Today in History – January 19

1419 – Hundred Years’ War: Rouen surrendered to Henry V of England, which completed his reconquest of Normandy.

1607 – San Agustin Church in Manila was officially completed; it is the oldest church still standing in the Philippines.

1764 – Bolle Willum Luxdorph recorded in his diary that a mail bomb, possibly the world’s first, had severely injured the Danish Colonel Poulsen, who was residing at Børglum Abbey.

1861 – American Civil War: Georgia joined South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama in declaring secession from the United States.

1862 – American Civil War: Battle of Mill Springs: The Confederacy suffered its first significant defeat in the conflict.

1883 – The first electric lighting system which used overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, began service at Roselle, New Jersey.

1901 – English Queen Victoria was stricken with paralysis. She died three days later at the age of 82.

1915 – Georges Claude patented the neon discharge tube for use in advertising.

1915 – German strategic bombing during World War I: German zeppelins bombed the towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn in the United Kingdom.  The bombings killed at least 20 people in what was the first major aerial bombardment of a civilian target.

1917 – Silvertown explosion: A blast at a munitions factory in London killed 73 and injured over 400. The resulting fire caused over £2,000,000 worth of damage.

1920 – The United States Senate voted against joining the League of Nations.

1937 – Howard Hughes set a new air record by flying from Los Angeles to New York City in seven hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds.

1940 – The Three Stooges film “You Nazty Spy!” about the Nazis was released with the disclaimer “Any resemblance between the characters in this picture and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle.”

1941 – World War II: HMS Greyhound and other escorts of convoy AS-12 sank Italian submarine Neghelli with all hands 40 miles northeast of Falkonera.

1942 – World War II: The Japanese conquest of Burma began.

1945 – World War II: Soviet forces liberated the Łódź Ghetto. Of more than 200,000 inhabitants in 1940, less than 900 had survived the Nazi occupation.

1946 – General Douglas MacArthur established the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo to try Japanese war criminals.

1953 – Almost 72 percent of all television sets in the United States were tuned into I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth.

1960 – Japan and the United States signed the US–Japan Mutual Security Treaty.

1961 – The first episode of “Dick Van Dyke Show” was filmed.

1969 – Student Jan Palach died after setting himself on fire three days earlier in Prague’s Wenceslas Square to protest about the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968. His funeral turned into another major protest.

1971 – The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” was played at the Charles Manson trial.

1977 – President Gerald Ford pardoned Iva Toguri D’Aquino (a.k.a. “Tokyo Rose”).

1978 – The last Volkswagen Beetle made in Germany left VW’s plant in Emden. Beetle production in Latin America continued until 2003.

1981 – Iran hostage crisis: United States and Iranian officials signed an agreement to release 52 American hostages after 14 months of captivity.

1981 – Muhammad Ali talked a despondent 21-year-old out of committing suicide.

1983 – Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie was arrested in Bolivia.

1983 – The Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, was announced.

1985 – “Born in the USA”, the single by Bruce Springsteen, peaked at #9.

1986 – The first IBM PC computer virus was released into the wild. A boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain was created by the Farooq Alvi Brothers in Lahore, Pakistan, reportedly to deter unauthorized copying of the software they had written.

1991 – Gulf War: Iraq fired a second Scud missile into Israel, causing 15 injuries.

1995 – After being struck by lightning the crew of Bristow Helicopter Flight 56C were forced to ditch. All 18 aboard were rescued.

1996 – The barge North Cape oil spill occurred as an engine fire forced the tugboat Scandia ashore on Moonstone Beach in South Kingstown, Rhode Island.

1999 – British Aerospace agreed to acquire the defense subsidiary of the General Electric Company plc, and formed BAE Systems in November 1999.

2007 – Four-man Team N2i, using only skis and kites, completed a 1,093-mile (1,759 km) trek to reach the Antarctic pole of inaccessibility for the first time since 1965 and for the first time ever without mechanical assistance.

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