Today In History, 26 December: What Happened On This Day

What happened today in history (26 December): 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the birth of Sardar Udham Singh, demise of Babur, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formation of the Communist Party of India, premiere of The Exorcist, and more.
This day in history (26 Dec): 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
This day in history (26 Dec): 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

Today in History: Christmas Day has come and gone, but the festive season still remains. Today is 26 December. We’re less than a week away from the end of 2022 and the dawn of a wonderful new year.

However, December 26 is not just another winter day to forget about in the glorious aftermath of Christmas. December 26th holds a key place in world history.

From the birth of a famous Indian revolutionary and the father of the computer, the demise of the first Mughal ruler, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the formation of the Communist Party of India to one of the most devastating and largest tsunamis in history, many significant events occurred on 26 December.

Keep reading to find out what happened on this day (Dec. 26) in sports, politics and art, along with famous birthdays and deaths in world history.

Historical Events On This Day

  • In 1492, Christopher Columbus established the first Spanish settlement in the New World, La Navidad, in Haiti.
  • In 1704, Guru Gobind Singh’s sons Fateh Singh and Zorawar Singh were murdered by Mugal ruler Aurangzeb’s general Wazir Khan for refusing to convert to Islam.
  • In 1925, the Communist Party of India was founded in Kanpur by M.N. Roy, Evelyn Trent, Abani Mukherji, and M.P.T. Acharya.
  • In 1941, during World War I, Winston Churchill became the first British Prime Minister to address a meeting of the US Congress.
  • In 1991, the Soviet Union (USSR) was formally disintegrated by the Supreme Soviet legislative body.
  • In 2004, one of the most devastating natural disasters occurred. A 9.3-magnitude earthquake struck the Indian Ocean off the island of Sumatra and triggered the tsunami from Thailand to Africa that killed over 200,000 people.
  • In 2012, China opened the world's longest high-speed rail route, linking Beijing and Guangzhou.

Sports Events Today

  • In 1908, Jack Johnson became the first African-American man to win the world boxing heavyweight title after defeating Tommy Burns.
  • In 1990, chess legend Garry Kasparov defended his world champion title after defeating fellow Russian Anatoly Karpov.
  • In 2006, Australian cricketer Shane Warne became the first spin bowler to take 700 wickets after bowling out England’s Andrew Strauss.

Art and Culture Events Today

  • In 1606, the first known performance of William Shakespeare’s "King Lear" was arranged.
  • In 1880, Johannes Brahms’ iconic orchestra "tragic overture" premiered in Vienna.
  • In 1957, Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman released one of his best films, "Wild Strawberries."
  • In 1973, the horror classic The Exorcist, starring Linda Blair and directed by William Friedkin, premiered.

Important Days

  • Boxing Day - The day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day and celebrated by shopping, donating, and gifting.
  • Veer Bal Diwas: The 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh's 4 sons were martyred by Mughal tyrant Aurangzeb's general Wazir Khan. All four sons, also called Sahibzaade chose sacrifice instead of converting to another religion. December 26 marks the martyrdom of Sahibzadas Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh at the age of six and nine.

Notable Deaths On This Day

Sr No

Death Year




Mirza Zahir ud-Din Muhammad, aka Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire in India



Heinrich Schliemann, German archaeologist who rediscovered the city of Troy



Harry S. Truman, 33rd US President (1945 - 53) who led the country and allies to victory in the final stages of World War II and early years of the Cold War with Soviet Union



Curtis Mayfield, American singer and soul musician known for songs "Freddie's Dead" and "Superfly"



Desmond Tutu, South African bishop and anti-apartheid activist who won the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize

Famous Birthdays On This Day

Sr No

Birth Year




Charles Babbage, English mathematician and inventor who is considered the “father of the Computer” for developing the first computer, the Difference Engine



Dion Boucicault, Irish actor and playwright known for starring in acclaimed plays Rip van Winkle and London Assurance



Henry Miller, American author known for his controversial books like Sexus and Tropic of Cancer, dealing with social criticism, surrealism, sex, and philosophy



Mao Zedong, Chinese soldier and political leader who founded the People’s Republic of China and developed Maoism, a variety of Marxism-Leninism



Udham Singh, Indian revolutionary who travelled to the UK to assassinate Michael O’Dwyer, the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab during the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, and avenge the deaths of the hundreds of civilians killed.



Taarak Mehta, Indian columnist, writer and humourist who wrote the Duniya Ne Undha Chasma which inspired the hit Indian sitcom Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah



Phil Spector, American record producer who worked with renowned bands like The Beatles, the Righteous Brothers and Tina Turner



Kit Harington, English actor best known for playing Jon Snow in HBO’s Game of Thrones

Also Read | Today in History (25 December)

Also Read | Today in History (24 December)

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