It happened today – this day in history – January 1

49: Roman emperor Claudius marries his niece Agrippina.

1502: Portuguese navigators discover Rio de Janeiro.

1515: Francis I succeeds Louis XII as king of France.

1660: The first entry in Samuel Pepys’ diary. On the same day, Thomas Fairfax’s New Model Army occupies York.

1689: The Earl of Danby – a supporter of James II – occupies York.

1724: Glassblower Daniel Gabriel Farenheit proposes a system for making thermometers and the Fahrenheit temperature scale to the Royal Society of London.

1772: The first traveller’s cheques go on sale in London.

1785: The Times is first published as the “Daily Universal Register”.

1797: Albany becomes the capital of New York state.

1801: The Irish Parliament votes to join the Kingdom of Great Britain. On the same day, the dwarf planet Ceres is discovered by Italian monk Giuseppe Piazzi.

1804: Haiti gains independence from France.

1808: Sierra Leone becomes a British colony.

1818: Official reopening of the White House in Washington DC. On the same day, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” is published anonymously.

1846: Yucatan declares independence from Mexico.

1848: Britain takes the Mosquito Coast from Nicaragua.

1863: The Emancipation Proclamation is issued by Abraham Lincoln to free slaves in US confederate states. On the same day, Franz Schubert’s “Missa Solemnis,” premieres in Leipzig.

1869: Paraguay’s capital Asunción falls to Brazilian forces led by General João de Souza da Fonseca Costa in the War of the Triple Alliance.

1877: Queen Victoria is proclaimed Empress of India.

1879: Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major premieres in Leipzig. On the same day, novelist E M Forster is born in Marylebone.

1880: Building of the Panama Canal begins.

1892: Ellis Island opens as a US immigration inspection station.

1894: Queen Victoria opens the Manchester Ship Canal.

1896: German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen announces his discovery of x-rays.

1899: Cuba is liberated from Spanish rule by the US.

1901: The Commonwealth of Australia is formed when the British (Imperial) Parliament Act, the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900, comes into effect.

1903: Edward VII is crowned Emperor of India.

1908: Jack Hobbs makes his international cricket debut in England’s 2nd Test win over Australia.

1909: The Old Age Pension Law in Britain is finally instituted, providing pensions for every British subject over 70 on a low income.

1916: The first blood transfusion using stored and cooled blood is performed.

1917: T E Lawrence joins the forces of the Arabian sheik Feisal al Husayn, beginning his adventures that will lead him to Damascus by October, 1918.

1922: Coal miners in the Transvaal, South Africa, start a strike in response to a wage cut, which quickly escalates into a large-scale revolt against the government.

1923: Britain’s Railways are grouped into LNER, GWR, SR, and LMSR.

1925: Norway’s capital Christiania changes its name to Oslo.

1937: Safety glass in vehicle windscreens becomes mandatory in Britain.

1947: Britain nationalises its coal industry.

1948: Britain nationalises its railways.

1949: Cricket’s greatest batsman, Australia’s Don Bradman is knighted.


1950: Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh begins an offensive against French troops in Indochina.

1953: Country singer-songwriter Hank Williams dies of a heart attack brought on by a lethal cocktail of pills and alcohol aged 29 in the back of a car while being driven to a gig. On the same day, the first TV detector van, used to track down users of unlicensed television sets, begins operation in the UK.

1956: Sudan declares independence from Egypt and the UK.

1957: Benjamin Britten’s ballet “The Prince & the Pauper,” premieres in London. On the same day, an IRA unit attacks Brookeborough RUC barracks in one of the most famous incidents of the IRA’s Operation Harvest.

1958: The common market (EEC) begins. On the same day, BOAC Britannia flies London to NY in a record 7hr 57m.

1959: Johnny Cash plays a free concert for the inmates of San Quentin Prison, California. On the same day, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista finally flees to the Dominican Republic.

1960: Cameroon gains independence from France.

1962: The Beatles audition for Decca Records. A&R boss at Decca, Dick Rowe, turns them down in what is considered one of the biggest mistakes in music industry history, saying that guitar bands are over. On the same day, Western Samoa gains independence from New Zealand.

1964: The first edition of the BBC TV show Top Of The Pops is transmitted from an old church hall in Manchester featuring Dusty Springfield, The Rolling Stones, The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Dave Clark Five and The Hollies.

1965: Stoke City’s Stanley Matthews becomes the first professional footballer to be awarded a knighthood while still playing.

1970: The Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), an infantry regiment of the British Army, comes into existence.

1973: The UK becomes a member of the European Economic Community.

1975: Presidential aides H R Halderman, John Ehrlichman, John Mitchell and Robert Mardian are convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury in connection with the Watergate scandal.

1980: A mob storms the Russian embassy in Tehran.

1981: Greece joins the EEC.

1982: ABBA make their final live appearance as a group when they play in Stockholm. On the same day, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar becomes Secretary-General of the United Nations.

1984: Stalwart of the British blues movement of the early 1960s, Alexis Korner dies of lung cancer aged 55.

1985: The first British mobile phone call is made by comedian Ernie Wise to Vodafone.

1986: Spain and Portugal join the EEC.

1991: Iraq rejects a peace proposal from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

1993: Czechoslovakia separates into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

1995: Fred West, the Gloucestershire builder charged with 12 murders, is found hanged in his prison cell.

Singles chart:

  1. Stay Another Day – East 17
  2. Love Me For A Reason – Boyzone
  3. Cotton Eye Joe – Rednex
  4. Think Twice – Celine Dion
  5. Them Girls Them Girls – Zig and Zag
  6. Whatever – Oasis
  7. Another Day – Whigfield
  8. All I Want For Chrisstmas Is You – Mariah Carey
  9. Crocodile Shoes – Jimmy Nail
  10. Here Comes The Hotstepper – Ini Kamoze
1995: Blur – Parklife

Album chart:

  1. Carry On Up The Charts: The Best Of – The Beeautiful South
  2. Always And Forver – Eternal
  3. Steam – East 17
  4. Cross Road: The Best Of – Bon Jovi
  5. Psyche: The Album – PJ & Duncan
  6. Crocodile Shoes – Jimmy Nail
  7. Parklife – Blur
  8. Definitely Maybe – Oasis
  9. Fields Of Gold: The Best Of – Sting
  10. Bizarre Fruit – M People

1997: Singer songwriter Townes Van Zandt dies age 52.

2002: Twelve of the European Union’s 15 countries adopt the Euro as their currency. On the same day, Eric Clapton marries Melia McEnery the mother of his baby daughter, in Surrey.

2007: Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union.

2008: Malta and Cyprus join the European Union.

2009: Slovakia joins the European Union.

2011: Chuck Berry cuts short a concert in Chicago after collapsing on stage an hour into the show.

2013: Phil Taylor claims his 16th and last PDC World Darts Championship title with a 7–4 victory over Dutchman Michael van Gerwen. On the same day, singer Patti Page (Clara Fowler) dies aged 84.

2015: Lithuania joins the European Union.

2019: Qatar withdraws from OPEC. On the same day, singer-songwriter Pegi Young, former wife of Neil, dies of cancer age 66.

2020: Scotland’s Peter Wright beats Dutch defending champion Michael Van Gerwen, 7-3 to seal his first PDC World Darts Championship in London.

2022: The state funeral of Archbishop Dsmond Tutu takes place in Cape Town.

2023: Actor Jeremy Renner is critically injured when he is accidentally run over by his own snowplow near his property in Nevada. On the same day, Croatia adopts the Euro as its currency.

Fiona Phillips

BIRTHDAYS: Frank Langella, actor, 86; “Country” Joe McDonald, singer-songwriter, 82; Morgan (Stephen) Fisher, keyboardist (Mott The Hoople) 74; Grandmaster Flash (Joseph Saddler), DJ, 66; Fiona Phillips, TV presenter, 63; Brody Dalle, (Bree Robinson) musician/singer, 45; Richie Faulkner, guitarist (Judas Priest) 45; Jonas Armstrong, actor, 43; Ali Bastian, model/actress, 41; Naughty Boy (Shahid Khan) producer/songwriter, 38; Colin Morgan, actor, 38; Jack Wilshere, footballer, 32.