What Happened On This Day – December 24
1955 NORAD's Santa tracking service begins
The event is now a Christmas tradition where the North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks Santa Claus as he travels around the world delivering presents to children. The event began after a printing error in a Sears catalog asking children to call Santa Claus. The number that was printed was the number of Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center.
1951 Libya gains independence from Italy
The North African country had been ruled by Italy since 1912. After independence, it became a constitutional monarchy under King Idris. King Idris was overthrown in a military coup led by Muammar Gaddafi in 1969.
1914 Christmas Truce begins
A much-studied event in war and peace studies, the Christmas Truce was a brief unofficial ceasefire between British and German troops along the Western Front of World War I. During the truce, soldiers from both sides sang carols, shared food, exchanged gifts and played football (soccer). Subsequent attempts to hold similar ceasefires around Christmas time failed.
1865 Ku Klux Klan created
The extremist white supremacist organization, also known as the Klan, was created in Pulaski, Tennessee by Confederate Army veterans.
1826 Eggnog riots begin at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York
Also known as the Grog Mutiny, these riots began on Christmas Eve after cadets consumed copious amounts of eggnog made with smuggled whiskey. The riots lasted until December 25.
Births On This Day – December 24
1973 Stephenie Meyer
American author, film producer
1971 Ricky Martin
Puerto Rican/American singer-songwriter, actor
1957 Hamid Karzai
Afghan politician, 12th President of Afghanistan
1868 Emanuel Lasker
German chess player
1166 John, King of England
Deaths On This Day – December 24
2008 Harold Pinter
English playwright, screenwriter, director, actor, Nobel Prize laureate
1977 Samael Aun Weor
1965 William M. Branham
1914 John Muir
Scottish/American environmentalist, author
1524 Vasco da Gama