January 8th in History

This day in historyJanuary 8 is the eight day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 357 days remaining until the end of the year (358 in leap years).



In 307,  Jin Huidi, Chinese Emperor of the Jin dynasty, is poisoned and succeeded by his son Jin Huaidi.

In 387,  Siyaj K’ak’ conquers Waka

In 871,  Alfred the Great leads a West Saxon army to repel an invasion by Danelaw Vikings.

In 1297,  François Grimaldi, disguised as a monk, leads his men to capture the fortress protecting the Rock of Monaco, establishing his family as the rulers of Monaco.

Uffizi Giotto.jpgIn 1337, Giotto, Italian painter and architect, designed Scrovegni Chapel and Giotto’s Campanile (b. 1266) dies. Giotto di Bondone was an Italian painter and architect from Florence in the late Middle Ages. He is generally considered the first in a line of great artists who contributed to the Italian Renaissance. Giotto’s contemporary, the banker and chronicler Giovanni Villani, wrote that Giotto was “the most sovereign master of painting in his time, who drew all his figures and their postures according to nature. And he was given a salary by the Comune of Florence in virtue of his talent and excellence.” The late-16th century biographer Giorgio Vasari describes Giotto as making a decisive break with the prevalent Byzantine style and as initiating “the great art of painting as we know it today, introducing the technique of drawing accurately from life, which had been neglected for more than two hundred years.”Giotto’s masterwork is the decoration of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, also known as the Arena Chapel, completed around 1305. This fresco cycle depicts the life of the Virgin and the life of Christ. It is regarded as one of the supreme masterpieces of the Early Renaissance. That Giotto painted the Arena Chapel and that he was chosen by the Comune of Florence in 1334 to design the new campanile (bell tower) of the Florence Cathedral are among the few certainties of his biography. Almost every other aspect of it is subject to controversy: his birthdate, his birthplace, his appearance, his apprenticeship, the order in which he created his works, whether or not he painted the famous frescoes at Assisi, and his burial place.

In 1454,  The papal bull Romanus Pontifex awards the Kingdom of Portugal exclusive trade and colonization rights to all of Africa south of Cape Bojador.

In 1455,  The Romanus Pontifex is written.

In 1499,  Louis XII of France marries Anne of Brittany.

In 1547,  The first Lithuanian-language book, Simple Words of Catechism, is published in Königsberg.

Justus Sustermans - Portrait of Galileo Galilei, 1636.jpgIn 1642,  Galileo Galilei, Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher (b. 1564) dies at the age of 77. He often known mononymously as Galileo, was an Italian physicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the “father of modern observational astronomy“, the “father of modern physics“, the “father of science”, and “the father of modern science”. His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honour), and the observation and analysis of sunspots. Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, inventing an improved military compass and other instruments. Galileo’s championing of heliocentrism was controversial within his lifetime, a time when most subscribed to either geocentrism or the Tychonic system. He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism due to the absence of an observed stellar parallax. The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism was false and contrary to scripture, placing works advocating the Copernican system on the index of banned books and forbidding Galileo from advocating heliocentrism. Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII, thus alienating not only the Pope but also the Jesuits, both of whom had supported Galileo up until this point. He was tried by the Holy Office, then found “vehemently suspect of heresy“, was forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It was while Galileo was under house arrest that he wrote one of his finest works, Two New Sciences, in which he summarised the work he had done some forty years earlier, on the two sciences now called kinematics and strength of materials

In 1697,  Last execution for blasphemy in Britain; of Thomas Aikenhead, student, at Edinburgh.

In 1735,  Premiere performance of George Frideric Handel‘s Ariodante at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

In 1746,  Second Jacobite rising: Bonnie Prince Charlie occupies Stirling.

In 1790,  George Washington delivers the first State of the Union address in New York, New York.

In 1806,  Cape Colony becomes a British colony.

In 1811,  An unsuccessful slave revolt is led by Charles Deslondes in St. Charles and St. James, Louisiana.

In 1815,  War of 1812: Battle of New OrleansAndrew Jackson leads American forces in victory over the British.

Eli Whitney by Samuel Finley Breese Morse 1822.jpegIn 1825,  Eli Whitney, American inventor, invented the cotton gin (b. 1765) dies. He was an American inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin. This was one of the key inventions of the Industrial Revolution and shaped the economy of the Antebellum South. Whitney’s invention made upland short cotton into a profitable crop, which strengthened the economic foundation of slavery in the United States. Despite the social and economic impact of his invention, Whitney lost many profits in legal battles over patent infringement for the cotton gin. Thereafter, he turned his attention into securing contracts with the government in the manufacture of muskets for the newly formed United States Army. He continued making arms and inventing until his death in 1825.

In 1835,  The United States national debt is zero for the only time.

In 1863,  American Civil War: Second Battle of Springfield

In 1867,  African American men are granted the right to vote in Washington, D.C.

In 1877,  Crazy Horse and his warriors fight their last battle against the United States Cavalry at Wolf Mountain, Montana Territory.

In 1889,  Herman Hollerith is issued US patent #395,791 for the ‘Art of Applying Statistics’ — his punched card calculator.

In 1904,  The Blackstone Library is dedicated, marking the beginning of the Chicago Public Library system.

In 1906,  A landslide in Haverstraw, New York, caused by the excavation of clay along the Hudson River, kills 20 people.

In 1912,  The African National Congress is founded.

In 1918,  President Woodrow Wilson announces his “Fourteen Points” for the aftermath of World War I.

In 1920,  The steel strike of 1919 ends in a complete failure for the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers labor union.

In 1940,  World War II: Britain introduces food rationing.

Memorial to Richard Hillary and his crew near Charterhall

In 1943, Richard Hillary, Australian pilot and author (b. 1919) dies on 8 January 1943 with his radio operator observer Sgt. Wilfred Fison when he crashed his Bristol Blenheim during a night training flight, the aircraft coming to rest on Crunklaw Farm. He was a Battle of Britain pilot who died during World War II. He is best known for his book The Last Enemy, based upon his experiences during the Battle of Britain.

Richard Hillary writes about his first experience in a Supermarine Spitfire in The Last Enemy:

The Spitfires stood in two lines outside, ‘A’ Flight pilots’ room. The dull grey-brown of the camouflage could not conceal the clear-cut beauty, the wicked simplicity of their lines. I hooked up my parachute and climbed awkwardly into the low cockpit. I noticed how small was my field of vision. Kilmartin swung himself on to a wing and started to run through the instruments. I was conscious of his voice, but heard nothing of what he said. I was to fly a Spitfire. It was what I had most wanted through all the long dreary months of training. If I could fly a Spitfire, it would be worth it. Well, I was about to achieve my ambition and felt nothing. I was numb, neither exhilarated nor scared. I noticed the white enamel undercarriage handle. “Like a lavatory plug,” I thought.
Kilmartin had said, “See if you can make her talk.” That meant the whole bag of tricks, and I wanted ample room for mistakes and possible blacking-out. With one or two very sharp movements on the stick I blacked myself out for a few seconds, but the machine was sweeter to handle than any other that I had flown. I put it through every manoeuvre that I knew of and it responded beautifully. I ended with two flick rolls and turned back for home. I was filled with a sudden exhilarating confidence. I could fly a Spitfire; in any position I was its master. It remained to be seen whether I could fight in one.

In 1945,  World War II: Philippine Commonwealth troops under the Philippine Commonwealth Army units enter the province of Ilocos Sur in Northern Luzon and attack Japanese Imperial forces.

In 1956,  Operation Auca: Five U.S. missionaries are killed by the Huaorani of Ecuador shortly after making contact with them.

In 1961,  In France a referendum supports Charles de Gaulle‘s policies in Algeria.

In 1962,  The Harmelen train disaster killed 93 people in the Netherlands.

In 1963,  Leonardo da Vinci‘s Mona Lisa is exhibited in the United States for the first time, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

In 1964,  President Lyndon B. Johnson declares a “War on Poverty” in the United States.

In 1971,  Bowing to international pressure, President of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto releases Bengali leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from prison, who had been arrested after declaring the independence of Bangladesh.

In 1973,  Soviet space mission Luna 21 is launched.

In 1973,  Watergate scandal: The trial of seven men accused of illegal entry into Democratic Party headquarters at Watergate begins.

In 1975,  Ella T. Grasso becomes Governor of Connecticut, the first woman to serve as a Governor in the United States other than by succeeding her husband.

In 1977,  Three bombs explode in Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union within 37 minutes, killing seven. The bombings are attributed to an Armenian separatist group.

In 1979,  The tanker Betelgeuse explodes in Bantry Bay, Ireland.

In 1981,  A local farmer reports a UFO sighting in Trans-en-Provence, France, claimed to be “perhaps the most completely and carefully documented sighting of all time”.

In 1982,  Breakup of the Bell System: AT&T agrees to divest itself of twenty-two subdivisions.

In 1989,  Kegworth air disaster: British Midland Flight 92, a Boeing 737-400, crashes into the M1 motorway, killing 47 of the 126 people on board.

In 1989,  Beginning of Japanese Heisei period.

In 1994,  Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov on Soyuz TM-18 leaves for Mir. He would stay on the space station until March 22, 1995, for a record 437 days in space.

In 1996,  An Antonov An-32 cargo aircraft crashes into a crowded market in Kinshasa, Zaire, killing up to 237 on the ground; the aircraft’s crew of 6 survive the crash.

In 2002,  President George W. Bush signs into law the No Child Left Behind Act.

In 2003,  Turkish Airlines Flight 634 crashes near Diyarbakır Airport, Turkey, killing the entire crew and 70 of 75 passengers.

In 2003,  Air Midwest Flight 5481 crashes at Charlotte-Douglas Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina, killing all 21 people on board.

In 2004,  The RMS Queen Mary 2, the largest passenger ship ever built, is christened by her namesake’s granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

In 2005, The nuclear sub USS San Francisco collides at full speed with an undersea mountain south of Guam. One man is killed, but the sub surfaces and is repaired.

In 2009, A 6.1-magnitude earthquake in northern Costa Rica kills 15 people and injures 32.

In 2010, Gunmen from an offshoot the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda attacked the bus carrying the Togo national football team on its way to the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, killing three.

In 2011, The attempted assassination of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords and subsequent shooting in Casas Adobes, Arizona at a Safeway grocery store, for which Jared Lee Loughner is subsequently arrested, kills six people and wounds 13, including Giffords.

Ben Blaz.jpg

Vicente T. Blaz, Delegate from Guam to the United States Congress

In 2014, Vicente T. Blaz, American general and politician (b. 1928) dies. Brigadier General Vicente Tomás Garrido Blaz also known as Ben Blaz, was a Guamanian United States Marine Corps Brigadier General from the United States territory of Guam. Blaz served in the Marine Corps from 1951 until July 1, 1980. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Reserve Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C..

Blaz was elected the delegate to Congress from Guam in 1984 as a Republican. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985 until 1993.

In 2015, Atlanta mayor, Kasim Reed, announced that he had terminated Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. The reason? Cochran expressed disapproval of homosexual behavior in a self-published book. The chief had already endured a 30-day suspension without pay after the book, entitled Who Told You That You Were Naked?, was brought to light by a retired, openly lesbian Atlanta Fire Department captain named Cindy Thompson. The book, which concerns the importance of Christ’s salvation, expresses many authentic Christian beliefs, including the lines that raised homosexual activists’ ire:

Uncleanness — whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion.

Naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.

In 2015, The University of Virginia has reinstated Greek social life, after shutting down fraternities on Nov. 21 following a Rolling Stone article on an alleged gang rape at a fraternity house. The article has been partially discredited since then, but the school is imposing new rules after reexamining the Greek system. Fraternities will no longer be allowed to serve pre-mixed drinks, they will have to provide security at the doors, and they will have to have at least three “sober brothers” at all functions, with keys to all rooms.

In 2016,  Joaquín Guzmán, widely regarded as the world’s most powerful drug trafficker, is recaptured following his escape from a maximum security prison in Mexico.

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