Today begins a new year – two thousand and nine. To celebrate the new year, I have put together a list of significant events that have happened in man’s history on this day. It was not until the 16th century that the majority of countries in the West began to use January 1st as the first day of the year – prior to that many nations used the Feast of the Assumption (March 25). This list includes only events that happened on January 1st. The list is in chronological order. Happy New Year!
1 404 AD – The last known gladiatorial competition in Rome takes place (gladiators pictured above)
2 630 – Muhammad sets out toward Mecca with the army that captures it bloodlessly.
3 1515 – King Francis I of France (France’s first Renaissance monarch) succeeds to the French throne.
4 1772 – The first traveler’s cheques, which can be used in 90 European cities, go on sale in London.
5 1788 – First edition of The Times of London, previously The Daily Universal Register, is published.
6 1800 – The Dutch East India Company (the first international mega-corporation) is dissolved.
7 1801 – The legislative union of Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland is completed to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
8 1804 – French rule ends in Haiti. Haiti becomes the first black republic and first independent country in the West Indies.
9 1808 – The importation of slaves into the United States is banned.
10 1863 – American Civil War: The Emancipation Proclamation (pictured above) takes effect in Confederate territory.
11 1877 – Queen Victoria of Britain is proclaimed Empress of India.
12 1892 – Ellis Island opens to begin processing immigrants into the United States.
13 1901 – The British colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia federate as the Commonwealth of Australia; Edmund Barton (pictured above) is appointed the first Prime Minister.
14 1902 – The first American college football bowl game, the Rose Bowl between Michigan and Stanford, is held in Pasadena.
15 1908 – For the first time, a ball is dropped in New York City’s Times Square to signify the start of the New Year at midnight.
16 1925 – The American astronomer Edwin Hubble announces the discovery of galaxies outside the Milky Way.
17 1934 – Alcatraz Island (pictured above) becomes a United States federal prison.
18 1934 – Nazi Germany passes the “Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring”.
19 1956 – A new year event causes panic and stampedes at Yahiko Shrine, Yahiko, central Niigata, Japan, killing at least 124 people.
20 1958 – The European Community is established.
21 1959 – Fulgencio Batista, president of Cuba, is overthrown by Fidel Castro’s forces during the Cuban Revolution.
22 1962 – United States Navy SEALs established.
23 1971 – Cigarette advertisements are banned on American television (vintage cigarette commercial above).
24 1978 – Air India Flight 855 Boeing 747 crashes into the sea, due to instrument failure and pilot disorientation, off the coast of Bombay, killing 213.
25 1985 – The first British mobile phone call is made by Ernie Wise to Vodafone.
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