On This Day in History: December 25

Christmas Day does not mean events do not happen. On this day, a film adaptation of a still-popular novel was released and a man dies over a card game.

John Wesley Hardin

1066: Coronation of William I of England

William the Conqueror was crowned King William I of England on this day in history. While Harold Godwinson had been named king after the childless Edward the Confessor, William argued that he had been named before Edward was on his deathbed. Believing England to be his, he stormed the country and took the crown by force. He his best known for his defeat of King Harold on October 14, 1066 at the Battle of Hastings. It didn’t take long for his coronation in London.

1869: John Wesley Hardin Kills Over a Card Game

People get competitive, but none more than 16-year-old John Wesley Hardin, who killed in history today. He shot James Bradley in the street over a dispute in a card game. He was later imprisoned and served 14 years. While in prison, his wife died and he was a changed man upon release. He returned home to raise his three children peacefully. Three years later, he would be shot in the back by a man trying to raise his own fame by killing Texas’ deadliest man.

1914: A Truce In World War I

British and German forces decide to declare an unofficial truce during World War I. The decision was made to allow the two sides to celebrate Christmas, as it was the first Christmas during the Great War. Soldiers on both sides even exchanged gifts and played soccer as a way to spend the holiday away from their families.

1941: The Surrender of Hong Kong to Japan

On this day in history, Britain surrendered Hong Kong to Japan. Women and children had already began evacuating, as the British anticipated the attack. Hong Kong was blocked by land when the Japanese posted troops along the Kowloon peninsula. The British had to surrender when the Japanese took control of all the reservoirs and the people were at threat of dying by thirst.

1962: To Kill a Mockingbird Released in Theaters

In 1960, Harper Lee had released her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, centered around racial injustice in the Great Depression. It would take two years for a film adaptation to be released. It was directed by Robert Mulligan and was nominated for eight Oscars, winning three of them. It would be the only book ever published by Lee, until this year when she published the sequel, Go Set a Watchman, which was written before the first novel.To Kill a Mockingbird

1996: Murder of JonBenet Ramsey

On Christmas Day, 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was killed in her home. She had been beaten and strangled, and there were signs of sexual assault. The parents had called the police to say their daughter had gone missing, and there was a ransom note for $118,000, but the daughter was found in the home. Police found a number of suspicious circumstances surrounding the crime. While John Mark Karr was arrested in 2006 after confessing to the crime, his DNA did not match samples and nobody has ever been convicted of the crime.

Famous Birthdays on December 25

The official date given by Christians for Jesus Christ’s birth

Queen Margarita of Spain–1587

English scientist Sir Isaac Newton—1642

Pope Pius VI–1717

Poet Dorothy Wordsworth–1771

Red Cross founder Clara Barton—1821

Princess Alexandra, granddaughter of George V and Queen Mary of Great Britain—1936

Alia Baha Ad-Din Touqan, Jordan’s queen consort until her death in 1977—1948

Annie Lennox, singer and activist—1954

Stan singer Dido–1971

Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau–1971

Basketball player Eric Gordon–1988



Featured image from Deposit Photos

Birthdays from HistoryNet.com and OnThisDay.com

Image of John Wesley Hardin in the public domain (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wesley_Hardin#/media/File:John_Wesley_Hardin.gif)

Image of To Kill a Mockingbird front cover from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:To_Kill_a_Mockingbird.JPG)

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