’s gravitational pull; the first to orbit the Moon; the first to see the whole Earth from space, and the first to observe the Dark Side of the Moon.

Hong Kong surrendered to Japan

Before World War II, Hong Kong was part of the British Empire and was not attacked by the Japanese military during the Chinese invasion. In 1939, however, several bombs accidentally fell on Hong Kong territory due to its geographical proximity to China. On the morning of December 8th, two years later, the Japanese launched an attack on Hong Kong as part of a joint Pacific campaign. The superiority of the Japanese did not leave much room for action for the combined British, Canadian, and Indian forces. On the 25th, the governor of Hong Kong handed over the city to Japanese headquarters. The day became known to the locals as ‘Black Christmas’.

Nicolae Ceausescu was sentenced to death and shot

He ruled Romania from 1965 until the fall of the communist regime in 1989. The whole year was marked by the ever-increasing tensions of the Romanian people, and the false performances that Ceausescu made to hide reality did not help him. The protests, known as the Bloody Events of Timisoara and Bucharest, were uncontrollable and spread across the country. On December 22nd, the Ceausescu family was handed over to the Romanian National Army. Nicolae and his wife Elena were sentenced to death without the right to appeal for crimes against the state, genocide against their own people, opening secret accounts in foreign banks, and sabotaging the national economy. The execution took place just before Christmas and put an end to the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe.

Gorbachev resigned

Mikhail Gorbachev headed the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. His takeover coincided with the beginning of perestroika. He is the first and last president of the USSR. The radical changes in the political and economic structure of the state led to the end of the Cold War, the peaceful withdrawal of the Communist Party from power, and the collapse of the USSR. His achievements brought him the Nobel Peace Prize. Due to growing separatism at the end of 1991, he proposed the creation of a new union of independent states in which participation was voluntary. However, the hardline communists opposed any reform of the Soviet Union and staged a coup to overthrow Gorbachev. At Christmas, he resigned himself.

Lenin’s Testament

This is an official letter to Congress written during the Christmas holidays. It is addressed to the future Congress of the Communist Party. It contains guidelines for changes in the Soviet political system and portraits of the six-party leaders: Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, Grigory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, Nikolai Bukharin, and Georgy Pyatakov. Lenin’s testament recommended that Stalin should be removed from the post of party secretary-general. The document is interpreted in different ways. Some researchers believe that this was an attempt by Lenin to lead the election of his successor, others that in this way he undermined the efforts of his colleagues who he believed were trying to usurp his power, and others that the letter had a manipulative purpose of causing distrust among party leaders.

Kingdom of Hungary


The term Kingdom of Hungary is used to denote a long-standing state and distinguish it from today’s Hungarian state and from the Principality of Hungary (895-1000), founded before the kingdom. Although the principality has existed for 105 years, the final founding of Hungary is considered to be 1000 years, and its founder is Istvan I. This is because some of the tribal chiefs and chiefs of families feared that their power would be taken away and opposed the new prince. But Istvan managed to defeat them all, and on Christmas Day, he was crowned king, so Hungary became a kingdom.

The first scene of Christmas

In the year 354, Pope Liberius announced December 25th as the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The elementary account shows that the most significant Christian holiday has been celebrated for about sixteen centuries. The first scene recreating the birth of Jesus appeared relatively late. However, today, it seems that it happened a long time ago. In 1223 in the Italian village of Grecho, the Roman Catholic monk, founder of the Franciscan Order – St. Francis of Assisi built the first scene showing the birth of the Son of God.

As we have seen, December 25th is not just Christmas, but it is associated with many other historical events. Of course, the magic of Christmas is so strong that it is difficult for us to connect this day with anything else. But with this article, we managed to do it with 10 other occurrences.

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