1500 Vicente Yáñez Pinzón became the first European to set foot on Brazil.
1531 Lisbon was hit by an earthquake–thousands died.
1564 The Council of Trent issued its conclusions in the Tridentinum, establishing a distinction between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.
1565 Battle of Talikota, between the Vijayanagara Empire and the Islamic sultanates of the Deccan, led to the subjugation, and eventual destruction of the last Hindu kingdom in India, and the consolidation of Islamic rule over much of the Indian subcontinent.
1589 Job was elected as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
1699 Treaty of Carlowitz was signed.
1714 Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, French sculptor, was born (d. 1785).
1722 Alexander Carlyle, Scottish church leader, was born (d. 1805).
1736 Stanislaus I of Poland abdicated his throne.
1808 Rum Rebellion, the only successful (albeit short-lived) armed takeover of the government in Australia.
1813 Juan Pablo Duarte, Dominican Republic’s founding father, was born (d. 1876).
1838 Tennessee enacted the first prohibition law in the United States.
1841 The United Kingdom formally occupied Hong Kong.
1844 Governor Fitzroy arrived to investigate the Wairau incident.
1855 Point No Point Treaty was signed in Washington Territory.
1857 Trinley Gyatso, Tibetan, The 12th Dalai Lama, was born (d. 1875).
1880 Douglas MacArthur, American general, was born (d. 1964).
1892 Bessie Coleman, American pioneer aviator, was born (d. 1926).
1904 Seán MacBride, Irish statesman, Nobel Prize Laureate, was born (d. 1988).
1905 Maria von Trapp, Austrian-born singer, was born (d. 1987).
1907 The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III was officially introduced into British Military Service, and remains the oldest military rifle still in official use.
1908 Stéphane Grappelli, French jazz violinist, was born (d. 1997).
1911 – Richard Strauss‘s opera Der Rosenkavalier debuted at the Dresden State Opera.
1913 Jimmy Van Heusen, American songwriter, was born (d. 1990).
1918 Nicolae Ceauşescu, Romanian dictator, was born (d. 1989).
1920 Former Ford Motor Company executive Henry Leland launchedthe Lincoln Motor Company which he later sold to his former employer.
1922 Michael Bentine, British comedian and founding member of The Goons, was born (d. 1996).
1924 St.Petersburg was renamed Leningrad.
1925 Paul Newman, American actor, philanthropist, race car driver and race team owner, was born (d. 2008).
1930 The Indian National Congress declared 26 January as Independence Day or as the day for Poorna Swaraj (Complete Independence) which occurred 20 years later.
1934 The Apollo Theater reopened in Harlem.
1934 – German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact was signed.
1942 World War II: The first United States forces arrived in Europe landing in Northern Ireland.
1945 Jacqueline du Pré, English cellist, was born (d. 1987).
1952 Black Saturday in Egypt: rioters burnt Cairo’s central business district, targeting British and upper-class Egyptian businesses.
1955 Eddie Van Halen, Dutch musician (Van Halen), was born.
1957 Bubble wrap was invented by Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes.
1958 Japanese ferry Nankai Maru capsised off southern Awaji Island, 167 killed.
1958 Ellen DeGeneres, American actress and comedian, was born.
1961 Janet G. Travell became the first woman to be appointed physician to the president (Kennedy).
1962 Ranger 3 was launched to study the moon.
1978 The Great Blizzard of 1978, a rare severe blizzard with the lowest non-tropical atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the US, struck the Ohio – Great Lakes region with heavy snow and winds up to 100 mph (161 km/h).
1988 Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s The Phantom of the Opera had its first performance on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre.
1992 Boris Yeltsin announced that Russia would stop targeting United States cities with nuclear weapons.
1998 Lewinsky scandal: On American television, U.S. President Bill Clinton denied having had “sexual relations” with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
2001 An earthquake in Gujarat, India, killed more than 20,000.
2004 President Hamid Karzai signed the new constitution of Afghanistan.
2004 – A decomposing whale exploded in Tainan, Taiwan.
2005 – Glendale train crash: Two trains derailled killing 11 and injuring 200 in Glendale, California.
2009 – Rioting broke out in Antananarivo, Madagascar, sparking a political crisis that resulted in the replacement of President Marc Ravalomanana with Andry Rajoelina.
Sourced from NZ History Oline & Wikipedia