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Today in History for Dec. 26, 2013

Today is Thursday, Dec. 26, the 360th day of 2013. There are five days left in the year. The seven-day African-American holiday Kwanzaa begins today. This is Boxing Day.

Today’s Highlight:

On Dec. 26, 1776, the British suffered a major defeat in the Battle of Trenton during the Revolutionary War.

On this date:

In 1799, former President George Washington was eulogized by Col. Henry Lee as “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

In 1862, 38 Santee Sioux Indians were hanged in Mankato, Minn., for their roles in an uprising that had claimed the lives of hundreds of white settlers. The Civil War Battle of Chickasaw Bayou, resulting in a Confederate victory, began in Mississippi.

In 1908, Jack Johnson became the first African-American boxer to win the world heavyweight championship as he defeated Canadian Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia.

In 1933, Nissan Motor Co. was founded in Yokohama, Japan, as the Automobile Manufacturing Co.

In 1943, the German battleship Scharnhorst was sunk by British naval forces during the Battle of the North Cape off Norway; only 36 of its crew of more than 1,900 survived.

In 1944, during the World War II Battle of the Bulge, the embattled U.S. 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne, Belgium, was relieved by units of the 4th Armored Division.

In 1966, Kwanzaa was first celebrated.

In 1972, the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, died in Kansas City, Mo., at age 88.

In 1973, the demon-possession horror film “The Exorcist” was released.

In 1996, 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, Colo. (To date, the slaying remains unsolved.)

In 2004, some 230,000 people, mostly in southern Asia, were killed by a tsunami triggered by the world’s most powerful earthquake in 40 years beneath the Indian Ocean.

In 2006, former President Gerald R. Ford died in Rancho Mirage at age 93.

Ten years ago: An earthquake struck the historic Iranian city of Bam, killing at least 26,000 people. Three snowboarders were killed in an avalanche in Provo Canyon, Utah.

Five years ago: Caroline Kennedy emerged from weeks of near-silence about her bid for a New York Senate seat; in an interview with The Associated Press and NY1 television, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy said she felt compelled to answer the call to service issued by her father a generation earlier. (Kennedy later dropped her bid; Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed by New York Gov. David Paterson.)

One year ago: Toyota Motor Corp. said it had reached a settlement worth more than $1 billion in a case involving unintended acceleration problems in its vehicles. Old-guard veteran Shinzo Abe was voted back into office as Japan’s prime minister. Gerry Anderson, 83, British puppetry pioneer and creator of the sci-fi TV show “Thunderbirds,” died near Oxfordshire, England. Soul singer Fontella Bass, 72, died in St. Louis.

Today’s birthdays: Actor Donald Moffat is 83. Actor Caroll Spinney (Big Bird on TV’s “Sesame Street”) is 80. Rhythm-and-blues singer Abdul “Duke” Fakir (The Four Tops) is 78. Record producer Phil Spector is 74. “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh is 68. Country musician Bob Carpenter (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 67. Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk is 66. Retired MLB All-Star Chris Chambliss is 65. Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith is 59. Former Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., is 58. Humorist David Sedaris is 57. Rock musician James Kottak (The Scorpions) is 51. Country musician Brian Westrum (Sons of the Desert) is 51. Rock musician Lars Ulrich (Metallica) is 50. Actress Nadia Dajani is 48. Rock musician J is 46. Country singer Audrey Wiggins is 46. Rock musician Peter Klett (Candlebox) is 44. Rock singer James Mercer (The Shins; Flake) is 43. Actor-singer Jared Leto is 42. Actress Kendra C. Johnson (“Love Thy Neighbor”) is 37. Rock singer Chris Daughtry is 34. Actress Beth Behrs is 28. Actor Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”) is 27. Actress Eden Sher is 22. Pop singer Jade Thirlwall (Little Mix Actor) is 21. Actor Zach Mills is 18.

Thought for today: “Christmas has come and gone, and I – to speak selfishly – am glad of it. The season always gives me the blues in spite of myself, though I manage to get a good deal of pleasure from thinking of the multitudes of happy kids in various parts of the world.” — Edwin Arlington Robinson, American poet (1869-1935).

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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