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.
  • 1912 – The 6th All-Russian Conference of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Prague Party Conference) opens.
    • In the course of the conference, Vladimir Lenin and his supporters break from the rest of the party to form the Bolshevik movement.
  • 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.
  • 1914 – The Ford Motor Company announces an eight-hour workday and minimum daily wage of $5 in salary plus bonuses.
  • 1919 – The German Workers’ Party, which would become the Nazi Party, is founded in Munich.
  • 1945 – The Soviet Union recognises the new pro-Soviet Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland.
  • 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.
  • 1957 – In a speech given to the United States Congress, United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower announces the establishment of what will later be called the Eisenhower Doctrine.
  • 1976 – The Khmer Rouge proclaim the Constitution of Democratic Kampuchea.
  • 1976 – The Troubles: Gunmen shoot dead ten Protestant civilians after stopping their minibus at Kingsmill in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, UK, allegedly as retaliation for a string of attacks on Catholic civilians in the area by Loyalists, particularly the killing of six Catholics the night before.
  • 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).
  • 1907 – Volmari Iso-Hollo, Finnish athlete (d. 1969).
  • 1910 – Jack Lovelock, New Zealand runner and journalist (d. 1949).
  • 1921 – Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Luxembourgish soldier and aristocrat (d. 2019).
  • 1922 – Anthony Synnot, Australian admiral (d. 2001).
  • 1926 – Veikko Karvonen, Finnish runner (d. 2007).
  • 1928 – Walter Mondale, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 42nd Vice President of the United States.
  • 1974 – Iwan Thomas, Welsh sprinter and coach.
  • 1984 – Derrick Atkins, Bahamian sprinter.

People (Deaths)

  • 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 three star general and politician (b. 1921).

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