It happened today – this day in history – January 16

550: The Ostrogoths, under King Totila, conquer Rome after a long siege by bribing the Isaurian garrison.

1362: A storm tide in the North Sea destroys the German island of Strand and the city of Rungholt

1493: Christopher Columbus leaves the New World and sets sail for Spain.

1547: Seventeen year-old Ivan the Terrible crowns himself first tsar of Moscow.

1572: Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk is tried for treason for his part in the Ridolfi plot to restore Catholicism in England.

1581: Parliament passes laws against Catholicism.

1707: The Act of Union is ratified by the Scottish Parliament.

1756: Britain and Prussia sign the Treaty of Westminster.

1761: The British capture Pondicherry, India, from the French.

1777: Vermont declares independence from New York.

1780: The British fleet under Admiral Sir George Rodney defeats the Spanish at the Battle of Cape St Vincent.

1793: Louis XVI of France is sentenced to death by the National Convention.

1809: The British defeat the French at the Battle of Corunna in the Peninsula War.

1862: A disaster at the Hartley Colliery in Northumberland results in 204 deaths.

1870: Virginia becomes the eighth state readmitted to US after the civil war.

1900: The US gains control over Tutuila in Samoa and several other smaller Pacific islands.

1920: Georgia declares independence from Russia.

1924: The Conservative government of Stanley Baldwin resigns.

1933: Australian batsman Bert Oldfield’s skull is fractured by a delivery bowled by England’s Harold Larwood during the third “Bodyline” test in Adelaide.

1939: The IRA begins a bombing campaign in England.

1942: Actress Carole Lombard (Jane Peters), wife of Clark Gable, dies in a plane crash aged 33.

1943: The Red Army recaptures Pitomnik Airport at Stalingrad.

1944: General Dwight D Eisenhower takes command of the Allied Invasion Force in London.

1945: Hitler moves into his underground bunker in Berlin.

1947: Vincent Aurial is elected President of France.

1951: The Viet Minh launch an offensive against Hanoi.

1956: President Nasser of Egypt pledges to reconquer Palestine.

1957: The Cavern Club opens in Matthew Street, Liverpool.


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1963: Nikita Khrushchev claims the Soviet Union has a 100-megaton nuclear bomb. On the same day, The Whiskey A-Go-Go opens in LA.

1964: Singles chart:

  1. Glad All Over – The Dave Clark Five
  2. I Want To Hold Your Hand – The Beatles
  3. Hippy Hippy Shake – The Swinging Blue Jeans
  4. I Only Want To Be With You – Dusty Springfield
  5. Sshe Loves You – The Beatles
  6. 24 Hours From Tulsa – Gene Pitney
  7. Swinging On A Star – Big Dee Irwin
  8. Stay – The Hollies
  9. You Were Made For Me – Freddie And The Dreamers
  10. Dominique – The Singing Nun

1966: Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi becomes the leader of Nigeria after a military coup.

1966: The Beatles – Rubber Soul

Album chart:

  1. Rubber Soul – The Beatles
  2. The Sound Of Music – Original Soundtrack
  3. Mary Poppins – Original Soundtrack
  4. Help! – The Beatles
  5. Take It Easy – The Walker Brothers
  6. Tears Of Happiness – Ken Dodd
  7. A World Of Our Own – The Seekers
  8. My Generation – The Who
  9. The Kink Kontroversy – The Kinks
  10. Their First LP – The Spencer Davis Group

1969: Soviet Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 perform the first crew transfer in space.

1970: Two days after it opened, the Bag One Gallery in London is raided by police who remove eight John Lennon lithographs under the Obscene Publications Act.

1972: The Dallas Cowboys beat the Miami Dolphins, 24-3 to win the Super Bowl.

1979: The Shah of Iran flees the country following months of increasingly violent protests against his regime. On the same day, Addams Family actor Ted Cassidy dies aged 46 from complications after heart surgery.

1980: Paul McCartney is jailed for nine days in Tokyo for possession of marijuana after being found with 219g on his arrival at Narita Airport.

1981: Northern Ireland civil rights campaigner and former Westminster MP, Bernadette McAliskey, is shot by gunmen at her home in County Tyrone.

1984: Paul and Linda McCartney are arrested in Barbados-possession of cannabis.

1985: David Bowie’s schizophrenic half-brother Terry Burnes kills himself aged 47 after laying down on the railway lines at Coulsdon South station, London. He is killed instantly by a passing train.

1987: TV presenter Jools Holland is suspended from Channel 4’s The Tube for six weeks, after using the phrase “groovy f*****s” in a live trailer broadcast during children’s hour.

1988: Czech dissident Vaclav Havel is arrested in Prague for taking part in demonstrations against the communist government.

1990: Guitarist Ike Turner is convicted of driving under the influence of cocaine in California and sentenced to four years in prison.

2000: Will Jones, bass vocalist for The Coasters, dies aged 71 from the effects of diabetes.

2001: The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Laurent Kabila, is shot and seriously wounded by a bodyguard. On the same day, a fuel tanker runs aground off the island of San Cristobal. On the same day, US President Bill Clinton awards former President Theodore Roosevelt a posthumous Medal of Honour for his service as one of the legendary “Rough Riders” in the Spanish–American War.

2002: The UN Security Council establishes an arms embargo and freezes the assets of Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, and the Taliban.

2004: Michael Jackson appears in court and pleads not guilty to seven charges of child molestation.

2005: Romanian university lecturer Adriana Illiescu gives birth aged 66, becoming the oldest new mother in the world.

2006: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is sworn in as president of Liberia and Africa’s first female elected head of state.

2009: Boy George is sentenced to 15 months in prison after being convicted of falsely imprisoning a male escort.

2017: Astronaut Eugene Cernan, 12th man on the Moon, dies aged 82.

2019: Prime Minister Theresa May wins a vote of no confidence in her government by 325 votes to 306. On the same day, Cairo is engulfed by a huge sandstorm.

2020: The impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump begins in the Senate.

BIRTHDAYS: Ronnie Milsap, country singer, 79; Cliff Thorburn, snooker champion, 74; John Carpenter, director/screenwriter/composer, 74; Debbie Allen, actress/dancer, 72; Sade (Helen Folasade Adu) singer-songwriter, 63; James May, TV presenter,, 59; Roy Jones Jr, boxer, 53; Kate Moss, model, 48; Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer/playwright/actor, 42; Nick Valensi, guitarist (The Strokes) 41; Bobby Zamora, football pundit, 41; Samuel Preston, guitarist (The Ordinary Boys) 40; Nicklas Bendtner, footballer, 34; FKA Twigs (Tahliah Barnett) singer-songwriter/actress, 34.

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