200 years ago, on 24th December 1818 that the popular Christmas carol 'Silent Night' was performed for the first time, at midnight mass at a parish church in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. It had been written just a few hours earlier by teacher and church organist Franz Xaver Gruber, to lyrics by priest Joseph Mohr. (The lyrics were actually a poem Mohr had written two years earlier.)
175 years ago, on 19th December 1843 that Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol was first published.
150 years ago, on 9th December 1868 that Franz Haber, Polish-born German chemist was born. He was winner of the 1918 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for developing synthetic ammonia. He was known as the 'father of chemical warfare' for his work on poisonous gases during World War 1.
100 years ago, on 14th December that the historic British general election of 1918 took place. It was the first time that women (over 30) and all men (over 21) were eligible to vote. Lloyd George's Liberal coalition was re-elected.
75 years ago, on 22nd December 1943 that Beatrix Potter, the children's writer and illustrator, died. She had created animal characters such as Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck and many more.
70 years ago, on 19th December 1948 that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
60 years ago, on 5th December 1958 that Britain's first motorway, the Preston By-Pass, was opened. It is now a part of the M6 motorway.
30 years ago, on 21st December 1988 that a Pan Am jet exploded and crashed onto the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 259 passengers and crew and 11 people on the ground. The bomb had been planted by Libyan terrorists.
20 years ago, from 16-19th December that Operation Desert Fox took place. US and British forces launched a major four-day series of sustained air-strikes against Iraq after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein refused to cooperate with UN weapons inspectors.
10 years ago, on 19th December 2008 that during the 2008 Financial Crisis President George W. Bush approved a $17.4 billion loans package to rescue the troubled car manufacturers General Motors and Chrysler.