January 15th in History

This day in historyJanuary 15 is the 15th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 350 days remaining until the end of the year (351 in leap years).



In AD 69,  Otho seizes power in Rome, proclaiming himself Emperor of Rome, but rules for only three months before committing suicide.

Ballylooby Church of Our Lady and St. Kieran North Transept East Window Detail Saint Ita 2012 09 08.jpgIn 570,  Íte of Killeedy, Irish nun and saint (b. 475) dies. Íte ingen Chinn Fhalad also known as Ita, Ida or Ides, was an early Irish nun and patron saint of Killeedy (Cluain Credhail). She was known as the “foster mother of the saints of Erin”. The name “Ita” (“thirst for holiness”) was conferred on her because of her saintly qualities. Her feast day is 15 January. Ita, called the “Brigid of Munster“, was born in 480 in the present County Waterford. Her father was Cennfoelad or Confhaola and her mother was Necta. Cennfoelad was descended from Felim the lawgiver. An account of her life in the Codex Kilkenniensis, follows the example of Brigit in describing the opposition Íte meets in pursuit of her vocation. Genealogies of the saints go so far as to make Íte’s mother, Necht, a daughter of Dallbrónach, and therefore a sister of Brigit’s mother. She was baptised as Deirdre and grew up in Drum, County Waterford. Ita was said to embody the six virtues of Irish womanhood – wisdom, purity, musical ability, gentle speech and needle skills. She is also reported to have rejected a prestigious marriage for a life as a consecrated woman religious. At the age of sixteen she moved to Cluain Credhail, a place-name that has ever since been known as Killeedy – meaning “Church of St. Ita” – in County Limerick, where she founded a small community of nuns and resided for the remainder of her life, in community with other consecrated women. Bishop Declan of Ardmore conferred the veil on her. Legend has it that Ita was lead to Killeedy by three heavenly lights. The first was at the top of the Galtee mountains, the second on the Mullaghareirk mountains and the third at Cluain Creadhail, which is nowadays Killeedy. Her sister Fiona also went to Killeedy with her and became a member of the community.

In 1541,  King Francis I of France gives Jean-François Roberval a commission to settle the province of New France (Canada) and provide for the spread of the “Holy Catholic faith”.

In 1559,  Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey, London, England.

In 1582,  Russia cedes Livonia and Estonia to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

In 1623,  Paolo Sarpi, Italian lawyer, historian, and scholar (b. 1552) dies. He was a Venetian historian, prelate, scientist, canon lawyer, and statesman active on behalf of the Venetian Republic during the period of its successful defiance of the papal interdict (1605–1607) and its war (1615–1617) with Austria over the Uskok pirates. His writings, frankly polemical and highly critical of the Catholic Church and its Scholastic tradition, “inspired both Hobbes and Gibbon in their own historical debunkings of priestcraft.” Sarpi’s major work, the History of the Council of Trent (1619), was published in London in 1619; other works: a History of Ecclesiastical Benefices, History of the Interdict and his Supplement to the History of the Uskoks, appeared posthumously. Organized around single topics, they are early examples of the genre of the historical monograph. As a defender of the liberties of Republican Venice and proponent of the separation of Church and state, Sarpi attained fame as a hero of republicanism and free thought and possible crypto Protestant. His last words, “Esto perpetua” (“may she [i.e., the republic] live forever”), were recalled by John Adams in 1820 in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, when Adams “wished ‘as devoutly as Father Paul for the preservation of our vast American empire and our free institutions’, as Sarpi had wished for the preservation of Venice and its institutions,”Sarpi was also an experimental scientist, a proponent of the Copernican system, a friend and patron of Galileo Galilei, and a keen follower of the latest research on anatomy, astronomy, and ballistics at the University of Padua. His extensive network of correspondents included Francis Bacon and William Harvey.

In 1759,  The British Museum opens.

In 1777,  American Revolutionary War: New Connecticut (present day Vermont) declares its independence.

In 1782,  Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris goes before the U.S. Congress to recommend establishment of a national mint and decimal coinage.

In 1815,  War of 1812: American frigate USS President, commanded by Commodore Stephen Decatur, is captured by a squadron of four British frigates.

George Romney - Emma Hart in a Straw Hat.jpgIn 1815,  Emma, Lady Hamilton, English mistress of Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson (b. 1761) dies, aged 49, of amoebic dysentery. She is best remembered as the mistress of Lord Nelson and as the muse of George Romney. She was born Amy Lyon in Ness near Neston, Cheshire, England, the daughter of Henry Lyon, a blacksmith who died when she was two months old. She was raised by her mother, the former Mary Kidd, at Hawarden, and received no formal education. She later changed her name to Emma Hart.

In 1822,  Greek War of Independence: Demetrios Ypsilantis is elected president of the legislative assembly.

In 1844,  University of Notre Dame receives its charter from the state of Indiana.

In 1865,  American Civil War: Fort Fisher in North Carolina falls to the Union, thus cutting off the last major seaport of the Confederacy.

In 1870,  A political cartoon for the first time symbolizes the Democratic Party with a donkey (“A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion” by Thomas Nast for Harper’s Weekly).

In 1876,  The first newspaper in Afrikaans, Die Afrikaanse Patriot, is published in Paarl.

In 1880, Four acres purchased for a Methodist high school for blacks. Jennie Lane taught at this school, the beginning of Lane College.

In 1889,  The Coca-Cola Company, then known as the Pemberton Medicine Company, is incorporated in Atlanta.

In 1892James Naismith publishes the rules of basketball.

Mathew Brady 1875 cropped.jpgIn 1896,  Mathew Brady, American photographer (b. 1822)dies penniless in the charity ward of Presbyterian Hospital in New York City on January 15, 1896, from complications following a streetcar accident. He was one of the first American photographers, best known for his scenes of the Civil War. He studied under inventor Samuel F. B. Morse, who pioneered the daguerreotype technique in America. Brady opened his own studio in New York in 1844, and photographed Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, among other celebrities. When the Civil War started, his use of a mobile studio and darkroom enabled vivid battlefield photographs that brought home the reality of war to the public. Thousands of war scenes were captured, as well as portraits of generals and politicians on both sides of the conflict, though most of these were taken by his assistants, rather than by Brady himself. After the war, these pictures went out of fashion, and the government did not purchase the master-copies, as he had anticipated. Brady’s fortunes declined sharply, and he died in debt.

In 1908 – The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority becomes the first Greek-letter organization founded and established by African American college women.

In 1910 – Construction ends on the Buffalo Bill Dam in Wyoming, United States, which was the highest dam in the world at the time, at 325 ft (99 m).

In 1919Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, two of the most prominent socialists in Germany, are tortured and murdered by the Freikorps at the end of the Spartacist uprising.

In 1919Boston Molasses Disaster: A large molasses tank in Boston, Massachusetts, bursts and a wave of molasses rushes through the streets, killing 21 people and injuring 150 others.

In 1933 – A twelve-year-old girl experiences the first Marian apparition of Our Lady of Banneux in Banneux, Belgium.

In 1936 – The first building to be completely covered in glass, built for the Owens-Illinois Glass Company, is completed in Toledo, Ohio.

In 1937Spanish Civil War: Nationalists and Republican both withdraw after suffering heavy losses, ending the Second Battle of the Corunna Road.

In 1943,  World War II: The Soviet counter-offensive at Voronezh begins.

In 1943,  The world’s largest office building, The Pentagon, is dedicated in Arlington, Virginia.

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mugshot taken of Elizabeth Short “The Black Dahlia” in 1943 for underage drinking

In 1947,  The brutalized corpse of Elizabeth Short (The “Black Dahlia“) is found in Los Angeles’ Leimert Park. She was an American woman who was the victim of a gruesome and much-publicized murder. Short acquired the moniker posthumously by newspapers in the habit of nicknaming crimes they found particularly lurid. Short was found mutilated, her body sliced in half at the waist, on January 15, 1947, in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, California. Short’s unsolved murder has been the source of widespread speculation, leading to many suspects, along with several books and film adaptations of the story. Short’s murder is one of the oldest unsolved murder cases in Los Angeles history.

Josephus Daniels 1.jpgIn 1948,  Josephus Daniels, American publisher and diplomat, 41st United States Secretary of the Navy (b. 1862) dies. He was a newspaper editor and publisher from North Carolina who was appointed by United States President Woodrow Wilson to serve as Secretary of the Navy during World War I. He was also a close friend and supporter of President Franklin Roosevelt and served as his Ambassador to Mexico, 1933-41. He was a newspaper editor and publisher from the 1880s to his death; most famously at the Raleigh News and Observer. As Secretary of the Navy, he handled formalities in World War I while his top aide Franklin Delano Roosevelt, handled the major wartime decisions. As ambassador to Mexico, he dealt with the anti-American government and its expropriation of American oil investments. At the state level he was a leading progressive, supporting public schools and public works, and calling for more regulation of trusts and railroads. He supported prohibition and woman suffrage, and used his newspapers to support the regular Democratic Party ticket. He opposed the Ku Klux Klan, but was a longtime champion of white supremacy, arguing that as long as Blacks had political power they would block progressive reforms

In 1949,  Chinese Civil War: The Communist forces take over Tianjin from the Nationalist Government.

In 1951,  Ilse Koch, “The Witch of Buchenwald”, wife of the commandant of the Buchenwald concentration camp, is sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in West Germany.

In 1962,  The Derveni papyrus, Europe’s oldest surviving manuscript dating to 340 BC, is found in northern Greece.

In 1966,  The First Nigerian Republic, led by Abubakar Tafawa Balewa is overthrown in a military coup d’état.

In 1967,  The first Super Bowl is played in Los Angeles. The Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 35–10.

In 1969,  The Soviet Union launches Soyuz 5.

In 1970,  Nigerian Civil War: After a 32-month fight for independence from Nigeria, Biafra surrenders.

In 1970,  Muammar Gaddafi is proclaimed premier of Libya.

In 1973,  Vietnam War: Citing progress in peace negotiations, President Richard Nixon announces the suspension of offensive action in North Vietnam.

In 1974,  Dennis Rader aka the BTK Killer kills his first victims by binding, torturing and murdering Joseph, Joseph II, Josephine and Julie Otero in their house.

In 1975,  The Alvor Agreement is signed, ending the Angolan War of Independence and giving Angola independence from Portugal.

In 1976,  Gerald Ford‘s would-be assassin, Sara Jane Moore, is sentenced to life in prison.

In 1981,  Pope John Paul II receives a delegation from Solidarity (Polish trade union) at the Vatican led by Lech Wałęsa.

In 1987,  Ray Bolger, American actor, singer, and dancer (b. 1904) dies. He was an American entertainer of vaudeville, stage (particularly musical theatre) and screen, and singer and dancer best known for his portrayal of the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. Whenever asked whether he received any residuals from telecasts of the 1939 classic, Bolger would reply: “No, just immortality. I’ll settle for that.”

In 1991,  The United Nations deadline for the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from occupied Kuwait expires, preparing the way for the start of Operation Desert Storm.

In 1991,  Elizabeth II, in her capacity as Queen of Australia, signs letters patent allowing Australia to become the first Commonwealth realm to institute its own Victoria Cross in its honours system.

In 1992,  The international community recognizes the independence of Slovenia and Croatia from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In 1993,  Salvatore Riina, the Mafia boss known as “The Beast”, is arrested in Sicily, Italy after three decades as a fugitive.

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Sammy Cahn 1950

In 1993, Sammy Cahn, American songwriter (b. 1913) dies at the age of 79 in Los Angeles, California from heart failure. His remains were interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. He was an American lyricist, songwriter and musician. He is best known for his romantic lyrics to films and Broadway songs, as well as stand-alone songs premiered by recording companies in the Greater Los Angeles Area. He and his collaborators had a series of hit recordings with Frank Sinatra during the singer’s tenure at Capitol Records, but also enjoyed hits with Dean Martin, Doris Day and many others. He played the piano and violin. He won the Academy Award four times for his songs, including the popular song “Three Coins in the Fountain“.

Among his most enduring songs is “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!“, cowritten with Jule Styne in 1945. Over the course of his career, he was nominated for 26 Academy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, and an Emmy Award. He also received a Grammy Award nomination, with Van Heusen, for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show for the film Robin and the 7 Hoods.

In 2001,  Wikipedia, a free Wiki content encyclopedia, goes online.

In 2005,  ESA‘s SMART-1 lunar orbiter discovers elements such as calcium, aluminum, silicon, iron, and other surface elements on the Moon.

In 2007,  Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, former Iraqi intelligence chief and half-brother of Saddam Hussein, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former chief judge of the Revolutionary Court, are executed by hanging in Iraq.

In 2009,  US Airways Flight 1549 makes an emergency landing in the Hudson River shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York, New York. All passengers and crew members survive.

In 2013,  A train carrying Egyptian Army recruits derails near Giza, Greater Cairo, killing 19 and injuring 120 others.

In 2014, The House on Wednesday easily approved a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill that would fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2014 and let Congress avoid the risk of a shutdown until the end of September. Members voted 359-67 to pass the bill, which was opposed by 64 Republicans and three Democrats.

In 2015,  The Swiss National Bank abandons the cap on the franc’s value relative to the euro, causing turmoil in international financial markets.

In 2016,  The Kenyan Army suffers it worst defeat ever in a battle with Al-Shabaab Islamic insurgents in El-AddeSomalia. An estimated 150 soldiers die.

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