On January 17:
1524 Beginning of Giovanni da Verrazzano‘s voyage to find a passage to China.
1773 Captain James Cook and his crew became the first Europeans to sail below the Antarctic Circle.
1820 Anne Brontë, British author, was born.
1853 The New Zealand Constitution Act (UK) of 1852, which established a system of representative government for New Zealand, was declared operative by Governor Sir George Grey.
1863 David Lloyd George, British Prime Minister, was born.
1865 Charles Fergusson, Governor-General of New Zealand, was born.
1877 May Gibbs, Australian children’s author, was born.
1899 Al Capone, American gangster, was born.
1899 Nevil Shute, English author, was born.
1905 Peggy Gilbert, American jazz saxophonist and bandleader, was born.
1917 The United States paid Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.
1928 Vidal Sassoon, English cosmetologist, was born.
1929 Popeye the Sailor Man, a cartoon character created by Elzie Crisler Segar, first appeared in the Thimble Theatre comic strip.
1933 Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, French-born Pakistani diplomat (UN High Commissioner for Refugees), was born.
1933 Shari Lewis, American ventriloquist, was born.
1941 Dame Gillian Weir, New Zealand organist, was born.
1942 Muhammad Ali, American boxer, was born.
1942 Ita Buttrose, Australian journalist and businesswoman, was born.
1945 – The Nazis began the evacuation of the Auschwitz concentration camp as Soviet forces closed in.
1946 The UN Security Council held its first session.
1949 The Goldbergs, the first sitcom on American television, first aired.
1950 The Great Brinks Robbery – 11 thieves stolel more than $2 million from an armored car Company’s offices in Boston, Massachusetts.
1956 Paul Young, English musician, was born.
1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered a televised farewell address to the nation three days before leaving office, in which he warned against the accumulation of power by the “military-industrial complex“.
1962 Jim Carrey, Canadian actor and comedian, was born.
1964 Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, was born.
1973 Ferdinand Marcos became “President for Life” of the Philippines.
1982 “Cold Sunday” in the United States -temperatures fell to their lowest levels in over 100 years in numerous cities.
1983 The tallest department store in the world, Hudson’s, flagship store in downtown Detroit closed due to high cost of operating.
1989 Stockton massacre: Patrick Purdy opened fire with an assault rifle at the Cleveland Elementary School playground, killing five children and wounding 29 others and one teacher before taking his own life.
2007 The Doomsday Clock was set to five minutes to midnight in response to North Korea nuclear testing.
Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia.