January 5th in History

This day in historyJanuary 5 is the fifth day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 360 days remaining until the end of the year (361 in leap years).




In 1066,  Edward the Confessor dies childless, sparking a succession crisis that will eventually lead to the Norman conquest of England.

Montacute Arms.svgIn 1400, John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury, English politician (b. 1350) was beheaded after a failed plot to kill King Henry IV and restore Richard II to the crown of England.

In 1477, Battle of Nancy: Charles the Bold is killed and Burgundy becomes part of France.

In 1500, Duke Ludovico Sforza conquers Milan.

In 1527, Felix Manz, a leader of the Anabaptist congregation in Zurich, Switzerland, is executed by drowning. He was a co-founder of the original Swiss Brethren Anabaptist congregation in Zürich, Switzerland, and the first martyr of the Radical Reformation. On 7 March 1526, the Zürich council had passed an edict that made adult re-baptism punishable by drowning. On 5 January 1527, Manz became the first casualty of the edict, and the first Swiss Anabaptist to be martyred at the hands of other Protestants. While Manz stated that he wished “to bring together those who were willing to accept Christ, obey the Word, and follow in His footsteps, to unite with these by baptism, and to purchase the rest in their present conviction”, Zwingli and the council accused him of obstinately refusing “to recede from his error and caprice”. At 3:00 p.m., as he was led from the Wellenburg to a boat, he praised God and preached to the people. A Reformed minister went along, seeking to silence him, and hoping to give him an opportunity to recant. Manz’s brother and mother encouraged him to stand firm and suffer for Jesus’ sake. He was taken by boat onto the River Limmat. His hands were bound and pulled behind his knees and a pole was placed between them. He was executed by drowning in Lake Zürich on the Limmat. His alleged last words were, “Into thy hands, O God, I commend my spirit.” His property was confiscated by government of Zürich, and he was buried in the St. Jakobs cemetery. Manz’s execution predates the Münster Rebellion which officially began in 1534. Manz left written testimony of his faith, an eighteen-stanza hymn, and was apparently the author of Protestation und Schutzschrift (a defense of Anabaptism presented to the Zürich council).

In 1554, A great fire occurs in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

In 1675, Battle of Colmar: the French army beats Brandenburg.

In 1757, Louis XV of France survives an assassination attempt by Robert-François Damiens, the last person to be executed in France by drawing and quartering, the traditional and gruesome form of capital punishment used for regicides.

In 1781, American Revolutionary War: Richmond, Virginia, is burned by British naval forces led by Benedict Arnold.

Samuel Huntington - Charles Willson Peale.jpgIn 1796, Samuel Huntington, American jurist and politician, 18th Governor of Connecticut (b. 1731) died while in office, at his home in Norwich on January 5, 1796. His tomb, which was extensively restored and renovated in a 2003 project, is located in the Old Norwichtown Cemetery behind his mansion house. Both Samuel and his wife Martha’s remains were disinterred during the course of the project and then reinterred in a formal ceremony on November 23, 2003. He was a jurist, statesman, and Patriot in the American Revolution from Connecticut. As a delegate to the Continental Congress, he signed the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He also served as President of the Continental Congress from 1779 to 1781, chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court from 1784 to 1785, and the 18th Governor of Connecticut from 1786 until his death.

In 1846, The United States House of Representatives votes to stop sharing the Oregon Territory with the United Kingdom.

In 1895, Dreyfus affair: French army officer Alfred Dreyfus is stripped of his rank and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island.

In 1896, An Austrian newspaper reports that Wilhelm Röntgen has discovered a type of radiation later known as X-rays.

In 1900, Irish leader John Redmond calls for a revolt against British rule.

In 1911, Kappa Alpha Psi, the world’s second oldest and largest black fraternity, is founded at Indiana University.

In 1912, The Prague Party Conference takes place.

In 1913, First Balkan War: During the Battle of Lemnos, Greek admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis forces the Turkish fleet to retreat to its base within the Dardanelles, from which it did not venture for the rest of the war.

In 1914, The Ford Motor Company announces an eight-hour workday and that it would pay a “living wage” of at least $5 for a day’s labor.

In 1919, The German Workers’ Party, which would become the Nazi Party, is founded.

In 1925, Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming becomes the first female governor in the United States.

In 1933, Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge begins in San Francisco Bay.

Calvin Coolidge cph.3g10777.jpgIn 1933, Calvin Coolidge, American politician, 30th President of the United States (b. 1872) died suddenly from coronary thrombosis at “The Beeches”, at 12:45 pm, January 5, 1933. Shortly before his death, Coolidge confided to an old friend: “I feel I no longer fit in with these times.” Coolidge is buried beneath a simple headstone in Plymouth Notch Cemetery, Plymouth Notch, Vermont, where the nearby family home is maintained as one of the original buildings on the Calvin Coolidge Homestead District site. The State of Vermont dedicated a new visitors’ center nearby to mark Coolidge’s 100th birthday on July 4, 1972. He was the 30th President of the United States (1923–1929). A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state. His response to the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. Soon after, he was elected as the 29th Vice President in 1920 and succeeded to the Presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small-government conservative, and also as a man who said very little. Coolidge restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor’s administration, and left office with considerable popularity. As a Coolidge biographer put it, “He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class, could interpret their longings and express their opinions. That he did represent the genius of the average is the most convincing proof of his strength.” Some later criticized Coolidge as part of a general disapproval of laissez-faire government. His reputation underwent a renaissance during the Ronald Reagan administration, but the ultimate assessment of his presidency is still divided between those who approve of his reduction of the size of government programs and those who believe the federal government should be more involved in regulating and controlling the economy.

Black and white portrait photograph taken around 1930 of Amy Johnson, wearing aviator attire; googles, leather cap, leather and wool flying jacketIn 1941, Amy Johnson, English aviator (b. 1903) died while flying an Airspeed Oxford for the ATA from Blackpool to RAF Kidlington near Oxford, Johnson went off course in adverse weather conditions. Reportedly out of fuel, she bailed out as her aircraft crashed into the Thames Estuary. The crew of the HMS Haslemere spotted Johnson’s parachute coming down and saw her alive in the water. Conditions were poor – there was a heavy sea and a strong tide, snow was falling and it was intensely cold. Lt Cmdr Walter Fletcher, the commander of Haslemere, dived into the water in an attempt to rescue Johnson. However, he died in the attempt. Johnson died and her body was never recovered. She was a pioneering English aviator. Flying solo or with her husband, Jim Mollison, Johnson set numerous long-distance records during the 1930s. Johnson flew in the Second World War as a part of the Air Transport Auxiliary.

George Washington Carver c1910 - Restoration.jpg

Photograph circa 1910

In 1943, George Washington Carver, American botanist, educator, and inventor (b. 1864) a bad fall down a flight of stairs; he was found unconscious by a maid who took him to a hospital. He was an American botanist and inventor. The exact day and year of his birth are unknown; he was born into slavery in Missouri, either in 1861, or January 1864. Carver’s reputation is based on his research into and promotion of alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes, which also aided nutrition for farm families. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops both as a source of their own food and as a source of other products to improve their quality of life. The most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts. He also developed and promoted about 100 products made from peanuts that were useful for the house and farm, including cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline, and nitroglycerin. He received numerous honors for his work, including the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP. During the Reconstruction-era South, monoculture of cotton depleted the soil in many areas. In the early 20th century, the boll weevil destroyed much of the cotton crop, and planters and farm workers suffered. Carver’s work on peanuts was intended to provide an alternative crop. He was recognized for his many achievements and talents. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed Carver a “Black Leonardo

In 1944, The Daily Mail becomes the first transoceanic newspaper.

In 1945, The Soviet Union recognizes the new pro-Soviet government of Poland.

In 1949, United States President Harry S. Truman unveils his Fair Deal program.

In 1957, In a speech given to the United States Congress, United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower announces the establishment of what will later be called the Eisenhower Doctrine.

In 1968, Alexander Dubček comes to power: “Prague Spring” begins in Czechoslovakia.

In 1969, The Troubles: The Royal Ulster Constabulary raid the Bogside area of Derry, damaging property and beating residents. In response, residents erect barricades and establish Free Derry.

DouglasShearerImage.jpgIn 1971, Douglas Shearer, Canadian-American sound designer and engineer (b. 1899) dies. He was a Canadian American pioneer sound designer and recording director who played a key role in the advancement of sound technology for motion pictures. He won seven Academy Awards for his work. In 2008, he was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. Shearer was born in Montreal, Quebec to a prominent upper-class family, but his family fell on hard times after his father’s business failed, which ultimately led to his parents’ separation. Douglas remained with his father in Montreal while his two younger sisters, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer star Norma Shearer and Athole, moved to New York City with their mother.

In 1928, he visited his sisters in Hollywood, California, who had relocated there in the early 1920s. He decided to remain there, and found a job at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where his sister Norma was under contract. At MGM, he pursued an interest in adding sound to film. This interest led to a forty-year career in films. He was a significant innovator in motion picture sound technology. One of his many contributions was a recording system that eliminated unwanted background noise. Over his long career, Douglas Shearer was nominated for an Academy Award a total of twenty-one times, winning seven times for Sound and Special Effects. He is credited as Recording Director at MGM on most films produced between 1930 to 1953. In 1955, he was appointed MGM’s director of technical research. By the time he retired in 1968 he had won an additional seven Scientific or Technical Academy Awards.

In 1972, United States President Richard Nixon orders the development of a Space Shuttle program.

In 1974, An earthquake in Lima, Peru, kills six people, and damages hundreds of houses.

In 1974, Warmest reliably measured temperature in Antarctica of +59 °F (+15 °C) recorded at Vanda Station

In 1975, The Tasman Bridge in Tasmania, Australia, is struck by the bulk ore carrier Lake Illawarra, killing twelve people.

In 1976, The Khmer Rouge proclaim the Constitution of Democratic Kampuchea.

In 1976, The Troubles: In response to the killing of six Catholics the night before, gunmen shoot dead ten Protestant civilians after stopping their minibus at Kingsmill in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, UK.

Pete Maravich 1977.jpeg

Pete Maravich 1977

In 1988,  Pete Maravich, American basketball player (b. 1947) collapsed and died of heart failure at age 40  while playing in a pickup basketball game in the gym at First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena, California, with a group that included James Dobson. Maravich had flown out from his home in Louisiana to tape a segment for Dobson’s radio show that aired later that day. Dobson has said that Maravich’s last words, less than a minute before he died, were “I feel great.” An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be a rare congenital defect; he had been born with a missing left coronary artery, a vessel that supplies blood to the muscle fibers of the heart. His right coronary artery was grossly enlarged and had been compensating for the defect. He was an American professional basketball player. He was born in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, and raised in the Carolinas. Maravich starred in college at Louisiana State University (LSU) and played for three NBA teams until injuries forced his retirement in 1980. He is still the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer with 3,667 points scored and an average of 44.2 points per game. All of his accomplishments were achieved before the three-point line and shot clock were introduced to NCAA basketball and despite being unable to play varsity as a freshman under then-NCAA rules. One of the youngest players ever inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Maravich was cited by the Hall as “perhaps the greatest creative offensive talent in history”. In an April 2010 interview, Hall of Fame player John Havlicek said that “the best ball-handler of all time was Pete Maravich”.

In 1991, Georgian forces enter Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, Georgia, opening the 1991–1992 South Ossetia War.

In 1993, The oil tanker MV Braer runs aground on the coast of the Shetland Islands, spilling 84,700 tons of crude oil.

In 2005, Eris, the largest known dwarf planet in the Solar System, is discovered by the team of Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz using images originally taken on October 21, 2003, at the Palomar Observatory.

In 2014, A launch of the communication satellite GSAT-14 aboard the GSLV MK.II D5 marks the first successful flight of an Indian cryogenic engine.

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