This Day in History: December 26
Indian Ocean tsunami
On this day in 2004, a large earthquake shook the Indian Ocean floor west of the island of Sumatra, triggering a devastating tsunami that swamped coastal areas from Thailand to Africa and killed more than 200,000 people.
Philip A. McDaniel/U.S. Navy
American humorist and essayist
American record producer
More Events On This Day
Boxing Day is celebrated as a public holiday in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. [Sort fact from fiction in our quiz about English culture and custom.]
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
American politician Gerald R. Ford—who was the 38th president of the United States (1974–77) and the country's only chief executive who was not elected as either president or vice president—died in California. Sort fact from fiction in our presidents of the United States quiz
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum
The slain body of American zoologist Dian Fossey—the world's leading authority on the mountain gorilla—was found in Rwanda; it was widely suspected that she was killed by poachers.
The horror classic The Exorcist, an adaptation of William Peter Blatty's book about a young girl possessed by the Devil, was released in the United States. The recipient of 10 Oscar nominations, including for director William Friedkin, it became one of the highest-grossing films of all time. Test your knowledge of scary movies
© 1973 Warner Brothers, Inc.
Celebrations for the first Kwanzaa began in the United States, and the holiday continued until January 1; the annual event, which affirms African family and social values, was created by Maulana Karenga. How much do you know about African American history?
The Beatles' single I Want to Hold Your Hand, with I Saw Her Standing There on the B-side, was first released in the United States; hugely successful, it helped launch Beatlemania. Take our Beatlemania quiz
PRNewsFoto/Apple Corps Ltd./EMI Music/AP Images
The German battle cruiser Scharnhorst was sunk by the British battleship Duke of York during World War II. How much do you know about World War II?
American boxer Jack Johnson defeated Tommy Burns in Sydney to become the first black fighter to win the world heavyweight championship. Test your knowledge of boxing
Mao Zedong, chairman of the People's Republic of China, was born. Sort fact from fiction in our quiz about China
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Napoleon enforced harsh penalties on Austria with the signing of the Treaty of Pressburg. Test your knowledge of Napoleon
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1961.9.15
English mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage, who is credited with having conceived the first automatic digital computer, was born. How much do you know about computers and technology?
Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London
Charles I and the Scots reached a secret agreement whereby the Scots offered to support the king's restoration to power in return for his acceptance of Presbyterianism in Scotland and its establishment in England for three years. Take our quiz about kings and emperors