The First Foot Guards
We are a Revolutionary War
reenactment group based in Boston MA,
accurately portraying the royal household regiment that is now known as
The Grenadier Guards
This Date in History: January
Graeme Marsden's collection
of significant dates in American and European history,
organized by Month and by Day.
Most references are from the 18th century, and there is a preference for military occurrences, especially those of The First Foot guards.
Check out 'What happened
on this day?'
The Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral explored the coast of Brazil and claimed the region for Portugal.
1 January 1586
Sir Francis Drake launched a surprise attack on the heavily fortified city of Santo Domingo in Hispaniola (now Haiti).
Five years after Sir Francis Drake completed his circumnavigation of the globe (1577-1580), he was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth to lead a fleet of twenty-five ships against Spanish settlements in the Caribbean. On this punitive expedition, he attacked and plundered San Domingo, Cartagena in Colombia, and St. Augustine in Florida.
Francis Drake (1542-1596) was an experienced and daring seafarer. Among many adventures, his successful circumnavigation of the world ensured that he would be one of the best remembered figures of Tudor England. In his own lifetime, he was thought of with mixed feelings, both at home and abroad. Some English people regarded him as a hero, but he was distrusted by others, who saw him as having risen 'above his station'. Although he was feared and hated by the Spanish, he was also regarded by some with secret admiration.
1 January 1651
After the battle of Dunbar in September of 1650 the struggle continued between the English Commonwealth and the uneasy alliance of Scottish Covenanters and Royalist supporters of Charles Stuart (The Old Pretender), son of the executed King Charles I. The defeat of the Scots army at Dunbar actually strengthened the hand of Charles Stuart by discrediting the radical Covenanters. After entering into an agreement with the Scottish Presbyterians to accept their Solemn League and Covenant, he was crowned King Charles II at Scone (in Scotland) on 1 January 1651, although he was not recognized as such in England. His son, Charles, who also laid claim to the throne of England, was referred to as "Bonnie Prince Charlie", and there are many romantic associations to him. The Skye Boat Song and the liqueur Drambuie are connected to the Bonnie Prince.
1 January 1660
Samuel Pepys started his famous diary, which was to give us a rare glimpse of life in restoration England.
1 January 1698
The Abenaki Indians and Massachusetts colonists signed a treaty to stop hostilities.
1 January 1707
Union with Scotland. The Scots agreed to send 16 peers and 45 MPs to the new British Parliament in return for full trading privileges. The Scottish Parliament met for the last time in March.
1 January 1766
The Old Pretender, son of King Charles II, died.
1 January 1781
A number of Pennsylvania regiments of the Continental Line mutinied because they had had to endure another intensely cold winter without adequate food and shelter, and had not been paid for months. The biggest point of contention was that after five years of service they felt that their original three-year periods of enlistment were over! They believed that they were not obligated to serve for the duration of the war, which in January of 1781 showed no sign of ending.
Nearly half of the entire 2,500 Pennsylvania Line fell out in full uniform on the morning of New Year's Day 1781 and prepared to leave their camp at Morristown NJ. They intended to march to Philadelphia and demand arrears from the Continental Congress that was in session. General Anthony Wayne attempted to dissuade them, but to no avail.
The mutineers traveled to Princeton, where they set up a temporary camp.
British General Henry Clinton saw an opportunity in the mutiny and attempted to persuade the mutineers to take up sides with the British, but they rejected the offers.
Joseph Reed, appointed by Congress to meet with the mutineers, arrived at Princeton on 7 January. He was successful and persuaded the soldiers with assurances that the Congress would attempt to address their complaints.
1 January 1788
The Times, London's oldest running newspaper, published its first edition.
1 January 1830
In Boston, William Lloyd Garrison of Park Street Church published the first edition of a journal entitled The Liberator that called for the complete emancipation of slaves in the United States.
1 January 1891
Immigration facilities opened on Ellis Island, New York, to cope with the flood of immigrants.
1 January 1894
Manchester Ship Canal opened, supplying the inland cotton manufacturing city of Manchester with oceangoing ships.
1 January 1915
The German submarine U-24 sank the British battleship Formidable off the coast near Plymouth MA.
Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, surrendered to the Spaniards, bringing to a close the Arab influence in Spain. King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile formed a strong political alliance. They expelled the Moors and other non-Christians, and took back rights from the nobles, instituted a holy police force, as well as the Inquisition. With the annexation of Navarre in 1512, Ferdinand controlled the whole of modern-day Spain.
2 January 1635
Cardinal Richelieu established the Académie Française, which regulates usage of the French language. It does a sterling job of rationalizing usage, but it tends to be reactionary when it comes to Anglo-American imports:
"Jugeant que la concurrence de l’anglais, même dans la vie courante, représentait une réelle menace pour le français et que les importations anglo-américaines dans notre lexique devenaient trop massives, les autorités gouvernementales ont été amenées, depuis une trentaine d’années, à compléter le dispositif traditionnel de régulation de la langue."
… basically 'English is a threat' which needs control. Indeed the sheer universality of English can be seen as a threat to other languages, because with the imported word comes imported culture. The crowning glory of the English language is that it thrives on - even revels in - imported words.
2 January 1757
Robert Clive and his troops recaptured Calcutta.
"I have the pleasure to inform your Lordship this expedition by sea and land has been crowned with all the success that could be wished. The town of Calcutta and Fort William were soon retaken. This news brought down the Nabob himself at the head of 20,000 horse and 30,000 foot, 25 pieces of cannon with a great number of elephants. Agreeable to the Nabob's desire, I dispatched two gentlemen to wait upon him in hopes everything might be settled without drawing the sword, but the haughtiness and disrespect with which he treated them, convinced me nothing could be expected by mild measures. This determined me to attack his camp in the night time, for which purpose I apply'd to vice-admiral Watson for 500 sailors to draw our cannon, and at three in the morning (February 4) our little army, consisting of 600 Europeans, 800 Blacks, seven field pieces and the sailors set out for the attack. A little before daybreak we entered the camp and received a very brisk fire. This did not stop the progress of our troops who marched through the enemy's camp upwards of four miles in length. We were more than two hours in passing, and what escaped the Van was destroyed by the Rear. We returned safe to our camp, having killed, by the best accounts, 1300 men. The loss on our side amounted to 200 men killed and wounded."
Siraj-ud-daulah, the young Nawab of Bengal became increasingly intolerant of the English and attacked the British settlement of Calcutta on 20 June 1756. Regaining the city in 1757, Clive took the French settlement of Chandarnagar, eliminating their threat in Bengal. On 23 June 1757 he achieved a decisive victory in the battle in the mango grove of Plassey. Siraj fled and was later executed.
2 January 1758
The French began bombardment of Madras.
2 January 1777
General George Washington defeated the British led by British General Lord Charles Cornwallis, at Princeton NJ.
Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther.
3 January 1777
The Battle of Princeton
Continuing with the momentum gained from his victory at Trenton, Washington attacked the British at Princeton. Defeat appeared imminent at first, but the Americans again emerged victorious, and New Jersey remained in American hands.
3 January 1815
By secret treaty, Austria, Britain, and France formed a defensive alliance against Prusso-Russian plans to solve the Saxon and Polish problems.
4 January 1757
Robert Francois Damiens made an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate King Louis XV of France.
4 January 1979
The state of Ohio approved 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 Guardsmen.
4 January 1999
The Euro, the new money of 11 European nations went into effect.
Traditional Twelfth Night in Britain.
5 January 1477
Swiss troops defeated forces under Charles the Bold of Burgundy at the Battle of Nancy.
5 January 1781
A British naval expedition led by Benedict Arnold burned Richmond, Virginia
5 January 1815
Federalists from all over New England, angered over the effects of the War of 1812, and pressured by mercantile interests, drew up the Hartford Convention, demanding changes in the US Constitution, and threatening to secede.
6 January 871
England's King Alfred defeated the Danes at the Battle of Ashdown.
6 January 1066
Harold Godwinson was crowned King of England. Later in the year, battling two different invasion threats. He died at the Battle of Hastings.
6 January 1540
King Henry VIII of England was married to Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife. The marriage lasted about six months. Henry's wives were: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, Catherine Parr. The last wife outlived Henry. Henry was succeeded by his nine-year-old son Edward VI, a situation that caused some difficulty.
6 January 1720
The Committee of Inquiry on the South Sea Bubble published its findings. The South Sea Bubble was a stock offering that expanded to many times its true worth, then collapsed, ruining many wealthy Britons.
6 January 1759
George Washington and Martha Dandridge Custis were married.
6 January 1838
The first public demonstration of the electric telegraph was given by its inventor, Samuel Finley Breese Morse, in Morristown NJ.
The French, under the Duke of Guise, took the port of Calais from the English.
7 January 1558
Calais, the last English possession on mainland France, was recaptured by the French.
7 January 1610
Italian astronomer Galileo discovered Jupiter's four satellites, naming them Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.
7 January 1785
The first aerial crossing of the English Channel was made by Jean Pierre Blanchard and Dr John Jeffries, in a hot-air balloon.
7 January 1807
The British blockaded Continental Europe, in response to Napoleon Bonaparte's attempted blockade of the British Isles. Unfortunately for Napoleon, the British naval blockade was very effective.
Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy was defeated and killed by the Swiss at the Battle of Nancy in the Swiss-Burgundian Wars. The Swiss army overran the Burgundians. Charles' body was later found in a pond, frozen and half-devoured by wolves. So ended the aspirations of Charles the Bold ... which also translates as Charles the Rash.
8 January 1681
The Treaty of Radzin ended a five year war between the Turks and the allied countries of Russia and Poland.
8 January 1745
England, Austria, Saxony and the Netherlands formed an alliance against Russia.
8 January 1815
The Battle of New Orleans ended in defeat for the Crown Forces, and ended 'Mr Madison's War. Ironically the war was fought at the same time peace treaty talks were proceeding in Paris.
8 January 1871
Prussian troops began to bombard Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.
8 January 1900
The Boers attacked the British in Ladysmith, South Africa, but were turned back.
8 January 1908
The IRT subway line opened, linking the New York boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
8 January 1940
Great Britain began rationing sugar, meat and butter
Philip V of Spain declared war on France.
9 January 1776
Thomas Paine published Common Sense, a scathing attack on King George III's reign over the colonies and a call for complete independence.
9 January 1792
The Ottomans signed a treaty with the Russians ending a five year war.
9 January 1793
Frenchman Jean Pierre Blanchard flew in his hot air balloon between Philadelphia and Woodbury, NJ.
9 January 1799
British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger introduced income tax, at two shillings in the pound (10%), to raise funds for the Napoleonic Wars. Pitt was a capable Prime Minister, ably guiding Britain through the Napoleonic Wars. He was tall and lean, and the caricaturist William Hogarth portrayed him as 'the Bottomless Pitt'. With the introduction of income tax, he must indeed have seemed to be so.
9 January 1806
Admiral Lord Nelson was buried in St Paul's cathedral in London after a huge procession. The parade was so long that when the Scots Greys leading it had reached the cathedral, the officers of the Army and Navy had not yet joined the procession at its start at the Admiralty.
Count Zeppelin announced plans for his new airship to carry 100 passengers
9 January 1909
A Polar exploration team lead by Ernest Shackleton reached 97 nautical miles short of the South Pole, but the weather was too severe to continue.
9 January 1915
Pancho Villa signed a treaty with the United States, halting border conflicts.
Norman warlords Robert Guiscard and his brother Roger seized Palermo in Sicily.
10 January 1645
The Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, was beheaded on Tower Hill, accused of acting as an enemy of the British Parliament.
10 January 1724
King Philip V shocked Europe when he abdicated his throne in favor of his eldest son, Louis.
10 January 1776
Thomas Paine published "Common Sense" a publication that did much to justify the rationale behind the Revolutionary War.
10 January 1811
An uprising of over 400 slaves was suppressed in New Orleans. Sixty-six blacks were killed and their heads strung up along the roads of the city.
10 January 1840
The penny post, whereby mail was delivered at a standard charge rather than paid for by the recipient, began in Britain in 1840, thus vastly increasing the popularity of the system, and providing a boon to commerce. Envelopes were introduced by Postmaster General Rowland Hill to cope with the demand for low-cost mail (previously mail was wrapped just as we might wrap a package, or folded and sealed.)
10 January 1847
General Stephen Kearny and Commodore Robert Stockton retook Los Angeles in the last California battle of the Mexican War.
10 January 1863
Prime Minister Gladstone opened the first section of the London Underground Railway system, from Paddington to Farringdon Street (now part of the Circle Line). The dignitaries rode dressed in coats and top hats, behind the steam engine, in an open carriage. This section was built not by tunneling, but by 'cut and cover' in which streets were torn up and replaced.
This was the method later used in the first Boston Subway, as they dug up Tremont & Boylston Streets. In doing so they had to dig up thousands of bodies from the Central Burying Ground (now part of The Public Garden).
In a bold move, Julius Caesar led his army across the Rubicon River, plunging Rome into civil war. This gave rise to the phrase "crossing the Rubicon" that refers to taking an irrevocable step.
11 January 1569
England's first state lottery was held. Amazingly, tickets were obtainable from the West Door of St Paul's Cathedral, London.
11 January 1798
The new Massachusetts State House, atop Beacon Hill, was completed. It was designed by famed architect Charles Bulfinch.
Spanish settlement proceeded apace in the West, oblivious of the struggle in the East.
Padre Thomas Peña, under the direction of Padre Junípero Serra, officially founded Mission Santa Clara de Asis (Santa Clara) the eighth of California's twenty-one missions. Located along the dirt road known grandiloquently as El Camino Real, the Royal Road, these missions stretched up the California coast from San Diego to Sonoma, a distance of about seven hundred miles. When the chain was completed each mission lay about one day's journey by horse apart from the next.
12 January 1932
The grand old man of Boston, Oliver Wendell Holmes retired from the Supreme Court at age 90. Holmes was son of Oliver Wendell Holmes, the medical professor and wit.
John of Gaunt, heir to the throne and eminent warrior, married Katherine Roet.
13 January 1794
President Washington approved a measure adding two stars and two stripes to the American flag, following the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the union. (The number of stripes was later reduced to 13 again, which was just as well, or the flag would have begun to look like shirting.)
13 January 1846
President James Polk sent General Zachary Taylor and 4,000 troops to the Texas Border as war with Mexico became imminent.
King Henry III of England married Eleanor of Provence.
14 January 1526
Francis of France, held captive by Charles V for a year, signed the Treaty of Madrid, giving up most of his claims in France and Italy.
14 January 1639
The first constitution of Connecticut - the "Fundamental Orders'" - was adopted.
14 January 1697
Massachusetts Bay Colony observed a Day of Contrition for the notorious Salem Witch Trials. In 1692 accusations of witchcraft led to a wave of hysteria that swept Salem (the location is now in Danvers). A series of witch trials in the Puritan colony led to the execution of nineteen alleged witches and the deaths in prison of several others. Once the hysteria died down, the people who had participated in the trials recognized that a tragic injustice had occurred and several of the judges confessed their errors and guilt. Five years after the trials, the colonial legislature declared 14 January 1697 a Day of Contrition to be devoted to fasting, soul-searching, and repentance in memory of the victims of the witch trials. Judge Samuel Sewall, however, is the only judge who recanted. He is buried in the Granary Burying Ground, downtown Boston.
14 January 1784
The United States of America became a sovereign nation with the ratification of the Treaty of Paris, ending the Revolutionary War. The treaty, which had been signed the previous September by US and English officials, allowed six months for ratification by the states.
14 January 1797
Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the Austrians at Rivoli in northern Italy.
14 January 1858
Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie escaped an attempt on his life after an Italian assassin threw a bomb at their carriage as they traveled to the Paris Opera.
Henry VIII assumed the title 'Supreme Head of the Church', and English clergy abjured the authority of the Pope. Curiously enough, the Pope had previously praised Henry's written support of the Catholic Church, endowing him with the title "Fidei Defensor" or Defender of the Faith. You'll still find the legend "Fid.Def." on British coinage. Ironic.
15 January 1559
Elizabeth Tudor was crowned as Queen Elizabeth I of England. King Henry VIII had children from three of his wives. When he died in 1547, his only son, Edward, the child of his third marriage to Jane Seymour, succeeded him as King Edward VI. Edward was sickly, and when he died six years later, the throne went to Mary, Henry 's daughter by his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Queen Mary wed Philip of Spain and made Catholicism the state religion, which made her a very unpopular ruler. When she died in 1558, the next in line for the throne was her younger half-sister Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry 's second wife, Anne Boleyn. On January 15, 1559, following a grand procession through the streets of London, the 25-year-old Elizabeth was led to Westminster Abbey, where she was crowned. Called "The Virgin Queen" because she never married, Elizabeth I put an end to the religious conflicts in England. Her 44-year reign included the discovery voyages of Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh, the literary masterpieces of Shakespeare, and the English triumph over the Spanish Armada. She was buried in Westminster Abbey, the scene of her coronation. She died in the "Dies MiserICorDIae" or 'day of sadness'. If you look at the Roman numerals in the phrase, you'll see the year, 1604
15 January 1759
The world's first public museum opened. After the British government purchased three large private collections of manuscripts, antique objects, plants, fossils, minerals, and coins, Parliament passed the British Museum Act for London in 1753. As a result, the British Museum opened on 15 January 1759 in Montague House, in the Bloomsbury neighborhood of London, and the current vast building was erected. It originally allowed only thirty visitors per day, and is now the largest museum in Britain, with over four million visitors annually. Its treasures include the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon.
15 January 1797
London haberdasher James Hetherington created a new fashion and was fined £50 for his audacity in wearing his new creation: the top hat.
15 January 1920
Prohibition went into effect in the United States. Selling liquor and beer became illegal.
Ivan the Terrible was crowned first Tsar of Russia.
16 January 1572
The Duke of Norfolk was tried for treason for complicity in the Ridolfi plot to restore Catholicism in England, and was executed on 2 June. The Dukes of Norfolk to this day have the highest precedence in the peerage (after Royal Dukes): they are still Catholic.
16 January 1746
Charles Edward Stuart, the young pretender, defeated government forces at the battle of Falkirk in Scotland.
16 January 1773
Captain James Cook became the first recorded person to cross the Antarctic Circle.
16 January 1809
The British defeated the French at the Battle of Corunna ( La Coruña), in the Peninsular War. General Sir John Moore was killed in the battle. "They buried him darkly at dead of night; the sod with their bayonets turning…" The First Foot Guards buried him.
First Foot Guards Officer who died in battle
16 January 1809:
Ensign Paul Harry Durell Burrard, First Foot Guards
16 January 1819
Simon Bolivar the "liberator" proclaimed Colombia a republic.
16 January 1912
Robert Scott reached the South Pole only a month after Roald Amundsen. He and his party, however, perished.
The Papal See was transferred from Avignon in France back to Rome.
17 January 1706
Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, on Milk Street. Ben's father, Josiah, was a candle and soap maker and he made sure that each of his sons learned a trade. Josiah had plans for Ben to enter the clergy, so he sent him to Boston Latin School. Ben quickly learned to read and write but he did not do well in Arithmetic. Josiah changed his mind about Ben and took him out of school and had him work in the candle and soap business, but Ben was not happy. Josiah then decided that Ben should learn the printing business, so at age twelve, Ben became an apprentice in his brother James' printing office.
17 January 1773
Captain James Cook sailed the first ship known to have crossed the Antarctic Circle. Although it was widely believed that a continent existed at the southern extremity of the world, nobody in recorded history had ever sailed far enough south to find it. In July 1772, the British explorer James Cook set sail from England with the mission of searching for the southern continent. On 17 January1773, Cook's ship, Resolution, crossed the Antarctic Circle, the first vessel in recorded history to do so. He managed to go a bit further south but, unable to get through the ice pack, he turned back north. Although he didn't realize it, he was within 80 miles of the Antarctic coastline. He made two more crossings of the Antarctic Circle, and sailed all the way around Antarctica, but never managed to get through the ice pack to see the continent. He continued to believe, correctly, that the southern continent existed, but that it was smaller and less habitable than once thought.17 January 1781
The Battle of Cowpens
The Americans boldly split their army in two, with one half engaging a British force led by Banastre Tarleton. Over 90% of Tarleton's men were killed, wounded or captured, severely crippling the British presence in the south.
Henry VII married Elizabeth of York.
18 January 1701
Frederick III, the elector of Brandenburg, became King of Prussia.
18 January 1778
Explorer Captain James Cook visited the Hawaiian Islands, calling them the "Sandwich Islands" in honor of Lord Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty (Yes, the person who gave his name to 'the sandwich') On his first visit, the natives thought he was a god. In contrast, when he returned a year later, he was killed on the beach after arguments with the native leaders. The state flag of Hawaii is identical to the flag of the British East India Company that was instrumental in promoting Cook's voyages.
18 January 1788
After Captain James Cook visited Botany Bay, on the east coast of Australia during his voyage of discovery in 1770, the continent of Australia remained unexplored and unsettled by Europeans for the next 18 years. Then, on January 18, 1788 a fleet of eight ships from Portsmouth, England landed at Botany Bay. On board were 750 convicts sent by the British Government to colonize Australia. Although conditions were difficult for the "First Fleet" of transported convicts, the settlement was successfully established and named Sydney, after Britain's Lord Sydney, who was responsible for the penal colony. Over the next 90 years, until the system was abolished, 162,000 convicted criminals were shipped to Australia and Tasmania, where they played a vital role in the early stages of colonization.
18 January 1871
Wilhelm, King of Prussia from 1861, was proclaimed the first German Emperor.
18 January 1912
English explorer Robert F. Scott and his expedition reached the South Pole, only to discover that Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it. (Scott and his party perished during the return trip.)
In Switzerland, Ulrich Zwingli published his 67 Articles, the first manifesto of the Zurich Reformation that attacked the authority of the Pope.
19 January 1783
William Pitt (the Younger) became the youngest Prime Minister of England at age 24.
Son of William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham. As Prime Minister he is remembered for his tough policies against corruption, for fiscal reform, for shifting power toward the House of Commons and for the union with Ireland.
Pitt entered Cambridge University at 14 and Parliament at 22. In 1798 the Irish revolted against his policies. His solution, the Act of Union 1800, included Catholic emancipation, which was rejected by the king. Pitt resigned in protest in 1801. Returning as Prime Minister in 1804, he gained the support of the Austrian, Russian and Swedish leaders in an attempt to defeat Napoleon's armies. The news of Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz in 1806 is said to have caused Pitt's death.
19 January 1809
Author Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston. His parents, who were regular members of the troupe then performing at the Federal Street Theater, named him Edgar Poe. David Poe, the father of the child, was a native of Baltimore, where the Poes were people of standing. David had been cut off when he recklessly pushed his law-books aside for an uncertain career upon the stage. He was never a brilliant actor; the lady whom he married was his superior in their profession, and had the more lively personality of the two. Within a year of Edgar's birth, his father died, and a year or two later Mrs. Poe also died in poverty, at Richmond VA, leaving three young children to the charity of friends. John Allan, a wealthy tobacco merchant in Richmond, brought Poe into the family at his wife's request, and gave him the middle name Allan as a baptismal name.
19 January 1915
The first German air raids on Great Britain inflicted minor casualties. On the evening of 19 January the seaside town of Great Yarmouth was the target of the first air raid against Britain; a single Zeppelin rigid airship bombed the town, killing two people. This action caused much panic throughout the country and the War Ministry realized at the time that there was no adequate defense against a deliberate attack on the British civilian population. Accordingly the Admiralty was charged with establishing a string of home defense airfields along the eastern seaboard of the United Kingdom, from Edinburgh to the south coast of England.
The first English parliament met in Westminster Hall, convened by the Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort.
20 January 1327
Edward II of England was deposed by his eldest son, Edward III.
20 January 1419
Rouen surrendered to Henry V, completing his conquest of Normandy.
20 January 1764
John Wilkes (1727-97) was expelled from the British House of Commons for seditious libel.
an influential English politician and journalist. In 1762 he founded a periodical,
the North Briton, in which he made outspoken attacks on George III and his ministers.
In issue No. 45 (1763), he went so far as to criticize the speech from the throne.
He was immediately arrested on the basis of a general warrant (one that did
not specify who was to be arrested), but his arrest was adjudged a breach of
parliamentary privilege by Chief Justice Charles Pratt, who later ruled also
that general warrants were illegal. The government then secured Wilkes's expulsion
from Parliament on the grounds of seditious libel and obscenity. He fled in
1764 to Paris and was convicted of seditious libel in his absence. He returned
in 1768 and was repeatedly elected to Parliament from Middlesex, but each time
he was denied his seat by the king's party. In the eyes of the angry populace,
this became an egregious case of royal manipulation of parliamentary privilege
to restrain the people's electoral rights. After 22 months in prison for his
libel conviction he was elected Sheriff of London (1771) and Lord Mayor (1774).
In 1774 he was again elected and this time allowed to take his seat in Parliament,
where he championed the liberties of the American colonies and fought for parliamentary
reform. He lost popular favor for his vigorous action as Lord Chamberlain in
suppressing the Gordon riots (1780). Wilkes was a champion of freedom of the
press and the rights of the electorate.
Doubtless, Junius Brutus Booth, who was born in Britain, named his son for John Wilkes.
20 January 1783
Britain signed a peace agreement with France and Spain.
20 January 1793
King Louis XVI was tried by the French Convention, found guilty of treason and sentenced to the guillotine.
20 January 1841
Hong Kong was ceded by China and occupied by the British.
20 January 1908
The Sullivan Ordinance barred women from smoking in public facilities in the United States.
20 January 1936
Britain's King George V died. He was succeeded by Edward VIII, who abdicated and was followed by King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II.
21 January 1189
Philip Augustus, Henry II of England and Frederick Barbarossa assembled troops for the Third Crusade.
21 January 1785
Chippewa, Delaware, Ottawa and Wyandot Indians signed the treaty of Fort McIntosh, ceding present-day Ohio to the United States.
21 January 1790
Joseph Guillotine proposed a new and more humane method of execution: a machine designed to cut off the condemned person's head as painlessly as possible.
21 January 1793
Louis XVI, King of France, was guillotined in Place de la Révolution. The location is now called the Place de la Concorde.
21 January 1846
The first issue of the Daily News, edited by Charles Dickens, was published.
England's Glorious Revolution reached its climax when parliament invited William and Mary to become joint sovereigns.
22 January 1771
The Falkland Islands were ceded to Britain by Spain.
22 January 1807
President Thomas Jefferson exposed a plot by Aaron Burr to form a new republic in the Southwest.
22 January 1813
During the War of 1812, British forces under Henry Proctor defeated a US contingent planning an attack on Fort Detroit.
22 January 1824
A British force was wiped out by an Asante army on the African Gold Coast. This was the first defeat for a colonial power.
22 January 1879
British troops of the 24th Regiment were massacred by the Zulus at Isandhlwana.
22 January 1879
Battle of Rorke's Drift in the Zulu War began 22-23 Jan) 137 British held off about four thousand Zulus. The garrison was awarded eleven Victoria Crosses and nine Distinguished Conduct Medals, the highest in any battle. All the more surprising because the posthumous VC began to be awarded only after 1905. Although vastly outnumbered, the British had the advantage of the new Martini-Henry rifle.
22 January 1901
Queen Victoria died. Her son, Edward VII, became king.
The Royal Exchange in London, founded by financier Thomas Gresham, was opened by Queen Elizabeth I. It featured a golden grasshopper weathervane, from the Gresham coat of arms. This was copied by metalsmith Shem Drowne in Boston, and his creation still adorns the top of Faneuil Hall.
23 January 1901
A great fire ravaged Montreal, resulting in $2.5 million in damage.
23 January 1913
The "Young Turks" revolted because of concessions made at the London peace talks.
James W Marshall discovered a gold nugget at Sutter's Mill in northern California, a discovery that led to the gold rush of '49.
24 January 1908
The first Boy Scout troop was organized in England by Robert Baden-Powell.
King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn were secretly married. (Anne Boleyn was wife No. 2, and mother to be of Queen Elizabeth I).
25 January 1787
In Massachusetts, Shays's Rebellion suffered a setback when debt-ridden farmers led by Captain Daniel Shays failed to capture the Springfield Armory. Federal troops under General Benjamin Lincoln broke up the rebellion.
25 January 1885
Battle of Khartoum. Troops loyal to the Mahdi stormed Khartoum. General Charles Gordon was among those slain; an event that shook the English-speaking world. Khartoum was later recaptured.
25 January 1846
The Corn Laws, odious tariffs on imported oats, wheat and barley, that caused great hardships to the masses, were finally repealed by the British Parliament.
25 January 1915
Alexander Graham Bell in New York and Thomas Watson in San Francisco made a record telephone transmission.
The Treaty of Karlowitz ended the war between Austria and the Turks.
26 January 1763
After seven months of siege, British surrendered Mangalore in India to Tipoo Sahib. The Tipoo was later to be killed at the Battle of Seringapatam, conducted under the command of Governor-General Cornwallis.
26 January 1788
The first convicts and free settlers, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney NSW.
26 January 1788
A fleet of ships carrying convicts from England landed at Sydney Cove in Australia. They were the first European settlers. The location is now the city of Sydney, and the day has since become Australia's national day.
26 January 1885
General "Chinese" Gordon was killed on the palace steps in Khartoum by forces of the Mahdi.
26 January 1924
Petrograd (formerly St Petersburg) was renamed Leningrad.
27 January 1606
The trial of Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators began: they were executed 31 January by hanging, drawing and quartering. The date of the attempt to blow up Parliament, 5 November 1605 is still celebrated throughout Britain, and is one of the country's largest festivals. For many years before the RevWar it was celebrated annually in Boston as Pope Day, when effigies of the pope were burned, and gangs fought in the streets.
27 January 1825
Congress approved Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), clearing the way for relocation of the Eastern Indians on the "Trail of Tears."
27 January 1900
Foreign diplomats in Peking feared revolt and demanded that the Imperial Government discipline the Boxer Rebels.
The Roman Emperor Nerva named Trajan, an army general, as his successor.
28 January 1521
The Diet of Worms began, at which Protestant reformer Luther was declared an outlaw by the Roman Catholic church.
28 January 1547
Henry VIII of England died and was succeeded by his nine-year-old son Edward VI.
28 January 1549
King Henry VIII died, exactly 90 years since the birth of his father Henry VII. Henry VIII's nine year old son, Edward VI, succeeded as King of England (1549-1553). He was a sickly child, and died a few years later, putting the succession in peril. He was succeeded by Henry's daughter Mary, then his daughter Elizabeth.
28 January 1596
English navigator Sir Francis Drake died off the coast of Panama, and was buried at sea.
28 January 1757
Ahmed Shah, the first King of Afghanistan, occupied Delhi and annexed the Punjab.
28 January 1788
The first British penal settlement was founded at Botany Bay.
28 January 1807
London became the world's first city to be illuminated by gaslight, when the lamps on Pall Mall were lit.
28 January 1871
Surrounded by Prussian troops and suffering from famine, the French army in Paris surrendered.
In memoriam. First Foot Guards Officer who died in battle:
Lieutenant Robert Hamond Elwes, Grenadier Guards
28 January 1915
The US Coast Guard was founded to fight contraband trade and aid distressed vessels at sea. It absorbed the US Life saving service an the US Revenue Cutter Service.
28 January 1915
The German navy attacked the American freighter William P Frye, loaded with wheat for Britain
28 January 1932
The Japanese attacked Shanghai, China, and declared martial law.
29 January 1779
RevWar: The British forces took Augusta GA.
29 January 1728
John Gay's 'The Beggar's Opera' was first performed at Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre, London. It contained many songs which became well-known. It was reworked by Berthold Brecht as 'Der Dreigroschenoper', or 'The Threepenny Opera'.
29 January 1813
Jane Austen published Pride and Prejudice.
29 January 1820
Britain's King George III died insane at Windsor Castle, ending a reign that had seen both the American and French revolutions. He was succeeded by his son, George IV (formerly the Prince Regent). The Prince Regent was as spendthrift as his father had been frugal.
29 January 1848
Greenwich Mean Time was adopted by Scotland.
29 January 1856
Britain's highest military decoration, the Victoria Cross, was founded by Queen Victoria. Since that time, many VCs have been earned by The Grenadier Guards.
30 January 1647
English Civil War: King Charles I was handed over by the Scottish powers to the Parliamentarians.
30 January 1649
King Charles I was beheaded in London by order of the English Parliament. His execution came as a result of a bitter struggle between King and Parliament for supremacy that resulted in the Civil War. At issue in the war was a king who claimed to rule by divine right and a Parliament that claimed the right to govern independent of the crown. While his supporters considered Charles I a martyr, his opponents saw him as a traitor. On this day The Commonwealth was established. The monarchy was restored in 1660.
30 January 1790
The first purpose-built lifeboat was launched on the River Tyne in northeastern England.
30 January 1815
The Library of Congress, destroyed by Crown Forces in 1814, was restored by the purchase of Thomas Jefferson's personal library for $23,940. The new collection of 6,487 volumes included more than twice as many books as the former library, in a much wider range of fields.
30 January 1835
In 1835 the first assassination attempt was made on a US President (Andrew Jackson.) The would-be killer, Richard Lawrence, pulled a gun, which misfired, after which President Jackson struck him with his cane. Lawrence then pulled a second gun, which also misfired. Sometimes a misfire can be good!
30 January 1862
The USS Monitor was launched at Greenpoint, Long Island.
30 January 1933
Adolf Hitler was made Chancellor.
30 January 1948
Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.
30 January 1949
In India, 100,000 people prayed at the site of Gandhi's assassination on the first anniversary of his death.
30 January 1968
The Tet Offensive took place.
30 January 1943
Feldmarschall Friedrich von Paulus surrendered to Red Army troops in Stalingrad.
The executions of Winter, Rockwood, Keys, and Guy Fawkes, the Gunpowder Conspirators, took place in London.
Children in Britain still sing "Remember, remember, the fifth of November; gunpowder, treason and plot." The 5 November 1605 was the date when the plot to blow up Parliament was foiled.
31 January 1620
Virginia colony leaders wrote to the Virginia Company in England, asking for more orphaned apprentices for employment.
31 January 1747
The first clinic specializing in the treatment of venereal diseases was opened at London Dock Hospital.
31 January 1788
The Young Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart died.
31 January 1858
The Great Eastern, the innovative five-funneled steamship designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was launched at Millwall on the Thames.
31 January 1915
The German Army used poison gas on the Russians.
31 January 1915
German U-boats sank two British steamers in the English Channel.
31 January 1917
Germany resumed unlimited submarine warfare, warning that neutral ships in the war zone might be attacked.
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