Today in History: Dec. 25

Gen. George Washington leads his troops across the Delaware River in this painting by Emmanuel G. Leutze, Dec. 1776, during the Revolutionary War.  (AP Photo)
In 1776, Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, New Jersey. Painting by Emmanuel G. Leutze, Dec. 1776. (AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Emperor Hirohito poses in the imperial robes that he wore when he succeeded his father to Japan's throne in 1926, in Kyoto, Japan.  Hirohito's long reign included the years of World War II and Japan's surrender.  (AP Photo)
In 1926, Hirohito became emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito. Emperor Hirohito poses in the imperial robes that he wore when he succeeded his father to Japan’s throne in 1926, in Kyoto, Japan. Hirohito’s long reign included the years of World War II and Japan’s surrender. (AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Circa 1070, William I the Conqueror (1027 - 1087), King of England from 1066 when he beat Harold II at Hastings and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
In 1066, William the Conqueror was crowned King of England. Circa 1070, William I the Conqueror (1027 – 1087), King of England from 1066 when he beat Harold II at Hastings and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Hulton Archive)
CEAUSESCU AND HIS WIFE SHORTLY BEFORE EXECUTION - Outsted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, are shown in this picture taken from the Japan Broadcasting Corp.'TV Tuesday, Dec. 26, 1989. It said the film was taken shortly before their execution on Dec. 25, 1989, after a secret military trial. (AP-Photo)
In 1989, ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHES’-koo) and his wife, Elena, were executed following a popular uprising. CEAUSESCU AND HIS WIFE SHORTLY BEFORE EXECUTION – Outsted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, are shown in this picture taken from the Japan Broadcasting Corp.’TV Tuesday, Dec. 26, 1989. It said the film was taken shortly before their execution on Dec. 25, 1989, after a secret military trial. (AP-Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
** FILE ** Charlie Chaplin holds a rose in this photo from the final scene in his 1931 silent film "City Lights".   The film is among the American Film Institute's best romantic comedy movies. (AP Photo)
In 1977, comedian Sir Charles Chaplin died in Switzerland at age 88. ** FILE ** Charlie Chaplin holds a rose in this photo from the final scene in his 1931 silent film “City Lights”. The film is among the American Film Institute’s best romantic comedy movies. (AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Anonymous)
Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union, signs the decree relinquishing control of nuclear weapons to Boris Yeltsin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 1991. Gorbachev, whose reforms gave Soviet citizens freedom, ended the Cold War and ultimately led to the destruction of his nation. He resigned on Wednesday as president of an empire that no longer exists. (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing)
On Dec. 25, 1991, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on television to announce his resignation as the eighth and final leader of a communist superpower that had already gone out of existence. Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union, signs the decree relinquishing control of nuclear weapons to Boris Yeltsin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 1991. Gorbachev, whose reforms gave Soviet citizens freedom, ended the Cold War and ultimately led to the destruction of his nation. He resigned on Wednesday as president of an empire that no longer exists. (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing) (AP/Liu Heung Shing)
Francis
In A.D. 336, the first known commemoration of Christmas on Dec. 25 took place in Rome. Pope Francis holds his pastoral staff during his visit at the St. Joseph parish church in Rome, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2014. Greeting him when he arrived at the church was a handmade sign proclaiming in Italian, “Happy Birthday, Holiness” in brightly colored letters. Francis turns 78 on Wednesday. The pope told the parents of 60 infants who were baptized in the parish during 2014 that his own baptism took place on Christmas day in 1936. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) (AP)
Creator of the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee speaks during a data privacy conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
In 1990, the World Wide Web, the system providing quick access to websites over the Internet, was born in Geneva, Switzerland, as computer scientists Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau created the world’s first hyperlinked webpage. Creator of the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee speaks during a data privacy conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) (AP/Virginia Mayo)
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Gen. George Washington leads his troops across the Delaware River in this painting by Emmanuel G. Leutze, Dec. 1776, during the Revolutionary War.  (AP Photo)
Emperor Hirohito poses in the imperial robes that he wore when he succeeded his father to Japan's throne in 1926, in Kyoto, Japan.  Hirohito's long reign included the years of World War II and Japan's surrender.  (AP Photo)
Circa 1070, William I the Conqueror (1027 - 1087), King of England from 1066 when he beat Harold II at Hastings and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
CEAUSESCU AND HIS WIFE SHORTLY BEFORE EXECUTION - Outsted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, are shown in this picture taken from the Japan Broadcasting Corp.'TV Tuesday, Dec. 26, 1989. It said the film was taken shortly before their execution on Dec. 25, 1989, after a secret military trial. (AP-Photo)
** FILE ** Charlie Chaplin holds a rose in this photo from the final scene in his 1931 silent film "City Lights".   The film is among the American Film Institute's best romantic comedy movies. (AP Photo)
Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union, signs the decree relinquishing control of nuclear weapons to Boris Yeltsin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 1991. Gorbachev, whose reforms gave Soviet citizens freedom, ended the Cold War and ultimately led to the destruction of his nation. He resigned on Wednesday as president of an empire that no longer exists. (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing)
Francis
Creator of the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee speaks during a data privacy conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Today is Tuesday, Dec. 25, the 359th day of 2018.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 25, 1991, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on television to announce his resignation as the eighth and final leader of a communist superpower that had already gone out of existence.

On this date:

In A.D. 336, the first known commemoration of Christmas on Dec. 25 took place in Rome.

In 1066, William the Conqueror was crowned King of England.

In 1776, Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, New Jersey, during the American Revolutionary War.

In 1926, Hirohito became emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito.

In 1931, New York’s Metropolitan Opera broadcast an entire live opera over radio for the first time: “Hansel and Gretel” by Engelbert Humperdinck.

In 1961, Pope John XXIII formally announced the upcoming convocation of the Second Vatican Council, which opened in Oct. 1962.

In 1977, comedian Sir Charles Chaplin died in Switzerland at age 88.

In 1989, ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHES’-koo) and his wife, Elena, were executed following a popular uprising. Former baseball manager Billy Martin, 61, died in a traffic accident near Binghamton, New York.

In 1990, the World Wide Web, the system providing quick access to websites over the Internet, was born in Geneva, Switzerland, as computer scientists Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau (KAH’-yoh) created the world’s first hyperlinked webpage.

In 1995, singer Dean Martin died at his Beverly Hills home at age 78.

In 2006, James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul,” died in Atlanta at age 73.

In 2009, passengers aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 foiled an attempt to blow up the plane as it was landing in Detroit by seizing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (OO’-mahr fah-ROOK’ ahb-DOOL’-moo-TAH’-lahb), who tried to set off explosives in his underwear. (Abdulmutallab later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.)

Ten years ago: Pope Benedict XVI urged a world confronting a financial crisis, conflict, and increasing poverty not to lose hope at Christmas, but to join in “authentic solidarity” to prevent global ruin. President-elect Barack Obama spent a private Christmas with family and close friends in Hawaii. Singer, dancer and actress Eartha Kitt died in Weston, Conn. at age 81. Actress Ann Savage died in Los Angeles at age 87.

Five years ago: Pope Francis offered Christmas wishes for a better world, praying for protection for Christians under attack, battered women and trafficked children, peace in the Middle East and Africa, and dignity for refugees fleeing misery and conflict around the globe.

One year ago: In his traditional Christmas message, Pope Francis called for a two-state solution in the Middle East, and prayed that confrontation could be overcome on the Korean Peninsula. Harsh winter weather gripped much of the country on Christmas, with bitter cold in the Midwest and a blizzard moving into New England. Russian election officials formally barred opposition leader Alexei Navalny from running for president, prompting him to call for a boycott of the March, 2018 vote.

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