On January 23:
971 In China, the war elephant corps of the Southern Han were soundly defeated at Shao by crossbow fire from Song Dynasty troops. The Southern Han state was forced to submit to the Song Dynasty, ending not only Southern Han rule, but also the first regular war elephant corps employed in a Chinese army that had gained the Southern Han victories throughout the 10th century.
1556 The deadliest earthquake in history, the Shaanxi earthquake, hit Shaanxi province, China. The death toll may have been as high as 830,000.
1570 The assassination of regent James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray threw Scotland into civil war.
1571 The Royal Exchange opened in London.
1579 The Union of Utrecht formed a Protestant republic in the Netherlands.
1719 The Principality of Liechtenstein was created within the Holy Roman Empire.
1789 Georgetown College, the first Roman Catholic college in the United States, was founded.
1793 Second Partition of Poland: Russia and Prussia partitioned Poland for the second time.
1813 Camilla Collett, Norwegian writer and feminist, was born.
1849 Elizabeth Blackwell the USA’s first female doctor, was awarded her M.D. by the Medical Institute of Geneva, New York.
1855 John Moses Browning, American inventor, was born.
1855 A magnitude 8.2 earthquake hit the Welington region.
1855 The first bridge over the Mississippi River opened.
1870 U.S. cavalrymen killed 173 Native Americans, mostly women and children, in the Marias Massacre.
1897 Sir William Samuel Stephenson, Canadian soldier, W.W.II codename, Intrepid. Inspiration for James Bond., was born.
1897 Elva Zona Heaster was found dead.The resulting murder trial of her husband is perhaps the only case in United States history where the alleged testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction.
1904 Ålesund Fire: the Norwegian coastal town Ålesund was devastated by fire, leaving 10,000 people homeless and one person dead.
1907 Charles Curtis of Kansas became the first Native American U.S. Senator.
1912 The International Opium Convention was signed at The Hague.
1948 Anita Pointer, American singer (Pointer Sisters), was born.
1951 Yachts left Wellington bound for Lyttelton in an ocean yacht race to celebrate Canterbury’s centenary. Only one, Tawhiri, officially finished the race. Two other yachts, Husky and Argo, were lost along with their 10 crew members.
1997 Madeleine Albright became the first woman to serve as United States Secretary of State.
2003 Final communication between Earth and Pioneer 10
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.