Historic January

by Ben Johnson

Among many other events, January saw Harold Godwin, Earl of Wessex, become the last Anglo-Saxon King of England (hence the Viking invaders pictured above!)

1 Jan. 1622 The Catholic Church adopted 1 Jan as the beginning of the New Year (instead of 25 March).
2 Jan. 1727 Birthday of James Wolfe, British general who played a major part in the fight for Canada with the French.
3 Jan. 1924 English explorer Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Egypt.
4 Jan. 1967 Death of Donald Campbell. His jet-powered speedboat Bluebird somersaulted on Coniston Water, Cumbria, at a speed of 300-mph whilst attempting to break his own world record of 276-mph.
5 Jan. 1818 The first regular trans-Atlantic shipping service begins between Liverpool and New York.
6 Jan. 1066 Harold Godwin, Earl of Wessex was elected by the Witan to be the next King of England.
7 Jan. 1558 English forces were ousted from the French port of Calais. The town’s burghers had surrendered to an invading English army in 1346.
8 Jan. 794 Danish Vikings attack Lindisfarne Island off the north-east coast of England and destroy its famous church.
9 Jan. 1806 Lord Nelson, naval commander and hero of the Battle of Trafalgar, is buried at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
10 Jan. 1918 The House of Lords gives its approval to the Representation of the People Bill, which gives woman over the age of 30 the right to vote.
11 Jan. 1569 The first state lottery is held in England, with tickets on sale at the West Door of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
12 Jan. 1970 The first Boeing 747 Jumbo jet arrives at London’s Heathrow Airport after completing it’s maiden transatlantic flight from New York.
13 Jan. 1893 The birth of a new political party in Britain as James Keir Hardie unites socialists under the banner of the Labour Representation Committee.
14 Jan. 1742 Death of Sir Edmund Halley, British Astronomer Royal who gave his name to a comet.
15 Jan. 1559 Elizabeth I was crowned Queen of England at the age of 25. Elizabeth is the daughter of Henry VIII‘s second wife, Anne Boleyn.
16 Jan. 1780 British forces under the command of Admiral Rodney defeat the Spanish at Cape St. Vincent and relieve Gibraltar.
17 Jan. 1912 Britain’s polar explorers led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott reach the South Pole – only to find the Norwegian Roald Amundsen’s expedition had beaten him by a month.
18 Jan. 1485 After 30 years of civil war the Royal Houses of Lancaster and York are united by the marriage of Henry VII to the eldest daughter of Edward IV.
19 Jan. 1915 German Zeppelin airships crossed the eastern coast of England to bombard towns in East Anglia, more than 20 people were killed.
20 Jan. 1265 England’s first Parliament meets at Westminster Hall in London. Representatives from towns and villages across the country meet for the first time in one chamber.
21 Jan. 1846 The first edition of the Daily News, edited by Charles Dickens is published in London.
22 Jan. 1879 Zulu warriors massacre British troops at Isandhlwana in Natal Province, South Africa.
23 Jan. 1713 The signing of the Treaty of Utrecht redraws the map of Europe. The treaty signals the end of the long and bloody War of Spanish Succession. As part of the agreement Gibraltar and Minorca become British.
24 Jan. 1965 The “last lion of British politics”, Sir Winston Churchill died at the age of 90. His body is to lie in state in Westminster Hall, London.
25 Jan. 1759 Birth of Robert “Rabbie” Burns, Scottish poet. Burns Suppers celebrated all over the world each year on this day.
26 Jan. 1885 The British commander of Khartoum, General Charles Gordon is killed by a dervish spear as his forces are overrun by the Mahdi’s Muslim army.
27 Jan. 1926 Inventor John Logie Baird demonstrates his new television machine to members of the Royal Institution in London. Some have suggested that this could one day provide every home with a substitute for the cinema.
28 Jan. 1807 London becomes the first city in the world to be lit by gas lights.
29 Jan. 1596 The most famous English seaman and adventurer of the Elizabethan era, Sir Frances Drake, is buried at sea. The Spanish breathed a sigh of relief!
30 Jan. 1649 The courts deemed him a “tyrant, traitor, murderer and enemy of the people”, for this England’s King Charles I was beheaded in Whitehall.
31 Jan. 1747 The first clinic specializing in the treatment of venereal disease is opened at the London Dock Hospital.

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