This Day in History - January 16

January 16


27 BC – The Roman Empire is established when the title Augustus is bestowed upon Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian by the Roman Senate


1412 – The Medici family is appointed as the official bankers of the Papacy


1547 – Ivan IV or Ivan the Terrible, crowns himself the new Czar of Russia in Assumption Cathedral in Moscow


1749 – Italian poet Vittorio Alfieri is born


1757 – Architect of Salem, Massachusetts, Samuel McIntire, is born


1780 – The Moonlight Battle takes place off the coast of Portugal at Cape St. Vincent, where the British defeat the Spanish


1786 – The Council of Virginia guarantees religious freedom


1793 – French King Louis XVI is sentenced to death by the National Convention during the French Revolution for conspiracy with foreign governments


1821 – Confederate Secretary of War and 14th US Vice-President, John C. Breckinridge is born


1847 – John C. Fremont is appointed governor of California


1861 – The Crittenden Compromise, legislation proposed to keep the North and South united, dies in Congress due to lack of compromise on the part of the South


1865 – General William Sherman begins a march through the Carolinas


1883 – The US Civil Service is established


1900 – The US Senate recognizes the Anglo-German Treaty of 1899 in which the UK renounces its rights to the Samoan Islands


1909 – One of Ernest Shackleton’s polar exploration teams reaches the Magnetic South Pole


1909 – US singer and actress Ethel Merman is born


1913 – The British House of Commons accepts Home-Rule for Ireland


1914 – Maxim Gorky is authorized to return to Russia after being exiled for eight years due to political dissidence


1916 – Commander in Chief Franz Conrad von Hotzendorf’s Austro-Hungarian troops take control of the Balkan state of Montenegro


1917 – American admiral George Dewey dies


1919 – Prohibition goes into effect all across America when the 18th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified


1920 – The League of Nations holds its first meeting in Paris


1920 – Allies lift the blockade on trade with Russia


1932 – American zoologist Dian Fossey is born


1933 – American essayist and novelist Susan Sontag is born


1936 – The “Moon Maniac,” Albert Fish, is electrocuted to death at Sing Sing Prison in New York.  He told the guards, “It will be the supreme thrill, the only one I haven’t tried.”  Fish murdered 10-year old Grace Budd by strangling her, and then carved up her body with a saw.  He wrote to the girl’s mother six years later, describing the murder in detail as well as informing her that he prepared a stew with her flesh and ate it over a nine day period.  The letter led to his arrest.  Fish was known to be obsessed with cannibalism and confessed to the murders of other children whom he claimed to have eaten.  He also ate his own excrement and practiced sadomasochism on himself, burning himself, beating himself and inserting nails and needles into his own body.  Despite his clear insanity, he was sentenced to death, and his last statement was a handwritten note filled with obscenities


1938 – Jazz musician Benny Goodman performs at Carnegie Hall in New York City


1939 – Franklin Roosevelt asks for an extension of the Social Security Act to include more women and children


1940 – Hitler cancels an attack in the West due to bad weather and German attack plans being captured in Belgium


1942 – Japan begins advancing into Burma


1942 – Actress Carole Lombard is killed in a plane crash


1944 – Eisenhower assumes supreme command of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe


1945 – The US First and Third armies join forces at Houffalize, ending the Battle of the Bulge


1945 – Adolf Hitler hides in his underground bunker, where he will remain until his suicide


1948 – American director John Carpenter is born


1956 – The Egyptian government makes Islam the state religion


1957 – Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini dies


1959 – English and Nigerian singer, songwriter and producer Sade Adu is born


1964 – President Johnson approves Oplan 34A, an intelligence and sabotage mission aimed at destabilizing the North Vietnamese


1965 – Eighteen people are arrested in Mississippi for the murder of three civil rights workers in a case known as Mississippi Burning


1969 – Expanded peace talks are agreed upon in Paris, where representatives from the US, North and South Vietnam and the National Liberation Front would sit down at a circular table without nameplates, flags or markings 


1970 – Curt, Flood of the St. Louis Cardinals, files suit against Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, the presidents of the American and National Leagues and all 24 teams in the MLB over the reserve clause that prevented players from moving to another team unless they were traded.  He lost the case, but in 1975, the clause was thrown out


1974 – English model Kate Moss is born


1975 – The Irish Republican Army ends a 25-day cease-fire in Belfast


1979 – The Shah, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, flees Iran when his army turns on him and the country sees violent demonstrations against him


1979 – American actor Ted Cassidy dies


1986 – American evangelist, author, and publisher Herbert W. Armstrong dies


1990 – The Soviet government sends 11,000 troops to stop the fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in Azerbaijan


1991 – President George Bush waits to see if Iraq will withdraw from Kuwait by the UN deadline of midnight


1991 – The Persian Gulf War begins


1992 – A 12-year war comes to an end when the government of El Salvador signs a peace treaty with guerilla forces


1995 – Avalanches sweep two buses off the highway in Kashmir, India.  Over the next couple of days, more avalanches led to the deaths of 200 more people and 5,000 others needed rescue


1997 – TV star and comedian Bill Cosby’s son, Ennis Crosby, is shot and killed by teenager Mikhail Markhasev, who was attempting to rob him while he changed a flat tire along California’s Interstate 405 in Los Angeles


2001 – Laurent Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is assassinated


2003 – Space shuttle Columbia lifts off for what is supposed to be its final mission


2005 – Adriana Iliescu becomes the oldest recorded birth mother at age 66


2009 – English author and lawyer John Mortimer dies


2013 – Pauline Phillips, the original “Dear Abby” newspaper columnist, dies

Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.

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