Today In History...
In 1733 Polar bears are exhibited for the first time in Boston.
In 1773 Captain James Cook becomes the first to cross the Antarctic Circle.
In 1806 President Thomas Jefferson's daughter, Martha, gives birth to James Madison Randolph, the first child born in the White House.
In 1871 The first cable car is patented by Andrew S. Hallidie.
In 1893 Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th U.S. president, dies at age 70.
In 1893 Hawaii's monarchy is overthrown as a group of white businessmen and sugar planters force Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate.
In 1917 The U.S. pays Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.
In 1945 During World War II, Soviet and Polish forces liberate Warsaw from the Nazis.
In 1945 Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews from the Nazis, disappeared in Hungary while in Soviet custody.
In 1946 The United Nations security council holds its first meeting.
In 1950 Eleven masked men rob a Brink's office in Boston of $2.7 million.
In 1955 The submarine USS Nautilus makes its first nuclear-powered test run from its berth in Groton, CT.
In 1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower gives his farewell address.
In 1963 Joe Walker takes the X-15 to altitude of 82 km.
In 1966 An American B-52 carrying four unarmed hydrogen bombs crashes on the Spanish coast. Three of the bombs were quickly recovered, but the fourth wasn't found until the following April.
In 1971 The Baltimore Colts defeat the Dallas Cowboys, 16-13, in Super Bowl V in Miami.
In 1977 Gary Gilmore is executed in Utah by firing squad at the Utah State Prison, the first since 1967.
In 1983 Alabama Governor George Wallace, making a political comeback, takes the oath of office for a record fourth term, succeeding Governor Fob James.
In 1984 The U.S. Supreme Court rules, 5-4, that the private use of homeVCRs to tape TV programs does not violate federal copyright laws.
In 1985 The Census Bureau reports that some cities spend more on law enforcement than education.
In 1986 Designer Aldo Gucci pleads guilty in a $7 million tax fraud case.
In 1989 Vietnam vet Patrick Purdy murders five Stockton, CA, schoolchildren and wounds 30 others before killing himself.
In 1990 A federal judge in Miami sets a March 1990 date for ex-Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega's drug trafficking trial to begin. (Noriega was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison.)
In 1991 On the first day of Operation Desert Storm, U.S.-led forces hammered Iraqi targets in an effort to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. Iraq's President Saddam Hussein declared that the "mother of all battles" had begun.
In 1992 Eight Protestant laborers are killed in an IRA bombing in Northern Ireland.
In 1994 t least 57 die after earthquake measuring 6.7 hits the San Fernando Valley, 20 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
In 1995 A 7.2 earthquake strikes Kobe, Japan, killing 5,000, injuring more than 26,200 and damaging or destroying more than 56,000 buildings.
In 1996 Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine followers are handed long prison sentences for plotting to blow up New York-area landmarks.
In 1996 Former U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan dies in Austin, TX, at age 59.
In 1997 Speaker Newt Gingrich is reprimanded by the House and required to pay a $300,000 penalty as punishment for his ethics violations.
In 1997 Israel hands over its military headquarters in Hebron to the Palestinians, ending 30 years of Israeli occupation there.
In 1997 A court in Ireland grants the first divorce in the Roman Catholic country's history.
In 1998 President Clinton gives a deposition in Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against him; during the nearly six hours of sworn testimony, Clinton denied having a sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
In 2000 Decrying the Confederate flag as a symbol of slavery and racism, nearly 50,000 people march to South Carolina's Statehouse on Martin Luther King Day to demand the banner be taken down.
In 2001 An electricity crisis forces California to use rolling blackouts to cut off power to hundreds of thousands of people.
In 2003 Actor Richard Crenna (Rambo movies) dies at age 76.
In 2003 Gertrude Janeway, the last known widow of a Union veteran from the Civil War, dies in Blaine, Tennessee, at age 93. (She had married John Janeway in 1927 when he was 81 and she was 18.)
In 2008 Chess master Bobby Fischer died Thursday of kidney failure in Reykjavik, Iceland, after a long illness. He was 64.