We take a look back through the history books and discover some of the most noteworthy events to take place in the month of January.
1863: Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation
The executive order was issued by President Lincoln during the American Civil War and declared ‘that all persons held as slaves’ within the rebellious states ‘are, and henceforth shall be free’.
1999: The euro officially debuts
The first day of January 1999 saw the euro currency come into existence as eleven nations adopted the single currency.
2022: Hottest New Year’s Day on record
2022 was the warmest ever year in the UK and it was kicked off with the hottest New Year’s Day, with 16.3C recorded at St James’s Park, London.
1948: Burma gains independence from the UK.
British rule in the Southeast Asian country (now called Myanmar) began in 1824 and lasted until 1948, at which point Burma chose to become fully independent.
1066: Harold II is crowned king of England
Harold Godwinson was the last crowned Anglo-Saxon English king. He reigned for a matter of months before his death at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, after which the Normans ruled England for the next 300 years.
1412: Joan of Arc is born
The peasant girl turned French heroine who saved her nation before becoming a martyr at just 19 years old, was believed to have been born on this day in 1412.
2021: The storming of the Capitol
In the wake of Donald Trump’s election defeat to Joe Biden, supporters of the former president attacked the US Capitol Building in Washington. The riots sparked the largest criminal investigation in the US Justice Department’s history.
1943: Famed scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla dies
A pioneer of the electrical revolution, the Serbian-American invented the first alternating current (AC) motor and developed AC generation and transmission technology.
1979: Pol Pot overthrown
Pol Pot, the political leader of the brutal Khmer Rouge government in Cambodia, was finally overthrown by Vietnamese troops after they seized the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. Around two million people died at the hands of Pot’s radical communist government.
2015: Charlie Hebdo attack kills twelve
Two French Muslim terrorists and brothers armed with rifles entered the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Twelve people were murdered and eleven others were injured.
2007: Steve Jobs debuts iPhone
Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone at the Macworld convention in San Francisco. The revolutionary piece of technology put the internet in everyone’s pocket, forever changing the world in the process.
1559: Elizabeth I crowned
Heralded as one of England’s greatest monarchs, Elizabeth I, who oversaw the defeat of the Spanish Armada, was crowned on this day in 1559.
1773: Captain James Cook becomes the first European to venture south of the Antarctic Circle.
During his second voyage, Cook’s ship Resolution succeeded in reaching 67° 15ʹ south, the first known ship to have ever gone that far.
2009: Barack Obama inaugurated
Barack Obama became the first African American president in the history of the US after he was sworn in as the country's 44th president.
1901: Queen Victoria dies
She sat atop the throne for nearly 64 years, making her Britain's second longest-reigning monarch. Queen Victoria's reign was synonymous with Britain’s industrial development, economic progression, and imperial expansion. When she died, the British Empire was almost at its peak, covering a quarter of the world and nearly half a billion people.
1965: Winston Churchill passes away
Arguably the greatest political leader in British history, Winston Churchill guided Britain and the Allies through WWII. He died at the age of 90 after suffering a stroke.
1947: Al Capone dies
Known as one of the most infamous gangsters in history, Al Capone (aka Scarface) passed away from syphilis at the age of 48.
1944: The Siege of Leningrad ends
Lasting 872 days, the Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history. The Axis powers began their blockade of the Soviet city in September 1941 and by the time it ended in 1944, one million civilians had been killed.
1945: Liberation of Auschwitz
Located in southern Poland, Auschwitz was Nazi Germany’s largest and most lethal concentration camp. Around 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, died at Auschwitz during the Holocaust. The camp was finally liberated by Soviet troops on 27 January 1945.
1986: Space shuttle Challenger explodes
Just 73 seconds after lift-off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the US space shuttle Challenger broke up live on television. All seven astronauts onboard were killed. The cause of the crash was due to an O-ring seal failure in one of the solid-fuel rockets.
1933: Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany
Germany took one step closer to becoming a dictatorship when Hitler was formally appointed as the country’s new chancellor. With the Nazi party’s grip on Germany tightening, the world was headed on a new path toward war.
1948: Gandhi assassinated
Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of India’s nonviolent independence movement against colonial British rule, was shot and killed by a Hindu extremist in New Delhi.
2020: First cases of COVID-19 in the UK
The first two cases of COVID-19 in the UK were confirmed after Chinese nationals staying in York were diagnosed with coronavirus.
1606: Guy Fawkes jumps to his death
Famous for his role in the gunpowder plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament, Guy Fawkes was found guilty of treason in a show trial in 1606. On 31 January, he managed to avoid being hung, drawn and quartered by leaping to his death as he awaited the gallows, Fawkes subsequently died of a broken neck.