On This Day … 23 January


  • 971 – Using crossbows, Song dynasty troops soundly defeat a war elephant corps of the Southern Han at Shao.
  • 1264 – In the conflict between King Henry III of England and his rebellious barons led by Simon de Montfort, King Louis IX of France issues the Mise of Amiens, a one-sided decision in favour of Henry that later leads to the Second Barons’ War.
  • 1368 – In a coronation ceremony, Zhu Yuanzhang ascends the throne of China as the Hongwu Emperor, initiating Ming dynasty rule over China that would last for three centuries.
  • 1570 – James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, regent for the infant King James VI of Scotland, is assassinated by firearm, the first recorded instance of such.
  • 1579 – The Union of Utrecht forms a Protestant republic in the Netherlands.
  • 1719 – The Principality of Liechtenstein is created within the Holy Roman Empire.
  • 1793 – Second Partition of Poland.
  • 1795 – After an extraordinary charge across the frozen Zuiderzee, the French cavalry captured 14 Dutch ships and 850 guns, in a rare occurrence of a battle between ships and cavalry.
  • 1870 – In Montana, US cavalrymen kill 173 Native Americans, mostly women and children, in what becomes known as the Marias Massacre.
  • 1879 – Anglo-Zulu War: The Battle of Rorke’s Drift ends.
  • 1899 – The Malolos Constitution is inaugurated, establishing the First Philippine Republic. Emilio Aguinaldo is sworn in as its first president.
  • 1900 – Second Boer War: The Battle of Spion Kop between the forces of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State and British forces ends in a British defeat.
  • 1920 – The Netherlands refuses to surrender the exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany to the Allies.
  • 1937 – The trial of the anti-Soviet Trotskyist centre sees seventeen mid-level Communists accused of sympathizing with Leon Trotsky and plotting to overthrow Joseph Stalin’s regime.
  • 1941 – Charles Lindbergh testifies before the US Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler.
  • 1942 – World War II: The Battle of Rabaul commences Japan’s invasion of Australia’s Territory of New Guinea.
  • 1943 – World War II: Troops of the British Eighth Army capture Tripoli in Libya from the German–Italian Panzer Army.
  • 1945 – World War II: German admiral Karl Dönitz launches Operation Hannibal.
  • 1950 – The Knesset resolves that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
  • 1957 – American inventor Walter Frederick Morrison sells the rights to his flying disc to the Wham-O toy company, which later renames it the “Frisbee”.
  • 1960 – The bathyscaphe USS Trieste breaks a depth record by descending to 10,911 metres (35,797 ft) in the Pacific Ocean.
  • 1961 – The Portuguese luxury cruise ship Santa Maria is hijacked by opponents of the Estado Novo regime with the intention of waging war until dictator António de Oliveira Salazar is overthrown.
  • 1963 – The Guinea-Bissau War of Independence officially begins when PAIGC guerrilla fighters attack the Portuguese Army stationed in Tite.
  • 1968 – USS Pueblo (AGER-2) is attacked and seized by the Korean People’s Navy.
  • 1987 – Mohammed Said Hersi Morgan sends a “letter of death” to Somali President Siad Barre, proposing the genocide of the Isaaq people.
  • 2018 – A double car bombing in Benghazi, Libya, kills at least 33 people and wounds “dozens” of others. The victims include both military personnel and civilians, according to local officials.
  • Bounty Day (Pitcairn Islands), refer to Mutiny on the Bounty.

People (Births)

  • 1737 – John Hancock, American general and politician, 1st Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1793).
  • 1780 – Georgios Karaiskakis, Greek general (d. 1827).
  • 1828 – Saigō Takamori, Japanese samurai (d. 1877).
  • 1855 – John Browning, American weapons designer, founded the Browning Arms Company (d. 1926).
  • 1897 – Subhas Chandra Bose, Indian freedom fighter and politician (d. 1945).
  • 1897 – William Stephenson, Canadian captain and spy (d. 1989).
  • 1905 – Erich Borchmeyer, German sprinter (d. 2000).
  • 1920 – Henry Eriksson, Swedish runner (d. 2000).
  • 1923 – Walter M. Miller, Jr., American soldier and author (d. 1996).
  • 1924 – Frank Lautenberg, American soldier, businessman, and politician (d. 2013).
  • 1935 – Mike Agostini, Trinidadian sprinter (d. 2016).
  • 1947 – Tom Carper, American captain and politician, 71st Governor of Delaware.
  • 1982 – Andrew Rock, American sprinter.
  • 1985 – Aselefech Mergia, Ethiopian runner.
  • 1986 – Gelete Burka, Ethiopian runner.

People (Deaths)

  • 1800 – Edward Rutledge, American captain and politician, 39th Governor of South Carolina (b. 1749).
  • 1812 – Robert Craufurd, Scottish general and politician (b. 1764).
  • 1833 – Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth, English admiral and politician (b. 1757)..
  • 1993 – Keith Laumer, American soldier, author, and diplomat (b. 1925).
  • 1994 – Nikolai Ogarkov, Russian field marshal (b. 1917).
  • 2010 – Kermit Tyler, American colonel and pilot (b. 1913).
  • 2015 – Prosper Ego, Dutch activist, founded the Oud-Strijders Legioen (b. 1927).

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