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On January 20th...
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1045 Giovanni di Sabina was elected Pope Sylvester III.
1156 According to legend, freeholder Lalli slayed English crusader Bishop Henry with an axe on the ice of Lake Köyliönjärvi in Finland.
1265 The first Parliament of England summoned other than by royal command met in Westminster Hall.
1320 Duke Wladyslaw Lokietek became King of Poland.
1356 Edward Balliol abdicated as King of Scotland.
1502 The present-day location of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was first explored.
1523 Christian II was forced to abdicate as King of Denmark and Norway.
1576 The city of León, Mexico, was founded by order of Viceroy Don Martín Enríquez de Almansa.
1613 The Peace of Knarod ended the Kalmar War between Denmark and Sweden.
1667 The Treaty of Andrussovo ended a 13-year war between Poland and Russia.
1716 King Charles III of Spain was born.
1732 Richard Henry Lee, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born.
1788 The Pioneer African Baptist Church was organized in Savannah, Georgia.
1809 The first U. S. geology book was published by William Maclure.
1819 King Charles IV of Spain died.
1831 David Josiah Brewer, Associate Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, was born.
1840 Dumont D'Urville discovered Adélie Land, Antarctica.
1841 China ceded Hong Kong to the British.
1860 Dutch troops conquered Watampone, Celebes.
1869 Elizabeth Cady Stanton became the first woman to testify before the U. S. Congress.
1870 Hiram Revels was elected to fill the unexpired term of Jefferson Davis as U. S. Senator for Mississippi.
1876 Pianist Josef Hofmann was born.
1887 The U. S. Senate approved a naval base lease of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
1891 Violinist Mischa Elman was born.
1895 Eva Alberta Jessye, singer and choral director, was born.
1896 Comedian George Burns was born.
1905 The United States began supervising the Dominican Republic's national and international debts.
1910 The Ottawa Senators defeated the
Edmonton Oilers for the Stanley Cup.
1920 The American Civil Liberties
Union was founded.
1921 The British submarine HMS K5
sank with 57 crewmen during exercises in the Bay of
1924 Country singer Slim Whitman was born.
1929 Comedian Arte Johnson was born.
1930 "Lone Ranger" was
broadcast on the radio for the first time.
1934 Actor Tom Baker was born.
1936 King George V of Great Britain died.
1937 Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the first U. S. President to be inaugurated on January 20th.
1942 Japan invaded Burma.
1952 Rock musician Paul Stanley was born.
1953 President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the first inaugural speech to be broadcast on television from coast to coast.
1954 The National Negro Network was established, with 40 charter member radio stations.
1956 Talk show host Bill Maher was born.
1958 Treaties signed in Jakarta,
Indonesia, ended a 16-year state of war between Japan and
1964 Baseball player Ozzie Guillen was born.
1965 Disc jockey Alan Freed died.
1967 Wilt Chamberlain made a record 15 consecutive field goals (out of 15 attempted).
1968 Peggy Fleming and Tim Wood won the U. S. women's and men's Figure Skating Championships, respectively.
1980 The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated
the Los Angeles Rams 31-19 in Super Bowl XIV.
1981 52 Americans who had been held hostage in Iran for 444 days were freed.
1982 Seven miners were killed in an explosion in Craynor, Kentucky.
1984 Actor Johnny Weismuller died.
1985 The San Francisco 49ers beat the Miami Dolphins 38-16 in Super Bowl XIX.
1986 A military coup
overthrew the government of Lesotho.
1987 Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite was taken hostage in Beirut, Lebanon.
1990 Actress Barbara Stanwyck died.
1993 Actress Audrey Hepburn died.
1995 The 1994-95 NHL season began.
1998 "Dawson's Creek" premiered on the WB network.
2001 Joseph Estrada was ousted as President of the Philippines.
2003 Caricaturist Al Hirschfeld died.
2012 Singer Etta James died.
2017 A car drove into a crowd of pedestrians in Melbourne, Australia, killing 5 persons and injuring 27 others.
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This page was last updated on January 20, 2019.