Stories of the Month

January 2018

1
Emancipation Proclamation 1863
Although the famous proclamation had limited initial effect, Abraham Lincoln's effort to free American slaves is one of America's treasured documents.  View the five-page, handwritten original.
Roman Gladiators - The Last Competition 404 AD
As Rome conquered more and more far-flung lands, the empire was able to produce more gladiators. Rome's citizens enjoyed the games at the Colosseum. On the 1st of January in 404 A.D., the last gladiator competition took place in Rome.
2
Niagara Falls - Protecting a Natural Wonder 1929
The Falls at Niagara straddle the Canadian-American border and are situated in both the Province of Ontario and the State of New York. Every year about 12 million tourists view them. In 1929, Canada and the US agree to a treaty protecting the Falls.
Georgia Is the 4th State to Ratify the U.S. Constitution 1788
After Congress released a proposed Constitution, to govern the newly formed United States of America, the document would not take effect until 9 states ratified it. On Jan 2, 1788, Georgia became the 4th State to ratify America's Constitution.
3
Meijii Restoration in Japan 1868
In Japan, the Meiji Restoration - led by Emperor Meiji - led to a profound change in the country. A key change was the resumed authority of the Japanese emperor and the beginning of the end for the shoguns (military rulers). Meet Emperor Meiji.
Children Coping with Polio Get Help from the March of Dimes 1938
Polio, a much-feared disease, was crippling people, especially children, in America. Signs to ''keep off this street'' were common. In January of 1938, the ''March of Dimes'' campaign began. It was a nationwide effort to raise funds to fight polio.
4
Rovers Travel on Mars 2011
After arriving on Mars, ''Spirit'' and ''Opportunity'' were expected to operate for three years. Seven years later, they had more-than-doubled their life expectancy, although ''Spirit'' was in some trouble. See this clip where ''Spirit'' journeyed.
Rovers Descend to Mars 2004
Two NASA rovers, called ''Spirit'' and ''Opportunity,'' landed on Mars during the month of January, 2004. This clip, from NASA, explains what happened during their descent to the ''Red Planet.''
Rovers Land on Mars 2004
Having traveled all the way from Earth, two exploratory rovers land on Mars. ''Spirit'' successfully hits the surface, at 04:35 UTC, on January 4, 2004, while hurtling at a speed of ''about 40 Gs.''
5
Golden Gate Bridge - Source of Its Name and Start of Its Construction 1933
Long before anyone could actually build the structure known as ''The Golden Gate Bridge,'' the narrow passage of deep and turbulent water connecting the Pacific to the San Francisco Bay was known as the Golden Gate. Find out how this happened.
Martha Dandridge Custis and George Washington 1759
Martha Dandridge is happily married to Daniel Custis until he dies, likely of scarlet fever. Now a wealthy, young widow, Martha (known as Patsy) selects George Washington as her next husband. The couple marry on January 5, 1759.
6
Joan of Arc - Handed Over To The Bishop 1928 Film
In 1928, Carl Theodor Dreyer released his still-praised film about Joan of Arc. This is a clip from that work - The Passion of Joan of Arc.
Death of Theodore Roosevelt 1919
On the January 6, 1919, former U.S. President Theodore (''Teddy'') Roosevelt died at the age of sixty.  Larger than life, Roosevelt was an adventurer whose statue today welcomes people to New York City's American Museum of Natural History.
Morse Code and the Electrical Telegraph 1838
On the 6th of January, 1838, Samuel Morse first successfully tested the electrical telegraph. So ... why did it take 6½ more years before he could send his first telegraphic message?
7
Vikings Invade Britain 793
In January of 793, Danish Vikings invaded Britain and destroyed the Church at Lindisfarne.  Escaping monks were able to save what has since become one of Britain's great treasures:  the foot-high Lindisfarne Gospels. 
Galileo and Jupiter's Moons 1610
Before Galileo turned his telescope to the sky - on the evening of January 7, 1610 - people believed that only the Sun and the Earth had objects which moved around them. Galileo was startled to observe that Jupiter had orbiting moons!
8
Spanish Flu 1919
In January of 1919, the Red Cross announced that hundreds of nurses - recruited to care for people with a type of influenza known as ''Spanish Flu'' - had died.  See what took their lives and the impact the illness had throughout the world.
Galileo Galilei Dies in Arcetri, Italy 1642
Brilliant in an age when science was frowned-upon by the Catholic Church, Galileo paved the way for many later scientific achievements. His observations and achievements remain important even in modern times. He lived 77 years.
9
Black Death and Persecution 1349
When the ''Black Death'' killed so many people during the 14th century, medieval doctors understood neither the disease nor its cause. All they knew is they were helpless to prevent, or treat, the illness which was spreading like wildfire.
Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson 1809
Nelson remains a British national hero more than 200 years after his death. Learn about this brilliant military strategist and his innovative methods of opposing Napoleon's forces. When Nelson died, he was given a State Funeral on January 9, 1809.
10
Anthony Lucas Finds Oil in Texas - Spindletop - 1901
Captain Anthony Lucas knew how hard it was to drill for oil near the sawmill town of Beaumont, Texas, but he shocked the whole world when a stream of oil exploded 150 feet into the air. He’d discovered ''Spindletop'' on the 10th of January, 1901.
Treaty of Versailles Ending WWI Is Effective 1920
At the end of WWI, the warring parties negotiated a peace treaty, called the Versailles Treaty. Its terms against Germany were harsh, causing resentment by the German people, including the country's future ruler who led the world into another war.
11
Sir Edmund Hillary 2008
On the 11th of January, 2008, Sir Edmund Hillary - one of the first two men to summit Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain - died in his home country of New Zealand. Who was this courageous person (after whom Hillary Clinton is named)?
Grand Canyon Becomes A National Monument 1908
President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon an American National Monument on 11 Jan 1908. Among other things, he said the natural wonder is ''... unparalleled throughout the rest of the world.''
12
Earthquake in Haiti 2010
On the 12th of January, 2010, a devastating earthquake rocked the Caribbean country of Haiti. Two security cameras, at the American Embassy, recorded the very moments when the earthquake occurred.
Deep Impact Launches from Cape Canaveral 2005
The ''Deep Impact'' mission involved a spacecraft (called FLYBY) and a smaller spacecraft (called the IMPACTOR) which flew directly into Tempel 1 (a comet about the size of Manhattan Island). See the animated results of the event.
13
Rovers Begin Life on Mars 2004
Once the Rovers transformed themselves, they had a significant job to do on the Red Planet. If they encountered rocks, or other troublesome items in their paths, how would they overcome those obstacles?
Karol Wojtyla (Future Pope John Paul II) 1964
As a young man, Karol Wojtyla had no desire to become a priest. But five formative years, during his young-adult life in Poland, redirected his path. On the 13th of January 1964, Karol Wojtyla was appointed Archbishop of Krakow.
14
Huygens Probe - Its Computer at Work
How would the largest moon of Saturn (known as Titan) appear to the Huygens probe as it descended to the lunar surface? What sounds would we hear as the computer accomplished its multitasking work? What can we learn from an animation of the endeavor?
Huygens Probe Reaches Titan 2005
After a seven-year journey, the Cassini spacecraft delivered its Huygens probe to Titan, Saturn's largest moon. What happened when the probe reached its destination (on January 14, 2005)? Take a look.
15
Flight 1549 and the ''Miracle'' Landing on the Hudson River 2009
An Airbus 320 takes-off from LaGuardia Airport and reaches an altitude of about 3200 feet when birds strike both of the plane’s engines. With no thrust, the plane drops 18 feet per second and must land. The question is: Where?
Martin Luther King, Jr. - His Birthday 1929
Dr. King was born on the 15th of January, 1929. On the third Monday of that month, the United States celebrates a national holiday to honor Dr. King's birthday.
16
Martin Luther King Day 2017
The life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is commemorated every year in America on the 3rd Monday of January, which is close to his birthday (Jan 15). Beyond his speeches, see a list of ways to remember him by making this day one of service to others.
Ivan the Terrible Becomes Tsar of Russia 1547
On the 16th of January, in 1547, a young man named Ivan became the ruler of Russia. He decided to pick a new name for his status - Tsar (Czar) - which is the Russian equivalent of Caesar. Who was this man who later became known as Ivan Grozny. 
The Medici Family 1412
Already powerful, members of the Medici family became even more wealthy after they were named the official bankers of the Pope (on the 16th of January, 1412). Who were these people whose wealth helped to fund the Italian Renaissance?
Discovery of X-Rays 1895
A marvel of the modern age began when Sir William Crookes (who invented the cathode ray tube) was upset with the photographic plates he received from a shop in Ilford, England.  In this chapter, meet Roentgen and see the famous picture he made.
17
Battle of Cowpens - Turning Point in Revolutionary War 1781
When General Daniel Morgan picked a cattle-grazing place known as ''Cowpens,'' to fight a battle with the British led by Banastre Tarleton, he could not have known that this fight would become a turning-point in the war for America's independence.
Nazis Begin the Evacuation of Auschwitz 1945
With the ''Red Army'' closing in, Nazi officials in charge of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration / death camp begin its evacuation. A ''place of horrors,'' Auschwitz is symbolic of mankind's inhumanity to mankind.
18
Pirate Henry Morgan Captures Panama 1671
As the pirate Henry Morgan ravaged parts of the Spanish Main, he viciously attacked towns in Panama. The people living in that area suffered from Morgan's actions more than once!
Food Rationing in America during WWII 1943
The US rationed food (and other things) during WWII. The US Food Administrator announced no sliced bread, then on Jan 18, 1943, gov’t officials said the ''ready-sliced loaf must have a heavier wrapping than an unsliced one if it is not to dry out.''
19
Birthday of Edgar Allan Poe 1809
Edgar Allan Poe, who remains one of America's best-loved poets, was born to a pair of actors working in Boston in 1809. At the time, acting was not a respected profession. Who was Poe? What are some of his most-loved poems?
Louis XVI Receives a Death Sentence 1793
Although the vote finding Louis XVI (called ''Citizen Capan'') guilty was unanimous, the vote condemning him to death was much closer: 380 to 310. He was sentenced on the 19th of January, 1793. Death, by guillotine, soon followed.
20
The ''Wannsee Conference'' 1942
Hitler and his followers believed they had a ''Jewish problem'' which required a ''final solution.'' Meeting at Wannsee, on the 20th of January, 1942, a group of Nazis developed a plan which led to the Holocaust.
John Marshall Appointed Chief Justice 1801
On the 20th of January, 1801, John Marshall became America's 4th Chief Justice. As head of the U.S. Supreme Court, he wielded a certain amount of power. In the famous case of Marbury v Madison, he introduced the concept of ''judicial review.''
Inauguration of U.S. Presidents
The 20th Amendment, to the U.S. Constitution, was passed in 1933. It changed the inauguration day, for U.S. Presidents, from March 4 to January 20. See numerous inaugural speeches and other things, such as ''Air Force One,'' the President's plane.
Hostages Released on Inauguration Day 1981
Within seconds after Ronald Reagan became America's 40th President, the remaining U.S. embassy hostages were freed after 444 days of captivity in Iran.
21
Sinn Fein Proclaims a New Irish Parliament 1919
In January of 1919, Sinn Féin (meaning ''Ourselves Alone''), an Irish political party, declared that Ireland was a Republic, with its own parliament (Dail Eireann) and Eamon de Valera as President. Britain declared the action illegal.
Death of Lenin 1924
Vladimir Lenin, leader of Russia's Bolshevik Revolution, was born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. On January 21, 1924, Lenin died at the age of 54. Who was he and what events pushed him toward revolution against the Russian Tsar?
22
Swiss Guards at the Vatican 1506
Swiss Guards, known for their colorful uniforms, have worked at the Vatican for more than five centuries. A contingent of 150 Swiss soldiers first arrived for their duties on the 22nd of January, 1506.
Queen Victoria Dies 1901
After suffering from a series of strokes, in late January of 1901, Queen Victoria dies on the 22nd of that month. Her death marks the end not just of the Queen's life but also of ''The Victorian Age.''
23
Sergei Eisenstein, Famous Film Maker 1898
Still known as one of the world's greatest film makers, Sergei Eisenstein was born on January 23, 1898. One of his most-famous works was ''Ivan the Terrible.''See a clip here, with English subtitles.
President Nixon Announces a Vietnam Peace Accord 1973
By the time the war was over, America had committed 2.6 million troops to South Vietnam. Total casualties (including wounded) were horrendous: 365,000 for America; more than 3 million for Vietnam. There are 58,195 names on the Vietnam Wall in D.C.
24
Gold Discovered at Sutter's Mill 1848
James Marshall finds shining flecks of gold in the tailrace (part of a millrace below the water wheel through which spent water flows) of the sawmill he is building for himself and John Sutter. This 1848 discovery changes California and US history.
Winston Churchill Dies 1965
After battling a massive stroke for 10 days, Sir Winston dies on January 24, 1965. Later he was voted ''The Greatest Briton,'' by people in his country. His Granddaughter tells the story of the event which returns ''Britain's Savior'' to his family.
25
Mars Rover Opportunity Lands on the Red Planet 2004
After a very long journey to Mars, a rover called ''Opportunity'' lands on the Red Planet. Learn how it descends, lands and transforms itself with explanatory videos from the NASA team. It's nothing short of amazing!
Dr. Richard Feynman 1986
Dr. Feynman was highly respected long before he uncovered what caused the Challenger explosion. This video, part of an interesting interview with him, reveals why he was such a sought-after scientist and professor.
26
Halley's Comet and Its 5th Perihelion 66 A.D.
Halley's Comet is infrequently visible from Earth. Mark Twain predicted he'd die when it reappeared (as he was born when it appeared). He was right! Reportedly, the Comet had its 5th perihelion on January 26 in 66 AD.
General Gordon Meets His End - When Art Changes the Story 1885
General Charles Gordon, a famous Brit, was sent to the Sudan to undertake a very difficult job. Repeatedly asked for help, in 1884, Gladstone's gov't did not respond. A famous painting about Gordon's death tells a different story from what happened.
Finding the Cullinan - The World's Largest Diamond 1905
The largest diamond ever found is the Cullinan. In its rough form, when it was discovered in the Premier mine (near Pretoria) on the 26th of January, 1905, it weighed 3,106 carats. Learn how diamonds form, how they are mined and why there are unique
27
ARGO - Six U.S. Diplomats Escape Iran 1980
After secretly escaping a hostile takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, six diplomats remain in hiding for several months. Freed on the 27th of January, 1980, their story is the subject of the film ''ARGO.''
Apollo 1 - Death in the Command Module 1967
Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee were training for their Apollo 1 mission when a fire broke out in their command module on Jan 26, 1967. Although they tried to get out, a design flaw in the hatch would not let them leave their crippled capsule
Red Army Liberates Auschwitz-Birkenau 1945
On the 27th of January, 1945, the Red Army liberated the survivors imprisoned at Auschwitz-Birkenau, a Nazi death camp located in Poland. About 180 children were among the liberated people.
28
Edward VI Succeeds Henry VIII 1547
Henry VIII died, at the age of 58, on the 28th of January, 1547. He was succeeded by his nine-year old son who became ''Edward VI.'' The reign of the child-king lasted less than seven years.
Challenger Disaster 1986
As Challenger rises into the sky off Cape Canaveral on the 28th of January, 1986, all seems well. Suddenly, everyone on the ground (and everyone watching television - including school children throughout America) sees evidence of an explosion.
29
George III - The King Who ''Lost America'' Dies 1820
The first in a succession of British kings who spoke English as his native language, George III was highly cultured. His 65,000 books became the nucleus of a national library, but he was mentally incapacitated for the last 10 years of his reign.
Edgar Allan Poe Publishes ''The Raven'' 1845
While his wife is ill with TB, Poe writes his still-famous poem, ''The Raven.'' Scholars speculate about his potential inspirations, including the idea for his rhythm. Hear the famous poem and learn about Poe's life in the background.
30
Wilhelm Gustloff - World's Deadliest Sinking 1945
Fleeing the Red Army, thousands of people board a famous Third Reich ship, the ''Wilhelm Gustloff.'' Carrying too many passengers, the ship leaves Danzig and enters the Baltic Sea. A Soviet sub, S-13, fires four torpedoes, destroying the ship.
Tet Offensive 1968
If Americans could point to a single event, which turned the country against the Vietnam War, it would likely be the coordinated attacked of the Tet Offensive which began on January 30, 1968.
Mahatma Gandhi Assassination by Extremist 1948
Agitating for Britain to ''quit India,'' Gandhi is horrified when his beloved country is split in two after gaining its independence. Trying to mend disagreements between two of India's leading politicians, Ghandi is shot 3 times by an extremist.
31
Congress Passes the 13th Amendment, Abolishing Slavery 1865
On the 31st of January, 1865, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery. The bill had passed the Senate months before. The Amendment became law on December 6, 1865, when it was ratified by all the States.
John Marshall and the Concept of Judicial Review 1801
On the 31st of January, 1801, John Marshall is appointed Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. His tenure will prove to be remarkable since he introduces the concept of judicial review in ''Marbury versus Madison.''
Guy Fawkes - Executed for His Role in the Gunpowder Plot 1606
After he was discovered with barrels of gunpowder below Britain's Houses of Parliament, Guy Fawkes was found guilty and sentenced to death. That sentence was carried-out on the 31st of January, 1606.

Jan 1: Emancipation Proclamation 1863

Jan 1: Roman Gladiators - The Last Competition 404 AD

Jan 2: Niagara Falls - Protecting a Natural Wonder 1929

Jan 2: Georgia Is the 4th State to Ratify the U.S. Constitution 1788

Jan 3: Meijii Restoration in Japan 1868

Jan 3: Children Coping with Polio Get Help from the March of Dimes 1938

Jan 4: Rovers Travel on Mars 2011

Jan 4: Rovers Descend to Mars 2004

Jan 4: Rovers Land on Mars 2004

Jan 5: Golden Gate Bridge - Source of Its Name and Start of Its Construction 1933

Jan 5: Martha Dandridge Custis and George Washington 1759

Jan 6: Joan of Arc - Handed Over To The Bishop 1928 Film

Jan 6: Death of Theodore Roosevelt 1919

Jan 6: Morse Code and the Electrical Telegraph 1838

Jan 7: Vikings Invade Britain 793

Jan 7: Galileo and Jupiter's Moons 1610

Jan 8: Spanish Flu 1919

Jan 8: Galileo Galilei Dies in Arcetri, Italy 1642

Jan 9: Black Death and Persecution 1349

Jan 9: Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson 1809

Jan 10: Anthony Lucas Finds Oil in Texas - Spindletop - 1901

Jan 10: Treaty of Versailles Ending WWI Is Effective 1920

Jan 11: Sir Edmund Hillary 2008

Jan 11: Grand Canyon Becomes A National Monument 1908

Jan 12: Earthquake in Haiti 2010

Jan 12: Deep Impact Launches from Cape Canaveral 2005

Jan 13: Rovers Begin Life on Mars 2004

Jan 13: Karol Wojtyla (Future Pope John Paul II) 1964

Jan 14: Huygens Probe - Its Computer at Work

Jan 14: Huygens Probe Reaches Titan 2005

Jan 15: Flight 1549 and the ''Miracle'' Landing on the Hudson River 2009

Jan 15: Martin Luther King, Jr. - His Birthday 1929

Jan 16: Martin Luther King Day 2017

Jan 16: Ivan the Terrible Becomes Tsar of Russia 1547

Jan 16: The Medici Family 1412

Jan 16: Discovery of X-Rays 1895

Jan 17: Battle of Cowpens - Turning Point in Revolutionary War 1781

Jan 17: Nazis Begin the Evacuation of Auschwitz 1945

Jan 18: Pirate Henry Morgan Captures Panama 1671

Jan 18: Food Rationing in America during WWII 1943

Jan 19: Birthday of Edgar Allan Poe 1809

Jan 19: Louis XVI Receives a Death Sentence 1793

Jan 20: The ''Wannsee Conference'' 1942

Jan 20: John Marshall Appointed Chief Justice 1801

Jan 20: Inauguration of U.S. Presidents

Jan 20: Hostages Released on Inauguration Day 1981

Jan 21: Sinn Fein Proclaims a New Irish Parliament 1919

Jan 21: Death of Lenin 1924

Jan 22: Swiss Guards at the Vatican 1506

Jan 22: Queen Victoria Dies 1901

Jan 23: Sergei Eisenstein, Famous Film Maker 1898

Jan 23: President Nixon Announces a Vietnam Peace Accord 1973

Jan 24: Gold Discovered at Sutter's Mill 1848

Jan 24: Winston Churchill Dies 1965

Jan 25: Mars Rover Opportunity Lands on the Red Planet 2004

Jan 25: Dr. Richard Feynman 1986

Jan 26: Halley's Comet and Its 5th Perihelion 66 A.D.

Jan 26: General Gordon Meets His End - When Art Changes the Story 1885

Jan 26: Finding the Cullinan - The World's Largest Diamond 1905

Jan 27: ARGO - Six U.S. Diplomats Escape Iran 1980

Jan 27: Apollo 1 - Death in the Command Module 1967

Jan 27: Red Army Liberates Auschwitz-Birkenau 1945

Jan 28: Edward VI Succeeds Henry VIII 1547

Jan 28: Challenger Disaster 1986

Jan 29: George III - The King Who ''Lost America'' Dies 1820

Jan 29: Edgar Allan Poe Publishes ''The Raven'' 1845

Jan 30: Wilhelm Gustloff - World's Deadliest Sinking 1945

Jan 30: Tet Offensive 1968

Jan 30: Mahatma Gandhi Assassination by Extremist 1948

Jan 31: Congress Passes the 13th Amendment, Abolishing Slavery 1865

Jan 31: John Marshall and the Concept of Judicial Review 1801

Jan 31: Guy Fawkes - Executed for His Role in the Gunpowder Plot 1606

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