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Today in History for January

Jan 02

Who took the first photo of the moon?

January 2, 1839 — The first photo of the Moon was taken today in 1839 by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (November 18, 1787 – July 10, 1851), a French artist and photographer who is recognized for his invention of the daguerreotype process of photography. Before...

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Jan 03

Who was Robert Owen and what were his views on socialism?

January 3, 1825 — Scottish factory owner Robert Owen (May 14, 1771 – November 17, 1858) bought 30,000 acres in Indiana today as a site for his New Harmony utopian community. The Welsh socialist and social reformer invested the bulk of his fortune in the experimental 1,000-member colony...

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Jan 05

Who set Richmond ablaze today?

January 5, 1781 — A British naval expedition led by Benedict Arnold burned Richmond, Virginia today. Known as the Richmond Campaign (a group of British military actions against the capital of Virginia), it was considered one of Arnold's greatest successes while serving under...

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Jan 06

Who formed the New England Anti-Slavery Society?

January 6, 1831 — The New England Anti-Slavery Society was formed today by prominent American abolitionist, journalist, suffragist, and social reformer William Lloyd Garrison, editor of The Liberator. Based in Boston, members of the New England Anti-slavery Society supported immediate abolitionand viewed slavery as immoral and non-Christian....

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Jan 07

Who made the first balloon flight across the English Channel?

January 7, 1785 — The first balloon flight across the English Channel is accomplished today by Jean-Pierre Blanchard (pictured right) and his friend, American-born John Jeffries. It took about 2½ hours to travel from Dover Castle, England, to Guînes, France. It wasn't Blanchard's...

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Jan 08

What did the 11th Amendment determine?

January 8, 1798 — The 11th Amendment is ratified today, which determined that the judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States...

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Jan 10

Why did Florida secede from the Union today in 1861?

January 10, 1861 — Florida seceded from the Union today as the US Civil War heated up. A special convention of delegates from around the state met in Tallahassee earlier in the week to consider the decision. Governor Madison Starke Perry...

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Jan 13

What was the Flag Act of 1794?

January 13, 1794 — The Flag Act of 1794 was signed into law by President George Washington today, providing for 15 stripes as well as 15 stars. The change in the flag was issued to accommodate the admission into the Union of the states of Vermont and Kentucky. This would be the only...

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Jan 16

Who is appointed Governor of the new California Territory today?

January 16, 1847 — John C. Frémont (January 21, 1813 – July 13, 1890) is appointed Governor of the new California Territory today. However, he was convicted in court martial for mutiny and insubordination. President Polk commuted his sentence. A military hero, Frémont led four expeditions into...

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Jan 17

Who helped 300 families settle in Texas today?

January 17, 1821 — Today, Mexico permitted 300 US families to settle in Texas. Moses Austin (October 4, 1761 – June 10, 1821) and his son Stephen led the way. After receiving a land grant from the Spanish government in 1820, Moses planned to...

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Jan 18

What is the origin of filibustering?

Januar 18, 1854 — Filibuster William Walker proclaimed the Republic of Sonora in New Mexico today. An American physician, lawyer, journalist and mercenary, Walker (May 8, 1824 – September 12, 1860) organized several private military expeditions into Latin America, with the intention...

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Jan 19

Who patented tin cans?

January 19, 1825 — Early American engraver named Thomas Kensett patented the first tin cans in America today with the help of his father-in-law, Ezra Daggett. Kensett's first claim to fame was as the publisher of a key map of the area...

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Jan 21

Where is coffee first planted in the US?

January 21, 1813 — After the Boston Tea Party of 1773, drinking tea had become unpatriotic so large numbers of Americans switched to drinking coffee during the American Revolution. The only state in the United States of America able to grow coffee plants commercially is...

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Jan 22

When was the National Association of Baseball Players founded?

January 22, 1857 — The National Association of Baseball Players is founded today in New York. The first organization governing American baseball, it terminated the Knickerbocker era when that club privately deliberated on the rules of the game. Prior to the Civil War, baseball competed for...

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Jan 23

How many earthquakes struck New Madrid, Missouri?

January 23, 1812 —  Three earthquakes struck New Madrid, Missouri between 1811-1812, including one that hit today. They remain the most powerful earthquakes to hit the contiguous United States east of the Rocky Mountains in recorded history. They were felt strongly over roughly...

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Jan 24

What was the impetus for the California Gold Rush?

January 24, 1848 — Today, American carpenter and sawmill operator James Wilson Marshall (October 8, 1810 – August 10, 1885) reported the finding of gold at Coloma on the American River in California. It was the impetus for the California Gold...

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Jan 25

What was Shays’ Rebellion?

January 25, 1787 — Shays' Rebellion suffered a setback today when debt-ridden farmers, led by Capt Daniel Shays, failed to capture an arsenal at Springfield, Mass. Did you know: Shays '​ Rebellion was an armed uprising in Massachusetts (mostly in and around Springfield) during 1786 and 1787. Revolutionary War...

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Jan 27

Where was the first US state university chartered?

January 27, 1785 — The first US state university is chartered today, the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia. However, the title of oldest public university in the United States is claimed by three universities: the University of Georgia, the University...

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Jan 28

Who was one of the first US chief engravers?

January 28, 1824 — William Kneass (September 25, 1781 – August 27, 1840) became the country's chief engraver today, a job he held until his death in 1840. Kneass is credited with designing the "Classic Head" motif, which appeared on numerous denominations...

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Jan 30

Which state ratified the Articles of Confederation today?

January 30, 1781 — While the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation on November 15, 1777, it took a little more than three years for it to be ratified. Today marks the anniversary when government leaders in Maryland signed the Articles, which provided a...

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Jan 31

Who invented condensed milk?

January 31, 1851 — Gail Borden (November 9, 1801 – January 11, 1863) announced today that he invented condensed milk. The native New Yorker had settled in Texas in 1829, where he worked as a land surveyor, newspaper publisher, and inventor. He co-plotted...

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