"Silent Night" is first performed, the Library of Congress burns, NORAD begins tracking Santa, and man orbits the Moon for the first time, all on this day.
1524: Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer who in 1498 became the first European to reach India by sea, dies of malaria in Cochin, India.
Courtesy of NOAA/Institute for Exploration/University of Rhode Island
David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons
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