1757: Robert Francois Damiens makes an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate King Louis XV of France.
1863: Union Gen. Henry Halleck, by direction of President Abraham Lincoln, orders Gen. Ulysses Grant to revoke his infamous General Order No. 11 that expelled Jews from his operational area.
1896: Utah becomes the 45th state of the Union.
1902: France offers to sell its Nicaraguan Canal rights to the United States.
1904: The U.S. Supreme Court decides in the Gonzales v. Williams case that Puerto Ricans are not aliens and can enter the United States freely, yet stops short of awarding citizenship.
1920: The Negro National League, the first black baseball league, is organized by Rube Foster.
1923: The Paris Conference on war reparations hits a deadlock as the French insist on the hard line and the British insist on Reconstruction.
1935: President Franklin D. Roosevelt claims in his State of the Union message that the federal government will provide jobs for 3.5 million Americans on welfare.
1936: Billboard magazine publishes its first music Hit Parade.
1941: On the Greek-Albanian front, the Greeks launch an attack towards Valona from Berat to Klisura against the Italians.
1942: Japanese forces begin the evacuation of Guadalcanal.
1951: U.N. forces abandon Seoul, Korea, to the Chinese Communist Army.
1952: The French army in Indochina launches Operation Nenuphar in hopes of ejecting a Viet Minh division from the Ba Tai forest.
1969: Spain returns the Ifni province to Morocco.
1970: A magnitude 7.7 earthquake kills 15,000-plus people in Tonghai County, China.
1972: Rose Heilbron becomes the first female judge to sit at the Old Bailey in London, England.
1974: President Richard Nixon refuses to hand over tape recordings and documents that had been subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.
1975: The Khmer Rouge launches its newest assault in its five-year war in Phnom Penh. The war in Cambodia would go on until the spring of 1975.
1976: The Ulster Volunteer Force kills six Irish Catholic civilians in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. The next day 10 Protestant civilians are murdered in retaliation.
1979: Ohio officials approve an out-of-court settlement awarding $675,000 to the victims and families in the 1970 shootings at Kent State University, in which four students were killed and nine wounded by National Guard troops.
1990: Over 300 people die and more than 700 are injured in Pakistan’s deadliest train accident, when an overloaded passenger train collides with an empty freight train.
1999: The euro, the new money of 11 European nations, goes into effect on the continent of Europe.
1999: Jesse “The Body” Ventura, a former professional wrestler, is sworn in as populist governor of Minnesota.
2004: NASA’s Mars rover Spirit successfully lands on Mars.
2004: Mikheil Saakashvili is elected president of Georgia following the Rose Revolution of November 2003.
2007: Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) becomes the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
2010: Burj Khalifa (Khalifa tower) officially opens in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At 2,722 ft (829.8 m) it is the world’s tallest man-made structure.
Born on January 4
1643: Sir Isaac Newton, scientist who developed the laws of gravity and planetary relations.
1785: Jacob Ludwig Grimm, German philosopher who wrote fairy tales with his brother.
1809: Louis Braille, developer of a reading system for the blind.
1914: Jane Wyman, American film actress, received Academy Award for “Johnny Belinda”; she was the first wife of future U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
1935: Floyd Patterson, professional boxer; at age 21 he became the youngest man to win the world heavyweight title (later replaced by Mike Tyson at age 20) and the first heavyweight to regain the title.
1940: Gao Xingjian, novelist, playwright, critic; awarded Nobel Prize for Literature (2000).
1941: Maureen Reagan, actress, political activist; first child born to Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman.
1943: Doris Kearns Goodwin, biographer, historian, political commentator; won Pulitzer Prize in 1995 (“No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The American Homefront During WWII”) and the Lincoln Prize in 2005 (“Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”).
1957: Patty Loveless, country singer; her multiple awards include Academy of Country Music Top Female Vocalist 1996, 1997.