Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Today in History - Dec. 24

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Today in History - Dec. 24

Article excerpt

Today in History - Dec. 24

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Today in History for Dec. 24:

In 1524, Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese navigator who found the sea route from Europe to the East, died in Cochin, India.

In 1781, Canada's first Christmas tree was erected in Sorel, north of Montreal, by Baron Friedrich von Riedesel.

In 1814, the War of 1812 officially ended as the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium. Because of a military stalemate, it was agreed to restore prewar boundaries. However, because of the slowness of communications at that time, both countries fought the "Battle of New Orleans" the following month.

In 1851, part of the Capitol building in Washington and the entire Library of Congress was destroyed by fire.

In 1865, the Ku Klux Klan was founded in Giles County, Tenn.

In 1879, the temperature in Winnipeg dropped to a record -47.8 degrees.

In 1908, citing morality concerns, New York Mayor George B. McClellan Jr. temporarily closed the city's movie theatres. (The action gave rise to creation of a motion picture censorship board.)

In 1919, American tycoon John D. Rockefeller gave away $100-million -- the largest single philanthropic gift to that day. Half of the money was for salary increases for U.S. teachers.

In 1943, American General Dwight Eisenhower was named commander-in-chief of the Allied Forces for the Second World War invasion of Europe.

In 1948, Canada officially recognized the state of Israel.

In 1951, Libya became the first country created by the United Nations.

In 1964, the Queen gave the final approval for Canada's Maple Leaf flag. Parliament had approved the new design on Dec. 18th to replace the Red Ensign and Union Jack.

In 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis as part of a Christmas Eve television broadcast to Earth while orbiting the moon.

In 1975, Pope Paul VI pulled shut a bronze door ending the Holy Year. The door remained closed until the next Holy Year in 2000. The tradition of the Holy, or Jubilee Year dates back to the Old Testament, when it was designated as a year of favour from God. …

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