Famous Events on this Day in History, December 23:619 - Boniface V begins his reign as Catholic Pope
962 - Byzantine-Arab Wars: Under the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, Byzantine troops stormed the city of Aleppo, recovering the tattered tunic of John the Baptist.
1482 - Peace of Atrecht
1493 - Georg Alt's German translation of Hartmann Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle is published.
1569 - St Philip of Moscow martyred by Ivan the Terrible
1620 - French huguenots declare war on King Louis XIII
1672 - Giovanni Cassini discovers Rhea, a satellite of Saturn
1688 - English king Jacob II flees to France
1690 - John Flamsteed observes Uranus without realizing it's undiscovered
1715 - Russian/Prussian troops occupy Stralsund
1724 - Emperor Charles VI names Maria Elisabeth land guardian of Aust Neth
1728 - Prussian Emperor Karel VI sign Treaty of Berlin
1751 - France sets plan to tax clergymen
1776 - Continental Congress negotiates a war loan of $181,500 from France
1776 - Thomas Paine writes "These are the times that try men's souls"
1779 - Benedict Arnold court-martialed for improper conduct
1783 - General George Washington resigns his military commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Army to Congress
1783 - Washington resigns as US Army's commander-in-chief
1788 - Maryland votes to cede a 10 sqaure mile area for Dist of Columbia
1793 - Thomas Jefferson warned of slave revolts in West Indies
1823 - "Visit from St Nicholas" by C Moore published in Troy (NY) Sentinel
1832 - Dutch troops in Antwerp surrender
1834 - Joseph Hansom of London receives patent for Hansom cabs
1852 - 1st Chinese theater in US, Celestial John, opens in San Francisco
1862 - Union Gen Ben "Beast" Butler is proclaimed a "felon, outlaw & common enemy of mankind" by Jefferson Davis
1867 - 1st self-made millionairess (Sarah Breedlove-hair straightner)
1876 - Turkey's 1st constitution proclaimed
1888 - Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh cuts off his left ear
1893 - Opera "Hansel und Gretel" is produced (Weimar)
1894 - Debussy's ballet "L'aprés-midi d'un faune," premieres in Paris
1899 - Fieldmarshal Lord Roberts departs Southampton to South Africa
1899 - Southampton: field marshal lord Roberts departures to South Africa
1899 - Tentative Turkish & German treaty on construction of Baghdad railway
1907 - 1st all-steel passengar railroad coach completed, Altoona, Pa
1909 - Albert becomes king of Belgians
1911 - Frank Wedekind's "Oaha, die Satire der Satire," premieres in Munich
1911 - Opera "I Giojelli Della Madonna" is produced (Berlin)
1912 - 1st "Keystone Kops" film, titled "Hoffmeyer's Legacy"
1912 - Aswan Dam in Nile begins operation
1913 - President Woodrow Wilson signs Federal Reserve Act into law
1914 - World War I: Australian and New Zealand troops arrive in Cairo, Egypt.
1915 - J Kern/S Greene's musical "Very Good Eddie," premieres in NYC
1916 - World War I: Battle of Magdhaba - Allied forces defeat Turkish forces in Egypt's Sinai peninsula.
1917 - 3 British warships come close to Holland
1919 - 1st hospital ship built to move wounded naval personnel launched
1919 - Alice H Parker patents gas heating furnace
1920 - Ireland divided into 2 parts, each with its own parliament
1920 - King George V signs Home Rule Act
1921 - Visva-Bharati University is inaugurated.
1922 - BBC Radio began daily newscasts
1922 - Pope Pius XI pleas for peace: encyclical Ubi arcano
1923 - Yankees pitcher Carl Mays sold to Reds for $85,000
1925 - Sultan Ibn Saud of Nedzjed conquers Djeddah
1926 - KEX-AM in Portland OR begins radio transmissions
1928 - NBC sets up a permanent, coast-to-coast radio network
1930 - Bette Davis arrives in Hollywood under contract to Universal Studios
1930 - Police Bureau of Criminal Alien Investigation started in NYC
1933 - Howie Morenz takes over NHL career goal lead at 251
1933 - Marinus van der Lubbe sentenced to death
1933 - Train crash in Eastern Paris; 230 die
1936 - Colombia becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
1937 - First flight of the Vickers Wellington bomber.
1938 - Margaret Hamilton's costume catches fire in filming of "Wizard of Oz"
1938 - Discovery of the first modern coelacanth in South Africa.
1939 - Finnish counter offensive at Summa
1939 - South Australia score 7-821 against Queensland
1940 - John Van Druten's "Old Acquaintance," premieres in NYC
1941 - American forces on Wake Island surrender to Japanese
1941 - British troops overrun Benghazi Libya
1941 - Japan begins assault on Rangoon Burma
1942 - Allies air attack on Den Helder
1943 - 1st telecast of a complete opera (Hansel & Gretel), Schenectady, NY
1943 - Gen Montgomery told he is appointed commandant for D-day
1944 - Beginning of harsh winter
1945 - Frederick Astons "Cinderella" premieres in London
1945 - Pope Pius XII encyclical Orientals omnes, about Rutheense church
1946 - Belgian Council of State forms
1946 - Highest ridership in NYC subway history (8.8 million passengers)
1946 - U of Tenn refuses to play Duquesne U, because they may use a black player in their basketball game
1947 - Transistor invented by Bardeen, Brattain & Shockley in Bell Labs
1951 - Last Belgian communities get electricity
1951 - 1st coast-to-coast televised football game (Dumont paid $75,000) LA Rams beat Cleve Browns 24-17 in NFL championship game
1953 - Dodgers 2nd baseman Jim "Junior" Gilliam wins NL Rookie of Year
1954 - The first human kidney transplant is performed by Dr. Joseph E. Murray at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
1957 - Test Cricket debut for Wally Grout & Bobby Simpson v S Africa
1958 - "Party with Comden & Green" opens at John Golden NYC for 38 perfs
1958 - Abdallah Ibrahim forms govt of Morocco
1960 - De Quay's Dutch govt falls
1960 - King Saudi of Saudi-Arabia takes power
1961 - KICU TV channel 43 in Visalia-Fresno, CA (IND) begins broadcasting
1961 - Train accident in Italy, 70 die
1961 - Fidel Castro announces Cuba will release 1,113 prisoners from failed 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion for $62M worth of food & medical supplies
1962 - Cuba starts returning US prisoners from Bay of Pigs invasion
1962 - Dallas Texans beat Houston Oilers 20-17 in AFL championship game
1963 - Beach Boys 1st appearance on "Shindig"
1963 - Fire on Greek ship Laconia, 128 die
1964 - India & Ceylon hit by cyclone, about 4,850 killed
1966 - Britains rock TV show, "Ready Steady Go," last program
1967 - Brussels: NATO-Council accept "Flexible Response"-strategy
1968 - 1st US case of space motion sickness
1968 - 82 members of US intelligence ship `Pueblo' released by North Korea
1968 - Borman, Lovell & Anders become 1st men to orbit Moon
1968 - North Korea releases Pueblo crew
1970 - 7,511th performance of Agatha Christie's "Mousetrap" (record)
1970 - French author Régis Debray freed in Bolivia
1970 - NY World Trade Center reaches highest point (411 m)
1970 - USSR performs nuclear test
1972 - 16 plane crash survivors rescued after 70d, survived by cannabalism
1972 - 6.25 Earthquake destroys central Managua Nicaragua, 10,000 die
1972 - Chandrasekhar takes 8-79 India v England at Delhi
1972 - Islanders end 15 games winless streak
1972 - "Immaculate Reception" Steelers turns around a 7-6 defeat with a last second touchdown reception against Raiders to win 13-7
1973 - "Young & Restless" premieres on TV
1973 - 6 Persian Gulf nations double their oil prices
1973 - French Caravelle crashes in Morocco, 106 killed
1974 - "Good News" opens at St James Theater NYC for 16 performances
1974 - Leningrad: premier of Dmitri Sjotakovitsj' Michelangelo-liederen
1975 - Congress passes Metric Conversion Act
1975 - Peter Seitz makes Andy Messersmith & Dave McNally free agents
1978 - Islanders scored 7 goals in 1 period against NY Rangers, Trottier scores 8 points vs Rangers, 5 goals-NHL record 6 pts in 1 period
1979 - NY Islanders greatest shutout lose (8-0) vs Chicago Black Hawks
1979 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
1980 - Sam Shepard's "True West," premieres in NYC
1981 - Boycott becomes leading run-scorer in Test Crickets with 8033
1982 - The United States Environmental Protection Agency announces it has identified dangerous levels of dioxin in the soil of Times Beach, Missouri.
1983 - Journal Science publishes 1st report on nuclear winter
1984 - Viv Richards scores 208 in Test Cricket at MCG
1986 - Rutan & Yeager make 1st around-the-world flight without refueling
1987 - Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, serving a life sentence for attempted assassination of Pres Gerald R Ford escapes from Alderson Prison
1990 - "Lettice & Lovage" closes at Barrymore Theater NYC after 284 perfs
1990 - Slovenians vote to secede from Yugoslavia
1991 - NY Daily News publisher Kevin Maxwell resigns
1994 - Baseball owners impose salary cap, fiercely opposed by players
1996 - 4 women ordained priests in Jamaica, 1st in 330-year Anglican history
1997 - Chic Bull coach Phil Jackson is quickest to reach 500 wins (682 games)
1997 - Colo Avalanche Jari Kurri is 8th NHLer to score 600 career goals
1997 - Terry Nichols found guilty of manslaughter in Okla bombing
1997 - US Agriculture Dept estimates it costs $149,820 to raise a child to 18
1997 - Woody Allen, 62 weds Soon-Yi Previn 27, adopted daughter of Mia Farrow
2002 - A MQ-1 Predator is shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25, making it the first time in history that an aircraft and an unmanned drone had engaged in combat.
2003 - PetroChina Chuandongbei natural gas field explosion, Guoqiao, Kai, Chongqing, China, killing at least 234.
2004 - Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean is hit by an 8.1 magnitude earthquake.
2005 - Azerbaijan Airlines Flight 217 from Baku, Azerbaijan, to Aktau, Kazakhstan crashes shortly after takeoff killing 23 people.
2005 - Chad declares a state of war against Sudan following a December 18 attack on Adré, which left about 100 people dead.