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On This Day in History, December 26

What Happened On This Day – December 26

  • 2004 Massive tsunami causes damage and kills thousands in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand

    The tsunami was precipitated by a 9.1 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake was the third strongest earthquake ever measured using the Richter scale in recorded history. The other two were the Valdivia earthquake in Chile in 1960, with a magnitude of 9.5 and the Prince William Sound earthquake in Alaska in 1964, with a magnitude of 9.2. The Indian Ocean earthquake killed about 200,000 people and is considered one of the deadliest natural disasters in recent history.

  • 1982 The December issue of Times magazine proclaimed the personal computer as the "Man of the Year"

    The Man of the Year tradition began in 1927 at Time magazine as a way to identify and showcase those that influenced the year and its events significantly. In 1999, the feature was renamed Person of the Year.

  • 1966 First Kwanzaa celebrations

    The week-long cultural holiday is celebrated among African diaspora in the United States and was created by Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana Studies and a key figure in the Black Power movement. The holiday is celebrated annually from December 26 to January 1, and it is a recognition of African culture and heritage.

  • 1941 Fourth Thursday of November set as Thanksgiving Day in the US

    The holiday has been celebrated officially in the United States since 1863. The first Thanksgiving is thought to have been observed by early settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony after their first harvest in 1621.

  • 1898 The Curies announce the existence of Radium

    The radioactive element has an atomic number of 88 and is known by the symbol Ra. In its pure form, it is a highly toxic element and is not used extensively for scientific purposes.

Births On This Day – December 26

  • 1956 David Sedaris

    American comedian, author, radio host

  • 1893 Mao Zedong

    Chinese military leader, politician

  • 1891 Henry Miller

    American author, painter

  • 1837 George Dewey

    American Admiral

  • 1791 Charles Babbage

    English mathematician, engineer, invented the Difference engine

Deaths On This Day – December 26

  • 2006 Gerald Ford

    American politician, 38th President of the United States

  • 1997 Cornelius Castoriadis

    Greek economist, philosopher

  • 1974 Jack Benny

    American actor, comedian

  • 1972 Harry S. Truman

    American colonel, politician, 33rd President of the United States

  • 1890 Heinrich Schliemann

    German archaeologist

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