1472 – The great daylight comet of 1472 was visible in daylight for 8 days.
1790 – Dr Joseph-Ignace Guillotin proposed the guillotine to the newly formed National Assembly of Paris as a “humane” method of execution.
1799 – Edward Jenner’s smallpox vaccination was introduced.
1807 – The London Institution for the Advancement of Literature and The Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (The London Institution) received a royal charter signed by King George III, to “promote the diffusion of Science, Literature, and the Arts, by means of Lectures and Experiments, and by easy access to an extensive collection of books, both ancient and modern, in all languages.”
1861 – Jefferson Davis resigned from the United States Senate.
1911 – The first Monte Carlo Rally took place, with 23 cars.
1915 – Kiwanis International was founded, in Detroit.
1954 – The first atomic submarine, the U.S.S. Nautilus, was launched at Groton, Connecticut. It was officially commissioned later that year.
1970 – The Boeing 747, made its 1st commercial flight, between New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Heathrow Airport in London, England. .
1972 – The first convention of Star Trek fans was held in New York City’s Statler-Hilton Hotel
1977 – President Jimmy Carter pardoned most Vietnam War draft evaders.
1979 – Neptune became the outermost planet as Pluto moved on its highly elliptical, tilted orbit closer to the sun than Neptune. This eventually led to Pluto being downgraded from planetary status.
1984 – #1 Hit January 21, 1984 – February 3, 1984: Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart
1985 – President Regan’s first inauguration (Jan 20, 1981) was the warmest on record at 55°F, while his second inauguration (Jan 21, 1985) was the coldest on record at 7°F.
1989 – #1 Hit January 21, 1989 – February 3, 1989: Phil Collins – Two Hearts
1990 – MTV Unplugged premiered on MTV (The featured artist was Squeeze)
1998 – News of the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton affair was published, President Clinton said he “did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
2000 – The Boondock Saints & Down to You debuted in theaters.
2005 – Are We There Yet? debuted in theaters.
2006 – #1 Hit January 21, 2006 – February 3, 2006: Nelly featuring Paul Wall, Ali and Gipp – Grillz