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This Day in History - January 4

January 4

1643 – Scientist famous for his laws of gravity and planetary relations, Sir Isaac Newton, is born

1757 – Robert Francois Damiens tries and fails at assassinating King Louis XV of France

1785 – German philosopher and fairy tale author Jacob Ludwig Grimm is born

1796 – The House of Representatives accepts the flag of the French Revolutionary Republic

1809 – Developer of the Braille reading system for the blind, Louis Braille is born

1832 – English admiral George Tryon is born

1847 – Samuel Colt wins a contract with the US government to begin selling them 1,000 .44 caliber revolvers

1863 – General Ulysses Grant is ordered to revoke his General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from his operational area, by office of President Abraham Lincoln

1863 – Confederate General Roger Weightman Hanson dies from injuries sustained during the Battle of Stones River

1865 – The New York Stock Exchange opens its first permanent headquarters near Wall Street in New York City

1885 – Dr. William W. Grant of Davenport, Iowa, becomes the first to perform an appendectomy

1896 – Utah becomes the 45th state

1902 – France offers their Nicaraguan Canal rights to the US

1904 – The US Supreme Court decides that Puerto Ricans are not aliens and can come and go into the US freely, but does not award them citizenship

1913 – German Field Marshal Alfred von Schlieffen dies

1914 – Academy Award-winning actress and the first wife of future President Ronald Reagan, Jane Wyman is born

1920 – The first black baseball league, the Negro National League, is organized by Rube Foster

1923 – The Paris Conference on war reparations stalls as Britain and France disagree on Reconstruction

1935 – President Franklin Roosevelt states that the federal government will provide jobs for 3.5 million Americans on welfare, during his State of the Union address

1935 – Professional boxer Floyd Patterson, is born

1936 – Billboard magazine publishes its first music Hit Parade

1940 – Nobel Prize-winning novelist, playwright and critic Gao Xingjian is born

1941 – The Greeks attack the Italians on the Greek-Albanian front

1941 – Actress and political activist and first child born to Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman, Maureen Reagan, is born

1941 – Nobel Prize-winning French philosopher Henri Bergson dies

1942 – The Japanese begin evacuating the Guadalcanal

1942 – English songwriter and guitarist John McLaughlin is born

1943 – Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin is born

1944 – US aircraft begin supplying guerilla forces in Western Europe to support Allie forces against the Axis powers

1948 – Burma gains independence from Great Britain

1951 – North Korean and Communist China forces capture Seoul during the Korean War

1952 – The French Army in Indochina begins Operation Nenuphar with the plan of removing a division of the Viet Minh from the Ba Tai forest

1957 – Country singer Patty Loveless is born

1958 – Soviet Sputnik 1 falls to Earth

1960 – Nobel Prize-winning French journalist, author and philosopher Albert Camus dies

1961 – Nobel Prize-winning Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger dies

1961 – The Danish barber’s assistants strike, the longest recorded strike in history at 33 years, ends

1964 – Mary Sullivan becomes the last victim of Albert DeSalvo, the “Boston Strangler,” and is found raped and strangled to death in her apartment.  DeSalvo raped and killed 13 Boston women in a two-year span and prior to this, broke into hundreds of New England apartments and sexually assaulted women.  DeSalvo was never actually charged or convicted with the Boston Strangler murders, but received a life sentence for the earlier rapes and was stabbed to death by an unknown inmate at Walpole State Prison in 1973. Proving the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, DeSalvo’s father was known to bring home prostitutes and have sex with them in front of his family and follow the act by beating his wife and children senseless.  Once he knocked his wife’s teeth out and then broke her fingers one by one while she lay unconscious.  He also sold Albert and two of his sisters to work as farm laborers

1965 – Nobel Prize-winning poet and playwright T.S. Eliot dies

1965 – French tennis player Guy Forget is born

1965 – During his State of the Union, President Lyndon Johnson names a list of legislation needed to achieve his “Great Society,” leading to the creation of Medicare/Medicaid, Head Start, Voting Rights Act, Civil Rights Act, the Department of Housing and Urban Development amongst many others and reaffirms commitment to support South Vietnam

1969 – Spain returns the Ifni province to Morocco

1970 – Over 15,000 people are killed in Tonghai County, China when a massive 7.7 magnitude earthquake strikes

1972 – Rose Helibron becomes the first female judge to sit at the Old Bailey in London, England

1974 – President Richard Nixon refuses to turn over tape recordings and documents that had been subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee and will go on to resign from office eight months later

1974 – South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu announces that the war has resumed, effectively ending attempts to adhere to the agreements of the Paris Peace Accords, which had initiated a cease-fire

1975 – The Khmer Rouge launches a new assault in the five-year war in Phnom Penh

1976 – Six Irish Catholic civilians are killed by the Ulster Volunteer Force in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.  The following day, in retaliation to this, ten Protestant civilians will be murdered

1979 – Ohio officials award an out-of-court settlement of $675,000 to the victims and their families involved in the 1970 shootings at Kent State University, in which four students were killed and another nine wounded by National Guard troops

1987 – Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia arrives in the US for his final American tour and will die four months later

1990 – Pakistan’s deadliest train accident occurs when an overloaded passenger train collides with an empty freight train, killing over 300 people and wounding at least 700 more

1995 – The 104th Congress becomes the first Congress under entirely Republican control in forty years

1996 – General Motors announces its EV1, or electric car, at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show

1999 – Former professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura, is sworn in as populist governor of Minnesota

1999 – The new European money, the euro, goes into effect in Europe

2004 – NASA Mars rover Spirit lands on Mars

2004 – Mikheil Saakashvili becomes President of Georgia following the Rose Revolution of November 2003, when demonstrators led by Saakashvili storm the Parliament session with red roses in hand, beginning a peaceful uprising that ousted President Eduard Shevardnadze and marked the end of Soviet era of leadership in Georgia

2006 – University of Texas quarterback Vince Young has one of the best individual performances in college football history, when he makes an eight-yard touchdown on fourth down with a mere 19 seconds left in the game, and leading his team to victory over the University of Southern California in the Rose Bowl

2007 – Representative Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female speaker of the US House of Representatives

2010 – Burj Khalifa officially opens in Dubai and at 2,722 feet, is the world’s tallest man-made structure

2011 – Scottish songwriter and singer Gerry Rafferty dies


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.


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