Today in History – January 7

49 BC –The Senate of Rome said that Caesar would be declared a public enemy unless he disbanded his army. This prompted the tribunes who supported him to flee to Ravenna, where Caesar was waiting.

1558 – French troops, led by Francis, Duke of Guise, took Calais, the last continental possession of England.

1608 – Fire destroyed Jamestown, Virginia.

1610 – Galileo Galilei made his first observation of the four Galilean moons: Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa, although he was not able to distinguish the last two until the following day.

1782 – The first American commercial bank, the Bank of North America, opened.

1785 – Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries traveled from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in a gas balloon.

1835 – HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin on board, dropped anchor off the Chonos Archipelago.

1894 – Thomas Edison made a kinetoscopic film of someone sneezing. On the same day, his employee, William Kennedy Dickson, received a patent for motion picture film.

1904 – The distress signal “CQD” was established only to be replaced two years later by “SOS”.

1920 – The New York State Assembly refused to seat five duly elected Socialist assemblymen.

1925 – The musical, “Big Boy”, starring Al Jolson, premiered in New York City.

1927 – The first transatlantic commercial telephone service was established from New York City to London.

1928 – A disastrous flood of the River Thames killed 14 people and caused extensive damage to much of riverside London.

1929 – “Buck Rogers” sci-fi comic strip’s first published in a newspaper.

1929 – “Tarzan”, one of the first adventure comic strips, appeared for the first time in newspapers.

1931 – Guy Menzies flew the first solo non-stop trans-Tasman flight (from Australia to New Zealand) in 11 hours and 45 minutes, and crash-landed on New Zealand’s west coast.

1934 – “Flash Gordon” comic strip (by Alex Raymond) made its debut.

1948 – Kentucky Air National Guard pilot Thomas Mantell crashed while in pursuit of a supposed UFO.

1950 – Hank Snow made his first appearance on “the Grand Ole Opry”.

1954 – Georgetown-IBM experiment: The first public demonstration of a machine translation system was held in New York at the head office of IBM.

1958 – Gibson was issued a patent for the “Flying V” Guitar.

1959 – The United States recognized the new Cuban government of Fidel Castro.

1968 – Surveyor Program: Surveyor 7, the last spacecraft in the Surveyor series, lifted off from launch complex 36A, Cape Canaveral.

1969 – US Congress doubled the salary of the president.

1970 – Farmers sued Max Yasgur for $35,000 in damages caused by “Woodstock Festival”.

1973 – In his second shooting spree of the week, Mark Essex fatally shot seven people and wounded five others at Howard Johnson’s Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana, before being shot to death by police officers.

1975 – Led Zeppelin fans rioted before a Boston concert which caused $30,000 in damages.

1980 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter authorized legislation which gave $1.5 billion in loans to bail out the Chrysler Corporation.

1985 – Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched Sakigake, Japan’s first interplanetary spacecraft and the first deep space probe to be launched by any country other than the United States or the Soviet Union.

1992 – AT&T released the video-telephone ($1,499).

1994 – A British Aerospace Jetstream 41 operating as United Express Flight 6291 crashed in Gahanna, Ohio, and killed five of the eight people on board.

1999 – The Senate trial in the impeachment of U.S. President Bill Clinton began.

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