366 – The Alamanni crossed the frozen Rhine River in large numbers, invading the Roman Empire.
533 – Mercurius became Pope John II, the first pope to adopt a new name upon elevation to the papacy.
1818 The British Institution of Civil Engineers was founded.
1860 The discovery of the planet Vulcan was announced at a meeting of the Académie des Sciences in Paris.
1871 – Amadeus I became King of Spain.
1873 Thérèse de Lisieux, French Roman-Catholic nun, was born (d. 1897).
1893 – Lillian Leitzel, German acrobat and strongwoman, was born (d. 1931).
1896 – Sir Lawrence Wackett, Australian aircraft engineer, was born (d. 1982).
1898 – Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, American economist and lawyer, was born (d. 1989).
1918 – Willi Graf, German physician and activist, was born (d. 1943).
1938 The first official New Zealand airmail to the United States departed Auckland for San Francisco aboard Pan American Airline’s Samoan Clipper,a Sikorsky S-42B flying boat was piloted by Captain Ed Musick.
1947 David Shapiro, American poet, literary critic, and art historian, was born.
1948 – Judith Miller, American journalist and author was born.
1949 Luis Muñoz Marín became the first democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico.
1955 Panamanian president José Antonio Remón Cantera was assassinated.
1959 Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon and to orbit the Sun, was launched by the U.S.S.R.
1967 Francois Pienaar, South African rugby player, Springbok, was born.
1974 President Richard Nixon signed a bill lowering the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 MPH in order to conserve fuel during an OPEC embargo.
1975 Reuben Thorne, New Zealand All Black, was born.
1999 A brutal snowstorm hit the Midwestern United States, causing 14 inches (359 mm) of snow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and 19 inches (487 mm) in Chicago, where temperatures plunged to -13°F (-25°C); 68 deaths were reported
2001 – Sila Calderón became the first female Governor of Puerto Rico.
2002 – Eduardo Duhalde was appointed interim President of Argentina by the Legislative Assembly.
2004 – Stardust successfully flew past Comet Wild 2, collecting samples that are returned to Earth.
2006 – An explosion in a coal mine in Sago, West Virginia trapped and killed 12 miners and left another in a critical condition.
2011 – January 2011 Baghdad shootings took place.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.