January 30

1649 - England's King Charles I was beheaded. 

1790 - The first purpose-built lifeboat was launched on the River Tyne. 

1798 - The first brawl in the U.S. House of Representatives took place. Congressmen Matthew Lyon and Roger Griswold fought on the House floor. 

1844 - Richard Theodore Greener became the first African American to graduate from Harvard University. 

1847 - The town of Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco. 

1862 - The U.S. Navy's first ironclad warship, the "Monitor", was launched. 

1889 - Rudolph, crown prince of Austria, and his 17-year-old mistress, Baroness Marie Vetsera, were found shot in his hunting lodge at Mayerling, near Vienna. 

1894 - C.B. King received a patent for the pneumatic hammer. 

1900 - The British fighting the Boers in South Africa ask for a larger army. 

1910 - Work began on the first board-track automobile speedway. The track was built in Playa del Ray, CA. 

1911 - The first airplane rescue at sea was made by the destroyer "Terry." Pilot James McCurdy was forced to land in the ocean about 10 miles from Havana, Cuba. 

1933 - "The Lone Ranger" was heard on radio for the first time. The program ran for 2,956 episodes and ended in 1955. 

1933 - Adolf Hitler was named the German Chancellor. 

1948 - Indian political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by a Hindu extremist. 

1950 - NBC-TV debuted "Robert Montgomery Presents." The show lasted for seven seasons. 

1958 - Yves Saint Laurent, at age 22, held his first major fashion show in Paris. 

1958 - The first two-way moving sidewalk was put in service at Love Field in Dallas, TX. The length of the walkway through the airport was 1,435 feet. 

1960 - The women’s singles U.S. figure skating championship was won by Carol Heiss. 

1962 - Two members of the "Flying Wallendas" high-wire act were killed when their seven-person pyramid collapsed during a performance in Detroit, MI. 

1964 - January 30 - The U.S. launched Ranger 6. The unmanned spacecraft carried television cameras and was intentionally crash-landed on the moon. The cameras did not return any pictures to Earth. 

1968 - The Tet Offensive began as Communist forces launched surprise attacks against South Vietnamese provincial capitals. 

1972 - In Northern Ireland, British soldiers shot and killed thirteen Roman Catholic civil rights marchers. The day is known as "Bloody Sunday." 

1979 - The civilian government of Iran announced it had decided to allow Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to return. He had been living in exile in France. 

1989 - The U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan was closed. 

1994 - Peter Leko became the world's youngest-ever grand master in chess. 

1995 - The U.N. Security Council authorized the deployment of a 6,000-member U.N. peace-keeping contingent to assume security responsibilities in Haiti from U.S. forces. 

1995 - Researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced that clinical trials had demonstrated the effectiveness of the first preventative treatment for sickle cell anaemia. 

1996 - Gino Gallagher, the reputed leader of the Irish National Liberation Army, was shot and killed as he queued for his unemployment benefit. 

1997 - A New Jersey judge ruled that the unborn child of a female prisoner must have legal representation. He denied the prisoner bail reduction to enable her to leave the jail and obtain an abortion. 

2002 - Slobodan Milosevic accused the U.N. war crimes tribunal of an "evil and hostile attack" against him. Milosevic was defending his actions during the Balkan wars. 

2002 - Japan's last coal mine was closed. The closures were due to high production costs and cheap imports. 

January 31

1606 - Guy Fawkes was executed after being convicted for his role in the "Gunpowder Plot" against the English Parliament and King James I. 

1747 - The first clinic specializing in the treatment of venereal diseases was opened at London Dock Hospital. 

1858 - The Great Eastern, the five-funnelled steamship designed by Brunel, was launched at Millwall. 

1865 - In America, General Robert E. Lee was named general-in-chief of the Confederate armies. 

1865 - The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. It was ratified by the necessary number of states on December 6, 1865. The amendment abolished slavery in the United States. 

1876 - All Native American Indians were ordered to move into reservations. 

1893 - The trademark "Coca-Cola" was first registered in the United States Patent Office. 

1917 - Germany announced its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. 

1929 - The USSR exiled Leon Trotsky. He found asylum in Mexico. 

1930 - U.S. Navy Lt. Ralph S. Barnaby became the first glider pilot to have his craft released from a dirigible, a large blimp, at Lakehurst, NJ. 

1934 - Jim Londos defeated Joe Savoldi in a one-fall match in Chicago, IL. The crowd of 20,000 was one of the largest crowds to see a wrestling match. 

1936 - The radio show "The Green Hornet" debuted. 

1940 - The first Social Security check was issued by the U.S. Government. 

1944 - During World War II, U.S. forces invaded Kwajalein Atoll and other areas of the Japanese-held Marshall Islands. 

1945 - Private Eddie Slovik became the only U.S. soldier since the U.S. Civil War to be executed for desertion. 

1946 - A new constitution in Yugoslavia created six constituent republics (Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia) subordinated to a central authority, on the model of the USSR. 

1949 - The first TV daytime soap opera was broadcast from NBC's station in Chicago, IL. It was "These Are My Children." 

1950 - U.S. President Truman announced that he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb. 

1958 - Explorer I was put into orbit around the earth. It was the first U.S. earth satellite. 

1960 - Julie Andrews, Henry Fonda, Rex Harrison and Jackie Gleason, appeared in a two-hour TV special entitled "The Fabulous ’50s". 

1971 - Astronauts Alan B. Shepard Jr., Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart A. Roosa blasted off aboard Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon. 

1971 - Telephone service between East and West Berlin was re-established after 19 years. 

1982 - Sandy Duncan gave her final performance as "Peter Pan" in Los Angeles, CA. She completed 956 performances without missing a show. 

1983 - The wearing of seat belts in cars became compulsory in Britain. 

1983 - JCPenney announced plans to spend in excess of $1 billion over the next five years to modernize stores and to accelerate a repositioning program. 

1985 - The final Jeep rolled off the assembly line at the AMC plant in Toledo, OH. 

1990 - McDonald's Corp. opened its first fast-food restaurant in Moscow, Russia. 

1995 - U.S. President Clinton invoked presidential emergency authority to provide a $20 billion loan to Mexico to stabilize its economy. 

1996 - In Columbo, Sri Lanka, a truck was rammed into the gates of the Central Bank. The truck filled with explosives killed at least 86 and injured 1,400. 

2000 - John Rocker (Atlanta Braves) was suspended from major league baseball for disparaging foreigners, homosexuals and minorities in an interview published by Sports Illustrated. 

2000 - An Alaska Airlines jet crashed into the ocean off Southern California. All 88 people on board were killed. 

2001 - A Scottish court in the Netherlands convicted one Libyan and acquitted a second in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that occurred in 1988. 

2005 - Keanu Reeves received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

February 1

1788 - Isaac Briggs and William Longstreet patented the steamboat. 

1790 - The U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time in New York City. 

1793 - France declared war on Britain and Holland. 

1793 - Ralph Hodgson patented oiled silk. 

1861 - Texas voted to secede from the Union. 

1862 - "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," by Julia Ward Howe was first published in the "Atlantic Monthly." 

1867 - In the U.S., bricklayers start working 8-hour days. 

1884 - The first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published. 

1893 - Thomas A. Edison completed work on the world's first motion picture studio in West Orange, NJ. 

1896 - Puccini's opera "La Boheme" premiered in Turin. 

1898 - The Travelers Insurance Company of Hartford, CT, issued the first automobile insurance policy. Dr. Truman Martin of Buffalo,NY, paid $11.25 for the policy, which gave him $5,000 in liability coverage. 

1900 - Eastman Kodak Co. introduced the $1 Brownie box camera. 

1913 - Grand Central Terminal (also known as Grand Central Station) opened in New York City, NY. It was the largest train station in the world. 

1919 - The first Miss America was crowned in New York City. 

1920 - The first armored car was introduced. 

1920 - Canada's Royal North West Mounted Police changed their name to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The organization was commissioned in 1873. 

1921 - Carmen Fasanella registered as a taxicab owner and driver in Princeton, New Jersey. Fasanella retired November 2, 1989 after 68 years and 243 days of service. 

1929 - Weightlifter Charles Rigoulet of France achieved the first 400 pound ‘clean and jerk’ as he lifted 402-1/2 pounds. 

1930 - The Times published its first crossword puzzle. 

1946 - Norwegian statesman Trygve Lie was chosen to be the first secretary-general of the United Nations. 

1951 - The first telecast of an atomic explosion took place. 

1951 - The first X-ray moving picture process was demonstrated. 

1953 - CBS-TV debuted "Private Secretary." 

1954 - CBS-TV showed "The Secret Storm" for the first time. 

1957 - P.H. Young became the first black pilot on a scheduled passenger airline. 

1958 - The United Arab Republic was formed by a union of Egypt and Syria. It was broken 1961. 

1960 - Four black college students began a sit-in protest at a lunch counter in Greensboro, NC. They had been refused service. 

1968 - During the Vietnam War, South Vietnamese National Police Chief Brig. Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan executed a Viet Cong officer with a pistol shot to the head. The scene was captured in a news photograph. 

1976 - "Sonny and Cher" resumed on TV despite a real life divorce. 

1979 - Patty Hearst was released from prison after serving 22 months of a seven-year sentence for bank robbery. Her sentence had been commuted by U.S. President Carter. 

1979 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was welcomed in Tehran as he ended nearly 15 years of exile. 

1987 - Terry Williams won the largest slot machine payoff, at the time, when won $4.9 million after getting four lucky 7s on a machine in Reno, NV. 

1991 - A USAir jetliner crashed atop a commuter plane at Los Angeles International Airport. 35 people were killed. 

1994 - Jeff Gillooly pled guilty in Portland, OR, for his role in the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. Gillooly, Tonya Harding's ex-husband, struck a plea bargain under which he confessed to racketeering charges in exchange for testimony implicating Harding. 

1996 - Visa and Mastercard announced security measures that would make it safe to shop on the Internet. 

1998 - Stuart Whitman received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

1999 - Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky gave a deposition that was videotaped for senators weighing impeachment charges against U.S. President Clinton. 

2001 - Three Scottish judges found Abdel Basset al-Mergrahi guilty of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people. The court said that Megrahi was a member of the Libyan intelligence service. Al-Amin Khalifa, who had been co-accused, was acquitted and freed. 

2003 - NASA's space shuttle Columbia exploded while re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. All seven astronauts on board were killed.

February 2

1536 - The Argentine city of Buenos Aires was founded by Pedro de Mendoza of Spain. 

1653 - New Amsterdam, now known as New York City, was incorporated. 

1802 - The first leopard to be exhibited in the United States was shown by Othello Pollard in Boston, MA. 

1848 - The Mexican War was ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty turned over portions of land to the U.S., including Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, California and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. The U.S.gave Mexico $15,000,000 and assumed responsibility of all claims against Mexico by American citizens. Texas had already entered the U.S. on December 29, 1845. 

1848 - The first shipload of Chinese emigrants arrived in San Francisco, CA. 

1863 - Samuel Langhorne Clemens used a pseudonym for the first time. He is better remembered by the pseudonym which is Mark Twain. 

1870 - The "Cardiff Giant" was revealed to be nothing more than carved gypsum. The discovery in Cardiff, NY, was alleged to be the petrified remains of a human. 

1876 - The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (known as the National League) was formed in New York. The teams included were the Chicago White Stockings, Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Stockings, Hartford Dark Blues, Mutual of New York, St. Louis Brown Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Louisville Grays. 

1878 - Greece declared war on Turkey. 

1880 - The S.S. Strathleven arrived in London with the first successful shipment of frozen mutton from Australia. 

1887 - The beginning of Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, PA. 

1892 - William Painter patented the bottle cap. 

1893 - The Edison Studio in West Orange, NJ, made history when they filmed the first motion picture close-up. The studio was owned and operated by Thomas Edison. 

1897 - The Pennsylvania state capitol in Harrisburg was destroyed by fire. The new statehouse was dedicated nine years later on the same site. 

1913 - Grand Central Terminal officially opened at 12:01 a.m. Even though construction was not entirely complete more than 150,000 people visited the new terminal on its opening day. 

1935 - Leonard Keeler conducted the first test of the polygraph machine, in Portage, WI. 

1943 - During World War II, the remainder of Nazi forces from the Battle of Stalingrad surrendered to the Soviets. Stalingrad has since been renamed Volgograd. 

1945 - U.S. President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill left for a summit in Yalta with Soviet leader Josef Stalin. 

1946 - The first Buck Rogers automatic pistol was made. 

1946 - The Mutual Broadcasting System aired "Twenty Questions" for the first time on radio. The show moved to television 3 years later. 

1949 - Golfer Ben Hogan was seriously injured in an auto accident in Van Horn, TX. 

1950 - "What's My Line" debuted on CBS television. 

1962 - The 8th and 9th planets aligned for the first time in 400 years. 

1967 - The American Basketball Association was formed by representatives of the NBA. 

1971 - Idi Amin assumed power in Uganda after a coup that ousted President Milton Obote. 

1980 - The situation known as "Abscam" began when reports surfaced that the FBI had conducted a sting operation that targeted members of the U.S. Congress. A phony Arab businessmen were used in the operation. 

1989 - The final Russian armored column left Kabul, Afghanistan, after nine years of military occupation. 

1990 - South African President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela. 

1998 - U.S. President Clinton introduced the first balanced budget in 30 years. 

1999 - 19 people were killed at Luanda international airport when a cargo plane crashed just after takeoff. 

1999 - Hugo Chávez Frías took office. He had been elected president of Venezuela in December 1998. 

2004 - It was reported that a white powder had been found in an office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) later confirmed that the powder was the poison ricin.

February 3

1488 - The Portuguese navigator Bartholomeu Diaz landed at Mossal Bay in the Cape, the first European known to have landed on the southern extremity of Africa. 

1690 - The first paper money in America was issued by the Massachusetts colony. The currency was used to pay soldiers that were fighting in the war against Quebec. 

1783 - Spain recognized the independence of the United States. 

1809 - The territory of Illinois was created. 

1815 - The world's first commercial cheese factory was established in Switzerland. 

1862 - Thomas Edison printed the "Weekly Herald" and distributed it to train passengers traveling between Port Huron and Detroit,MI. It was the first time a newspaper had been printed on a train. 

1869 - Edwin Booth opened his new theatre in New York City. The first production was "Romeo and Juliet". 

1900 - In Frankfort, KY, gubernatorial candidate William Goebels died from an assasin's bullet wounds. On August 18, 1900, Ex-Sec. of State Caleb Powers was found guilt of conspiracy to murder Gov. Goebels. 

1913 - The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. It authorized the power to impose and collect income tax. 

1916 - In Ottawa, Canada's original parliament buildings burned down. 

1917 - The U.S. broke off diplomatic relations with Germany, which had announced a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. 

1918 - The Twin Peaks Tunnel began service. It is the longest streetcar tunnel in the world at 11,920 feet. 

1927 - The Federal Radio Commission was created when U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill. 

1941 - In Vichy, France, the Nazis used force to restore Pierre Laval to office. 

1945 - Russia agreed to enter World War II against Japan. 

1946 - The first issue of "Holiday" magazine appeared. 

1947 - Percival Prattisbecame the first black news correspondent admitted to the House and Senate press gallery in Washington, DC. He worked for "Our World" in New York City. 

1951 - Dick Button won the U.S. figure skating title for the sixth time. 

1951 - The Tennessee Williams play, "The Rose Tattoo", opened on Broadway in New York. 

1966 - The first rocket-assisted controlled landing on the Moon was made by the Soviet space vehicle Luna IX

1969 - At the Palestinian National Congress in Cairo, Yasser Arafat was appointed leader of the PLO. 

1972 - The first Winter Olympics in Asia were held at Sapporo, Japan. 

1984 - Challenger 4 was launched as the tenth space shuttle mission. 

1988 - The U.S. House of Representatives handed rejected U.S. President Reagan's request for at least $36.25 million in aid to the Nicaraguan Contras. 

1989 - South African politician P.W. Botha unwillingly resigned both party leadership and the presidency after suffering a stroke. 

1998 - Texas executed Karla Faye Tucker. She was the first woman executed in the U.S. since 1984. 

1998 - In Italy, a U.S. Military plane hit a cable causing the death of 20 skiers on a lift. 

2009 - Eric Holder was sworn in as attorney general. He was the first African-American to hold the post. 

2010 - The Alberto Giacometti sculpture L'Homme qui marche sold for $103.7 million. 

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