Dec. 24 (UPI) -- On this date in history:
In 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed by representatives of the United States and Britain, ending the War of 1812.
In 1851, the Library of Congress and part of the Capitol building in Washington were destroyed by fire.
In 1865, a group of Confederate veterans met in Pulaski, Tenn., to form a secret society they called the Ku Klux Klan.
In 1871, Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Aida" premiered in Cairo. It had been commissioned to commemorate the opening of the Suez Canal.
In 1906, Reginald A. Fessenden, a Canadian-born radio inventor, broadcast the first musical program, a female singer's violin-accompanied "O Holy Night," from Brant Rock, Mass. He had discovered the superheterodyne principle, the basis for modern radio receivers.
In 1909, Miss Jean L. Clemens, younger daughter of Mark Twain, was found dead in a bath tub at the home of her father. Miss Clemens' cause of death is believed to have been the result of an epileptic convulsion.
In 1942, German rocket engineers launched the first surface-to-surface guided missile.
In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, kicking off the nine-year Soviet-Afghan War.
In 1983, officials said one of the United States' severest early season cold waves in history had claimed nearly 300 lives.
In 1990, the bells of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow rang to celebrate Christmas for the first time since the 1924 death of Lenin.
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger for his role in the Iran-Contra affair.
In 1994, gunmen seized Air France Flight 8969 as it prepared to leave Algiers for Paris, killing three hostages. The hostage takers were killed and remaining hostages freed two days later.
In 1997, a French court convicted the international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal of the 1975 killings of three men in Paris and sentenced him to life in prison.
In 2005, Hwang Woo-suk, a South Korean scientist whose research on stem cells and cloning won him international acclaim, resigned after admitting he fabricated his groundbreaking paper in which he said he created stem cell colonies from 11 patients.
In 2010, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration added insulated thermos jugs and coffee mugs to the list of items for special airport screening.
In 2013, hundreds of thousands of Americans and Canadians were without electricity on Christmas Eve, two days after an ice storm disabled power lines from the Midwest to New England and in the province of Ontario.