On This Day … 19 January


  • 379 – Emperor Gratian elevates Flavius Theodosius at Sirmium to Augustus, and gives him authority over all the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire.
  • 649 – Conquest of Kucha: The forces of Kucha surrender after a forty-day siege led by Tang dynasty general Ashina She’er, establishing Tang control over the northern Tarim Basin in Xinjiang.
  • 1419 – Hundred Years’ War: Rouen surrenders to Henry V of England, completing his reconquest of Normandy.
  • 1511 – The Italian Duchy of Mirandola surrenders to the Pope.
  • 1520 – Sten Sture the Younger, the Regent of Sweden, is mortally wounded at the Battle of Bogesund and dies on 03 February.
  • 1764 – Bolle Willum Luxdorph records in his diary that a mail bomb, possibly the world’s first, has severely injured the Danish Colonel Poulsen, residing at Børglum Abbey.
  • 1788 – The second group of ships of the First Fleet arrive at Botany Bay.
  • 1795 – The Batavian Republic is proclaimed in the Netherlands, replacing the Dutch Republic.
  • 1817 – An army of 5,423 soldiers, led by General José de San Martín, crosses the Andes from Argentina to liberate Chile and then Peru.
  • 1839 – The British East India Company captures Aden.
  • 1861 – American Civil War: Georgia joins South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama in declaring secession from the United States.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: Battle of Mill Springs: The Confederacy suffers its first significant defeat in the conflict.
  • 1871 – Franco-Prussian War: In the Siege of Paris, Prussia wins the Battle of St. Quentin. Meanwhile, the French attempt to break the siege in the Battle of Buzenval will end unsuccessfully the following day.
  • 1899 – Anglo-Egyptian Sudan is formed.
  • 1915 – German strategic bombing during World War I: German zeppelins bomb the towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn in the United Kingdom killing at least 20 people, in the first major aerial bombardment of a civilian target.
  • 1917 – Silvertown explosion: A blast at a munitions factory in London kills 73 and injures over 400. The resulting fire causes over £2,000,000 worth of damage.
  • 1920 – The United States Senate votes against joining the League of Nations.
  • 1941 – World War II: HMS Greyhound and other escorts of convoy AS-12 sink Italian submarine Neghelli with all hands 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Falkonera.
  • 1942 – World War II: The Japanese conquest of Burma begins.
  • 1945 – World War II: Soviet forces liberate the Łódź Ghetto. Of more than 200,000 inhabitants in 1940, less than 900 had survived the Nazi occupation.
  • 1946 – General Douglas MacArthur establishes the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo to try Japanese war criminals.
  • 1960 – Japan and the United States sign the US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty
  • 1977 – President Gerald Ford pardons Iva Toguri D’Aquino (aka “Tokyo Rose“).
  • 1983 – Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie is arrested in Bolivia.
  • 1983 – The Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, is announced.
  • 1986 – The first IBM PC computer virus is released into the wild.
    • A boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain, it was created by the Farooq Alvi Brothers in Lahore, Pakistan, reportedly to deter unauthorised copying of the software they had written.
  • 1991 – Gulf War: Iraq fires a second Scud missile into Israel, causing 15 injuries.
  • 1999 – British Aerospace agrees to acquire the defence subsidiary of the General Electric Company plc, forming BAE Systems in November 1999.
  • 2014 – A bomb attack on an army convoy in the city of Bannu kills at least 26 Pakistani soldiers and injures 38 others.
  • Confederate Heroes Day (Texas), and its related observance:
    • Robert E. Lee Day (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi).

People (Births)

  • 1752 – James Morris III, American captain (d. 1820).
  • 1788 – Pavel Kiselyov, Russian general and politician (d. 1874).
  • 1807 – Robert E. Lee, American general and academic (d. 1870).
  • 1879 – Boris Savinkov, Russian soldier and author (d. 1925).
  • 1936 – Ziaur Rahman, Bangladeshi general and politician, 7th President of Bangladesh (d. 1981).
  • 1962 – Hans Daams, Dutch cyclist.
  • 1970 – Kathleen Smet, Belgian triathlete.
  • 1973 – Yevgeny Sadovyi, Russian swimmer and coach.
  • 1985 – Pascal Behrenbruch, German decathlete.

People (Deaths)

  • 1661 – Thomas Venner, English rebel leader (b. 1599).
  • 1847 – Charles Bent, American soldier and politician, 1st Governor of New Mexico (b. 1799).
  • 1945 – Gustave Mesny, French general (b. 1886).
  • 1964 – Firmin Lambot, Belgian cyclist (b. 1886).
  • 2014 – Christopher Chataway, English runner, journalist, and politician (b. 1931).

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