(Copyright 2004, Literary Liaisons, Ltd.  DO NOT REPRODUCE or distribute without permission.)

For a more comprehensive list, including a Year by Year timeline, see our Research Guide.

Jan 1st. . .  

1583--German and Swiss states introduced the Gregorian calendar.

1660--Samuel Pepys began his Diary, which he wrote in an early form of shorthand for just over nine years.

1716--William Wycherley, English playwright, died.

1735--Paul Revere, American patriot, born.

1766--James Stuart, 'the Old Pretender', died in Rome.

1772--The first traveller's cheques were introduced by the London Credit Exchange Company.

1781--Iron Bridge, Shropshire, England, first all-iron bridge in the world, opened to traffic.

1785--The Daily Universal Register was first published in London.  It was renamed The Times in 1788.

1808--The importing of slaves into America was halted.

1876--The first British trademark was registered, for Bass Pale Ale.

1879--E.M. Forster, British novelist of A Passage to India, born.

1881--The first British postal orders were issued.

1887--Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.


Jan 2nd. . .

17AD--Ovid, Roman poet, died.

17AD--Livy, Roman historian who wrote a 142-book history of the city, died.

1635--Cardinal Richelieu established the Academie Francaise to maintain the purity of the French language.

1727--James Wolfe, British general who captured Quebec, born.

1757--Clive of India captured Calcutta after it had been seized by the Nawab of Bengal.

1769--English painter Sir Joshua Reynolds became the first president of the Royal Academy, which opened this day.

1788--Georgia became the 4th State of the Union.

1839--French photographic pioneer Louis Daguerre took the first photograph of the moon.

1866--Professor Gilbert Murray, English classic scholar, born in Sydney, Australia.

1883--General Tom Thumb (Charles Sherwood Stratton), U.S. 31-inch midget who was publicly exhibited by circus impresario P.T. Barnum, died.


Jan 3rd. . .

106BC--Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman orator and statesman, born.

1521--Martin Luther, founder of Protestantism, was excommunicated from the Catholic church following his refusal to retract any of his views.

1777--George Washington defeated the British at the Battle of Princeton during the American War of Independence.

1795--Josiah Wedgwood, English founder of the Wedgwood pottery, died.

1823--Robert Whitehead, British inventor of the self-propelled torpedo, born.

1840--Father Damien, Belgian missionary who worked with lepers in Hawaii, born.

1875--Pierre Larousse, French editor and encyclopaedist, died.

1888--J.R.R. Tolkein, British author of Lord of the Rings, born in South Africa.

1888--Paper drinking straws were patented in the U.S.


Jan 4th. . .

1642--Sir Isaac Newton, British mathematician and scientist, born.

1785--Jakob Grimm, elder brother of the German folklorist duo, born.

1809--Louis Braille, French inventor of the alphabetic system for the blind that bears his name, born.

1813--Sir Isaac Pitman, English publisher and inventor of shorthand, born.

1835--The first chess column appeared in a newspaper, Bell's Life in London.

1878--Augustus John, Welsh portrait painter and Royal Academician, born.

1884--The Fabian Society, British socialist organization, was founded, taking its name from the Roman, Fabius Maximus, who wanted to introduce gradual reforms.

1885--The first successful appendix operation was performed by Dr. Williams West Grant in Iowa.

1896--Utah became the 45th State of the Union.


Jan 5th. . .

1066--Edward the Confessor, English king known for his piety, died.

1477--Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, killed at the Battle of Nancy.

1589--Catherine de Medici, wife of Henry II of France, died.

1779--Stephen Decatur, U.S. naval commander who coined the phrase, 'Our country, right or wrong', born.

1787--John Burke, British genealogist and founder of Burke's Peerage, first published in 1826, born.

1811--Cyrus Hamlin, American missionary and educator in Turkey, born.

1855--King Camp Gillette, US inventor of the safety razor, born.

1887--Clifford Grey, English lyricist, born.

1896--Rontgen gave the first demonstration of X-rays. The German physicist made the discovery the previous year.


Jan 6th. . .

871--King Alfred defeated the Danes at the Battle of Ashdown.

1066--Harold II was crowned King of England.

1367--King Richard II of England, born in Bordeaux.

1412--St. Joan of Arc, French heroine who believed she had a divine mission to expel the British from France, born.

1540--King Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves.

1745--Jacques Etienne Montgolfier, French balloonist and paper manufacturer, born.

1832--Gustave Dore, French artist and illustrator, born.

1838--U.S. inventor Samuel Morse gave the first demonstration of his electric telegraph system.

1840--Fanny Burney, British novelist and diarist, died.

1852--Louis Braille, inventor of the reading system for the blind, died.

1878--Carl Sandburg, U.S. poet and biographer, born.


Jan 7th. . .

1450--Glasgow University, Scotland, was founded.

1536--Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII, died.

1558--The French recaptured Calais from the English.

1618--Francis Bacon became Lord Chancellor of England.

1768--Joseph Bonaparte, King of Naples and Spain, and eldest brother of Napoleon, born.

1785--Dr. John Jeffries and Jean-Pierre Blanchard crossed the Channel from Dover to Calais in a hot-air balloon.

1789--The first national U.S. elections were held.  George Washington would become the first president.

1844--Marie-Bernard Soubirous, Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, born.

1857--The London Central Omnibus Company started its first services.

1867--Carl Laemmle, German immigrant and founder of Universal Pictures, born.

1873--Charles Peguy, French poet and socialist, born.


Jan 8th. . .

1642--Galileo Galilei, Italian mathematician and astronomer, died.

1713--Arcangelo Corelli, composer and violinist, died.

1800--The first soup kitchens for the poor of London began.

1806--The Cape of Good Hope, formerly in the hands of the Dutch, was occupied by Britain.

1815--The British, led by General Sir Edward Pakenham, were defeated at New Orleans in the last battle Britain ever fought against the U.S., in the War of 1812.

1824--Wilkie Collins, English pioneer of the detective and suspense story, and author of The Woman in White, born.

1825--Eli Whitney, U.S. inventor of the cotton gin, died.

1889--Dr. Herman Hollerith of New York patented an electrically operated computer to process data.  The company he formed to market his invention would evolve into IBM.

1895--Paul Verlaine, French poet, died.


Jan 9th. . .

1735--John Jervis, British admiral who defeated the Spanish fleet off Cape St. Vincent, born.

1788--Connecticut became the 5th State of the Union.

1799--The Napoleonic Wars forced the British Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, to introduce income tax: Two shillings in the pound.

1806--Nelson, Viscount Horatio, British naval hero, was buried at St. Paul's Cathedral, London.

1811--The first women's golf tournament took place in Scotland between locals in the fishing town of Musselburgh.

1848--Caroline Lucretia Herschel, English astronomer who discovered nine comets, died.

1854--Jenny, Lady Randolph Churchill, wife of Lord Randolph and mother of Winston, born.

1873--Napoleon III, Emperor of France and Bonaparte's nephew, died in exile at Chislehurst, Kent.

1878--Victor Emmanuel, the first King of Italy, died.


Jan 10th. . .

1645--Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, was beheaded on Tower Hill for treason.

1737--Ethan Allen, American Revolutionary hero, and head of the "Green Mountain Boys", born.

1769--Michel Ney, the most famous of Napoleon's marshals, born.

1778--Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, died.

1839--Indian tea was auctioned for the first time in Britain.  Tea prices were to fall to make it affordable as the national drink.

1840--Sir Rowland Hill introduced the Penny Post in Britain, resulting in 112,000 letters being posted in London on this day.  ALSO, Sir Isaac Pitman started the first correspondence course in Britain for his shorthand system.

1862--Samuel Colt, U.S. gunsmith, died.

1863--The London Underground railway was opened by Prime Minister Gladstone.  The first route went from Paddington to Farrington Street stopping at seven stations.

1888--Frenchman Louis Aime Augustine le Prince was granted a U.S. patent for the first single-lens film camera.


Jan 11th. . .

1569--The first state lottery was held in England, tickets available from the West Door of St. Paul's Cathedral, London.

1753--Sir Hans Sloane, British physician and naturalist, died.

1762--Louis Francois Roubillac, French-born sculptor, died in London.

1807--Ezra Cornell, founder of Cornell University in New York, born.

1813--Joachim Murat, King of Naples, deserted Napoleon and joined the Allies.

1815--Sir John Alexander, Canada's first Prime Minister, born.

1843--Francis Scott Key, U.S. lawyer and poet who wrote the words of 'The Star Spangled Banner', born.

1857--Fred Archer, English champion jockey, born. ALSO, Henry Gordon Selfridge, U.S. founder of Britain's first large department store, born.

1859--George Nathaniel Curzon, Viceroy of India, born.

1864--London's Charing Cross station was opened.


Jan 12th. . .

1519--Maximilian I, King of Germany, and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493, died.

1580--Jean Baptiste van Helmont, Belgian chemist and scientist, born.

1628--Charles Perrault, French writer and collector of fairy tales, born.

1665--Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician, died.

1729--Edmund Burke, British statesman and writer, born in Dublin.

1852--Joseph Joffre, French army marshal, born.

1856--John Singer Sargent, U.S. painter of stylish high society portraits, born.

1866--The Aeronautical Society of Great Britain was founded.

1876--Jack London, U.S. adventure novelist of Call of the Wild, born.

1897--Sir Isaac Pitman, shorthand inventor, died.


Jan 13th. . .

1691--George Fox, English founder of the religious group of the Society of Friends, or the Quakers, died.

1832--Thomas Lord, founder of Lord's Cricket Ground in 1787, died.

1838--William Lyon Mackenzie, Scottish-born Canadian radical, fled to the U.S. after an aborted uprising in Toronto.

1864--Stephen Foster, U.S. composer and songwriter of 'Swanee River', died.

1893--The Independent British Labour Party was formed by Keir Hardie.

1898--Emile Zola's letter headlined 'J'accuse!' was published on the front page of L'Aurore, accusing the senior government and military figures of a cover-up in their involvement in the Dreyfus Affair.


Jan 14th. . .

1741--Benedict Arnold, American general and spy who provided British forces with information during the American War of Independence, born.

1742--Edmond Halley, English Astronomer Royal who discovered the cycle of the comet that bears his name, died.

1814--The King of Denmark ceded Norway to the King of Sweden, sparking off a rebellion in Norway.

1814--The last London Frost Fair was held on the frozen Thames.

1836--Henri Fantin-Latour, French painter, born.

1850--Jean de Reszke, Polish tenor who sang Faust at its 500th performance in Paris, born.

1867--Jean Ingres, French painter, died.

1875--Dr. Albert Schweitzer, French missionary surgeon and Nobel Peace Prize winner, born.

1878--Alexander Graham Bell's telephone was demonstrated by W.H. Preece to Queen Victoria at Osborne House.

1898--Lewis Carroll, English author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, died.


Jan 15th. . .

1559--Queen Elizabeth I was crowned.

1622--Moliere, French playwright and actor, born.

1759--The British Museum was opened at Montague House, London.

1779--A London haberdasher, John Hetherington, wore the first top hat.

1790--Fletcher Christian and eight fellow mutineers from the Bounty landed on Pitcairn Island.

1809--Pierre Proudhon, French social reformer and anarchist, born.

1815--Emma, Lady Hamilton, mistress to Lord Nelson, died a pauper in Calais.

1867--Regent's Park lake in London froze after a severe frost, attracting crowds, but 40 died when the ice gave way.

1878--The telephone was used for the first time in a public emergency when 21 doctors were summoned to a railway disaster at Tariffville.

1880--The first telephone directory was published by the London Telephone Company.  It listed 255 subscribers.


Jan 16th. . .

1547--Ivan the Terrible was crowned first Tsar of Russia.

1599-- Edmund Spenser, English poet who wrote the allegorical poem, The Faerie Queene, died. (Note: a conflicting source cited the 13th as his date of death.)

1769--A conjuror who claimed an impossible feat, failed to show up at the Haymarket Theatre, causing one of the worst riots in history.

1780--Admiral Rodney defeated the Spanish at Cape St. Vincent and relieved Gibraltar.

1794--Edward Gibbon, English historian and author of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, died.

1809--Sir John Moore was mortally wounded at the Battle of Corunna in Spain, where his forces defeated the French under Marshal Soult.

1853--Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson, actor-manager, born.

1853--Andre Michelin, French tyre manufacturer, born.

1891--Leo Delibes, French composer, died.


Jan 17th. . .

1501--Leonhard Fuchs, German botanist and physician after whom the fuchsia is named, born.

1706-- Benjamin Franklin, American statesman and scientist, born.

1746--At the Battle of Falkirk, 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' and his Highlanders had their last victory in the '45 Jacobite uprising.

1761--Sir James Hall, Scottish scientist who was the founder of experimental geology, born.

1820--Anne Bronte, youngest of the three English novelist sister and author of Agnes Grey, born.

1827--The Duke of Wellington was appointed commander in chief of the British Army.

1860--Anton Chehkov, Russian short-story writer, born.

1863--David Lloyd George, Welsh politician who introduced old age pensions, born in Manchester.

1883--Sir Compton Mackenzie, English novelist who settled in Australia, born.


Jan 18th. . .

1485--The Houses of Lancaster and York were united by the marriage of Henry VII to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward IV.

1677--Jan van Riebeck, founder of Cape Town, died.

1778--Captain Cook discovered the Sandwich Islands, now known as Hawaii.

1779--Peter Mark Roget, English doctor and lexicographer who published the first Thesaurus, born.

1782--Daniel Webster, American statesman who negotiated the Ashburton Treaty setting the U.S.-Canada boundary, born.

1818--George Palmer, British biscuit manufacturer, born.

1871--Wilhelm of Prussia was proclaimed the first German Emperor in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles.

1879--The first edition of Boy's Own Paper was published, edited by S.O Beeton, husband of Mrs. Beeton of cookery book fame.

1882--A.A. Milne, English author of Winnie-the-Pooh, born.


Jan 19th. . .

1544--Francis II, King of France and husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, born.

1547--Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, courtier, poet and soldier, beheaded at the Tower for high treason.

1729--William Congreve, English Restoration playwright, died.

1736--James Watt, Scottish engineer who developed the steam engine, born.

1793--King Louis XVI of France was found guilty of treason.

1807--Robert E. Lee, American general and Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate Army in the Civil War, born.

1809--Edgar Allan Poe, U.S. short story writer and poet, and author of the first true detective story, Murders in the Rue Morgue, born.

1839--Paul Cezanne, French Post-Impressionist painter, born.

1853--Verdi's Il Travatore premiered in Rome.

1870--Two New York sisters, Victoria Caffin Woodhall and Tenessee Caffin, became the world's first stockbrokers.


Jan 20th. . .

1265--The first English parliament met at Westminster Hall.

1327--Edward II was deposed by his eldest son.

1649--Parliament tried King Charles I.

1763--Theobald Wolfe Tone, Irish nationalist, born.

1779--David Garrick, English actor, died.

1837--Sir John Soane, English architect, died.

1841--Hong Kong was occupied by the British.

1875--Jean Francois Millet, French painter, died.

1882--The first shop in the world, a draper's named Coxon & Company in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was lit by incandescent electric light.

1892--In Springfield, Massachusetts, the first game of basketball was played at the YMCA.


Jan 21st. . .

1743--John Fitch, American pioneering surveyor, born.

1793--Louis XVI, King of France, found guilty of treason, was guillotined on the Place de la Revolution.

1813--John Charles Fremont, U.S. explorer and later senator who showed it was possible to cross the Rockies, born.

1824--Thomas Jonathan 'Stonewall' Jackson, Confederate general in the American Civil War, born.

1829--Oscar II, King of Sweden and Norway, born.

1846--The first edition of the Daily News, edited by Charles Dickens, was published.

1855--John Moses Browning, American inventor of the Browning machine gun and automatic rifle, born.

1885--Duncan Grant, British painter, born.


Jan 22nd. . .

1440--Ivan III (the Great), Grand Duke of Muscovy, born.

1561--Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans, English statesman, lawyer, philosopher and Lord Chancellor of England, born.

1719--William Paterson, Scottish financier and founder of the Bank of England, born.

1775--Andre Ampere, French physicist who gave us the term 'amp', born.

1788--Lord Byron, English liberal and romantic poet, born.

1849--August Strindberg, Swedish playwright, novelist and poet, born.

1858--Beatrice Potter Webb, English social reformer who helped found the Fabian Society with her husband, born.

1879--The Zulus massacred British troops at Isandlwana.

1901--Queen Victoria of England, died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight at the age of 81.


Jan 23rd. . .

1556--An earthquake in Shensi Province, China, killed an estimated 830,000 people.

1571--Queen Elizabeth I opened the Royal Exchange, London.

1622--William Baffin, English explorer of Baffin Island, died.

1737--John Hancock, Colonial merchant and patriot, born.

1752--Muzio Clementi, Italian composer and pianist and piano manufacturer, born.

1783--Stendhal, the French novelist Marie Henri Beyle, born.

1806--William Pitt, 'the Younger', twice British Prime Minister, died.

1832--Edouard Manet, French Impressionist painter and printmaker, born.

1883--Charles Kingsley, English clergyman who wrote The Water Babies, died.

1883--Gustave Dore, French artist and illustrator, died.


Jan 24th. . .

41AD--Caligula, Roman emperor, murdered by a tribune of the guard.

76AD--Hadrian, Roman emperor whose defensive policies led to the building of Hadrian's Wall on the border of Scotland and England, born in Spain.

1236--Henry III of England married Eleanor of Provence.

1670--William Congreve, English playwright of Love for Love, born.

1712--Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, born.

1732--Pierre Beaumarchais, French playwright of The Marriage of Figaro, born.

1749--Charles James Fox, British Whig statesman and orator, born.

1848--James Marshall discovered gold in California at Sutter's sawmill.

1862--Edith Wharton, American novelist of Age of Innocence, born.

1895--Lord Randolph Churchill, leader of the Conservative Party, died.


Jan 25th. . .

1327--Edward III acceded to the English throne.

1533--King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn were married secretly by the Bishop of Lichfield.

1540--St. Edmund Campion, English scholar and Jesuit martyr, born.

1627--Robert Boyle, Irish physicist and chemist and one of the founders of the Royal Society, born.

1736--Joseph Louis Lagrange, French mathematician, born.

1759--Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, born.

1855--Dorothy Wordsworth, sister of William Wordsworth, died.

1857--Lord Lonsdale, fifth Earl, English sportsman who gave boxing its official rules, born.

1878--A Turkish steamer was sunk by the first torpedo fired in war from a Russian torpedo boat.

1882--Virginia Woolf, English novelist of To The Lighthouse, born.

1882--The London Chamber of Commerce met for the first time.


Jan 26th. . .

1500--Vicente Pinzon discovered Brazil and claimed it for Portugal.

1788--Governor Arthur Philip founded Sydney, Australia as a penal colony.  Transportation of convicts would continue until 1865.

1802--Napoleon was made President of the Italian Republic.

1823--Edward Jenner, English physician who introduced vaccinations, died.

1828--The Duke of Wellington became British Prime Minister.

1837--Michigan became the 26th State of the Union.

1841--Hong Kong was proclaimed British sovereign territory.

1871--The Rugby Football Union was formed in London by an initial 20 clubs.

1875--The first battery-powered dentist drill was patented by George F. Green of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

1885--General Charles George Gordon, British soldier and Governor of the Sudan, was murdered on the palace steps at Khartoum, at the end of a ten-month siege and two days before relief arrived.


Jan 27th. . .

1731--Bartolemmeo Critofori, Italian harpsicord and piano maker, died.

1756--Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer who produced 20 operas, including The Marriage of Figaro, born.

1822--Following was against Turkey, Greece won her independence.

1832--Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), mathematician and author of Alice in Wonderland, born.

1859--Kaiser Wilhelm II, third German emperor and grandson of Queen Victoria, born.

1868--E.D. Young reported to the Royal Geographical Society that Dr. Livingstone, British explorer, was still alive in Africa.

1757--Henry Greathead, Englishman who invented the first purpose-built lifeboat, born.

1850--Samuel Gompers, American labor leader and one of the organizers of the American Federation of Labor, born.

1880--Thomas Edison was granted a patent on his incandescent light.


Jan 28th. . .

814--Charlemagne, Holy Roman emperor, died.

1457--Henry VII, English king who founded the Tudor dynasty, born.

1547--Henry VIII, King of England, died in London.

1596--Sir Francis Drake, English seaman and adventurer, died of dysentery and was buried at sea off Porto Bello.

1613--Sir Thomas Bodley, scholar and founder of the Bodleian Library in Oxford, died.

1696--Sir John Fenwick was executed for the attempted assassination of King William III.

1807--London's Pall Mall was the first street in any city to be illuminated by gaslight.

1829--William Burke, Irish body-snatcher, hanged.

1841--Sir Henry Morton Stanley, explorer-journalist, born in Wales.

1855--William Burroughs, U.S. inventor of the adding machine, born.

1873--Colette, French author of Gigi and Cheri, born.

1896--Mrs. Rose Lee was given the first radiation treatment for carcinoma of the breast by Emile Grubbe of Chicago.


Jan 29th. . .

1728--John Gay's The Beggar's Opera had its first performance in London.

1737--Thomas Paine, English social and political reformer, born.

1817--John Callcott Horsley, English artist who designed the first commercial Christmas cards, born.

1820--George III, King of England, died at Windsor, at the time the longest reigning monarch (over 59 years).

1843--William McKinley, 25th U.S. President, born.

1853--Napoleon III married Eugenie de Montijo at the Tuilleries, Paris.

1856--Queen Victoria instituted Britain's highest military decoration, the Victoria Cross (VC).

1861--Kansas became the 34th state of the Union.

1867--Vicente Blasco Ibanez, Spanish writer and politician, and author of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, born.

1874--John Davison Rockefeller, Jr., American capitalist and philanthropist, born.


Jan 30th. . .

1606--Sir Everard Digby, Thomas Winter, John Grant and Thomas Bates were hanged, drawn and quartered in London for their part in the Gunpowder Plot of Guy Fawkes.

1649--King Charles I, convicted of treason, was beheaded.

1775--Walter Savage Landor, English poet who was caricatured as 'Boythorn' in Dicken's Bleak House, born.

1790--The Original, the first purpose-built lifeboat was launched on the River Tyne at South Shields.

1815--Sir William Jenner, the Physician in Ordinary to Queen Victoria who discovered the difference between typhus and typhoid fever, born.

1858--Charles Halle founded the Halle Orchestra in Manchester.

1882--Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President, born.

1888--Edward Lear, English artist and writer, and author of The Book of Nonsense, died.

1889--At the royal hunting lodge of Mayerling near Vienna, 17-year-old Baroness Marie Vetsera and her lover, Austrian Crown Prince Rudolf, were found dead in his bedroom.  To this day no one knows if it was a double suicide or murder.


Jan 31st. . .

1606--Guy Fawkes, the chief conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot, was hanged, drawn and quartered.

1734--Robert Morris, Philadelphia merchant and patriot, born.

1747--The first VD clinic opened at London Lock Hospital.

1797--Franz Schubert, Austrian composer who wrote his first symphony at age 16, born.

1788--'Bonnie Prince Charlie', the Young Pretender, died in Rome.

1858--The five-funneled steamship, The Great Eastern, designed by Brunel and Russell, was launched at Millwall.

1876--All U.S. Native American Indians had to move into reservations or be deemed hostile.

1872--Zane Grey, U.S. writer of westerns, born in Zanesville, Ohio.

1885--Anna Pavlova, Russian prima ballerina of the Imperial Ballet, born.