532 – Nika riots in Constantinople. 1435 – Sicut Dudum, forbidding the enslavement of the Guanche natives in Canary Islands by the Spanish, is promulgated by Pope Eugene IV. 1547 – Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey is sentenced to death. 1607 – The Bank of Genoa fails after announcement of national bankruptcy in Spain. 1666 – French traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier arrived in Dhaka and met Shaista Khan. 1793 – Nicolas Jean Hugon de Bassville, representative of Revolutionary France, lynched by a mob in Rome 1797 – French Revolutionary Wars: A naval battle between a French ship of the line and two British frigates off the coast of Brittany ends with the French vessel running aground, resulting in over 900 deaths. 1815 – War of 1812: British troops capture Fort Peter in St. Marys, Georgia, the only battle of the war to take place in the state. 1822 – The design of the Greek flag is adopted by the First National Assembly at Epidaurus. 1830 – The Great Fire of New Orleans begins. 1833 – United States President Andrew Jackson writes to Vice President Martin Van Buren expressing his opposition to South Carolina's defiance of federal authority in the Nullification Crisis. 1840 – The steamship Lexington burns and sinks four miles off the coast of Long Island with the loss of 139 lives. 1842 – Dr. William Brydon, an assistant surgeon in the British East India Company Army during the First Anglo-Afghan War, becomes famous for being the sole survivor of an army of 4,500 men and 12,000 camp followers when he reaches the safety of a garrison in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. 1847 – The Treaty of Cahuenga ends the Mexican–American War in California. 1869 – National convention of black leaders meets in Washington, D.C. 1893 – The Independent Labour Party of the United Kingdom holds its first meeting. 1893 – U.S. Marines land in Honolulu, Hawaii from the USS Boston to prevent the queen from abrogating the Bayonet Constitution. 1895 – First Italo-Ethiopian War: the war's opening battle, the Battle of Coatit, occurs; it is an Italian victory. 1898 – Émile Zola's J'accuse exposes the Dreyfus affair. 1908 – The Rhoads Opera House Fire in Boyertown, Pennsylvania kills 171 people. 1910 – The first public radio broadcast takes place; a live performance of the opera Cavalleria rusticana is sent out over the airwaves from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, New York. 1913 – Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated was founded on the campus of Howard University. 1915 – An earthquake in Avezzano, Italy kills 29,800. 1934 – The Candidate of Sciences degree is established in the Soviet Union. 1935 – A plebiscite in Saarland shows that 90.3% of those voting wish to join Nazi Germany. 1939 – The Black Friday bush fires burn 20,000 square kilometers of land in Australia, claiming the lives of 71 people. 1942 – Henry Ford patents a plastic automobile, which is 30% lighter than a regular car. 1942 – World War II: First use of an aircraft ejection seat by a German test pilot in a Heinkel He 280 jet fighter. 1951 – First Indochina War: The Battle of Vĩnh Yên begins, which will end in a major victory for France. 1953 – An article appears in Pravda accusing some of the most prestigious and prominent doctors, mostly Jews, in the Soviet Union of taking part in a vast plot to poison members of the top Soviet political and military leadership. 1958 – The Moroccan Army of Liberation ambushes a Spanish patrol in the Battle of Edchera. 1960 – The Gulag system of forced labor camps in the Soviet Union is officially abolished. 1963 – Coup d'état in Togo results in assassination of president Sylvanus Olympio 1964 – Anti-Muslim riots break out in Calcutta, resulting in 100 deaths. 1964 – Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, is appointed archbishop of Kraków, Poland. 1966 – Robert C. Weaver becomes the first African American Cabinet member when he is appointed United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. 1968 – Johnny Cash performs live at Folsom State Prison 1972 – Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia and President Edward Akufo-Addo of Ghana are ousted in a bloodless military coup by Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong. 1974 – Seraphim is elected Archbishop of Athens and All Greece. 1978 – United States Food and Drug Administration requires all blood donations to be labeled "paid" or "volunteer" donors. 1982 – Shortly after takeoff, Air Florida Flight 90, a Boeing 737 jet crashes into Washington, D.C.'s 14th Street Bridge and falls into the Potomac River, killing 78 including four motorists. 1985 – A passenger train plunges into a ravine in Ethiopia, killing 428 in the worst railroad disaster in Africa. 1986 – A month-long violent struggle begins in Aden, South Yemen between supporters of Ali Nasir Muhammad and Abdul Fattah Ismail, resulting in thousands of casualties. 1988 – Lee Teng-hui becomes the first native Taiwanese President of the Republic of China. 1990 – a seven-day pogrom breaks out against the Armenian civilian population of Baku, Azerbaijan during which Armenians were beaten, tortured, murdered, and expelled from the city. 1990 – Douglas Wilder becomes the first elected African American governor as he takes office in Richmond, Virginia. 1991 – Soviet Union troops attack Lithuanian independence supporters in Vilnius, killing 14 people and wounding 1000. 1993 – Space Shuttle program: Endeavour heads for space for the third time as STS-54 launches from the Kennedy Space Center. 2000 – Bill Gates resigns as CEO of Microsoft. 2001 – An earthquake hits El Salvador, killing more than 800. 2012 – The passenger cruise ship Costa Concordia sinks off the coast of Italy. There are 32 confirmed deaths among the 4,232 passengers and crew. 2012 – The opening ceremony of the Winter Youth Olympics takes place in Innsbruck, Austria.
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