- 49 BC – Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, signalling the start of civil war.
- AD 9 – The Western Han dynasty ends when Wang Mang claims that the divine Mandate of Heaven called for the end of the dynasty and the beginning of his own, the Xin dynasty.
- AD 69 – Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus is appointed by Galba as deputy Roman Emperor.
- 1430 – Philip the Good, the Duke of Burgundy, establishes the Order of the Golden Fleece, the most prestigious, exclusive, and expensive order of chivalry in the world.
- 1475 – Stephen III of Moldavia defeats the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Vaslui.
- 1645 – Archbishop William Laud is beheaded for treason at the Tower of London.
- 1776 – American Revolution : Thomas Paine publishes his pamphlet Common Sense.
- 1791 – The Siege of Dunlap’s Station begins near Cincinnati during the Northwest Indian War.
- 1806 – Two British brigades occupy Cape Town after the Battle of Blaauwberg.
- 1861 – American Civil War: Florida becomes the third state to secede from the Union.
- 1916 – World War I: In the Erzurum Offensive, Russia defeats the Ottoman Empire.
- 1920 – The Treaty of Versailles takes effect, officially ending World War I.
- 1920 – League of Nations Covenant enters into force. On January 16 the organisation holds its first council meeting, in Paris.
- 1941 – World War II: The Greek army captures Kleisoura.
- 1946 – The first General Assembly of the United Nations opens in London. Fifty-one nations are represented.
- 1946 – The United States Army Signal Corps successfully conducts Project Diana, bouncing radio waves off the Moon and receiving the reflected signals.
- 1966 – Tashkent Declaration, a peace agreement between India and Pakistan signed that resolved the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
- 1981 – Salvadoran Civil War: The FMLN launches its first major offensive, gaining control of most of Morazán and Chalatenango departments.
- Margaret Thatcher Day (Falkland Islands).
- 1644 – Louis François, duc de Boufflers, French general (d. 1711).
- 1843 – Frank James, American soldier and criminal (d. 1915).
- 1854 – Ramón Corral, Mexican general and politician, 6th Vice President of Mexico (d. 1912).
- 1883 – Alfred Saalwächter, German admiral (d. 1945).
- 1892 – Melchior Wańkowicz, Polish soldier, journalist, and author (d. 1974).
- 1893 – Albert Jacka, Australian captain, Victoria Cross recipient (d. 1932).
- 1912 – Maria Mandl, Austrian SS guard (d. 1948).
- 1913 – Mehmet Shehu, Albanian soldier and politician, 22nd Prime Minister of Albania (d. 1981).
- 1920 – Roberto M. Levingston, Argentinian general and politician, 36th President of Argentina (d. 2015).
- 1937 – Thomas Penfield Jackson, American soldier, lawyer, and judge (d. 2013).
- 1761 – Edward Boscawen, English admiral and politician (b. 1711).
- 1851 – Karl Freiherr von Müffling, Prussian field marshal (b. 1775).
- 1917 – Buffalo Bill, American soldier and hunter (b. 1846).
- 1968 – Ali Fuat Cebesoy, Turkish general and politician, 6th Speaker of the Parliament of Turkey (b. 1882).
- 1970 – Pavel Belyayev, Russian pilot and astronaut (b. 1925).
- 1999 – Edward Williams, Australian lieutenant, pilot, and judge (b. 1921).