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This Day in History - January 26

January 26

1482 – “Pentateuch” the Jewish Bible is printed as a book for the first time in Bologna, Italy

1500 – Spanish explorer Vicente Yanez Pinzon discovers Brazil

1531 – The Lisbon earthquake occurred in the Kingdom of Portugal causing a tsunami and leading to 30,000 deaths

1564 – The Council of Trent issues its conclusions in the Tridentinum, establishing a distinction between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism

1699 – The war between the Turks and Austria ends with the signing of the Treaty of Karlowitz

1715 – French philosopher Claude Helvetius is born

1720 – Giulio Alberoni is banished from Spain after trying and failing to restore his country’s empire

1779 – After the British capture Savannah, Georgia, a group of Patriots meet at the Burke County Jail to discuss how they will deal with any possible defections.  The British had offered immunity to those who would affirm loyalty to the King

1788 – A fleet of ships carrying convicts from England lands at Sydney Cove in Australia, to set up the first penal colony.  British colonists hoist the Union Flag.  The day will be known as Australia’s national day henceforth

1802 – Congress passed an act calling for the establishment of a library within the US Capitol

1826 – Wife of Ulysses S. Grant, Julia Dent Grant is born

1837 – Michigan becomes the 26th state

1838 – The first prohibition law in the history of the US is passed in Tennessee, making it a misdemeanor crime to sell alcoholic beverages in taverns and stores

1861 – Louisiana secedes from the Union

1863 – President Lincoln names General Joseph Hooker to replace Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac

1875 – While on the hunt for Jesse James, Pinkerton Detective Agency agents kill his 9-year old half-brother and seriously injure his mother with a bomb

1880 – US general in World War I, World War II and Korea, Douglas MacArthur, is born

1885 – General “Chinese” Gordon is killed on the palace steps in Khartoum by Sudanese Mahdists in Africa

1893 – Pioneer aviator Bessie Coleman is born

1918 – Ukraine declares its independence from Russia

1918 – The 11th President of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu is born

1924 – Petrograd is renamed Leningrad

1925 – American actor, director, race car driver, and businessman Paul Newman is born

1934 – Germany and Poland break the French alliance system by signing a ten-year non-aggression pact

1934 – Samuel Goldwyn buys the film rights to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

1936 – The dismembered remains of Florence Polillo is found in a basket and several burlap sacks in Cleveland.  She was the third victim in 18 months to be found dismembered, sparking panic and causing the unknown murderer to be dubbed the “Mad Butcher.” An actual butcher, Frank Dolezal, was interrogated for 40 straight hours until he confessed, although he changed his story several times and killed himself in his cell before his guilt could be determined.  The killings stopped after his suicide, but most authorities don’t believe he was responsible.  They believe a politically connected and relatively prominent person was responsible.  The true identity of the killer remains a mystery to this day, as police records have been destroyed

1939 – Nationalist General Francisco Franco captures the Republican capital of Spain during the Spanish Civil War

1942 – American Expeditionary Forces land in Northern Ireland

1943 – The first Office of Strategic Services agents parachute behind Japanese lines in Burma

1944 – American activist Angela Davis is born

1945 – American Lieutenant Audie Murphy, the most decorated man of the war, is wounded in France

1945 – Soviet troops freed the survivors of concentration camps in Auschwitz, Poland and encountered 648 corpses, and over 7,000 starving camp survivors, along with six storehouses filled with hundreds of thousands of clothing items that the Germans didn’t have time to burn before Soviet arrival

1948 – American musicologist John Lomax dies

1950 – The Indian Constitution takes effect, and India becomes the most populous democracy in the world

1952 – Mongolian military officer and ruler Khorloogiin Choibalsan dies

1955 – American guitarist, songwriter, and producer Eddie Van Halen is born

1958 – Comedian, actress and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is born

1961 – President John Kennedy appoints Janet Travell as his personal physician, making her the first woman in history to hold the post

1961 – Canadian hockey player and coach Wayne Gretzky is born

1962 – “The Twist” by Chubby Checker ends its record-setting run at #1

1962 – Italian and American gangster Lucky Luciano dies

1964 – Eighty-four people are arrested in a segregation protest in Atlanta

1969 – California is declared a disaster area after two days of flooding and mudslides

1970 – US Navy Lieutenant Everett Alvarez Jr., spends his 2,000th day in captivity in Southeast Asia as a POW, becoming the longest-held POW in US history. In all, Alvarez spent over eight years in captivity, brutally tortured, starved, isolated and shackled

1972 – North Vietnam rejects the latest US peace proposal

1974 –Cyclone Wanda cause severe flooding in Queensland, Australia, killing 16 and leaving thousands homeless

1979 – “The Dukes of Hazzard” premieres on CBS

1979 – Former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller dies

1980 – At the request of President Jimmy Carter, the US Olympic Committee votes to ask the International Olympic Committee to cancel or move the upcoming Moscow Olympics due to Soviet military invasion of Afghanistan

1986 – In New Orleans, Louisiana, the Chicago Bears score a Super Bowl record number of points against the New England Patriots, 46-10, and go on to win their first championship since 1963

1988 – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera opens on Broadway and will go on to become the longest-running Broadway show

1992 – Puerto Rican actor Jose Ferrer dies

1993 – Vaclav Havel is elected the president of the new Czech Republic

1998 – President Bill Clinton denies having had “sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky”

2001 – An earthquake kills more than 20,000 people and injures over 160,000 in Gujarat, India

2004 – President Hamid Karzai signs the new constitution of Afghanistan

2005 – Condoleezza Rice is appointed to the post of Secretary of State, making her the highest-ranking black woman ever to serve in a US Presidential cabinet


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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