Today in History

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Today is Wednesday, Jan. 3, the third day of 2018. There are 362 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 3, 1868, Japan’s Meiji (may-jee) Restoration re-established the authority of the emperor and heralded the fall of the military rulers known as shoguns; the upheaval paved the way for Japan’s drive toward becoming a modern power.

Email newsletter signup

On this date:

In 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Leo X.

In 1777, Gen. George Washington’s army routed the British in the Battle of Princeton, New Jersey.

In 1870, groundbreaking took place for the Brooklyn Bridge.

In 1911, the first postal savings banks were opened by the U.S. Post Office. (The banks were abolished in 1966.)

In 1938, the March of Dimes campaign to fight polio was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who himself had been afflicted with the crippling disease.

In 1946, William Joyce, the pro-Nazi radio propagandist known as “Lord Haw-Haw,” was hanged at Wandsworth Prison in London for high treason.

In 1958, the first six members of the newly formed U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held their first meeting at the White House.

In 1959, Alaska became the 49th state as President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation.

In 1967, Jack Ruby, the man who shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy, died in a Dallas hospital.

In 1977, Apple Computer was incorporated in Cupertino, California, by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Mike Makkula Jr.

In 1980, conservationist Joy Adamson, author of “Born Free,” was killed in northern Kenya by a former employee.

In 1993, President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the START II missile-reduction treaty in Moscow. (However, the agreement ultimately fell apart.)

Ten years ago: Illinois Sen. Barack Obama won Democratic caucuses in Iowa, while Mike Huckabee won the Republican caucuses. After nearly 27 years in prison, Texas inmate Charles Chatman, 47, was set free by a judge because of new DNA evidence showing he’d been wrongly convicted of rape. Pop star Britney Spears was hospitalized after a child custody dispute with ex-husband Kevin Federline resulted in an hours-long standoff with police. The No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks won the Orange Bowl by defeating No. 5 Virginia Tech 24-21.

Five years ago: Students from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, reconvened at a different building in the town of Monroe about three weeks after the massacre that had claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and six educators. The new 113th Congress opened for business, with House Speaker John Boehner re-elected to his post despite a mini-revolt in Republican ranks. No. 5 Oregon beat No. 7 Kansas State, 35-17, in the Fiesta Bowl.

One year ago: Ford Motor Co. canceled plans to build a new $1.6 billion factory in Mexico, and said it would invest at least some of the savings in new electric and autonomous vehicles. The national president of the NAACP and five others were arrested after staging a sit-in at the Alabama office of Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. attorney general. It was announced that Fox News star Megyn Kelly would be leaving the network to work at NBC News.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Dabney Coleman is 86. Journalist-author Betty Rollin is 82. Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull is 79. Singer-songwriter-producer Van Dyke Parks is 75. Musician Stephen Stills is 73. Rock musician John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) is 72. Actress Victoria Principal is 68. Actor-director Mel Gibson is 62. Actress Shannon Sturges is 50. Actor John Ales is 49. Jazz musician James Carter is 49. Contemporary Christian singer Nichole Nordeman is 46. Musician Thomas Bangalter (Daft Punk) is 43. Actor Jason Marsden is 43. Actress Danica McKellar is 43. Actor Nicholas Gonzalez is 42. Singer Kimberley Locke (TV: “American Idol”) is 40. Actress Kate Levering is 39. NFL quarterback Eli Manning is 37. Actress Nicole Beharie is 33. Pop musician Mark Pontius (Foster the People) is 33. Rhythm-and-blues singer Lloyd is 32. Pop-rock musician Nash Overstreet (Hot Chelle (shel) Rae) is 32. Actor Alex D. Linz is 29.