Today in History
Today in History
Today is Monday, Jan. 31, the 31st day of 2022. There are 334 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 31, 1958, the United States entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite, Explorer 1, from Cape Canaveral.
On this date:
In 1797, composer Franz Schubert was born in Vienna.
In 1863, during the Civil War, the First South Carolina Volunteers, an all-Black Union regiment composed of many escaped slaves, was mustered into federal service at Beaufort, South Carolina.
In 1865, the U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing slavery, sending it to states for ratification. (The amendment was adopted in December 1865.)
In 1919, baseball Hall-of-Famer Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo (KAY’-roh), Georgia.
In 1945, Pvt. Eddie Slovik, 24, became the first U.S. soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion as he was shot by an American firing squad in France.
In 1961, NASA launched Ham the Chimp aboard a Mercury-Redstone rocket from Cape Canaveral; Ham was recovered safely from the Atlantic Ocean following his 16 1/2-minute suborbital flight.
In 1971, astronauts Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa blasted off aboard Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon.
In 2000, an Alaska Airlines MD-83 jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Port Hueneme (wy-NEE’-mee), California, killing all 88 people aboard.
In 2001, a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands convicted one Libyan, acquitted a second, in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. (Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi (AHB’-dehl BAH’-seht AH’-lee ahl-meh-GRAH’-hee) was given a life sentence, but was released after eight years on compassionate grounds by Scotland’s government. He died in 2012.)
In 2015, Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, was found unresponsive in a bathtub at her Georgia townhome and was taken to an Atlanta-area hospital. (She died six months later.)
In 2016, Novak Djokovic maintained his perfect streak in six Australian Open finals with a 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (3) victory over Andy Murray.
In 2020, the United States declared a public health emergency over the new coronavirus, and President Donald Trump signed an order to temporarily bar entry to foreign nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens, who had traveled in China within the preceding 14 days. The Senate narrowly rejected Democratic demands to summon witnesses for President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial.
Ten years ago: Republican Mitt Romney routed Newt Gingrich in the Florida primary, rebounding from an earlier defeat. The breast-cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure set off a furor by deciding to halt its partnerships with Planned Parenthood affiliates (Komen reversed itself three days later).
Five years ago: President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, a fast-rising conservative judge, to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Gorsuch would be confirmed in April 2017 by a 54-45 vote.)
One year ago: Tens of thousands of people protested across Russia to demand the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny in a second wave of nationwide demonstrations that rattled the Kremlin; activists said police detained more than 5,100 protesters across the country, including more than 1,600 in Moscow. Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Israelis participated in a pair of funerals for two prominent rabbis in Jerusalem, flouting the country’s ban on large public gatherings amid the pandemic. A World Health Organization team looking into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic visited the food market in the Chinese city of Wuhan that was linked to many early infections.
Today’s Birthdays: Composer Philip Glass is 85. Former Interior Secretary James Watt is 84. Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, the former queen regent, is 84. Actor Stuart Margolin is 82. Former U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., is 81. Blues singer-musician Charlie Musselwhite is 78. Actor Glynn Turman is 75. Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan is 75. Actor Jonathan Banks is 75. Singer-musician Harry Wayne Casey (KC and the Sunshine Band) is 71. Rock singer Johnny Rotten is 66. Actor Kelly Lynch is 63. Actor Anthony LaPaglia is 63. Singer-musician Lloyd Cole is 61. Rock musician Al Jaworski (Jesus Jones) is 56. Actor Minnie Driver is 52. Actor Portia de Rossi is 49. Actor-comedian Bobby Moynihan is 45. Actor Kerry Washington is 45. Bluegrass singer-musician Becky Buller is 43. Singer Justin Timberlake is 41. Actor Tyler Ritter is 37. Country singer Tyler Hubbard (Florida Georgia Line) is 35. Folk-rock singer-musician Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons) is 35. Actor Joel Courtney is 26.