December 23: Facts & Historical Events On This Day

Did you know that on this day, December 23, 1972, the survivors of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 plane crash were rescued?

December 23rd is the day we officially celebrate Roots Day & Pfeffernusse Day.

We are now on the 357th day of the year, congratulations for making it this far! There’s only 2 days left until Christmas.

This day in history has been an interesting one! Here you’re going to learn something new about this special day, and what exactly made this day so special.

Did you know that on this day in 1972, the survivors of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 plane crash were rescued? They had been struggling to stay alive for 72 days in a remote part of the Andes mountains.

Keep reading for more interesting facts about December 23rd in history!

What Events Happened On December 23 In History?

2003 A gas explosion occurred in Guoqiao, Kai, Chongqing, China.

A gas well belonging to PetroChina's Southwest Oil in the Chuandongbei gas field exploded, releasing highly toxic hydrogen sulfide. This incident killed 233 people and injured at least 9,000.

1997 Rom-com movie “As Good as It Gets” was released in theaters in the US.

OTD in 1997: Rom-com movie "As Good as It Gets" was released in theaters in the US.

It was written and directed by James L. Brooks and starred Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt.

1994 Whitey Bulger, an organized crime boss, fled Boston after fearing arrest from the FBI.

He successfully hid from law enforcement for 16 years.

1987 Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who was serving a life sentence for the attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford, escaped from Alderson Prison.

1986 The first aircraft flew around the world without stopping or refueling.

OTD in 1986: The first aircraft flew around the world without stopping or refueling.

The experimental airplane "Voyager" was piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager on a non-stop flight around the world – a journey that took nine days.

1986 The Rutan Voyager became the first plane to fly around the world without stopping for fuel.

Piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, Voyager took off from Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, California, on December 14. The two pilots initially intended to fly in 3-hour shifts, but due to limitations in space, one of the pilots flew for three consecutive days at one point. When Voyager finally landed again, it had just 1.5% of the fuel it started with.

1972 A 6.25 magnitude earthquake destroyed central Managua, Nicaragua, killing about 10,000 people.

1972 Plane crash survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 were rescued.

OTD in 1972: Plane crash survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 were rescued.

Sixteen plane crash survivors were rescued after being stranded in the Andes for seventy days. Although 33 of the 45 onboard survived the crash, injuries and severe weather conditions killed many more. Survivors had to resort to cannibalism in order to stay alive.

1968 After eleven months of imprisonment, 83 men from the US Navy were released by North Korea.

On January 23, 1968, the USS Pueblo, a spy ship, was captured along with its crew by the North Korean armed forces. While the US Navy claimed that the Pueblo was outside of North Korea's waters, North Korea claimed otherwise. The captives were only released after the US signed a statement that they were indeed within North Korea's territory and that they would never do it again.

1954 Dr. Joseph E. Murray performed the first human kidney transplant at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

1948 Cinderella, the first full-length ballet by Frederick Ashton with music by Sergei Prokofiev, was first presented at Covent Garden, London, by Sadler’s Wells Ballet.

1888 Vincent van Gogh cut his left ear off with a razor after an argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin.

He sent it to a prostitute for safekeeping.

1815 The novel Emma by Jane Austen was first published.

583 AD Yohl Ikʼnal ascended to the throne of Palenque, making her the first queen regnant in Maya history.

Famous Quotes Said On December 23

Here are the most famous or noteworthy quotes said on this day throughout history.


“Life must be studied not from the pluses alone, but from the minuses too.”

– Anton Chekhov

Famous People Born On December 23

Are you celebrating your birthday today? If so, did you know that you share the same birthday as Harry Judd? See what other famous people were born on this day.

2002 Finn Wolfhard

Canadian Actor

Finn Wolfhard
20 years old
Born In:
British Columbia, Canada

1971 Corey Haim

Canadian Actor

Corey Haim
Died On:
Mar 10, 2010 (Age 38)
Born In:
Ontario, Canada

1805 Joseph Smith

American Religious Leader

Joseph Smith
Died On:
Jun 27, 1844 (Age 38)
Born In:
Vermont, USA

1985 Harry Judd

English Musician

Harry Judd
37 years old
Born In:
England, UK

Special Holidays On December 23

Are you looking for something to do today? Well, here’s a few special days that might just give you some ideas.

December 23: National Roots Day

National Roots Day

It’s about time we all have a closer look at your roots, and we’re not talking about plants or your hair! So celebrate National Roots Day by getting together with your family and tracing your family's ancestry. You might be surprised by who you’re related to!

December 23: National Pfeffernüsse Day

National Pfeffernüsse Day

For many people in Europe, the Christmas period just isn’t the same without these delicious spiced cookies. If you’ve never tried them before, you’re definitely missing out! There’s no better way to celebrate today than to try baking your own; it’s always worth the effort.

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Fun Fact Of The Day

There’s a flower that smells like chocolate! Native to Mexico, this dark red flower is not edible. It is called “cosmos atrosanguineus” or “chocolate cosmos.”

December 23 Birthday Facts, Zodiac & Birthstone

For those of you who were born on December 23, your zodiac sign is Sagittarius.

Capricorns are ambitious, determined and will consistently apply efforts to any task at hand to get the job done. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, or indeed, how many times they might fail.

People born in December share the Blue Topaz birthstone. The blue topaz promotes harmony, serenity, tranquility and helps the wearer to overcome pain and hurt.

If you were born on this day, you were likely conceived on the week of April 1st in the same year.

A baby that is conceived on December 23rd, 2023, will likely be due around September 15th, 2024.

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