Historic Dates - December

Coronation of Napoleon I

2 December 1804

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) crowned himself Emperor Napoleon I of France on 2 December 1804 and then crowned his wife Josephine Beauharnais Empress, in the presence of Pope Pius VII at the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. The artist Jacques Louis David depicted the event in his painting of 1805-1807.

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Silent Night

24 December 1818

'Silent Night' (german: 'Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht') is the world's most popular Christmas carol. The original lyrics of the song were written in German by the Austrian priest Joseph Mohr, the melody was composed by headmaster Franz Xaver Gruber. The carol was first performed on 24 December 1818 in the Nikolaus Kirche (Church of Saint Nicolas) in the small Austrian village Oberndorf, Salzburg. Father Joseph Mohr later served as vicar in the church of Wagrain, Salzburg, where he died on December 4th, 1848.

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Coronation of Charlemagne

25 December 800

Charlemagne (possibly 742-814) expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated most of Western and Central Europe. He was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death. He was crowned Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800. Charlemagne, who is also known as 'Charles the Great' or 'Karl der Große' is numbered as Emperor Charles I in the regnal lists of France, Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

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Arrival of the Mayflower

26 December 1620

The Mayflower was the ship that transported the English Separatists, better known as the Pilgrims, from a site near the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Massachusetts. They arrived at their destination on 26 December 1620.

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Birthday of German statesman Willy Brandt

18 December 1913

Willy Brandt (18 December 1913 - 8 October 1992) was a German politician, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany from 1964 - 1987 and chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1969 - 1974. He received the Nobel Peace Price in 1971 for his efforts to reconcile West Germany and the countries of the Soviet bloc. Brandt's "Ostpolitik" is his most important legacy, along with the Brandt Report, a recognized measure to describe the general divide in world economics and politics between an affluent North and a poor South. Brandt resigned as chancellor in 1974, after one of his closes aides, Günter Guillaume, was exposed as an agent of the Stasi (East German secret service).

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