This Week in History

December 29

1845: The United States annexed the Republic of Texas, following the doctrine of manifest destiny; the Republic of Texas, which had been independent since the Texas Revolution of 1836, was admitted as the 28th U.S. state.

1937: The Irish Free State was replaced by a new nation called Ireland with the adoption of a new constitution.

1949: KC2XAK of Bridgeport, Connecticut, became the first ultra-high-frequency (UHF) television station to operate a daily schedule.

2003: The last known native speaker of Akkala Sami died, rendering the language extinct.

December 30

1853: The United States bought land from Mexico to facilitate building a railroad in the Southwest, in what became known as the Gadsden Purchase, the last expansion of U.S. territory in the 48 states.

1906: The All-India Muslim League was founded in Dacca, East Bengal, British India. (It went on to become Pakistan.)
1927: The first subway line in Asia opened in Tokyo, Japan.
2011: Because of a change of time zone, this day was skipped in Samoa and Tokelau.

December 31

1695: A window tax was imposed in England, causing many householders to brick up windows to avoid the tax.

1759: Arthur Guinness (1725-1803) signed a 9,000-year lease at £45 per year and began brewing Guinness stout at St. James Gate in Dublin, Ireland.
1857: Queen Victoria (1819-1901) chose Ottawa, a small logging town, as the capital of Canada.
1878: Karl Benz, working in Mannheim, Germany, filed for a patent on his first reliable two-stroke gasoline engine. (He was granted the patent in 1879.)
1907: The first New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) was held in New York, New York.
1923: The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast on radio for the first time by the British Broadcasting Corporation.
1955: General Motors became the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion in a year.
1960: The farthing coin ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.
1963: The Central African Federation officially collapsed and became Zambia, Malawi, and Rhodesia.
1983: The AT&T Bell System was broken up by the United States government.
January 1

45 BC: The Julian calendar took effect as the civil calendar of the Roman Empire, establishing January 1 as the new first day of the new year.
1502: The present-day location of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was first explored by the Portuguese.
1772: The first traveler’s checks, which could be used in 90 European cities, went on sale in London, England.
1773: The hymn that became known as “Amazing Grace,” then titled “1 Chronicles 17:16-17,” was first used to accompany a sermon led by John Newton in the town of Olney, England.
1788: The first edition of The Times of London was published.
1843: The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe was first published in the Boston Pioneer.
1860: The first Polish postage stamp was issued.
1873: Japan began using the Gregorian calendar.
1890: The Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., was held for the first time.
1895: J. Edgar Hoover, first director of the FBI, was born in Washington, D.C.
1898: New York, New York, annexed land from surrounding counties, creating the City of Greater New York. The four initial boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx, were joined on Jan. 25 by Staten Island to create the modern city of five boroughs.
1902: The first American college football bowl game, the Rose Bowl between Michigan and Stanford, was held in Pasadena, Calif.
1908: A ball was dropped for the first time in New York City’s Times Square to signify the start of the New Year at midnight.
1934: The U.S. federal prison at Alcatraz Island received its first inmates.
1954: NBC made the first coast-to-coast color broadcast when it telecast the Tournament of Roses Parade from Pasadena, Calif.
1962: The U.S. Navy SEALs were established.
1971: Cigarette advertisements were banned on U.S. television.
1983: The ARPANET officially changed to using the internet protocol, creating the internet.
1985: The internet’s Domain Name System was created. The first British mobile phone call was made by Ernie Wise (1922-1999) to Vodafone.
1988: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America came into existence, creating the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States.

               January 2
533: Mercurius becomes Pope John II, the first pope to adopt a new name upon ascending to the papacy.
1789: Georgia ratified the U.S. Constitution.
1900: The United States began trading with China.
1974: President Richard Nixon signed a bill lowering the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 mph to conserve gasoline during an OPEC embargo.

January 3

1496: Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tested a flying machine.
1957: The Hamilton Watch Co. introduced the first electric wristwatch.
1959: Alaska became the 49th U.S. state.
1962: Pope John XXIII excommunicated Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
1983: Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano began erupting continuously and has not stopped to date.
2000: The last original daily Peanuts comic strip was published.

                January 4
1998: A massive ice storm hit eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. It continued through Jan. 10 and caused widespread destruction.
1999: Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was sworn in as governor of Minnesota. Iron Eyes Cody, a U.S. actor who portrayed Native Americans in movies and TV from the 1930s to the 1970s, died in Hollywood at age 94. (Three years earlier, The New Orleans Times-Picayune had reported that his parents were immigrants from Sicily and that he had no Native American ancestry.)


DEC. 29 — JAN. 4

Meant to celebrate a soup that was nickname “The Soup Than Won The War.”

Gather round the frying pan everybody!


Perfect timing for New Year’s Eve.

January 1– NEW YEAR’S DAY
A time of optimism, planning, and resoluteness. New Year’s Day is about taking a moment to get ready for everything that is about to unfold.


On this day, take the fruitcake you never got around to eating and send it spiraling hundreds or thousands of feet into the air.



Q. What holiday celebrates little known factoids?
A. National Trivia Day, January 4.