Aquarius (January 20th to February 18th)
Today is the 31st day of the year.
There are 334 days left in the year.
1560: Spanish king Philip II marries Elisabeth de Valois.
1573: Birthdays: Giulio Cesare Monteverdi, Composer.
1606: Deaths: Guy Fawkes, Convicted in the ‘Gunpowder Plot’, executed at 35.
1675: Cornelia/Dina Olfaarts found not guilty of witchcraft.
1679: Jean-Baptiste Lully’s opera ‘Bellerophon,’ premieres in Paris.
1696: Uprising of undertakers after funeral reforms (Amsterdam).
1734: Birthdays: Robert Morris, Merchant (signed Declaration of Independence); Julien-Amable Mathieu, Composer.
1751: Birthdays: Gouverneur Morris, Co-author of the U.S. Constitution.
1759: Birthdays: Francois Devienne, Composer.
1788: Deaths: [Bonnie Prince] Charles E. Stuart, English pretender to the throne, died at 67.
1797: Birthdays: Franz Peter Schubert, Lichtenthal, Austria, Composer (Unfinished Symphony).
1804: British vice-admiral William Bligh’s (of HMS Bounty infamy) fleet reaches Curacao.
1828: Deaths: Alexandros Ypsilanti, Greek resistance fighter, died at 35.
1851: Gail Borden announces invention of evaporated milk.
1863: 1st black Civil War regiment, SC Volunteers, mustered into US army.
1865: Gen Robert E Lee named Commander-in-Chief of Confederate Armies. Congress passes 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery in America (121-24).
1868: Birthdays: Theodore William Richards, Chemist (atomic weights, Nobel-1914).
1872: Birthdays: Zane Grey, American West Novelist (Riders of the Purple Sage).
1874: Jesse James gang robs train at Gads Hill, Missouri.
1882: Birthdays: Anna Pavlova, Saint Petersburg, Russia, Ballerina/Choreographer.
1892: Birthdays: Eddie Cantor, Comedian.
1895: Jose Marti and others leave NYC for invasion of Spanish Cuba.
1901: Chekhov’s ‘Three Sisters’ opens at Moscow Art Theater.
1902: Birthdays: Tallulah Bankhead, Actress.
1905: Birthdays: John Henry O’Hara, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Novelist (Appointment at Samarra).
1914: Birthdays: Jersey Joe Walcott, Boxer.
1915: 1st (German) poison gas attack, against Russians. Birthdays: Thomas Merton, France, Trappist Monk/Poet/Essayist; Garry Moore, Radio/Television personality.
1917: Germany notifies US that U-boats will attack neutral merchant ship.
1919: Birthdays: Jackie Robinson, Georgia, First black major league baseball player (Dodgers).
1921: Birthdays: Mario Lanza, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Actor/Singer (Great Caruso, Toast of New Orleans); Carol Channing Washington, Actress (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Hello Dolly).
1922: Birthdays: Joanne Dru, Actress.
1923: Birthdays: Norman Mailer, New Jersey, New York City, New York Mayoral Candidate/Author/Novelist (Naked and the Dead).
1925: Birthdays: Benjamin Hooks, Civil rights leader.
1926: Birthdays: Jean Simmons, London, England, Actress (Thorn Birds, Guys and Dolls).
1928: Scotch tape 1st marketed by 3-M Company.
1929: The Soviet Union expelled communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky. He was assassinated in Mexico in August 1940.
1931: Birthdays: Ernie Banks, Baseball Hall of Fame member.
1937: Birthdays: Suzanne Pleshette, Actress.
1938: Birthdays: James G. Watt, Colorado, United States Secretary of Interior (1981-83); Beatrix, Queen of Netherlands.
1940: 40 U boats sunk this month (111,000 ton).
1941: Jessica Walter, Actress.
1942: 62 U boats sunk this month (327,000 ton).
1943: Gen Friedrich von Paulus surrenders to Russian troops at Stalingrad. Chile breaks contact with Germany and Japan. 39 U boats sunk this month (203,100 ton).
1944: US forces invade Kwajalein Atoll. U-592 sunk off Ireland. Operation Overlord (D-Day) postponed until June.
1945: Deaths: Eddie Slovik, 1st US soldier executed by firing squad for desertion since Civil War at 25.
1947: Birthdays: Nolan Ryan, Baseball Hall-of-Famer.
1950: U.S. President Harry Truman announced he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb.
1951: Birthdays: Phil Collins, Singer; KC, Singer/Musician (KC and the Sunshine Band). Chart Toppers: The Shot Gun Boogie by Tennessee Ernie Ford; Tennessee Waltz by Patti Page; My Heart Cries for You by Guy Mitchell; A Bushell and a Peck by Perry Como and Betty Hutton.
1953: Nearly 2,000 people died when the North Sea flooded the Netherlands.
1954: Deaths: Edwin H. Armstrong, US radio inventor (FM), committed suicide at 63.
1955: RCA demonstrates 1st music synthesizer.
1956: Birthdays: Johnny Rotten, Rock Singer.
1958: James van Allen discovers radiation belt. Explorer I was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla, becoming the first successful American satellite to be launched into orbit around the earth by a Jupiter-C rocket. Radio signals from the transmitter aboard the 30.8 pound satellite were picked up in California within a few minutes after the launch. Two months earlier, the first attempt to launch a satellite had failed.
1959: Birthdays: Kelly Lynch, Actress; Anthony LaPaglia, Actor. Chart Toppers: The All American Boy by Bill Parsons; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by The Platters; Donna by Ritchie Valens; Billy Bayou by Jim Reeves.
1961: NASA launches a rocket carrying Ham the Chimp, 1st primate into space (158 miles) aboard Mercury/Redstone 2.
1964: US report ‘Smoking and Health’ connects smoking to lung cancer. Birthdays: Martha MacCallum, Television news commentator.
1967: Chart Toppers: There Goes My Everything by Jack Greene; Tell It Like It Is by Aaron Neville; I’m a Believer by The Monkees; Georgy Girl by The Seekers.
1968: Viet Cong’s Tet offensive begins.
1970: Birthdays: Minnie Driver, Actress.
1971: ‘My Sweet Lord’ by George Harrison hit #1 on UK pop chart.
1972: Deaths: Howard Barlow, Conductor (Voice of Firestone), died at 79.
1973: Birthdays: Portia de Rossi, Actress.
1974: Deaths: Samuel Goldwyn, Polish/English/US film magnate (MGM), died at 91.
1975: Barry Manilow’s ‘Mandy’ goes gold. Chart Toppers: Please Mr. Postman by Carpenters; Laughter in the Rain by Neil Sedaka; Fire by Ohio Players; (I’d Be) A Legend in My Time by Ronnie Milsap.
1981: Birthdays: Justin Timberlake, Singer/Actor (‘N Sync).
1982: The Israeli Cabinet agreed to a multinational peacekeeping force to act as a buffer between Israel and Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula.
1983: Chart Toppers: Talk to Me by Mickey Gilley; Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye; Down Under by Men at Work; Africa by Toto.
1986: Mary Lund of Minn, is 1st female recipient of an artificial heart.
1989: Deaths: Jack Douglas, humorist (My Brother Was an Only Child), died at 80.
1990: The first McDonald’s restaurant opened in Moscow, Russia as the world’s biggest McDonalds.
1991: Chart Toppers: The First Time by Surface; Sensitivity by Ralph Tresvant; Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) by C and C Music Factory, featuring Freedom Williams; Forever’s as Far as I’ll Go by Alabama.
1992: Sportscaster Howard Cosell retires.
1994: Barcelona opera theater ‘Gran Teatro del Liceo’ burns down. Deaths: Pierre Boulle, French writer (Executioner), died at 81.
1995: U.S. President Bill Clinton used his emergency authority to provide financially troubled Mexico with a $20 billion loan. Deaths: George Abbott, Playwright/Actor/Producer (Damn Yankees), died at 105.
1996: A suicide bombing at Sri Lanka’s main bank killed nearly 100 people and injured more than 1,000.
1999: A team of international scientists reported it traced the predominant strain of the AIDS virus to a subspecies of chimpanzee that lived in parts of Africa.
2000: Illinois Gov. George Ryan halted executions in the state after several death row inmates were found to be innocent of the crimes for which they were to be put to death.
2001: A Scottish court meeting in the Netherlands convicted a Libyan man, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. The plane exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people, including 11 on the ground. (The convicted bomber died in 2012.)
2003: 18 people on a bus were killed when a bomb destroyed a bridge near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. Last Week’s Box Office Top 10: Darkness Falls; Kangaroo Jack; Chicago; National Security; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; Catch Me If You Can; Just Married; Confessions of a Dangerous Mind; About Schmidt; The Hours.
2005: A U.S. judge in Washington ruled the process for determining enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was unconstitutional.
2006: Samuel Alito was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court by a 58-42 vote. He succeeded retiring Justice Sandra O’Connor.
2008: In the U.S. presidential primaries, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continued to vie for the Democratic nomination while John Edwards pulled out. On the Republican side, John McCain, once struggling to stay in the race, made his move with wins in South Carolina and Florida as Rudy Giuliani ended his bid.
2011: A U.S. judge in Florida ruled the healthcare reform law’s requirement for mandatory health insurance was unconstitutional and struck down the entire law, saying the provision cannot be dealt with alone. The White House called the ruling judicial overreaching.
2012: A U.S. congressional report accused the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives of bungling a sting operation called Fast and Furious in which about 2,000 guns were slipped into Mexico in an effort to nab real smugglers. Things went awry when it was discovered some of the weapons were used in crimes, including the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard and Poor 500 had their best January since 1997 and Nasdaq joined with a significant increase.
2013: An explosion caused by a gas leak at the Mexico City offices of state oil company Pemex killed nearly 40 people and injured scores of others.
2014: The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 15,698.52, ending its worst January in five years. The Dow fell more than 5 percent during the month.