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Notable Historic Events

January 21st

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Louis XVI

Louis XVI

1793...Louis XVI of France is executed. After the French Revolution starts, he is forced to flee the country. He is found heading to Austria with his wife, Marie Antoinette. Under duress he and his wife return to Paris and he accepts the French constitution. He becomes nothing but a figurehead. He is not happy with that role, and when it is found that he has been talking with Austria and other foreign governments he is brought to trial on charges of conspiracy.

1976...The Concorde begins flying commercial passengers. The Concorde is the result of a collaborative effort between English and French engineers to develop the world's first supersonic passenger airline. It cuts flight time in half, flying at 1,350 mph. However, passengers find flight noises uncomfortable, and in 2003 the Concorde stops making commercial flights.

1977...In an attempt to heal war wounds, President Carter unconditionally pardons all the men who violated draft laws during the Vietnam War. This is estimated to be about 100,000 men. About half of those who fled to Canada end up coming home.

January 22nd



1973...The Supreme Court reaches a decision in the Roe v. Wade case. The Supreme Court rules that it is legal for women to have an abortion within the first three months of pregnancy.

1998...Ted Kaczynski admits in court to being the Unabomber.

2012...Retail giant Kmart files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The general consensus is that Kmart never found its niche. Wal-Mart pulls in the "everyday low price" crowd, and Target the "style on a budget" crowd. Kmart never finds a following.

January 23rd

US Pueblo

The US Pueblo

1957...The Frisbee hits the market.

1969...The USS Pueblo, a Navy intelligence ship traveling along the coast of Korea in international waters, is captured by North Korea. After an artillery barrage, the 83 crew members surrender and are taken to Pyongyang where they are charged with spying and put in jail. The Koreans imprison the Americans for a gruesome eleven months. Finally the two countries come to an agreement and the prisoners are released. The Koreans go on to shoot down a US Navy aircraft the following year, killing all 31 men aboard.

1973...President Nixon announces that a peace agreement has been reached to bring the Vietnam War to a close.

January 24th

Boy Scouts

848...Gold is discovered in America. In the Sacramento valley, just east of San Francisco in the state of California, a millwright named James Marshall discovers gold at Sutter's Creek. Marshall is in the process of digging up dirt to redirect water for a mill when he notices shiny speckles in the freshly dug up earth. Marshall tells Sutter and the discovery is confirmed. Word spreads, and one of the greatest gold rushes in history begins.

1908...The Boy Scouts is organized. Baden-Powell's handbooks are used to teach young men about camping, observation, woodcraft, lifesaving and more. At the same time the boys are taught the the importance of good moral character and doing good deeds.

1972...A Japanese soldier is found hiding on the Island of Guam. It is twenty-seven years after the end of WWII. He does not want to surrender to America. He thinks it disgraceful to be captured alive. He eventually finds out the war is over, but stays in hiding hoping the Japanese will return to the Island. Finally he is convinced that it is time to go home. He returns to Japan and is hailed as a hero.

Note: In another couple of years soldiers will also be found in the Philippines and in Indonesia.

January 25th

General Richard Montgomery

General Richard Montgomery

1776...First national memorial is ordered to honor slain revolutionary war hero General Richard Montgomery. Montgomery is a Brigadier General in the American Army. He is one of the first Generals in the Revolutionary War to lose his life on the battlefield. After taking Montreal, Montgomery is killed in the Battle of Quebec.

1924...The first Winter Olympics is held in Chamonix, France.

1961...First live television news conference is held by President Kennedy.


Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

1788...735 convicts arrive in Botany Bay, Australia. They are the first prisoners to be held at the new English penal colony in Botany Bay, Australia. The English do not want to build prisons. Since they do not want to keep people among them that commit crime, they either have to kill them or send them away. Some of the prisoners are guilty of no more than stealing food because they are hungry. English punishment is severe. When England can no longer send prisoners to America, they choose Australia. It takes six months for the prisoners to reach Australia. The prisoners are chained beneath the deck for the entire voyage, and many perish. Over the next 60 years, 50,000 criminals will be transported from England to the penal colonies in Australia

1784...Benjamin Franklin writes that he is unhappy the eagle has been chosen to symbolize America. He thinks the turkey a more respectable animal.

January 27th

Astronauts Grissom, White and Chafee

Astronauts Grissom, White and Chafee

1888...The National Geographic Society is founded.

1967... Fire at Cape Canaveral takes the lives of three Astronauts. Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chafee are inside the space capsule running a simulation for their upcoming launch when the capsule catches fire. The fire is traced to a faulty electric wire inside the Apollo I command module. The three astronauts become the first Americans to die in a spacecraft.

1951...The first nuclear bomb is detonated at a test site in Nevada.

January 28

The Space Shuttle Challenger

The Space Shuttle Challenger

1930...The Chrysler building is completed in New York. It will hold the record as the world's tallest building until the Empire State Building is completed one year later.

1986...The space shuttle Challenger launch fails, killing all the astronauts as well as civilian teacher Christa McAuliffe.

January 29th

German Lieutenant Erwin Rommel

Lieutenant Erwin Rommel

1861...Kansas becomes the 34th state in the United States of America.

1936...The Baseball Hall of Fame inducts its first members. Among its first inductees are Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.

1915...Lieutenant Erwin Rommel begins a daring mission to France. He is rewarded the Iron Cross for his success, and becomes a famous German general in WWII.

January 3

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

1948...Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated.

1933...Hitler is appointed chancellor by German president Hindenburg, as the Nazi party is the largest of the minority parties in the Reichstag. Hitler immediately abuses his power to become a dictator, although he was never elected by a majority of the German people.

1972...In Ireland British soldiers fire on unarmed civic rights demonstrators. The event became known as Bloody Sunday.

January 31st

Chimp Astronaut

Chimp Astronaut

1865...The House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery.

1950...President Truman announces his decision to develop the the H-bomb. The hydrogen bomb is expected to be hundreds of times more powerful than the bombs which were dropped on Japan during WWII.

1961...A chimp is sent into space to see if he can survive.

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