January 2nd in History

This day in historyJanuary 2 is the second day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 363 days remaining until the end of the year (364 in leap years).

Holidays

In 366,  The Alemanni cross the frozen Rhine River in large numbers, invading the Roman Empire.

In 533,  Mercurius becomes Pope John II, the first pope to adopt a new name upon elevation to the papacy.

In 1492,  Reconquista: the Emirate of Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, surrenders.

In 1777,  American Revolutionary War: American forces under the command of George Washington repulsed a British attack at the Battle of the Assunpink Creek near Trenton, New Jersey.

In 1788,  Georgia becomes the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution.

In 1791,  Big Bottom massacre in the Ohio Country, marking the beginning of the Northwest Indian War.

In 1818,  The British Institution of Civil Engineers is founded.

In 1833,  Reassertion of British sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.

In 1860,  The discovery of the planet Vulcan is announced at a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences in Paris, France.

In 1865,  Uruguayan War: The Siege of Paysandú ends as Brazilian and Coloradans capture Paysandú, Uruguay.

In 1871,  Amadeus I becomes King of Spain.

George Biddell Airy.jpgIn 1892, Sir George Biddell Airy, (Born 27 July 1801) died. He was an English mathematician and astronomer, Astronomer Royal from 1835 to 1881. His many achievements include work on planetary orbits, measuring the mean density of the Earth, a method of solution of two-dimensional problems in solid mechanics and, in his role as Astronomer Royal, establishing Greenwich as the location of the prime meridian. His reputation has been tarnished by allegations that, through his inaction, Britain lost the opportunity of priority in the discovery of Neptune.

In 1900,  American Statesman and diplomat John Hay announces the Open Door Policy to promote trade with China.

In 1900, the Madison County Court in Tennessee appropriated $6,000 for the purchase of 300 acres (120 ha) near the Illinois Central rail line and transfer it to The Bemis Brothers Bag Company for the Bemis project. Bemis is a former company town in Madison County, Tennessee, United States, now part of the city of Jackson. The Bemis Brothers Bag Company established the town in 1900 to be the site of a cotton mill and housing for the mill workers. A 450-acre (180 ha) area of Bemis was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 as the Bemis Historic District. Much of the area is also a local historic district. Construction on the planned community Construction began in 1900 and the first mill, with capacity of 21,000 spindles, was in operation by June of the following year.

General James Longstreet

In 1904, James Longstreet, American general and diplomat (b. 1821) contracted pneumonia and died in Gainesville, GA six days before his 83rd birthday. He was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his “Old War Horse.” He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the Eastern Theater, but also with Gen. Braxton Bragg in the Army of Tennessee in the Western Theater. Biographer and historian Jeffry D. Wert wrote that “Longstreet … was the finest corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia; in fact, he was arguably the best corps commander in the conflict on either side.”

Longstreet’s talents as a general made significant contributions to the Confederate victories at Second Bull Run (Second Manassas), Fredericksburg, and Chickamauga, in both offensive and defensive roles. He also performed strongly during the Seven Days Battles, the Battle of Antietam, and until he was seriously wounded, at the Battle of the Wilderness. His performance in semiautonomous command during the Knoxville Campaign resulted in a Confederate defeat. His most controversial service was at the Battle of Gettysburg, where he openly disagreed with General Lee on the tactics to be employed and reluctantly supervised the disastrous infantry assault known as Pickett’s Charge.

He enjoyed a successful post-war career working for the U.S. government as a diplomat, civil servant, and administrator. However, his conversion to the Republican Party and his cooperation with his old friend, President Ulysses S. Grant, as well as critical comments he wrote in his memoirs about General Lee’s wartime performance, made him anathema to many of his former Confederate colleagues. His reputation in the South further suffered when he led African-American militia against the anti-Reconstruction White League at the Battle of Liberty Place in 1874. Authors of the Lost Cause movement focused on Longstreet’s actions at Gettysburg as a primary reason for the Confederacy’s loss of the war. His reputation in the South was damaged for over a century and has only recently begun a slow reassessment.

Longstreet’s remains are buried in Alta Vista Cemetery. He outlived most of his detractors, and was one of only a few general officers from the Civil War to live into the 20th century.

In 1905,  Russo-Japanese War: The Russian garrison surrenders at Port Arthur, China.

In 1911,  A gun battle in the East End of London left two dead and sparked a political row over the involvement of then-Home Secretary Winston Churchill.

In 1920,  The second Palmer Raid takes place with another 6,000 suspected communists and anarchists arrested and held without trial. These raids take place in several U.S. cities.

In 1927,  Angered by the anti-clerical provisions of the Mexican Constitution of 1917, Catholic rebels in Mexico rebelled against the government.

In 1935,  Bruno Hauptmann goes on trial for the murder of Charles Lindbergh, Jr., infant son of aviator Charles Lindbergh.

In 1941,  World War II: German bombing severely damages the Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom.

In 1942,  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) convicts 33 members of a German spy ring headed by Fritz Joubert Duquesne in the largest espionage case in United States history—the Duquesne Spy Ring.

In 1942,  World War II: Manila, Philippines is captured by Japanese forces.

In 1945,  World War II: Nuremberg, Germany (in German, Nürnberg) is severely bombed by Allied forces.

In 1949  Luis Muñoz Marín becomes the first democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico.

In 1955,  Panamanian president José Antonio Remón Cantera is assassinated.

In 1959,  Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon and to orbit the Sun, is launched by the Soviet Union.

In 1963,  Vietnam War: The Viet Cong wins its first major victory in the Battle of Ap Bac.

In 1967,  Ronald Reagan sworn in as Governor of California

In 1971,  The second Ibrox disaster kills 66 fans at a RangersCeltic association football (soccer) match.

In 1974,  United States President Richard Nixon signs a bill lowering the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 MPH in order to conserve gasoline during an OPEC embargo.

In 1975,  A bomb blast at Samastipur, Bihar, India, fatally wounds Minister of Railways Lalit Narayan Mishra.

In 1975,  Bangladeshi Marxist leader Siraj Sikder is arrested and dies while in police custody.

In 1976,  The Gale of January 1976 begins, which results in coastal flooding around the southern North Sea coasts, resulting in at least 82 deaths and US$1.3 billion in damage.

In 1981,  One of the largest investigations by a British police force ends when serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, the “Yorkshire Ripper”, is arrested in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

In 1992,  Leaders of armed opposition declare the President Zviad Gamsakhurdia deposed during a military coup in Georgia.

In 1993,  Sri Lankan Civil War: The Sri Lanka Navy kill 35-100 civilians on the Jaffna Lagoon.

Dixy Lee Ray.jpg

Dixy Lee Ray

In 1994, Dixy Lee Ray (born September 3, 1914 ) died. She was the 17th Governor of the U.S. State of Washington. She was Washington State’s first female governor. Ray was elected governor of Washington in 1976 as a Democrat. She quickly alienated Democrats with her strongly conservative views, particularly with regard to environmental and energy policy. She was governor when Mount St. Helens started volcanic activity after a 123 year dormant or inactive phase. As volcanic activity increased, the mountain attracted scientists and sightseers. On April 3, 1980, she declared a state of emergency and urged people to stay away from the mountain. This declaration allowed the National Guard to assist State Patrol troopers and sheriffs deputies from Cowlitz County and Skamania County. Ray also issued an executive order that restricted access to extremely dangerous areas of Mount St. Helens and its surrounds. The “red zone” restrictions would be credited by Forest Service respondents to a post-eruption ‘Warning and Response Survey’ with keeping between 5,000 and 30,000 potential decedents out of the blast area.

In 1980, she lost in the Democratic primary election to then-State Senator Jim McDermott, who went on to lose in the general election to moderate Republican John D. Spellman. Ray left the governor’s office in January 1981 when her successor took the Oath of Office.

She co-authored two books critical of the environmentalist movement with Lou Guzzo. In one of those books, (“Trashing the Planet” 1992), she claimed that Rachel Carson was to blame for global malarial deaths because of Carson’s opposition to DDT.

In 1999,  A brutal snowstorm smashes into the Midwestern United States, causing 14 inches (359 mm) of snow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and 19 inches (487 mm) in Chicago, Illinois, where temperatures plunge to -13 °F (-25 °C); 68 deaths are reported.

In 2004,  Stardust successfully flies past Comet Wild 2, collecting samples that are returned to Earth.

In 2006,  An explosion in a coal mine in Sago, West Virginia traps and kills 12 miners, while leaving one miner in critical condition.

In 2011, January 2011 Baghdad shootings take place.

In 2013, Barack Obama signs the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The American Taxpayer Relief Act passed by a wide majority in the Senate, with both liberal Democrats and moderate Republicans supporting it, while a majority of conservative Republicans in the House opposed it. In all, the bill included $600 billion over ten years in new tax revenue, about one-fifth of the revenue that would have been raised had no legislation been passed. For the tax year 2013, some taxpayers experienced the first year-to-year income-tax rate increase since 1993, although the rate increase came about not as a result of the 2012 Act, but as a result of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. The new rates for income, capital gains, estates, and the alternative minimum tax would be made permanent.

In 2015, Here is not a good idea: Iowa Will Begin Online Voter Registration. “Iowa’s incoming Secretary of State expects a new online voter registration program to be ready by the time Iowans vote on the next president,” the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports. “That program likely will require state-issued photo identification.”

In 2016,  Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia, was executed by Saudi government along with 46 others.

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