Today in History: December 25, Washington crosses Delaware

December 25, 2022 GMT

Today in History

Today is Sunday, Dec. 25, the 359th day of 2022. There are six days left in the year. This is Christmas Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 25, 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.

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 1818, “Silent Night (Stille Nacht)” was publicly performed for the first time during the Christmas Midnight Mass at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.

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

In 1946, comedian W.C. Fields died in Pasadena, California, at age 66.

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 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.

In 1999, space shuttle Discovery’s astronauts finished their repair job on the Hubble Space Telescope and released it back into orbit.

In 2003, 16 people were killed by mudslides that swept over campgrounds in California’s San Bernardino Valley. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf (pur-VEHZ’ moo-SHAH’-ruhv) survived a second assassination bid in 11 days, but 17 other people were killed.

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.)

In 2020, a recreational vehicle parked in the deserted streets of downtown Nashville exploded early Christmas morning, damaging dozens of buildings, causing widespread communications outages and grounding holiday travel at the city’s airport; investigators later determined that the bomber, a 63-year-old Nashville-area man, was killed in the explosion.


Ten years ago: In his Christmas message to the world, Pope Benedict XVI called for an end to the slaughter in Syria and for more meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, while encouraging more religious freedom under China’s new leaders. Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese Sr., 75, died at a federal prison in North Carolina.

Five years 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.


One year ago: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s largest and most powerful space telescope, rocketed away from French Guiana in South America on a quest to behold light from the first stars and galaxies and scour the universe for hints of life. Airlines canceled hundreds of flights as staffing issues tied to COVID-19 disrupted holiday celebrations during one of the busiest travel times of the year. Pope Francis used his Christmas Day address to pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.

Today’s Birthdays: Author Anne Roiphe is 87. Actor Hanna Schygulla (SHEE’-goo-lah) is 79. R&B singer John Edwards (The Spinners) is 78. Actor Gary Sandy is 77. Singer Jimmy Buffett is 76. Pro and College Football Hall-of-Famer Larry Csonka is 76. Country singer Barbara Mandrell is 74. Actor Sissy Spacek is 73. Blues singer/guitarist Joe Louis Walker is 73. Former White House adviser Karl Rove is 72. Actor CCH Pounder is 70. Singer Annie Lennox is 68. Reggae singer-musician Robin Campbell (UB40) is 68. Country singer Steve Wariner is 68. Singer Shane MacGowan (The Pogues, The Popes) is 65. Baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson is 64. The former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, is 64. Actor Klea Scott is 54. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is 51. Rock musician Noel Hogan (The Cranberries) is 51. Singer Dido is 51. Rock singer Mac Powell (Third Day) is 50. R&B singer Ryan Shaw is 42. Country singer Alecia Elliott is 40. Pop singers Jess and Lisa Origliasso (The Veronicas) are 38. Actor Perdita Weeks is 37. Rock singer-musician Lukas Nelson (Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) is 34.