On This Day … 06 January


  • 1066: Following the death of Edward the Confessor on the previous day, the Witan meets to confirm Harold Godwinson as the new King of England; Harold is crowned the same day, sparking a succession crisis that will eventually lead to the Norman conquest of England.
  • 1205: Philip of Swabia undergoes a second coronation as King of the Romans.
  • 1322: Stephen Uroš III is crowned King of Serbia, having defeated his half-brother Stefan Konstantin in battle. His son is crowned “young king” in the same ceremony.
  • 1355: Charles I of Bohemia is crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy as King of Italy in Milan.
  • 1449: Constantine XI is crowned Byzantine Emperor at Mystras.
  • 1492: The Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella enter Granada, completing the Reconquista.
  • 1579: The Union of Arras unites the southern Netherlands under the Duke of Parma (Ottavio Farnese), governor in the name of King Philip II of Spain.
  • 1641: Arauco War: The first Parliament of Quillín is celebrated, putting a temporary hold on hostilities between Mapuches and Spanish in Chile.
  • 1661: English Restoration: The Fifth Monarchists unsuccessfully attempt to seize control of London, England. The revolt is suppressed after a few days.
  • 1781: In the Battle of Jersey, the British defeat the last attempt by France to invade Jersey in the Channel Islands.
  • 1809: Combined British, Portuguese and colonial Brazilian forces begin the Invasion of Cayenne during the Napoleonic Wars.
  • 1838: Alfred Vail and colleagues demonstrate a telegraph system using dots and dashes (this is the forerunner of Morse code).
  • 1847: Samuel Colt obtains his first contract for the sale of revolver pistols to the United States government.
  • 1900: Second Boer War: Having already besieged the fortress at Ladysmith, Boer forces attack it, but are driven back by British defenders.
  • 1941: United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his Four Freedoms speech in the State of the Union address.
  • 1951: Korean War: Beginning of the Ganghwa massacre, in the course of which an estimated 200-1,300 South Korean communist sympathisers are slaughtered.
  • 1967: Vietnam War: United States Marine Corps and ARVN troops launch “Operation Deckhouse Five” in the Mekong River delta.
  • 1978: The Crown of St. Stephen (also known as the Holy Crown of Hungary) is returned to Hungary from the United States, where it was held after World War II.
  • 1992: President of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia flees the country as a result of the military coup.
  • 1993: Indian Border Security Force units kill 55 Kashmiri civilians in Sopore, Jammu and Kashmir, in revenge after militants ambushed a BSF patrol.
  • Armed Forces Day (Iraq).

People (Births)

  • 1670: Alexander Gordon, Scottish-Russian general (d. 1752).
  • 1898: James Fitzmaurice, Irish soldier and pilot (d. 1965).
  • 1924: Kim Dae-jung, South Korean lieutenant and politician, 8th President of South Korea, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2009).
  • 1948: Guy Gardner, American colonel and astronaut.

People (Deaths)

  • 1711: Philips van Almonde, Dutch admiral (b. 1646).
  • 1813: Louis Baraguey d’Hilliers, French general (b. 1764).
  • 1913: Frederick Hitch, British soldier, Victoria Cross recipient (b. 1856).
  • 1919: Theodore Roosevelt, American colonel and politician, 26th President of the United States (b. 1858).
  • 1952: Sofoklis Dousmanis, Greek admiral and politician (b. 1868).
  • 2006: Hugh Thompson, Jr., American soldier and pilot (b. 1943).
  • 2012: Spike Pola, Australian footballer and soldier (b. 1914).
  • 2014: Marina Ginestà, French Resistance soldier and photographer (b. 1919).
  • 2015: Arthur Jackson, American lieutenant and target shooter (b. 1918).

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