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On December 24th, 1951, Gian Carlo Menotti's
"Amahl and the Night Visitors," the
first opera written specifically for television,
was first broadcast by NBC TV.
On this date:
In 1524, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama --
who had discovered a sea route around Africa to
India -- died in Cochin, India.
In 1814, the War of 1812
officially ended as the United States and Britain
signed the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium.
In 1851, fire
devastated the Library of Congress
in Washington DC, destroying about 35,000
In 1865, several
veterans of the Confederate Army formed a private
social club in Pulaski, Tennessee, called the Ku
In 1871, Giuseppe
Verdi's opera "Aida" had its world
premiere in Cairo, Egypt, to celebrate the
opening of the Suez Canal.
In 1906, Canadian
physicist Reginald A. Fessenden became the first
person to broadcast a music program over radio,
from Brant Rock, Massachusetts.
In 1920, Enrico
Caruso gave his last public performance, singing
in Jacques Halevy's "La Juive" at the
Metropolitan Opera in New York.
In 1943, President
Roosevelt appointed General Dwight D. Eisenhower
supreme commander of Allied forces as part of
In 1968, the
"Apollo Eight" astronauts, orbiting the
moon, read passages from the Old Testament Book
of Genesis during a Christmas Eve television
In 1980, Americans
remembered the US hostages in Iran by burning
candles or shining lights for 417 seconds -- one
second for each day of captivity.
Ten years ago:
Ousted Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega, who had
succeeded in eluding US forces, took refuge at
the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Panama City.
Five years ago:
Armed Islamic fundamentalists hijacked an Air
France Airbus A-300 carrying 227 passengers at
the Algiers airport; three passengers were killed
during the siege before the hijackers were killed
by French commandos in Marseille two days later.
British playwright John Osborne ("Look Back
in Anger") died at age 65.
One year ago:
Ignoring NATO warnings, Serb tanks and troops
struck an ethnic Albanian stronghold in Kosovo.
Most of California's citrus crop was considered
ruined after three straight nights of freezing
but once a year is enough."