Today In History...
In 1733 Polar bears are exhibited for the first time in Boston.
In 1773 Captain James Cook became the first to cross the Antarctic Circle.
In 1806 President Thomas Jefferson's daughter, Martha, gave birth to James Madison Randolph, the first child born in the White House.
In 1871 The first cable car was patented by Andrew S. Hallidie.
In 1893 Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th U.S. president died at age 70.
In 1893 Hawaii's monarchy was overthrown as a group of white businessmen and sugar planters forced Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate.
In 1917 The U.S. paid Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.
In 1945 During World War II, Soviet and Polish forces liberated 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 held its first meeting.
In 1950 Eleven masked men robbed a Brink's office in Boston of $2.7 million.
In 1955, the USS Nautilus made its first nuclear-powered test run from its berth in Groton, CT.
In 1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his farewell address.
In 1963 Joe Walker took the X-15 to an altitude of 82 km.
In 1966 An American B-52 carrying four unarmed hydrogen bombs crashed on the Spanish coast. Three bombs were quickly recovered, but the fourth wasn't found until April.
In 1971 The Baltimore Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 16-13, in Super Bowl V in Miami.
In 1977 Gary Gilmore was 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, took the oath of office for a record fourth term, succeeding Governor Fob James.
In 1984 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that the private use of home VCRs to tape TV programs does not violate federal copyright laws.
In 1985 The Census Bureau reported that some cities spent more on law enforcement than education.
In 1986 Designer Aldo Gucci pleaded guilty in a $7 million tax fraud case.
In 1989 Vietnam vet Patrick Purdy murdered five Stockton, CA, schoolchildren and wounded 30 others before killing himself.
In 1990 A federal judge in Miami set 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 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 were killed in an IRA bombing in Northern Ireland.
In 1994 t least 57 died after an earthquake measuring 6.7 hits the San Fernando Valley, 20 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
In 1995 A 7.2 earthquake struck 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 were handed lengthy prison sentences for plotting to blow up New York-area landmarks.
In 1996 Former U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan died in Austin, TX, at age 59.
In 1997 Speaker Newt Gingrich was reprimanded by the House and required to pay a $300,000 penalty as punishment for his ethics violations.
In 1997 Israel handed over its military headquarters in Hebron to the Palestinians, ending 30 years of Israeli occupation there.
In 1997 A court in Ireland granted the first divorce in the Roman Catholic country's history.
In 1998 President Clinton gave 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 marched to South Carolina's Statehouse on Martin Luther King Day to demand the banner be taken down.
In 2001 An electricity crisis forced California to use rolling blackouts to cut off power to hundreds of thousands of people.
In 2003 Actor Richard Crenna (Rambo movies) died at age 76.
In 2003 Gertrude Janeway, the last known widow of a Union veteran from the Civil War, died 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.