January 1

0404 - The last gladiator competition was held in Rome. 

1622 - The Papal Chancery adopted January 1st as the beginning of the New Year (instead of March 25th). 

1772 - The first traveler's checks were issued in London. 

1785 - London's oldest daily paper "The Daily Universal Register" (later renamed "The Times" in 1788) was first published. 

1797 - Albany became the capital of New York state, replacing New York City. 

1801 - The Act of Union of England and Ireland came into force. 

1801 - Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi became the first person to discover an asteroid. He named it Ceres. 

1804 - Haiti gained its independence. 

1808 - The U.S. prohibited import of slaves from Africa. 

1840 - The first recorded bowling match was recorded in the U.S. 

1863 - U.S. President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that all slaves in the rebel states were free. 

1887 - Queen Victoria was proclaimed empress of India in Delhi. 

1892 - Ellis Island Immigrant Station formally opened in New York. 

1892 - Brooklyn and New York merged to form the single city of New York. 

1894 - The Manchester Ship Canal was officially opened to traffic. 

1898 - Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island were consolidated into New York City. 

1900 - Hawaii asked for a delegate to the Republican national convention. 

1900 - Nigeria became a British protectorate with Frederick Lagard as the high commissioner. 

1901 - The Commonwealth of Australia was founded. Lord Hopetoun officially assumed the duties as the first Governor-General. 

1902 - The first Tournament of Roses (later the Rose Bowl) collegiate football game was played in Pasadena, CA. 

1909 - The first payments of old-age pensions were made in Britain. People over 70 received five shillings a week. 

1913 - The post office began parcel post deliveries. 

1924 - Frank B. Cooney received a patent for ink paste. 

1926 - The Rose Bowl was carried coast to coast on network radio for the first time. 

1930 - "The Cuckoo Hour" was heard for the first time on the NBC-Blue Network, which later became ABC Radio. 

1934 - Alcatraz Island officially became a Federal Prison. 

1934 - The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) began operation. 

1936 - The "New York Herald Tribune" began microfilming its current issues. 

1937 - The First Cotton Bowl football game was played in Dallas, TX. Texas Christian University (T.C.U.) beat Marquette, 16-6. 

1939 - The Hewlett-Packard partnership was formed. 

1942 - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issued a declaration called the "United Nations." It was signed by 26 countries that vowed to create an international postwar World War II peacekeeping organization. 

1945 - France was admitted to the United Nations. 

1956 - Sudan gained its independence. 

1958 - The European Economic Community (EEC) started operations. 

1959 - Fidel Castro overthrew the government of Fulgencio Batista, and seized power in Cuba. 

1968 - Evel Knievel, stunt performing daredevil, lost control of his motorcycle midway through a jump of 141 feet over the ornamental fountains in front of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. 

1971 - Tobacco ads representing $20 million dollars in advertising were banned from TV and radio broadcast. 

1973 - Britain, Ireland, Denmark and Norway joined the EEC. 

1975 - The magazine "Popular Electronics" announced the invention of a person computer called Altair. MITS, using an Intel microprocessor, developed the computer. 

1979 - The United States and China held celebrations in Washington, DC, and Beijing to mark the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. 

1981 - Greece joined the European Community. 

1984 - AT&T was broken up into 22 Bell System companies under terms of an antitrust agreement with the U.S. Federal government.

1986 - Spain and Portugal joined the European Community (EC). 

1987 - A pro-democracy rally took place in Beijing's Tiananmen Square (China). 

1990 - David Dinkins was sworn in as New York City's first black mayor. 

1992 - The ESPN Radio Network was officially launched. 

1993 - Czechoslovakia split into two separate states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The peaceful division had been engineered in 1992. 

1994 - Bill Gates, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft and Melinda French were married. 

1994 - The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. 

1995 - Frederick West, an alleged killer of 12 women and girls, was found hanged in his jail cell in Winston Green prison, in Birmingham. West had been under almost continuous watch since his arrest in 1994, but security had reportedly been relaxed in the months preceding the apparent suicide. 

1995 - The World Trade Organization came into existence. The group of 125 nations monitors global trade. 

1998 - A new anti-smoking law went into effect in California. The law prohibiting people from lighting up in bars. 

1999 - The euro became currency for 11 Member States of the European Union. Coins and notes were not available until January 1, 2002. 

1999 - In California, a law went into effect that defined "invasion of privacy as trespassing with the intent to capture audio or video images of a celebrity or crime victim engaging in a personal of family activity." 

2001 - The "Texas 7," rented space in an RV park in Woodland Park, CO.

January 2

1492 - The leader of the last Arab stronghold in Spain surrendered to Spanish forces loyal to King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I. 

1788 - Georgia became the 4th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. 

1842 - In Fairmount, PA, the first wire suspension bridge was opened to traffic. 

1859 - Erastus Beadle published "The Dime Book of Practical Etiquette." 

1872 - Brigham Young, the 71-year-old leader of the Mormon Church, was arrested on a charge of bigamy. He had 25 wives. 

1879 - Thomas Edison began construction on his first generator. 

1890 - Alice Sanger became the first female White House staffer. 

1892 - Ellis Island opened as America's first federal immigration center. Annie Moore, at age 15, became the first person to pass through. 

1893 - The first commemorative postage stamps were issued. 

1900 - U.S. Secretary of State John Hay announced the Open Door Policy to prompt trade with China. 

1900 - The Chicago Canal opened. 

1910 - The first junior high school in the United States opened. McKinley School in Berkeley, CA, housed seventh and eighth grade students. In a separate building students were housed who attended grades 9-12. 

1917 - Royal Bank of Canada took over the Quebec Bank. 

1921 - The first religious broadcast on radio was heard on KDKA Radio in Pittsburgh, PA, as Dr. E.J. Van Etten of Calvary Episcopal Church preached. 

1921 - DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park opened. 

1929 - The United States and Canada reached an agreement on joint action to preserve Niagara Falls. 

1935 - Bruno Richard Hauptmann went on trial for the kidnap-murder of Charles Lindberghs baby. Hauptmann was found guilt and executed. 

1942 - The Philippine capital of Manila was captured by Japanese forces during World War II. 

1953 - "The Life of Riley" debuted on NBC-TV. 

1955 - Panamanian President Jose Antonio Remon was assassinated. 

1957 - The San Francisco and Los Angeles stock exchanges merged. 

1959 - CBS Radio ended four soap operas. "Our Gal Sunday", "This is Nora Drake", "Backstage Wife" and "Road of Life" all aired for the last time. 

1960 - U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. 

1965 - "Broadway" Joe Namath signed the richest rookie contract ($400,000) in the history of pro football. 

1968 - Fidel Castro announced petroleum and sugar rationing in Cuba. 

1971 - In the U.S., a federally imposed ban on television cigarette advertisements went into effect. 

1974 - U.S. President Richard M. Nixon signed a bill requiring all states to lower the maximum speed limit to 55 MPH. The law was intended to conserve gasoline supplies during an embargo imposed by Arab oil-producing countries. Federal speed limits were abolished in 1995. 

1983 - The final edition of Garry Trudeau’s comic strip, "Doonesbury", appeared in 726 newspapers. "Doonesbury" began running again in September 1984. 

1983 - The musical "Annie" closed on Broadway at the Uris Theatre after 2,377 performances. 

1985 - The Rebels of UNLV beat Utah State in three overtime periods. The final score of 142-140 set a new NCAA record for total points in a basketball game (282). The game took over three hours to play. 

1991 - Sharon Pratt Dixon was sworn in as mayor of Washington, DC. She was the first black woman to head a city of that size and prominence. 

1996 - AT&T announced that it would eliminate 40,000 jobs over three years. 

1998 - Russia began circulating new rubles in effort to keep inflation in check and promote confidence.

January 3

1496 - References in Leonardo da Vinci notebooks suggested that he tested his flying machine. The test didn't succeed and he didn't try to fly again for several years. 

1521 - Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther. 

1777 - The Battle of Princeton took place in the War of Independence, in which George Washington defeated the British forces, led by Cornwallis. 

1815 - By secret treaty, Austria, Britain, and France formed a defensive alliance against Prusso-Russian plans to solve the Saxon and Polish problems. 

1823 - Stephen F. Austin received a grant from the Mexican government and began colonization in the region of the Brazos River inTexas. 

1825 - The first engineering college in the U.S. , Rensselaer School, opened in Troy, NY. It is now known as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

1833 - Britain seized control of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. About 150 years later, Argentina seized the islands from the British, but Britain took them back after a 74-day war. 

1868 - The Shogunate was abolished in Japan and Meiji dynasty was restored. 

1871 - Henry W. Bradley patented oleomargarine. 

1888 - The drinking straw was patented by Marvin C. Stone. 

1924 - English explorer Howard Carter discovered the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Egypt. 

1925 - In Italy, Mussolini announced that he would take dictatorial powers. 

1938 - The first broadcast of "Woman in White" was presented on the NBC Red network. The program remained on radio for 10 years. 

1938 - The March of Dimes was established by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The organization fights poliomyelitis. The original name of the organization was the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. 

1947 - U.S. Congressional proceedings were televised for the first time. Viewers in Washington, Philadelphia and New York City saw some of the opening ceremonies of the 80th Congress. 

1947 - In Trenton, NJ, Al Herrin, passed away at age 92. He had claimed that he had not slept at all during his life. 

1951 - NBC-TV debuted "Dragnet." 

1953 - Frances Bolton and her son, Oliver from Ohio, became the first mother-son combination to serve at the same time in the U.S.Congress. 

1957 - The Hamilton Watch Company introduced the first electric watch. 

1959 - In the U.S., Alaska became the 49th state. 

1961 - The U.S. severed diplomatic relations with Cuba. 

1962 - Pope John XXIII excommunicated Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro. 

1967 - Jack Ruby died in a Dallas, TX, hospital. 

1973 - The Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) sold the New York Yankees to a 12-man syndicate headed by George Steinbrenner for $10 million. 

1980 - Conservationist Joy Adamson, author of "Born Free," was killed in northern Kenya by a servant. 

1983 - Tony Dorsett (Dallas Cowboys) made the longest run from scrimmage in NFL history. Dorsett ran 99 yards in a game against the Minnesota Vikings. 

1984 - A woman died at Disneyland after falling from a ride. She had apparently unfastened her seatbelt while on the Matterhorn bobsled. 

1988 - Margaret Thatcher became the longest-serving British Prime Minister in the 20th century. 

1990 - Ousted Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega surrendered to U.S. forces, 10 days after taking refuge in the Vatican's diplomatic mission. 

1991 - The British government announced that seven Iraqi diplomats, another embassy staff member and 67 other Iraqis were being expelled from Britain. 

1993 - U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in Moscow. 

1995 - WHO reported that the cumulative total of officially reported cases of AIDS had risen to 1,025,073 in 192 countries as at the end of 1994. 

1995 - The U.S. Postal Service raised the price of the first-class stamp to 32 cents. 

1997 - Bryant Gumbel signed off for the last time as host of NBC's "Today" show. 

1998 - China announced that it would spend $27.7 billion to fight erosion and pollution in the Yangtze and Yellow river valleys. 

1999 - Israeli authorities detained, and later expelled, 14 members of Concerned Christians. Israili officials claimed that the Denver,CO-based cult was plotting violence in Jerusalem to bring about the Second Coming of Christ. 

2000 - Charles M. Schulz's final original daily comic strip appeared in newspapers. 

2001 - The ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) charged the "Texas 7" with weapons violations. An autopsy showed that Office Aubrey Hawkins, killed by the convicts, had been shot 11 times and run over with a vehicle. 

2004 - NASA's Spirit rover landed on Mars. The craft was able to send back black and white images three hours after landing.

January 4

1821 - The first native-born American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, died in Emmitsburg, MD. 

1850 - The first American ice-skating club was organized in Philadelphia, PA. 

1884 - The socialist Fabian Society was founded in London. 

1885 - Dr. William Grant performed the first successful appendectomy. The patient was Mary Gartside. 

1896 - Utah became the 45th U.S. state. 

1928 - NBC Radio debuted "The Dodge Victory Hour" which starred Will Rogers, Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra and singer Al Jolson. 

1935 - Bob Hope was heard for the first time on network radio as part of "The Intimate Revue." 

1936 - The first pop music chart based on national sales was published by "Billboard" magazine. 

1944 - The attack on Monte Cassino was launched by the British Fifth Army in Italy. 

1948 - Britain granted independence to Burma. 

1951 - During the Korean conflict, North Korean and Communist Chinese forces captured the city of Seoul. 

1953 - Tufted plastic carpeting was introduced by Barwick Mills. 

1957 - "Collier’s" magazine was published for the last time. The periodical was published for 69 years. 

1958 - The Soviet satellite Sputknik I fell to the earth from its orbit. The craft had been launched on October 4, 1957. 

1960 - French author Albert Camus died in an automobile accident at age 46. 

1962 - New York City introduced a train that operated without conductors and motormen. 

1965 - The Fender Guitar Company was sold to CBS for $13 million. 

1965 - Poet T.S. Eliot died at age 76. 

1965 - In his State of the Union address, U.S. President Johnson proclaimed the building of the "Great Society." 

1972 - Rose Heilbron became the first woman judge in Britain at the Old Bailey, London. 

1974 - U.S. President Nixon refused to hand over tape recordings and documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.

1974 - NBC-TV presented hockey in prime time. The Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers were the teams in the National Hockey League (NHL) game. 

1981 - The Broadway show "Frankenstein" lost an estimated $2 million, when it opened and closed on the same night. 

1982 - Bryant Gumbel moved from NBC Sports to the anchor desk where he joined Jane Pauley as co-host of the "Today" show on NBC. 

1984 - Wayne ‘The Great One’ Gretzky scored eight points (four goals and four assists) for the second time in his National Hockey League (NHL) career. Edmonton’s Oilers defeated the Minnesota North Stars, 12-8. The game was the highest-scoring NHL game to date. 

1987 - An Amtrak train bound from Washington to Boston collided with Conrail engines approaching from a side track, 16 people were killed. 

1990 - Charles Stuart jumped to his death from a Boston Harbor bridge. He had become a suspect in the murder of his wife. He had claimed that a gunman had shot him and his wife. 

1990 - Deposed Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega was arraigned in U.S. federal district court in Miami on drug-trafficking charges. 

1991 - The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to condemn Israel's treatment of the Palestinians in the occupied territories. 

1997 - The Greek Cypriot government signed an agreement to buy S-300 surface-to-air missiles from Russia. 

1999 - A drifting Nicaraguan fishing boat was found by the Norwegian oil tanker Joelm. The fisherman had been lost at sea for 35 days after the engine of their vessel quit working. 

1999 - 16 people were killed and 25 injured when gunmen opened fire on Shiite Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan. 

1999 - Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was sworn in as Minnesota's 37th governor. 

2001 - FBI agents in the Dallas area charged the "Texas 7" of unlawful flight to avoid federal prosecution for capital murder, broadening the manhunt nationwide. 

2006 - Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. She was the first woman to hold the position. 

2010 - In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Burj Dubai (Dubai Tower) opened as the world's tallest tower at 2,625 feet.

January 5

1781 - Richmond, VA, was burned by a British naval expedition led by Benedict Arnold. 

1885 - The Long Island Railroad Company became the first to offer piggy-back rail service which was the transportation of farm wagons on trains. 

1896 - It was reported by The Austrian newspaper that Wilhelm Roentgen had discovered the type of radiation that became known as X-rays. 

1900 - In Ireland, Nationalist leader John Edward Redmond called for a revolt against British rule. 

1903 - The general public could use the Pacific cable for the very first time. 

1914 - Ford Motor Company announced that there would be a new daily minimum wage of $5 and an eight-hour workday. 

1925 - Mrs. Nellie Taylor Ross was sworn in as the governor of Wyoming She was the first female governor in the U.S. 

1933 - Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began. 

1934 - Both the National and American baseball leagues decided to use a uniform-size baseball. It was the first time in 33 years that both leagues used the same size ball. (MLB) 

1935 - Phil Spitalny’s All-Girl Orchestra was featured on CBS radio on the program, "The Hour of Charm." 

1940 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) got its very first demonstration of FM radio. 

1944 - The London "Daily Mail" was the first transoceanic newspaper to be published. 

1948 - Warner Brothers-Pathe showed the very first color newsreel. The footage was of the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl football classic. 

1956 - In the Peanuts comic strip, Snoopy walked on two legs for the first time. 

1961 - "Mr. Ed" debuted. The show would run for six years. 

1970 - "All My Children" premiered on ABC. 

1972 - U.S. President Richard M. Nixon ordered the development of the space shuttle. 

1987 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan underwent prostate surgery. 

1993 - The state of Washington executed Westley Allan Dodd. It was America's first legal hanging since 1965. Dodd was an admitted child sex killer. 

1996 - Yahya Ayyash, a member of the Hamas in Israel, is killed by a booby-trapped cellular phone. 

1998 - U.S. Representative Sonny Bono died in skiing accident. 

2002 - A 15 year-old student pilot, Charles Bishop, crashed a small plane into a building in Tampa, FL. Bishop was about to begin a flying lesson when he took off without permission and without an instructor.

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