This Day In History

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  • Great Boston Molasses Flood

    Fiery hot molasses floods the streets of Boston on January 15, 1919, killing 21 people and injuring scores of others. The molasses burst from a huge tank at the United States Industrial Alcohol Company building in the heart of the city. LISTEN NOW: What happened this week in history? Find out on ...
  • Packers beat Chiefs in first Super Bowl

    On January 15, 1967, the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL) smash the American Football League (AFL)’s Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10, in the first-ever AFL-NFL World Championship, later known as Super Bowl I, at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. Founded in 1960 as a rival to the ...
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. born

    On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of a Baptist minister. King received a doctorate degree in theology and in 1955 helped organize the first major protest of the African American civil rights movement: the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott. Influenced ...
  • Pilot Sully Sullenberger performs “Miracle on the Hudson”

    On January 15, 2009, a potential disaster turned into a heroic display of skill and composure when Captain Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III safely landed the plane he was piloting on New York City’s Hudson River after a bird strike caused its engines to fail. David Paterson, governor of New York at ...
  • “American Pie” hits #1 on the pop charts

    On January 15, 1972, “American Pie,”, an epic poem in musical form that has long been etched in the American popular consciousness, hits #1 on the Billboard charts. The story of Don McLean’s magnum opus begins almost 13 years before its release, on a date with significance well-known to any ...
  • Vermont declares independence from colony of New York

    Having recognized the need for their territory to assert its independence from both Britain and New York and remove themselves from the war they were waging against each other, a convention of future Vermonters assembles in Westminster and declares independence from the crown of Great Britain and ...
  • First appearance of the Democratic Party donkey

    On January 15, 1870, the first recorded use of a donkey to represent the Democratic Party appears in Harper’s Weekly. Drawn by political illustrator Thomas Nast, the cartoon is entitled “A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion.” The jackass (donkey) is tagged “Copperhead Papers,” referring to the ...
  • Elizabeth I crowned Queen of England

    Two months after the death of her half-sister, Queen Mary I of England, Elizabeth Tudor, the 25-year-old daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, is crowned Queen Elizabeth I at Westminster Abbey in London. The two half-sisters, both daughters of Henry VIII, had a stormy relationship during Mary’s ...
  • Qaddafi becomes premier of Libya

    Muammar al-Qaddafi, the young Libyan army captain who deposed King Idris in September 1969, is proclaimed premier of Libya by the so-called General People’s Congress. Born in a tent in the Libyan desert, Qaddafi was the son of a Bedouin farmer. He attended university and the Libyan military academy ...
  • Rebel leaders are murdered in failed coup in Berlin

    A coup launched in Berlin by a group of radical socialist revolutionaries is brutally suppressed by right-wing paramilitary units from January 10 to January 15, 1919; the group’s leaders, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, are murdered. Germany’s long, ultimately losing struggle on the ...