As long-time readers know, this has been a featured topic for several months. According to Wikipedia, January 1, New Years Day, is the most celebrated holiday worldwide. Many historically-significant events have occurred on this day as well as on other dates during the month.
1/1/1502 – Portuguese explorers, led by Pedro Alvarez Cabral, landed in present-day Brazil. They named the location Rio de Janeiro (River of January).
1/1/1660– Samuel Pepys commenced his famous diary, which was to become a definitive chronicle of life in late 17th century London. Famous events described in it include The Great Plague of 1664-1665, which wiped out roughly one-fourth of London’s population, and the Great Fire of 1666, which destroyed much of the city.
1/1/1776 – George Washington unveiled the first national flag, aka the Grand Union Flag.
1/1/1863 – President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in the Confederacy.
1/1/1892 – Ellis Island opened. Over 20 million immigrants were processed there between 1892 and 1954 when it closed.-
1/1/1901 – The British Commonwealth of Australia was founded.
1/1/1959 – Fidel Castro seized control of Cuba.
1/1/1999 – The currency, the Euro, was born.
1/3/1924 – Howard Carter, British Egyptologist, discovered the burial site of Egyptian King Tut.
1/3/1959 – Alaska became the 49th state of the US.
1/7/1714 – British inventor, Henry Mill, received a patent for the typewriter.
1/8/1815 – The Battle of New Orleans, which many historians consider among the most significant in US history, commenced. The outnumbered and outgunned Americans, under the command of Andrew Jackson, defeated the British.
1/10/1863 – The first underground railroad, appropriately called “The Underground,” commenced operation in London.
1/10/1920 – The League of Nations was born. It was doomed to failure because the US never joined.
1/10/1946 – The first meeting of the United Nations took place in London.
1/11/1964 – The US Surgeon General issued the controversial report stating that smoking cigarettes may be hazardous to one’s health.
1/12/1932 – Hattie Caraway of Arkansas became the first female US Senator, filling the remainder of her late husband’s term.
1/15/1870 – The first use of a donkey to symbolize the Democratic Party appeared as a cartoon in Harpers Weekly.
1/19/1966 – Indira Gandhi became the first female Prime Minister of India. Later, she was assassinated by one of her own bodyguards.
1/19/1983 – Klaus Barbie, aka the “Butcher of Lyon,” was arrested in Bolivia. Eventually, he was extradited to France. He was tried and convicted of war crimes and died in prison.
1/21/1793 – Following the French Revolution King Louis XVI was guillotined.
1/22/1901 – England’s Queen Victoria died after a 64-year reign, the longest in British history at the time.
1/22/1973 – Abortion became legal in the US.
1/24/1965 – Winston Churchill, arguably England’s greatest prime minister ever, died.
1/24/1972 – A WWII Japanese soldier, who had been hiding on Guam not realizing the War was long since over, was discovered.
1/27/1945 – The Russian Army liberated Auschwitz.
1/27/1973 – Representatives of the US and North Vietnam signed a treaty ending the Vietnamese War.
1/28/1935 – Iceland became the first country to legalize abortion.
1/28/1986 – The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, killing all aboard, including Christa McAuliffe, a teacher, who was slated to be the first “ordinary” citizen in space.
1/29/1919 – Prohibition was ratified. The unintended consequence of this ill-advised constitutional amendment was the substantial growth of organized crime, which was only too happy to provide illegal alcoholic beverages to a thirsty populace. The amendment was repealed on December 5, 1933.
1/31/1943 – The German Army surrendered at Stalingrad in what was generally considered to be the turning point in the European Theatre of WWII.
Birthdays: Paul Revere, 1/1/1735; Betsy Ross, 1/1/1752; Louis Braille, invented the reading system for blind people, 1/4/1809; Joan of Arc, 1/6/1412; Millard Fillmore, 13th President, 1/7/1800; Elvis Presley, 1/8/1935; Richard Nixon, 37th President, 1/9/1913; Alexander Hamilton, 1/11/1755; John Hancock, 1/12/1737; Benedict Arnold, 1/14/1741; Albert Schweitzer, 1/14/1875; Martin Luther King, 1/15/1929; Andre Michelin, pioneered the use of pneumatic tires on cars, 1/16/1853; Benjamin Franklyn, 1/17/1706; Muhammad Ali, 1/17/1942; Robert E. Lee, 1/19/1807; Edgar Allen Poe,1/19/1809; Ethan Allen, 1/21/1738; Douglas MacArthur, 1/26/1880; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1/27/1756; William McKinley, 25th President, 1/29/1843; Franklyn Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President, 1/30/1882; Jackie Robinson, 1/31/1919.