This Day in History

January 22


871      Battle of Basing in Hampshire—West Saxons led by king Æthelred I are defeated by the Danelaw Vikings   1148
1506      founding of the Pontifical Swiss Guard   513
1599      Italian organist and composer of the late Renaissance Cristofano Malvezzi dies, age 51   420
1767      German mineralogist and geologist Johann Gottlob Lehmann dies in Saint Petersburg, age 47   252
1788      George Gordon Byron, the future English poet Lord Byron, is born   231
1799      Genevan physicist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, considered the founder of alpinism, dies in Geneva, age 58   220
1879      Battle of Isandlwana, first major encounter in the Anglo-Zulu War between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom, results in Zulu victory   140
1900      British-American inventor, practical experimenter, and musician David Edward Hughes dies in London, age 68   119
1901      Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom, dies on the Isle of Wight, age 81   118
1906      SS Valencia runs aground off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia—136 out of 173 die   113
1915      train packed with families of Mexican revolutionary fighters loses control enroute to Guadalajara, plunges into a canyon killing around 600   104
1922      French mathematician Marie Ennemond Camille Jordan dies, age 84   97
1925      American geographer, cartographer, explorer, travel writer, and mountaineer Fanny Bullock Workman dies in Cannes, France, age 66   94
1939      uranium atom first fissioned—Columbia University   80
1941      Tobruk in Libya is captured by British, Australian and Indian forces from the Italian army—recaptured by Rommel 17 months later   78
1947      KTLA, the first commercial television station on the west coast, begins operation in Hollywood   72
1951      German-American hairdresser and inventor of the "perm" Karl Ludwig Nessler dies in New Jersey, age 78   68
1952      first jet airliner, de Havilland Comet, to be certified of airworthiness   67
1968      Apollo 5, first flight (unmanned) of the Lunar Module   51
1970      first regularly scheduled flight of the Boeing 747—Pan American Airways New York to London   49
1973      Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th president, dies, age 64   46
1973      U.S. Supreme Court rules in Roe vs. Wade that states cannot ban abortions   46
1984      Apple Macintosh computer is introduced in a Super Bowl commercial   35
1992      Roberta Bondar becomes Canada's first female astronaut and the first neurologist in space with launch of Discovery   27
1997      Tulsa, Oklahoma, resident Lottie Williams becomes the first known person to be hit by a fragment of space junk—she was uninjured   22
1999      first light for the 8.2 m Subaru Telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan at the Mauna Kea Observatory on Hawaii   20
2000      award winning French Canadian author and poet Anne Hébert dies in Montreal, age 83   19
2002      Kmart becomes the largest retailer in U.S. history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection   17
2003      American editorial cartoonist who won two Pulitzer Prizes William Henry "Bill" Mauldin dies in Newport Beach, California, age 81   16
2004      American dancer, singer, and actress Johnnie Lucille Collier (Ann Miller) dies in Los Angeles, age 80   15
2005      Mexican concert pianist, songwriter, and recording artist Consuelo Velázquez Torres (Consuelito Velázquez) dies in Mexico City, age 88   14
2006      Evo Morales is inaugurated as President of Bolivia, becoming the country's first indigenous president   13
2007      two car bombs in the Bab Al-Sharqi market in central Baghdad kill at least 88 people and wound 160 others   12
2008      Australian actor, director, and posthumous Academy Award winner Heath Andrew Ledger dies in New York City, age 28   11
2010      NASA extends the world wide web into space—International Space Station is connected to the internet   9
2010      commissioning begins of the Atacama Large Millimetre/sub-millimetre Array (ALMA) with the installation of the third dish   9
2011      first launch of a NASA payload by a JAXA H-II Transfer Vehicle—aboard KOUNOTORI 2 (HTV-2) cargo transporter   8
2011      Apple apps reach the 10 billionth download after only two and half years   8
2013      piece of the Feng Yun 1C weather satellite destroyed in a Chinese 2007 missile test hits Russian satellite BLITS   6
2013      Curiosity takes the first ever night time photos on Mars using white and ultraviolet LED lights   6
2014      students at the University of London Observatory spot an exploding star SN 2014J in the nearby galaxy M82   5
2015      NASA's Cloud Aerosol Transport System (CATS) installed aboard the International Space Station   4
2016      Blue Origin successfully launches and recovers New Shephard on a sub-orbital mission for the second time—first reuse of a launch vehicle   3
2018      American novelist mainly of fantasy and science fiction Ursula Kroeber Le Guin dies in Portland, Oregon, age 88   1

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

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