Jump to: January 5 10 15 20 25
New Year's Day -
The most celebrated holiday around the world.
January 1, 1502 - Portuguese explorers landed at Guanabara Bay on the coast of South
America and named it Rio de Janeiro (River of January). Rio de
Janeiro is currently Brazil's second largest city.
January 1, 1660 - Samuel Pepys began his famous diary in which he chronicled life in
London including the Great Plague of 1664-65 and the Great Fire of 1666.
January 1, 1776 - During the American Revolution, George Washington unveiled the Grand
Union Flag, the first national flag in America.
January 1, 1801 - Ireland was added to Great Britain by an Act of Union thus creating
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
January 1, 1863 - The Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in the states rebelling
against the Union.
January 1, 1877 - Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.
January 1, 1892 - Ellis Island in New York Harbor opened. Over 20 million new arrivals
to America were processed until its closing in 1954.
January 1, 1901 - The Commonwealth of Australia was founded as six former British colonies
became six states with Edmund Barton as the first prime minister.
January 1, 1915 - During World War I, the British Battleship Formidable was hit by a torpedo in the
English Channel, killing 547 crewmen.
January 1, 1942 - Twenty six countries signed the Declaration of the United Nations,
in Washington, D.C., reaffirming their opposition to the Axis powers
and confirming that no single nation would make a separate peace.
January 1, 1958 - The EEC (European Economic Community) known as the Common Market was
formed by Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands
in order to remove trade barriers and coordinate trade policies.
January 1, 1959 - Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba after leading a revolution that
drove out Dictator Fulgencio Batista. Castro then established a Communist
January 1, 1973 - Britain, Ireland and Denmark became members of the Common Market (EEC).
January 1, 1975 - During the Watergate scandal, former top aides to President Nixon
including former Attorney General John Mitchell, Domestic Affairs Advisor
John Ehrlichman and Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, were found guilty
of obstruction of justice.
January 1, 1979 - China and the U.S. established diplomatic relations, 30 years after
the foundation of the People's Republic.
January 1, 1993 - Czechoslovakia broke into separate Czech and Slovak republics.
January 1, 1999 - Eleven European nations began using a new single European currency,
the Euro, for electronic financial and business transactions.
Participating countries included; Austria, Belgium, Finland, France,
Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
Birthday - American
Patriot Paul Revere (1735-1818) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Best
known for his ride on the night of April 18, 1775, warning Americans
of British plans to raid Lexington and Concord.
Birthday - Betsy Ross (1752-1836) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She
was a seamstress credited with helping to originate and sew
the Stars and Stripes flag of America in 1776.
January 2, 1905 - The Russians surrendered to the Japanese after the Battle of Port
Arthur during the Russian-Japanese War. A peace conference was later
held in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with President Theodore Roosevelt
serving as a mediator. In September of 1905, the Russians agreed to
the Treaty of Portsmouth yielding Port Arthur and the Liaodong Peninsula
to Japan. Russia also agreed to evacuate Manchuria and recognize Japan's
interests in Korea.
January 2, 1942 - During World War II in the Pacific, the Japanese captured the Philippines capital
of Manila and the nearby air base at Cavite.
January 2, 1960 - In Washington, D.C., Senator John F. Kennedy announced his intention
to seek the Democratic presidential nomination.
January 3, 1777 - During the American Revolution, General George Washington defeated the
British at Princeton and drove them back toward New Brunswick. Washington
then established winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey. During the
long harsh winter, Washington's army shrank to about a thousand men
as enlistments expired and deserters fled.
January 3, 1924 - British Egyptologist Howard Carter found the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen
in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor after several years of searching.
January 3, 1946 - An Englishman known during World War II as "Lord Haw Haw"
(William Joyce) was hanged for treason in London. Joyce had broadcast
Nazi propaganda via radio from Germany to Britain during the war.
January 3, 1959 - Alaska was admitted as the 49th U.S. state with a land mass almost
one-fifth the size of the lower 48 states together.
January 3, 1961 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower broke off diplomatic relations with
Cuba two years after Communist dictator Fidel Castro had seized power
and just weeks before John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the next president.
January 3, 1990 - Manuel Noriega, the deposed leader of Panama, surrendered to American
authorities on charges of drug trafficking after spending 10 days hiding
in the Vatican embassy following the U.S. invasion of Panama.
January 3, 1993 - President George Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the Start-II (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) Treaty, eliminating about
two-thirds of each country's long range nuclear weapons.
January 4, 1790 - President George Washington delivered the first State of the Union
January 4, 1974 - President Richard Nixon rejected subpoenas from the Senate Watergate
Committee seeking audio tapes and related documents.
Birthday - Louis
Braille (1809-1852) was born in France. Blinded as a boy, he later invented
a reading system for the blind using punch marks in paper.
Birthday - Elizabeth
Ann Seton (1774-1821) was born in New York. She became the first American
Catholic Saint in 1975.
January 5 Return
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January 5, 1919 - German Communists in Berlin led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht
attempted to take over the government by seizing a number of buildings.
However, ten days later, they were both assassinated by German soldiers.
January 5, 1919 - The German Workers' Party (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) was founded
by Anton Drexler in Munich. Adolf Hitler became member No. 7 and changed
the name in April of 1920 to the National Socialist German Workers'
Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) commonly
shortened to Nazi or Nazi Party.
January 5, 1925 - Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming became the first female governor inaugurated
in the U.S.
January 5, 1968 - Alexander Dubcek became first secretary of Czechoslovakia's Communist
Party. He introduced liberal reforms known as "Communism with a
human face" which resulted in Soviet Russian troops invading Prague to
January 5, 1972 - President Richard Nixon signed a bill approving $5.5 billion over
six years to build and test the NASA space shuttle.
January 5, 1976 - In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot announced a new constitution
which legalized the Communist government and renamed the country as
Kampuchea. During the reign of Pol Pot, over 1 million persons died
in "the killing fields" as he forced people out of the cities
into the countryside to create an idyllic agrarian society. Educated
and professional city people were especially targeted for murder and
were almost completely annihilated. In January of 1979, the Pol Pot
was overthrown by Cambodian rebels and Vietnamese troops.
Birthday - King
Juan Carlos I of Spain was born in Rome on January 5, 1938. He was chosen
by Francisco Franco to inherit his right-wing dictatorship and was sworn
in as King on November 22, 1975, two days after Franco's death. The
new King then announced his intention to mold Spain into a broadly based
January 6, 1066 - Harold, Earl of Wessex, was crowned King of England following the
death of his brother-in-law Edward the Confessor. Harold II was England's
last Anglo-Saxon king. In October of 1066, Harold met the invading army
of William the Conqueror at Hastings and died on the field of battle.
January 6, 1941 - President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his State of the Union address to Congress asking for support for the lend-lease program aiding Allies
fighting the Axis powers. Roosevelt also defined four essential freedoms
worth defending; freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from
want, and freedom from fear.
January 6, 1990 - Poland's Communist Party disbanded and then reorganized as the Social
Democratic Party, an opposition party to Solidarity.
Birthday - Joan
of Arc (1412-1431) was born in France. After a series of mystic visitations
by saints, she inspired French troops to break the British siege at
Orleans and win several important victories during the Hundred Years'
War (1337-1453) between France and Britain. She was eventually captured
and sold to the British who tried her for heresy and burned her at the
stake. In 1920, Joan of Arc was canonized a saint by the Roman Catholic
January 7, 1714 - A patent was issued for the first typewriter designed by British inventor
Henry Mill "for the impressing or transcribing of letters singly
or progressively one after another, as in writing."
January 7, 1782 - The first U.S. commercial bank opened as the Bank of North America
January 7, 1989 - Emperor Hirohito of Japan died after a long illness. He had ruled
for 62 years and was succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Akihito.
January 7, 1999 - The first presidential impeachment trial in 130 years began as members
of the U.S. Senate were sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice William
Rehnquist to decide whether President Clinton should be removed from
office. House prosecutors had delivered two articles of impeachment
charging Clinton with perjury and obstruction of justice.
Birthday - Millard Fillmore (1800-1874)
the 13th U.S. President was born in a log cabin in Cayuga County, New
York. He was a Whig who became president upon the sudden death of Zachary
Taylor in 1850 from cholera. Best remembered for signing five bills
concerning slavery known as the Compromise of 1850 which temporarily
prevented civil war in the U.S. He was not re-nominated by his party.
January 8, 1798 - The 11th Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution was ratified, preventing lawsuits against a state by anyone
from another state or foreign nation.
January 8, 1815 - The Battle of New Orleans occurred
as General Andrew Jackson and American troops defended themselves against a British
attack, inflicting over 2,000 casualties. Both sides in this battle
were unaware that peace had been declared two weeks earlier with the
signing of the Treaty of Ghent ending the War of 1812.
January 8, 1918 - Amid the ongoing World War in Europe, President Woodrow
Wilson proposed his Fourteen Points, calling for a reduction of arms,
self determination for governments, and the creation of a League of
Nations, all intended to serve as a basis for resolving the conflict and establishing a lasting peace in Europe.
January 8, 1959 - Charles de Gaulle took office as the first president of France's Fifth
Republic. De Gaulle had led the Free French government in exile during
Nazi occupation. Following the war, he advocated a strong presidency
to balance the powerful National Assembly. He was chosen to head the
new government following years of political instability in which no
French government was able to stay in power for more than a few months.
On this day in 1966, he took office for a second term.
January 8, 1964 - President Lyndon Johnson declared War on Poverty during his State
of the Union message before Congress.
January 8, 1982 - The American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) Company was broken
up as a result of an antitrust suit. AT&T gave up 22 local Bell
system companies, opening the U.S. telephone system to competition.
January 8, 1987 - The Dow Jones industrial average first topped the 2,000 mark.
Birthday - Elvis
Presley (1935-1977) was born in Tupelo, Mississippi.
January 9, 1960 - With the first blast of dynamite, construction work began on the Aswan
High Dam across the Nile River in southern Egypt. One third of the project's
billion-dollar cost was underwritten by Soviet Russia. The dam created
Lake Nasser, one of the world's largest reservoirs, at nearly 2,000 square
miles and irrigated over 100,000 acres of surrounding desert. The dam
was opened in January of 1971 by President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and
President Nikolai Podgorny of the Soviet Union.
Birthday - Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994)
the 37th U.S. President, was born in Yorba Linda, California. He served
as vice president under Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953-61, then made
an unsuccessful run for the presidency, narrowly losing to John F. Kennedy.
Nixon ran for governor of California in 1962 and lost. He then told
reporters he was leaving politics. However, he re-emerged in
1968 and ran a successful presidential campaign against Hubert Humphrey.
He won re-election by a landslide in 1972, but resigned two years later
amid impeachment proceedings resulting from the Watergate scandal.
Birthday - Carrie
Lane Chapman (1859-1947) was born in Ripon, Wisconsin. She was the women's
rights pioneer who founded the National League of Women Voters in 1919.
January 10 Return
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January 10, 1776 - Common Sense, a fifty page pamphlet by Thomas Paine, was published.
It sold over 500,000 copies in America and Europe, influencing, among
others, the authors of the Declaration of Independence.
January 10, 1861 - Florida became the third
state to secede from the Union in events leading up to the American Civil War.
January 10, 1863 - The world's first underground railway service opened in London, the
Metropolitan line between Paddington and Farringdon.
January 10, 1878 - An Amendment granting women the right to vote was introduced in Congress
by Senator A.A. Sargent of California. The amendment didn't pass until
1920, forty-two years later.
January 10, 1912 - The flying boat airplane, invented by Glenn Curtiss, made its first
flight at Hammondsport, New York.
January 10, 1920 - The League of Nations officially came into existence with the goal
of resolving international disputes, reducing armaments, and preventing
future wars. The first Assembly gathered in Geneva ten months later
with 41 nations represented. More than 20 nations later joined, however,
the U.S. did not join due to a lack of support for the League in Congress.
January 10, 1922 - Arthur Griffith was elected president of the newly formed Irish Free
January 10, 1946 - The first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly took place
in London with delegates from 51 countries. The U.N. superseded its
predecessor, the League of Nations.
January 10, 1984 - The U.S. and Vatican established full diplomatic relations after a
break of 116 years.
January 11, 1861 - Alabama seceded from the Union in events leading to up the American Civil War.
January 11, 1964 - The U.S. Surgeon General declared cigarettes may be hazardous to health,
the first such official government report.
January 11, 1990 - In Lithuania, 200,000 persons demanded political independence from
Soviet Russia after Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union, publicly
warned that separatism could lead to tragedy. Independence was achieved
in September of 1991, three months before the collapse of the Soviet Union itself.
Birthday - Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804)
was born in the British West Indies. He was a founder of the United States who
favored a strong central government and co-authored the Federalist Papers,
a series of essays in defense of the new Constitution. He was selected
by George Washington to be the first Secretary of the Treasury. He died
from a gunshot wound received during a duel with Aaron Burr.
January 12, 1879 - In Southern Africa, the Zulu War began between the British and the
natives of Zululand, ultimately resulting in the destruction of the
January 12, 1932 - Hattie W. Caraway, a Democrat from Arkansas, was appointed to the
U.S. Senate to fill the term of her deceased husband. Later in the year,
she became the first woman elected to the Senate.
January 12, 1990 - Romania outlawed the Communist Party following the overthrow of Dictator
Nicolae Ceauescu who had ruled for 24 years.
January 12, 1991 - Congress authorized President George Bush to use military force against
Iraq following its invasion of Kuwait.
January 12, 1996 - The first joint American-Russian military operation since World War
II occurred as Russian troops arrived to aid in peacekeeping efforts
January 12, 1999 - President Bill Clinton sent a check for $850,000 to Paula Jones officially
ending the sensational sexual harassment legal case that ultimately
endangered his presidency. The president withdrew $375,000 from his
and Hillary Rodham Clinton's personal funds and got the remaining $475,000
from an insurance policy. The lawsuit had exposed the president's affair
with Monica Lewinsky and resulted in investigations by Independent Counsel
Ken Starr that led to Clinton's impeachment by the House of Representatives and subsequent trial in the Senate.
Birthday - John
Winthrop (1588-1649) was born in Suffolk, England. In 1630, he joined
a group of Puritans emigrating to America and became the first governor
of Massachusetts Bay Colony, establishing a colony on the peninsula
of Shawmut, which became Boston.
Birthday - Irish
orator, politician and philosopher Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was born
in Dublin. Best known for his essays and pamphlets including Thoughts
on the Cause of the Present Discontents (1770), On American Taxation (1774), On Conciliation with the Colonies (1775) and Reflections
on the Revolution in France (1790).
Birthday - American statesman and patriot John
Hancock (1737-1793) was born in Braintree, Massachusetts. He was
elected president of the Second Continental Congress in 1775, was the
first signer of the Declaration of Independence, and went on to become
the first elected governor of Massachusetts.
January 13, 1893 - The British Independent Labor Party was founded with James Keir Hardie
as its leader.
January 13, 1898 - French author Emile Zola published J'Accuse, a letter accusing
the French government of a cover-up in the Alfred Dreyfus case. Dreyfus
had been convicted of treason for selling military secrets to the Germans
and had been sent to Devil's Island. As a result of Zola's letter and
subsequent trail, Dreyfus was completely vindicated.
January 13, 1935 - The population of the Saar region bordering France and Germany voted
for incorporation into Hitler's Reich. The 737 square-mile area with
its valuable coal deposits had been under French control following Germany's
defeat in World War I.
January 13, 1990 - Douglas Wilder of Virginia became the first African American governor
in the U.S. as he took the oath of office in Richmond.
Birthday - Author
Horatio Alger (1834-1899) was born in Revere, Massachusetts. He wrote
over 100 books for boys, many featuring "rags to riches" themes
of poor boys triumphing over life's obstacles.
January 14-23, 1943 - President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
met at Casablanca in Morocco to work on strategy during World
War II. At the conclusion of the conference, Roosevelt
and Churchill held a joint news
conference at which Roosevelt surprisingly announced that peace
would come "by the total elimination of German and Japanese war
power. That means the unconditional surrender of Germany, Italy and
Birthday - Benedict Arnold (1741-1801)
was born in Norwich, Connecticut. He was the American Revolutionary
War hero who turned traitor, sending information to the British in exchange
for money. After obtaining command of West Point in 1780, he conspired
to turn over the garrison to the British. However, his plans were discovered
and he fled to British headquarters in New York. After the war, he lived
Birthday - Philosopher-physician
Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) was born in Upper Alsace, Germany. He
served as a medical missionary in Africa and received the 1952 Nobel
Peace Prize for his work on behalf of the brotherhood of all nations.
Birthday - American
film pioneer Hal Roach (1892-1992) was born in Elmira, New York. His
output included nearly 1,000 movies of all lengths, including the classic
Laurel and Hardy comedies.
January 15 Return
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January 15, 69 A.D. - Roman Emperor Servius Sulpicius Galba was assassinated by the Praetorian
guard in the Roman Forum. He had succeeded Emperor Nero.
January 15, 1535 - Henry VIII became Supreme Head of the Church in England as a result
of the Act of Supremacy following his break with Rome.
January 15, 1559 - Elizabeth Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, was crowned
as Elizabeth I in Westminster Abbey.
January 15, 1870 - The first use of a donkey to symbolize the Democratic Party in America appeared
in a cartoon in Harper's Weekly, criticizing former secretary of war
Edwin Stanton with the caption, "A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead
January 15, 1973 - Golda Meir became the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit the Pope.
Birthday - Martin
Luther King (1929-1968) was born in Atlanta, Georgia. As an African
American civil rights leader he spoke eloquently and stressed nonviolent
methods to achieve equality. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. In 1983,
the third Monday in January was designated a legal holiday in the U.S.
to celebrate his birthday.
January 16, 1547 - Ivan the Terrible had himself officially crowned as the first Russian
Czar (Caesar) although he had already ruled Russia since 1533. His reign
lasted until 1584 and brought much needed reforms including a new legal
code and cultural development. However, during his reign he instituted
a campaign of terror against the Russian nobility and had over 3,000
persons put to death. He also killed his own son during a fit of rage.
January 16, 1979 - The Shah of Iran departed his country amid mass demonstrations and
the revolt of Islamic fundamentalists led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The Shah had ruled Iran since 1941 and had unsuccessfully attempted
to westernize its culture.
January 16, 1991 - The war against Iraq began as Allied aircraft conducted a major raid
against Iraqi air defenses. The air raid on Baghdad was broadcast live to
a global audience by CNN correspondents as operation Desert Shield became
January 16, 1992 - The twelve-year civil war in El Salvador ended with the signing of
a peace treaty in Mexico City. The conflict had claimed over 75,000
Birthday - French
industrialist Andre Michelin (1853-1931) was born in Paris. He started
the Michelin Tire Company in 1888, pioneering the use of pneumatic tires
January 17, 1773 - The ship Resolution, sailing under Captain James Cook, became the
first vessel to cross the Antarctic Circle.
January 17, 1945 - During World War II, Warsaw, Poland, was liberated by Soviet Russian troops.
January 17, 1966 - A Hydrogen bomb accident occurred over Palomares, Spain, as an American
B-52 jet collided with its refueling plane. Eight crewmen were killed
and the bomber then released its H-bomb into the Atlantic.
Birthday - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Considered the Elder Statesman of
the American Revolution, he displayed multiple talents as a printer, author,
publisher, philosopher, scientist, diplomat and philanthropist. He signed
both the Declaration of Independence and the new U.S. Constitution.
Birthday - Muhammad
Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky, January 17, 1942 (as Cassius Clay).
At age 22 in 1964, he knocked out Sonny Liston to win the world heavyweight boxing championship, shouting out "I shook up the world!" After converting to the Muslim religion, the boxing superstar became
an outspoken conscientious objector (on religious grounds) to America's escalating involvement in the Vietnam
War and refused military duty upon being drafted. As a result, he was stripped of his boxing title, banned from boxing, and subsequently jailed. After a long legal battle, his conviction was reversed and
he regained the championship in 1974 by defeating George Foreman. In the early 1980s, after retiring from boxing, Ali revealed his new struggle with Parkinson's disease. However, he has remained active, devoting himself to various philanthropic and humanitarian causes.
January 18, 1966 - Robert Clifton Weaver was sworn in as the first African American cabinet
member in U.S. history, becoming President Lyndon B. Johnson's Secretary
of Housing and Urban Development.
Birthday - American orator and politician Daniel
Webster (1782-1852) was born in Salisbury, New Hampshire. "Liberty
and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!" he stated in
the U.S. Senate in 1830 in response to Southern Senators who contended
that individual states had the right to refuse to obey Congress.
January 19, 1966 - Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India in succession to
Lal Shastri who had died eight days earlier. She served until 1975 and
later from 1980 to 1984, when she was assassinated by her own bodyguards
as she walked to her office. Her only surviving son, Rajiv, became the
next prime minister. In 1991, he was assassinated while campaigning
January 19, 1983 - Former Gestapo official Klaus Barbie, known as the "Butcher of
Lyon," was arrested in Bolivia, South America. He was responsible
for deporting Jewish children from Lyon to Auschwitz where they were
gassed. He also murdered French Resistance leader Jean Moulin and tortured
others. He was exposed by Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, extradited
in 1987, then convicted by the French and died while in prison.
Birthday - Robert
E. Lee (1807-1870) military leader of the Confederacy during the
American Civil War, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was the
son of a Revolutionary War hero, a graduate of West Point and served
in the U.S. Army for 25 years preceding the Civil War. At the outbreak
of hostilities, he was offered command of the Union Army, but declined
and instead accepted command of the military and naval forces of Virginia.
Birthday - Edgar
Allen Poe (1809-1849) poet and writer of mystery and suspense tales,
was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His works include; The Fall of
the House of Usher, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, The
Murders in the Rue Morgue and his famous poem The Raven.
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January 20, 1649 - At the conclusion of the English Civil War, King Charles I was brought
before a high court of justice at Westminster Hall on charges of treason.
The Civil War had been fought over whether the King's power was absolute
or was limited by the powers of Parliament. Oliver Cromwell had led
the Parliamentary forces to victory over the Royals. In the trial that
followed, Charles was found guilty and condemned as "a tyrant,
traitor, murderer, and public enemy" and was beheaded several days
later in front of Whitehall Palace in London.
January 20, 1936 - King George V of England died at age 71. The grandson of Queen Victoria,
he had reigned since 1910. He renamed his line as the House of Windsor,
breaking his association with the family's German line of descent. He
was succeeded by his son King Edward VIII who abdicated in December
and was succeeded by George VI.
January 20, 1942 - During the Holocaust, Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler's second in command
of the SS, convened the Wannsee Conference in Berlin with 15 top Nazi bureaucrats to coordinate the Final Solution
(Endlösung) in which the Nazis would attempt to exterminate the
entire Jewish population of Europe, an estimated 11 million persons.
January 20, 1945 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated to an unprecedented fourth
term as president of the United States. He had served since 1933.
January 20, 1981 - Ronald Reagan became president of the United States at the age of
69, the oldest president to take office. During his inauguration celebrations,
he announced that 52 American hostages that had been seized in the U.S.
embassy in Tehran, Iran, were being released after 444 days in captivity.
January 20, 1996 - Yasir Arafat became the first democratically-elected leader of the
Palestinian people with 88.1 percent of the vote.
January 21, 1793 - In the aftermath of the French Revolution, King Louis XVI of France
was guillotined on the charge of conspiring with foreign countries for
the invasion of France. During the Revolution, the King had attempted
to flee to Austria for assistance. Ten months later, his wife, Queen
Marie Antoinette, was also guillotined.
January 21, 1924 - Soviet Russian leader Vladimir Lenin died of a brain hemorrhage. He led the
Bolsheviks to victory over the Czar in the October Revolution of 1917 and had then
established the world's first Communist government. Lenin's body was
placed in a tomb in Red Square in Moscow and was a much venerated national
shrine until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
January 21, 1954 - The USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear powered submarine,
was launched at Groton, Connecticut.
January 21, 1976 - The Concorde supersonic jet began passenger service with flights from
London to Bahrain and Paris to Rio de Janeiro, cruising
at twice the speed of sound (Mach 2) at an altitude up to 60,000 feet.
Birthday - Ethan Allen (1738-1789) was born in Litchfield, Connecticut. He was
a hero of the American Revolution who led the small force that captured
Fort Ticonderoga in New York without bloodshed in 1775. The fort contained much
needed supplies and ammunition.
Birthday - Confederate Army General "Stonewall"
Jackson (1824-1863) was born in Clarksburg, Virginia (as Thomas
Jonathan Jackson). He was a West Point graduate who served in the Mexican
War then resigned to teach at the Virginia Military Institute. He sided
with the South and became a Brigadier General, earning his nickname
at the first battle of Bull Run as his troops held firm while others
wavered. "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall," a
fellow general commented. He was shot in 1863 by a Confederate lookout
who had mistaken him in the dark. "I have lost my right arm,"
lamented General Lee upon his death.
January 22, 1901 - Queen Victoria of England died after reigning for 64 years, the longest
reign in British history, during which England had become the most powerful
empire in the world.
January 22, 1905 - Five hundred protesting Russian workers were killed by the troops
of Czar Nicholas II in St. Petersburg. The event became known as "Bloody
Sunday" and marked the beginning of the violent revolutionary movement
of 1905 which ultimately failed. A second revolutionary movement in
1917 succeeded and the Czar abdicated.
January 22, 1943 - During World War II in the Pacific, Japanese resistance ended in New
Guinea, resulting in the first land victory of the war for Allied forces.
January 22, 1973 - Abortion became legal in the U.S. as the Supreme Court announced its
decision in the case of Roe vs. Wade striking down local state
laws restricting abortions in the first six months of pregnancy. In
more recent rulings (1989 and 1992) the Court upheld the power of individual
states to impose some restrictions.
Birthday - British
essayist, philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was born
in London. Best known for his philosophical works concerning the acquisition
of knowledge; Novum Organum and The Advancement of Learning.
January 23, 1849 - Elizabeth Blackwell was awarded her MD by the Medical Institute of
Geneva, New York, thus becoming America's first woman doctor.
January 23, 1907 - Charles Curtis of Kansas became the first person of Native American
ancestry to serve in the U.S Senate. He later served as vice president
under President Herbert Hoover from 1929-33.
January 23, 1937 - In Moscow, 17 leading Communists went on trial, accused of participating
in a plot engineered by Leon Trotsky to overthrow Stalin's regime and assassinate
its leaders. After a seven-day trial, 13 of them were sentenced to death.
Trotsky fled to Mexico where he was assassinated in 1940.
January 23, 1943 - In North Africa, British forces under General Bernard Montgomery captured
Tripoli in Libya.
January 23, 1968 - The American ship USS Pueblo was seized by North Koreans in the Sea of Japan
amid claims the Navy ship was spying. The ship was confiscated and its crew
held in captivity until December, with one fatality.
Birthday - Russian
film director Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) was born in Riga, Latvia.
He developed a new way of film making utilizing artistic montages (a series
of arbitrary images) to deliver an emotional impact. Prior to him, most
film makers showed scenes in strictly chronological sequences. His classic films
include Potemkin, Alexander Nevsky, and Ivan the Terrible.
January 24, 41 AD-
Roman Emperor Caligula was assassinated at the Palatine Games by his
own guard after a reign of just four years, noted for his madness
and cruelty including arbitrary murder.
January 24, 1848 - The California gold rush began with the accidental discovery of the
precious metal near Coloma during construction of a Sutter's sawmill.
An announcement by President Polk later in the year caused a national
sensation and resulted in a flood of "Forty-niners" seeking
January 24, 1895 - Hawaii's monarchy ended as Queen Liliuokalani was forced to abdicate.
Hawaii was then annexed by the U.S. And remained a territory until statehood
was granted in 1959.
January 24, 1965 - Winston Churchill (1874-1965) died. He had been Britain's wartime
prime minister whose courageous leadership and defiant rhetoric had
fortified the British during their long struggle against Hitler's Germany.
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat,"
he stated upon becoming prime minister at the beginning of the war.
He called Hitler's Reich a "monstrous tyranny, never surpassed
in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime." Following the
war, he coined the term "Iron Curtain" to describe the barrier
between areas in Eastern Europe under Soviet Russia's control and the free West.
January 24, 1972 - Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi was discovered on Guam after he had
spent 28 years hiding out in the jungle not knowing World War II had
long since ended.
January 25 Return
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January 25, 1533 - King Henry VIII married his second wife, Anne Boleyn, in defiance
of Pope Clement who had refused to annul his first marriage. The King
later broke all ties with Rome and became Supreme Head of the Church
January 25, 1579 - Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, Friesland, Groningen and Overyssel
formed the (Protestant) Dutch Republic with the signing of the Union
of Utrecht to defend their rights against Catholic Spain.
January 25, 1947 - Gangster Al Capone, who once controlled organized crime in Chicago,
died in Miami at age 48 from syphilis.
January 25, 1959 - An American Airlines Boeing 707 made the first scheduled transcontinental
U.S. flight, traveling from California to New York.
January 25, 1961 - President John F. Kennedy conducted the first live televised presidential
news conference, five days after taking office.
January 25, 1971 - In Uganda, a military coup led by Idi Amin deposed President Milton
Obote. Amin then ruled as president-dictator until 1979 when he was
ousted by Tanzanian soldiers and Ugandan nationalists. During his reign,
Amin expelled all Asians from Uganda, and ordered the execution of more
than 300,000 tribal Ugandans.
Birthday - Scientist
Robert Boyle (1627-1691) was born in Lismore, Ireland. He formulated
Boyle's Law concerning the volume and pressure of gases.
January 26, 1788 - The British established a settlement at Sydney Harbor in Australia
as 11 ships with 778 convicts arrived, setting up a penal colony to
relieve overcrowded prisons in England.
January 26, 1943 - Nazis began using Hitler Youths to operate anti-aircraft batteries
in Germany following heavy Allied bombing of Berlin and other cities.
January 26, 1994 - Romania became the first former Cold War foe to join the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization (NATO) following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
January 26, 1998 - President Bill Clinton made an emphatic denial of charges that he had a
sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky and had advised her to lie about
it. "...I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky..."
Birthday - Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)
was born on a military base in Little Rock, Arkansas. He commanded Allied
forces during World War II in the Pacific. In 1942, he uttered one of
the most famous phrases of the war, "I shall return," when
forced to leave the Philippines due to the unchecked Japanese advance. In 1950,
after war broke out in Korea, he became commander of the United Nations
forces. However, disagreements with President Harry Truman over war
policy resulted in his dismissal by Truman in April 1951. MacArthur then
appeared before Congress and announced his retirement, declaring, "Old
soldiers never die - they just fade away."
January 27, 1943 - The U.S. 8th Air Force conducted the first all-American bombing raid
on Germany as 55 bombers targeted Wilhelmshaven, losing three planes
while claiming to have shot down 22 German fighters. The success of
this first mission encouraged U.S. military planners to begin regular
daylight bombing raids, which eventually resulted in high casualty
rates for the American crewmen involved.
January 27, 1944 - Russian Army General Govorov announced the lifting of the Nazi blockade of Leningrad.
During the 900-day siege, an estimated one million Russian civilians inside
the city died of disease, starvation and relentless German shelling.
January 27, 1945 - The Russian Army liberated Auschwitz death camp near Krakow in Poland,
where the Nazis had systematically murdered an estimated 2,000,000 persons,
including 1,500,000 Jews.
January 27, 1967 - Three American astronauts were killed as a fire erupted inside Apollo 1 during a launch simulation
test at Cape Kennedy, Florida.
January 27, 1973 - U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ended as North Vietnamese and
American representatives signed an
agreement in Paris. The U.S. agreed to remove all remaining troops
within 60 days thus ending the longest war in American history. Over
58,000 Americans had been killed, 300,000 wounded and 2,500 declared
missing. A total of 566 prisoners-of-war had been held by the North
Vietnamese during the war, with 55 reported deaths.
Birthday - Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was born in Salzburg, Austria. From the age
of five, through his untimely death at age 35, this musical genius created
over 600 compositions including 16 operas, 41 symphonies, 27 piano and
five violin concerti, 25 string quartets, 19 masses, and many other
British novelist Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) was born in Daresbury, Cheshire,
England (as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). Best known for Alice's Adventures
in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. He also lectured
in mathematics and was a pioneering photographer.
Birthday - Labor
leader Samuel Gompers (1850-1924) was born in London. He emigrated to
America at age 13, worked in a cigar factory, eventually becoming head
of the Cigar Workers' Union. He later brought together several national
unions under the name American Federation of Labor and became its first
Birthday - German Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) was born. He was a grandson of
England's Queen Victoria and ruled Germany from 1888 through World War
I. Although he had military training, he left conduct
of the war mainly in the hands of Generals Paul von Hindenburg and
Erich von Ludendorff. In 1918, amid the defeat of Germany, he abdicated
and fled to the Netherlands where he lived in seclusion until his death.
He was given a military funeral by Hitler.
January 28, 1547 - King Henry VIII of England died and was succeeded by his son, Edward
VI. Henry had ruled since 1509 and had broken all ties with the Roman
Catholic Church over the issue of divorce. He married a total of six
times. Edward VI was the son of his third wife, Jane Seymour. Edward
became king at age 10, but died of tuberculosis at age 16. He
was followed by his half-sister, Mary.
January 28, 1871 - The Franco-Prussian War ended as Paris surrendered to the Germans
after a four month siege. Peace terms imposed on the French included
yielding the greater part of Alsace and Lorraine to the Germans and
a $1 billion fine. German troops also outraged the French by
marching triumphantly through the streets of Paris causing enmity between
the two nations which lasted for decades.
January 28, 1915 - The U.S. Coast Guard was created by an Act of Congress, combining
the Life Saving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service.
January 28, 1935 - Iceland became the first country to legalize abortion.
January 28, 1963 - African American student Harvey Gantt entered Clemson College in South
Carolina, the last state to hold out against integration.
January 28, 1986 - The U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 74 seconds into its flight, killing seven persons, including
Christa McAuliffe, a teacher who was to be the first ordinary citizen
Birthday - Explorer
Henry Stanley (1841-1904) was born in Wales. As a newspaper correspondent
for the New York Herald, he was given the challenging assignment
of finding missionary-explorer David Livingston in Africa. Upon locating
Livingston near Lake Tanganyika in 1871 after an exhausting search,
Stanley simply asked, "Dr. Livingston, I presume?"
January 29, 1891 - Hawaii proclaimed Liliuokalani as its queen. Renowned for her song Aloha Oe, she had a reign of only four years until she was forced
to abdicate in 1895 under pressure from powerful businessmen.
January 29, 1916 - During World War I, the first aerial bombings of Paris by German zeppelins
January 29, 1919 - The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Prohibition Amendment)
was ratified. For nearly 14 years, until December 5, 1933, the manufacture,
transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages were illegal in the United
States. The Amendment had the unexpected result of causing enormous
growth of organized crime which provided bootleg liquor to thirsty Americans.
Birthday - Common Sense author Thomas
Paine (1737-1809) was born in Thetford, England. His pamphlet, published
in 1776, provided inspiration to undecided Americans that a new nation,
independent from Britain, might eventually become "...an asylum
for mankind!" He served in the Continental Army and observed the
hardships of American troops fighting the world's most powerful army.
He then published The Crisis series pamphlets which began by
stating, "These are the times that try men's souls." He refused
to accept the profits from his writings and wound up destitute after
Birthday - William
McKinley (1843-1901) the 25th U.S. President was born in Niles,
Ohio. He was elected in 1896 and re-elected in 1900. Early in his second
term, on September 6, 1901, he was shot and mortally wounded by an anarchist
at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, and died eight
Birthday - Russian
playwright Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was born in Taganrog, Russia. His
works included Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry
January 30, 1649 - King Charles I of England was beheaded for treason by order of Parliament
under the direction of Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Puritan Revolution.
January 30, 1835 - President Andrew Jackson survived the first assassination attempt
on a U.S. President. While leaving the House of Representatives Chamber,
an insane would-be assassin fired two pistol shots at him, however both
pistols misfired and the president was unharmed.
January 30, 1933 - Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Paul
von Hindenburg. Hitler went on to become the sole leader of Nazi Germany.
He then waged a war of expansion in Europe, precipitating the deaths
of an estimated 50 million persons through military conflict and through
the Holocaust in which the Nazis attempted to exterminate the entire
Jewish population of Europe.
January 30, 1948 - Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi, India, by a religious
fanatic. Gandhi had ended British rule in India through nonviolent
resistance. "Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off
at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part
of our very being," he had stated in 1926.
January 30, 1968 - Beginning of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam as North Vietnamese troops attacked 36 provincial capitals
and 5 major cities in South Vietnam, including an attack on the U.S.
Embassy in Saigon and the presidential palace. Although U.S. forces
eventually fended off the massive surprise attack and achieved a military
victory, Tet became a propaganda victory for the Vietnamese due in part
to graphic news reports on television which helped turn U.S. public
opinion against continuation of the war.
January 30, 1972 - In Londonderry, Northern Ireland, 13 Roman Catholics were killed by
British troops during a banned civil rights march. The event became
known as Bloody Sunday.
January 30, 1973 - During the Watergate scandal, Gordon Liddy and James McCord were convicted
of burglary, wire-tapping and attempted bugging of the Democratic headquarters
inside the Watergate building in Washington, D.C.
January 30, 1992 - Argentina allowed access to numerous files of Nazis who had fled to
South America from Germany after World War II, thus aiding the hunt
for Nazi war criminals.
Birthday - Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945)
the 32nd U.S. President was born in Hyde Park, New York. Despite crippling
polio, he led America out of the Great Depression and through World
War II and is widely considered to be one of America's three greatest
presidents (along with Washington and Lincoln). "When peace has
been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries is in danger,"
he stated in 1939.
January 31, 1943 - German troops surrendered at Stalingrad, marking the first big defeat
of Hitler's armies in World War II. During the Battle of Stalingrad, 160,000 Germans
were killed and 90,000 taken prisoner, including the commander, Friedrich
von Paulus, the first German field marshal ever to surrender. The captured
Germans were forced to march to Siberia, with few ever returning to
January 31, 1945 - Eddie Slovik, a 24-year-old U.S. Army private, was executed by a firing
squad after being sentenced to death for desertion, the first such occurrence
in the U.S. Army since the Civil War.
Birthday - Jackie
Robinson (1919-1972) was born in Cairo, Georgia. He was the first African
American to play professional baseball. He played for the Brooklyn Dodgers
from 1947 to 1956, was chosen as the National League's most valuable player
in 1949 and elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
(Photo and picture credits:
Library of Congress and U.S. National Archives)