1265 – The first English parliament met in Westminster Hall.
1801 – John Marshall was appointed chief justice of the United States.
1839 – Chile defeated a confederation of Peru and Bolivia in the Battle of Yungay.
1841 – The island of Hong Kong was ceded to Great Britain. It returned to Chinese control in July 1997.
1885 – The roller coaster was patented by L.A. Thompson.
1886 – The Mersey Railway Tunnel was officially opened by the Prince of Wales.
1891 – James Hogg took office as the first native-born governor of Texas.
1892 – The first official basketball game was played by students at the Springfield, MA, YMCA Training School.
1929 – The movie “In Old Arizona” was released. The film was the first full-length talking film to be filmed outdoors.
1937 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to be inaugurated on January 20th. The 20th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution officially set the date for the swearing in of the President and Vice President.
1942 – Nazi officials held the Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their “final solution” that called for exterminating Europe’s Jews.
1944 – The British RAF dropped 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin.
1952 – In Juarez, Mexico, Patricia McCormick debuted as the first professional woman bullfighter from the United States.
1953 – “Studio One” became the first television show to be transmitted from the United States to Canada.
1954 – The National Negro Network was formed on this date. Forty radio stations were charter members of the network.
1972 – The number of unemployed in Britain exceeded 1 million.
1981 – Iran released 52 Americans that had been held hostage for 444 days. The hostages were flown to Algeria and then to a U.S. base in Wiesbaden, West Germany. The release occurred minutes after the U.S. presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.
1985 – The most-watched Super Bowl game in history was seen by an estimated 115.9 million people. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Miami Dolphins, 38-16. Super Bowl XIX marked the first time that TV commercials sold for a million dollars a minute.
1986 – The U.S. observed the first federal holiday in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
1986 – Britain and France announced their plans to build the Channel Tunnel.
1986 – New footage of the 1931 “Frankenstein” was found. The footage was originally deleted because it was considered to be too shocking.
1987 – Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite was kidnapped in Beirut, Lebanon. He was there attempting to negotiate the release of Western hostages. He was not freed until November 1991.
1994 – Shannon Faulkner became the first woman to attend classes at The Citadel in South Carolina. Faulkner joined the cadet corps in August 1995 under court order but soon dropped out.
1996 – Yasser Arafat was elected president of the Palestinian Authority and his supporters won two thirds of the 80 seats in the Legislative Council.
1997 – Bill Clinton was inaugurated for his second term as president of the United States.
1998 – American researchers announced that they had cloned calves that may produce medicinal milk.
1998 – In Chile, a judge agreed to hear a lawsuit that accused Chile’s former dictator Augusto Pinochet with genocide.
1999 – The China News Service announced that the Chinese government was tightening restrictions on internet use. The rules were aimed at ‘Internet Bars.’
2000 – Greece and Turkey signed five accords aimed to build confidence between the two nations.
2002 – Michael Jordan (Washington Wizards) played his first game in Chicago as a visiting player. The Wizards beat the Bulls 77-69.