January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Here a calendar year refers to the order in which the months are displayed, January to December. The first day of the medieval Julian year was usually a day other than January 1. This day was adopted as the first day of the Julian year by all Western European countries except England between about 1450 and 1600. The Gregorian calendar as promulgated in 1582 did not specify that January 1 was to be either New Year's Day or the first day of its numbered year. Although England began its numbered year on March 25 (Lady Day or Annunciation Day), between the 13th century and 1752, January 1 was called New Year's Day, and was, with Christmas and occasionally Twelfth Night, a holiday when gifts were exchanged. There are 364 days remaining (365 in leap years).
- 153 BC - Roman consuls first begin their year in office
- 45 BC - Julian calendar goes into effect
- 404 - Last gladiator competition in Rome and martyrdom of Saint Telemachus.
- 1438 - Albert II of Habsburg becomes King of Hungary
- 1502 - The present-day location of Rio de Janeiro is explored.
- 1600 - Scotland first begins the numbered year of its Julian calendar
- 1651 - Charles II crowned King of Scotland
- 1700 - Russia first adopts Western numbers for its Julian calendar
- 1707 - John V becomes King of Portugal
- 1738 - Bouvet Island is discovered by French explorer Jean Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier .
- 1752 - England and its colonies first begin the numbered year of their calendar.
- 1788 - First edition of The Times of London, previously The Daily Universal Register, is published.
- 1801 - Legislative union of Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland is completed to form United Kingdom
- 1801 - The discovery of 1 Ceres, the first known asteroid.
- 1804 - French rule ends in Haiti.
- 1808 - Importation of slaves into the United States is banned
- 1818 - Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, a science fiction by Mary Shelley, was first published in London.
- 1863 - Abraham Lincoln delivers the Emancipation Proclamation during the second year of the American Civil War.
- 1863 - The first claim under the Homestead Act is made for a farm in Nebraska
- 1874 - New York City annexes The Bronx
- 1876 - First Modern-day mummers parade held to celebrate America's centenial.
- 1880 - Construction of the Panama Canal begins
- 1887 - Queen Victoria is proclaimed Empress of India at the first Imperial Assemblage (Durbar) in Delhi.
- 1892 - Ellis Island opens to begin accepting immigrants to the United States
- 1893 - Japan accepts the Gregorian calendar
- 1897 - Brooklyn, New York merges with New York City
- 1898 - New York City annexes land from surrounding counties, creating the City of Greater New York. The city is geographically divided into five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
- 1899 - Spanish rule ends in Cuba.
- 1899 - Queens and Staten Island merge with New York City.
- 1901 - Nigeria becomes a British protectorate.
- 1901 - The British colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia federate as the Commonwealth of Australia. Edmund Barton becomes first Prime Minister.
- 1902 - The first Rose Bowl game is played in Pasadena, California.
- 1908 - A ball signifying New Year's Day drops in New York City's Times Square for the first time.
- 1911 - Northern Territory is separated from South Australia.
- 1912 - The Republic of China is established.
- 1934 - Alcatraz becomes a federal prison.
- 1935 - Bucknell University wins the first Orange Bowl 26-0 over the University of Miami.
- 1937 - Anastasio Somoza becomes President of Nicaragua
- 1937 - The first Cotton Bowl game is played in Dallas, Texas.
- 1939 - The Vienna New Year's Concert is first held.
- 1942 - World War II: The word "United Nations" is first officially used to describe the Allied pact.
- 1945 - Bahawalpur State issues its own stamps.
- 1948 - UK railways are nationalised to form British Railways.
- 1948 - Enrico De Nicola becomes President of the State of Italy.
- 1956 - The Anglo-Egyptian Condominium in Sudan ends.
- 1958 - The European Community is established.
- 1959 - Cuba: Fulgencio Batista overthrown by Fidel Castro.
- 1960 - Cameroon becomes independent.
- 1962 - Western Samoa becomes independent from New Zealand.
- 1964 - Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland dissolved.
- 1969 - Marien Ngouabi becomes President of the Republic of Congo.
- 1970 - Unix epoch begins at 00:00:00 UTC.
- 1971 - Cigarette advertisements are banned on United States television.
- 1973 - United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark join the European Community.
- 1976 - NBC introduces its new logo: an abstract "N", similar to the Nebraska Educational Television Network logo.
- 1978 - Air India Flight 855 Boeing 747 explodes and crashes into the sea off the coast of Bombay, killing 213.
- 1979 - United States and the People's Republic of China establish formal diplomatic relations.
- 1981 - Palau becomes self-governing.
- 1981 - Greece enters the European Community
- 1983 - The ARPANET officially changes to using the Internet Protocol, creating the Internet.
- 1984 - Brunei becomes a fully independent state.
- 1984 - AT&T is broken up into 22 independent units.
- 1984 - Spain and Portugal enter the European Community.
- 1985 - Creation of the Internet's Domain Name System.
- 1985 - First British mobile phone call made by Ernie Wise to Vodafone.
- 1986 - Aruba becomes independent of Curaçao.
- 1987 - Nunavut's capital changes its name from Frobisher Bay to Iqaluit.
- 1988 - The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America comes into existence, creating the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States.
- 1992 - George H. W. Bush becomes the first President of the United States to address the Australian Parliament .
- 1993 - Velvet Divorce: Czechoslovakia divides into Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
- 1993 - A single market within the European Community is introduced.
- 1994 - The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) goes into effect.
- 1994 - The EZLN makes its presence known in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, initiating 12 days of armed conflict in that southeastern Mexican state.
- 1995 - World Trade Organization goes into effect.
- 1995 - Austria, Finland and Sweden enter the European Union.
- 1996 - Curacao gains limited self-government.
- 1998 - Smoking is banned in all bars and restaurants in California.
- 1999 - The Euro currency is introduced.
- 2002 - Euro banknotes and coins become legal tender.
- 2002 - The Open Skies mutual surveillance treaty, initially signed in 1992, officially enters into force.
- 2003 - Luís Inácio Lula da Silva becomes president of Brazil.
- 2004 - Pervez Musharraf gets vote of confidence to continue as President of Pakistan from Parliament and provincial assemblies.
- 766 - Ali ar-Rida, Shia Imam (d. 818)
- 1431 - Pope Alexander VI (d. 1503)
- 1449 - Lorenzo de Medici, Italian statesman (d. 1492)
- 1484 - Huldreich Zwingli, Swiss Protestant leader (d. 1531)
- 1515 - King Louis XII of France (b. 1462)
- 1516 - Margareta Leijonhufvud, Queen of Sweden (d. 1551)
- 1618 - Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Spanish painter (d. 1682)
- 1735 - Paul Revere, American silversmith, patriot (d. 1818)
- 1750 - Frederick Muhlenberg, first speaker of the United States House of Representatives (d. 1801)
- 1752 - Betsy Ross, American seamstress (d. 1836)
- 1804? - James Fannin, Texas Revolutionary (d. 1836)
- 1823 - Sándor Petöfi, Hungarian poet and revolutionary (d. 1849)
- 1839 - Ouida, English writer (d. 1908)
- 1860 - George Washington Carver, American educator, inventor, botanist (d. 1943)
- 1863 - Pierre de Coubertin, French historian and pedagogue, initiator of the modern Olympic Games (d. 1937)
- 1864 - Alfred Stieglitz, American photographer (d. 1946)
- 1874 - Gustave Whitehead, German-American inventor (d. 1927)
- 1876 - Harriet Brooks, Canadian physicist (d. 1933)
- 1879 - E. M. Forster, English novelist (d. 1970)
- 1887 - Wilhelm Canaris, German admiral (d. 1945)
- 1890 - Anton Melik, Slovene geographer (d. 1966)
- 1892 - Artur Rodzinski, Croatian conductor (d. 1958)
- 1894 - Satyendra Nath Bose, Indian mathematician (d. 1974)
- 1895 - J. Edgar Hoover, FBI director (d. 1972)
- 1897 - Makoto Tomioka , writer
- 1900 - Xavier Cugat, Catalan-Cuban musician, bandleader (d. 1990)
- 1904 - Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry, Pakistani politician (d. 1982)
- 1906 - Giovanni D'Anzi, Italian songwriter (d. 1974)
- 1909 - Barry M. Goldwater, Arizona Senator (d. 1998)
- 1909 - Dana Andrews, American actor (d. 1992)
- 1911 - Hank Greenberg, American baseball player (d. 1986)
- 1912 - Kim Philby, British spy (d. 1988)
- 1917 - Jule Gregory Charney, meteorologist (d. 1981)
- 1917 - Albert Mol, Dutch actor (d. 2004)
- 1919 - J. D. Salinger, American novelist
- 1920 - Virgilio Savona, Italian singer and songwriter (Quartetto Cetra)
- 1921 - Isma'il Raji' al-Faruqi, Palestinian-American Muslim thinker, philosopher, and comparative religion scholar (d. 1986)
- 1922 - Rocky Graziano, American boxer (d. 1990)
- 1925 - Stymie Beard , actor (d. 1981)
- 1927 - Doak Walker, American football star
- 1928 - Ernest Tidyman, American writer (d. 1984)
- 1931 - Chun Doo Hwan, president of South Korea
- 1933 - Frederick_Lowy, Canadian medical educator, ethicist, and university president
- 1933 - Joe Orton, English writer (d. 1967)
- 1940 - Helmut Jahn, German architect
- 1940 - Frank Langella American actor
- 1942 - Martin Frost, American politician
- 1942 - Country Joe McDonald, American musician, (Country Joe and the Fish)
- 1942 - Gennadi Sarafanov, cosmonaut
- 1943 - Don Novello, American actor, comedian, writer
- 1945 - Jacky Ickx, Belgian automobile racer
- 1958 - Grandmaster Flash, Barbados-born singer
- 1966 - Alison Doody, Irish actress
- 1966 - Michael Imperioli, American actor
- 1966 - Embeth Davidtz - American actress
- 1969 - Verne Troyer - American actor
- 1970 - Paul Thomas Anderson, American film director, writer, producer
- 1972 - Neve McIntosh , actress
- 1975 - Joe Cannon, American soccer player
- 1979 - Koichi Domoto, Japanese artist
- 1980 - Elin Nordegren, Swedish model
- 1981 - Zsolt Baumgartner, Hungarian Formula One racing driver
- 1982 - David Nalbandian, Argentine tennis player
- 379 - Saint Basil of Caesarea (b. 330)
- 874 - Hasan al-Askari, eleventh Shia Imam (b. 846)
- 898 - Odo, Count of Paris (b. 860)
- 1515 - King Louis XII of France (b. 1462)
- 1559 - Christian III of Denmark and Norway (b. 1503)
- 1560 - Joachim Du Bellay, French poet
- 1716 - William Wycherley, English dramatist (b. c. 1640)
- 1766 - James Francis Edward Stuart, "The Old Pretender" (b. 1688)
- 1782 - Johann Christian Bach, German composer (b. 1735)
- 1817 - Martin Heinrich Klaproth, German chemist (b. 1743)
- 1892 - Roswell B. Mason, mayor of Chicago (b. 1805)
- 1894 - Heinrich Hertz, German physicist (b. 1857)
- 1933 - Harriet Brooks, Canadian physicist (b. 1876)
- 1944 - Charles Turner , deadly Australian bowler (b. 1862)
- 1953 - Hank Williams, American country music singer (b. 1923)
- 1958 - Edward Weston, American photographer (b. 1886)
- 1960 - Margaret Sullavan, American actress (b. 1911)
- 1972 - Maurice Chevalier, French actor and singer (b. 1888)
- 1981 - Beulah Bondi, American actress (b. 1888)
- 1982 - Paul Belmondo , French sculptor
- 1986 - Alfredo Binda, Italian cyclist (b. 1902)
- 1992 - Grace Hopper, American computer pioneer (b. 1906)
- 1994 - Cesar Romero, American actor (b. 1907)
- 1994 - Lord Arthur Espie Porritt, British athlete and physician; New Zealand Governor-General (b. 1900)
- 1995 - Fred West, British serial killer awaiting trial, hanged himself in prison (b. 1941)
- 1996 - Arleigh Burke, U.S. admiral (b. 1901)
- 1997 - Townes Van Zandt, American musician (b. 1944)
- 1998 - Helen Wills Moody, American tennis player (b. 1905)
- 2001 - Ray Walston, American actor (b. 1914)
- 2003 - Joe Foss, American politician, fighter pilot (b. 1915)
- 2005 - Shirley Chisholm, American politician, first black United States Congresswoman (b. 1924)
- 2005 - Hugh John Frederick Lawson, 6th Baron Burnham, British Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords and former deputy managing director of the Daily Telegraph (b. 1931)
- 2005 - Bob Matsui, United States Democratic Party member of the House of Representatives (b. 1941)
Holidays and observances
December 31 - January 2 - December 1 - February 1 -- listing of all days