Today in History: January 4 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: January 4

What Happened This Day In History.

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.


Today in History
January 4

1757 Robert Francois Damiens makes an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate King Louis XV of France.
1847

Samuel Colt sells his first revolver pistol to the U.S. government. His U.S. revolver patent will give him a monopoly on the manufacturing of revolvers until 1857, and during the Civil War his factory in Hartford, Connecticut, will supply firearms to both the North and the South. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]

1863 Union General Henry Halleck, by direction of President Abraham Lincoln, orders General Ulysses Grant to revoke his infamous General Order No. 11 that expelled Jews from his operational area.
1896 Utah becomes the 45th state of the Union.
1902 France offers to sell their Nicaraguan Canal rights to the United States.
1904 The U.S. Supreme Court decides in the Gonzales v. Williams case that Puerto Ricans are not aliens and can enter the United States freely, yet stops short of awarding citizenship.
1920 The Negro National League, the first black baseball league, is organized by Rube Foster.
1923 The Paris Conference on war reparations hits a deadlock as the French insist on the hard line and the British insist on Reconstruction.
1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt claims in his State of the Union message that the federal government will provide jobs for 3.5 million Americans on welfare.
1936 Billboard magazine publishes its first music Hit Parade.
1941 On the Greek-Albanian front, the Greeks launch an attack towards Valona from Berat to Klisura against the Italians.
1942 Japanese forces begin the evacuation of Guadalcanal.
1951 UN forces abandon Seoul, Korea, to the Chinese Communist Army.
1952 The French Army in Indochina launches Operation Nenuphar in hopes of ejecting a Viet Minh division from the Ba Tai forest.
1969 Spain returns the Ifni province to Morocco.
1970 A 7.7 earthquake kills 15,000+ people in Tonghai County, China.
1972 Rose Heilbron becomes the first female judge to sit at the Old Bailey in London, England.
1974 President Richard Nixon refuses to hand over tape recordings and documents that had been subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.
1975 The Khmer Rouge launches its newest assault in its five-year war in Phnom Penh. The war in Cambodia would go on until the spring of 1975.
1976 The Ulster Volunteer Force kills six Irish Catholic civilians in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. The next day 10 Protestant civilians are murdered in retaliation.
1979 Ohio officials approve an out-of-court settlement awarding $675,000 to the victims and families in the 1970 shootings at Kent State University, in which four students were killed and nine wounded by National Guard troops.
1990 Over 300 people die and more than 700 are injured in Pakistan’s deadliest train accident, when an overloaded passenger train collides with an empty freight train.
1999 Jesse “The Body” Ventura, a former professional wrestler, is sworn in as the populist governor of Minnesota.
1999 The euro, the new currency of 11 nations, goes into effect on the continent of Europe.
2004 NASA’s Mars rover Spirit successfully lands on Mars.
2004 Mikheil Saakashvili is elected President of Georgia following the Rose Revolution of November 2003.
2007 Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) becomes the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
2010 Burj Khalifa (Khalifa tower) officially opens in Dubai, UAE. At 2,722 ft (829.8 m) it is the world’s tallest man-made structure.
Born on January 4
1643 Sir Isaac Newton, scientist who developed the laws of gravity and planetary relations.
1785 Jacob Ludwig Grimm, German philosopher who wrote fairy tales with his brother.
1809 Louis Braille, developer of a reading system for the blind.
1914 Jane Wyman, American film actress; received an Academy Award for Johnny Belinda; she was the first wife of future U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
1935 Floyd Patterson, professional boxer; at age 21 he became the youngest man to win the world heavyweight title (later replaced by Mike Tyson at age 20) and the first heavyweight to regain the title.
1940 Gao Xingjian, novelist, playwright, critic; awarded Nobel Prize for Literature (2000).
1941 Maureen Reagan, actress, political activist; first child born to Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman.
1943 Doris Kearns Goodwin, biographer, historian, political commentator; won a Pulitzer Prize in 1995 (No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The American Homefront During WWII) and the Lincoln Prize in 2005 (Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln).
1957 Patty Loveless, country singer; her multiple awards include Academy of Country Music Top Female Vocalist for 1996 and 1997.