On This Day … 05 January


  • 1477: Battle of Nancy: Charles the Bold is defeated and killed in a conflict with René II, Duke of Lorraine; the Burgundy subsequently becomes part of France.
  • 1675: Battle of Colmar: The French army beats Brandenburg.
  • 1757: Louis XV of France survives an assassination attempt by Robert-François Damiens, the last person to be executed in France by drawing and quartering, the traditional and gruesome form of capital punishment used for regicides.
  • 1781: American Revolutionary War: Richmond, Virginia, is burned by British naval forces led by Benedict Arnold.
  • 1895: Dreyfus affair: French army officer Alfred Dreyfus is stripped of his rank and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island.
  • 1913: First Balkan War: The Battle of Lemnos begins; Greek admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis forces the Turkish fleet to retreat to its base within the Dardanelles, from which it did not venture for the rest of the war.
  • 1919: The German Workers’ Party, which would become the Nazi Party, is founded in Munich.
  • 1950: In the Sverdlovsk air disaster, all 19 of those on board are killed, including almost the entire national ice hockey team (VVS Moscow) of the Soviet Air Force – 11 players, as well as a team doctor and a masseur.
  • 1968: Alexander Dubček comes to power in Czechoslovakia, effectively beginning the “Prague Spring”.
  • 1991: Georgian forces enter Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, Georgia, opening the 1991–92 South Ossetia War.
  • 1991: Somali Civil War: The United States Embassy to Somalia in Mogadishu is evacuated by helicopter airlift days after the outbreak of violence in Mogadishu.

People (Births)

  • 1620: Miklós Zrínyi, Croatian military commander (d. 1664).
  • 1735: Claude Martin, French-English general and explorer (d. 1800).
  • 1779: Stephen Decatur, American commander (d. 1820).
  • 1779: Zebulon Pike, American general and explorer (d. 1813).
  • 1921: Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Luxembourgish soldier and aristocrat (d. 2019).
  • 1922: Anthony Synnot, Australian admiral (d. 2001).
  • 1928: Walter Mondale, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 42nd Vice President of the United States.

People (Deaths)

  • 1066: Edward the Confessor, English king (b. 1004).
  • 1823: George Johnston, Scottish-Australian colonel and politician, Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales (b. 1764).
  • 1858: Joseph Radetzky von Radetz, Austrian field marshal (b. 1766).
  • 1952: Victor Hope, 2nd Marquess of Linlithgow, Scottish colonel and politician, 46th Governor-General of India (b. 1887).
  • 1982: Edmund Herring, Australian general and politician, 7th Chief Justice of Victoria (b. 1892).
  • 2018: Asghar Khan, Pakistani general and politician (b. 1921).

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