1343 Pope Clement VI issues the papal bull Unigenitus to justify the power of the pope and the use of indulgences. Nearly 200 years later, Martin Luther would protest this.
1596 Francis Drake (died), English captain and explorer (born 1540)
1606 Gunpowder Plot: The trial of Guy Fawkes and other conspirators begins, ending with their execution on January 31.
1629 Hieronymus Praetorius (died), German composer and organist (born 1560)
1662 Richard Bentley (born), English scholar and theologian (died 1742)
1687 Johann Balthasar Neumann (born), German engineer and architect, designed Würzburg Residence and Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (died 1753)
1731 Bartolomeo Cristofori (died), Italian instrument maker, invented the Piano (born 1655)
1756 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (born), Austrian composer (died 1791)
1775 Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (born), German philosopher (died 1854)
1776 American Revolutionary War: Henry Knox’s “noble train of artillery” arrives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1785 The University of Georgia is founded, the first public university in the United States.
1795 Eli Whitney Blake (born), American inventor, invented the Mortise lock (died 1886)
1825 The U.S. Congress approves Indian Territory (in what is present-day Oklahoma), clearing the way for forced relocation of the Cherokee Indians on the “Trail of Tears”.
1832 Lewis Carroll (born), English author (died 1898)
1850 Samuel Gompers (born), English-American labor leader (died 1924)
1850 Edward J. Smith (born), English captain (died 1912)
1851 John James Audubon (died), French-American ornithologist and painter (born 1789)
1859 Wilhelm II (born), German Emperor (died 1941)
1869 Will Marion Cook (born), American composer and violinist (died 1944)
1880 Edward Middleton Barry (died), English architect, co-designed the Halifax Town Hall and the Royal Opera House (born 1830)
1885 Jerome Kern (born), American composer (died 1945)
1888 The National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C..
1900 Hyman Rickover (born), American admiral (died 1986)
1901 Giuseppe Verdi (died), Italian composer (born 1813)
1908 William Randolph Hearst, Jr (born), American journalist and publisher (died 1993)
1910 Thomas Crapper (died), English plumber and businessman (born 1836)
1912 Francis Rogallo (born), American engineer, invented the Rogallo wing (died 2009)
1915 Jules Archer (born), American author and historian (died 2008)
1918 Skitch Henderson (born), American pianist, composer, and conductor (died 2005)
1919 Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. (born), American singer-songwriter, pianist, producer, and actor (Alvin and the Chipmunks) (died 1972)
1921 Donna Reed (born), American actress (died 1986)
1922 Nellie Bly (died), American journalist (born 1864)
1930 Bobby Bland (born), American singer-songwriter (died 2013)
1934 George Follmer (born), American race car driver
1936 Troy Donahue (born), American actor (died 2001)
1937 John Ogdon (born), English pianist and composer (died 1989)
1939 First flight of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.
1940 James Cromwell (born), American actor
1943 World War II: The VIII Bomber Command dispatched ninety-one B-17s and B-24s to attack the U-Boat construction yards at Wilhemshafen, Germany. This was the first American bombing attack on Germany of the war.
1944 World War II: The 900-day Siege of Leningrad is lifted.
1944 Nick Mason (born), English drummer, songwriter, and producer (Pink Floyd)
1948 Mikhail Baryshnikov (born), Russian dancer, choreographer, and actor
1951 Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site begins with a one-kiloton bomb dropped on Frenchman Flat.
1954 Ed Schultz (born), American talk show host
1956 Erich Kleiber (died), Austrian conductor (born 1890)
1959 Keith Olbermann (born), American journalist and author
1964 Bridget Fonda (born), American actress
1967 Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a fire during a test of their Apollo 1 spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
1967 The United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union sign the Outer Space Treaty in Washington, D.C., banning deployment of nuclear weapons in space, and limiting use of the Moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes.
1967 Roger B. Chaffee (died), American pilot, engineer, and astronaut (born 1935)
1967 Gus Grissom (died), American pilot and astronaut (born 1926)
1972 Mahalia Jackson (died), American singer (born 1911)
1973 The Paris Peace Accords officially end the Vietnam War. Colonel William Nolde is killed in action becoming the conflict’s last recorded American combat casualty.
1980 Through cooperation between the U.S. and Canadian governments, six American diplomats secretly escape hostilities in Iran in the culmination of the Canadian caper.
1983 The pilot shaft of the Seikan Tunnel, the world’s longest underwater tunnel (53.85 km, 33.46 mi) between the Japanese islands of Honshū andHokkaidō, breaks through.
1984 Pop singer Michael Jackson suffers second degree burns to his scalp during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in the Shrine Auditorium.
1989 Thomas Sopwith (died), English ice hockey player and pilot (born 1888)
1993 American-born sumo wrestler Akebono Tarō becomes the first foreigner to be promoted to the sport’s highest rank of yokozuna.
1993 André the Giant (died), French wrestler and actor (born 1946)
1994 Claude Akins (died), American actor (born 1918)
1996 In a military coup Colonel Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara deposes the first democratically elected president of Niger, Mahamane Ousmane.
1996 Germany first observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
2002 An explosion at a military storage facility in Lagos, Nigeria, kills at least 1,100 people and displaces over 20,000 others.
2003 The first selections for the National Recording Registry are announced by the Library of Congress.
2004 Jack Paar (died), American talk show host and author (born 1918)
2006 Western Union discontinues its Telegram and Commercial Messaging services.
2006 Gene McFadden (died), American singer-songwriter and producer (McFadden & Whitehead) (born 1948)
2009 John Updike (died), American author (born 1932)
2010 J. D. Salinger (died), American author (born 1919)
2011 Arab Spring: The 2011 Yemeni revolution begins as over 16,000 protestors demonstrate in Sana’a.
2012 Jeannette Hamby (died), American politician(born 1933)
2013 241 people die in a nightclub fire in the city of Santa Maria, Brazil.
2013 Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner (died), American singer, guitarist, and producer (Ohio Players) (born 1943)