49: Julius Caesar leads his army across the Rubicon River, plunging Rome into civil war.
1843: Francis Scott Key, author of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” dies in Baltimore.
1861: Alabama secedes from the Union.
1862: Abraham Lincoln accepts Simon Cameron’s resignation as secretary of war.
1887: At Fort Smith, Arkansas, hangman George Maledon dispatches four victims in a multiple hanging.
1904: British troops massacre 1,000 dervishes in Somaliland.
1916: Russian Gen. Nikolai Yudenich launches a World War I winter offensive and advances west.
1923: The French enter the town of Essen in the Ruhr valley to extract Germany’s resources as war payment.
1934: German police raid the homes of dissident clergy in Berlin.
1940: Benjamin O. Davis Sr., becomes the U.S. Army’s first black general, his son would later become a general as well.
1941: Adolf Hitler orders forces to be prepared to enter North Africa to assist the Italian effort, marking the establishment of the Afrika Korps.
1942: Japan invades the Dutch East Indies at Borneo.
1943: The Soviet Red Army encircles Stalingrad.
1948: President Harry S. Truman proposes free, two-year community colleges for all who want an education.
1949: Negotiations in China between the Nationalists and Communists open as Tientsin is virtually lost to the Communists.
1964: A collection of previously unexhibited paintings by Pablo Picasso are displayed for the first time in Toronto.
1980: Honda announces it will build the first Japanese-owned passenger-car assembly plant in the United States--in Ohio.
1994: The Irish government announces an end to a 15-year ban on broadcasting by the IRA and its political branch, Sinn Fein.
2003: Illinois Gov. George Ryan commutes the death sentences of 167 prisoners on the state’s death row in the wake of allegations that Chicago police detective and commander Jon Burge tortured confessions from some 200 suspects over a 19-year period.
Born on January 11
1757: Alexander Hamilton, first U.S. secretary of the treasury, killed in a duel with Aaron Burr.
1864: H. George Selfridge, founder of Selfridge and Co., Ltd., coined the phrase “the customer is always right.”
1903: Alan Patton, South African novelist (“Cry, the Beloved Country”).
1931: Rod Taylor, actor (“The Birds”).
1943: Jim Hightower, radio host, author, social activist; created concept of the “Doug Jones Average” –– how is “Doug Jones” (i.e., your neighbor) doing financially –– as a better measure of the economy than the Dow Jones Average.
1952: Ben Crenshaw, pro golfer; nicknamed “Gentle Ben,” he won the Masters Tournament in 1984 and 1995.