January 23 is the 23rd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 342 days remaining, 343 in leap years.
- 1510 - Henry VIII of England, 18, appears incognito in the lists at Richmond, and is applauded for his jousting before he reveals himself.
- 1533 - Anne Boleyn, mistress of Henry VIII of England, discovers herself pregnant.
- 1546 - Having published nothing for 11 years, Francois Rabelais brings out his sequel to Gargantua and Pantagruel: the Tiers Libre.
- 1556 - The Shaanxi earthquake, the deadliest earthquake in history, occurs with its epicenter in Shaanxi province, China. 830,000 people may have been killed.
- 1570 - The assassination of regent James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray throws Scotland into civil war.
- 1571 - The Royal Exchange opens in London.
- 1579 - The Union of Utrecht forms a Protestant republic in the Netherlands.
- 1719 - The Principality of Liechtenstein is created within the Holy Roman Empire.
- 1789 - Georgetown College becomes the first Catholic college in the United States (Washington, DC).
- 1843 - The flip of a coin determines whether a new city in Oregon is named after Boston, Massachusetts, or Portland, Maine, with Portland winning.
- 1849 - Elizabeth Blackwell is awarded her MD by the Medical Institute of Geneva, New York, thus becoming the United States' first woman doctor.
- 1855 - The first bridge over the Mississippi River opens in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota, a crossing made today by the Father Louis Hennepin Bridge.
- 1870 - Marias Massacre
- 1904 - Ålesund Fire: Norwegian coastal town Ålesund is devastated by fire, leaving 10,000 people homeless. German Kaiser Wilhelm helps rebuild the town in Jugendstil architecture.
- 1907 - Charles Curtis from Kansas, becomes the first Native American US Senator.
- 1920 - The Netherlands refuses to surrender ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany to the Allies.
- 1937 - In Moscow, 17 leading Communists go on trial accused of participating in a plot led by Leon Trotsky to overthrow Joseph Stalin's regime and assassinate its leaders.
- 1941 - Charles Lindbergh testifies before the U.S. Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler.
- 1943 - World War II: British forces capture Tripoli from the Nazis.
- 1943 - World War II: Australian and American forces finally defeat the Japanese army in Papua. This turning point in the Pacific War marks the beginning of the end of Japanese aggression.
- 1943 - Duke Ellington plays at New York City's Carnegie Hall for the first time.
- 1950 - The Knesset passes a resolution that states Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
- 1960 - The bathyscaphe USS Trieste breaks a depth record when it descends 35,820 feet (10,750 meters) in the Pacific Ocean.
- 1964 - The 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the use of poll taxes in national elections, is ratified.
- 1968 - North Korea seizes the USS Pueblo, claiming the ship violated their territorial waters while spying.
- 1973 - President Richard Nixon announces that a peace accord has been reached in Vietnam.
- 1975 - Barney Miller debuts on ABC.
- 1977 - The first segment of the Roots mini-series airs on ABC.
- 1978 - Sweden becomes the first nation to ban aerosol sprays that are thought to damage earth's protective ozone layer.
- 1983 - The A-Team debuts.
- 1985 - O. J. Simpson becomes the first Heisman Trophy winner elected to the Football Hall of Fame.
- 1986 - The first induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley)
- 1997 - Mir Aimal Kasi receives the death sentence for a 1993 assault rifle attack outside CIA headquarters that killed two and wounded three others.
- 1997 - Madeleine Albright becomes the first woman to serve as United States Secretary of State.
- 1999 - Australian Christian missionary Graham Stewart Stains and his two sons are burned alive by radical Hindus while sleeping in their car in eastern India.
- 2002 - "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh returns to the United States under FBI custody.
- 2002 - Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and subsequently murdered in Karachi, Pakistan.
- 2005 - Viktor Yushchenko sworn in as the third President of Ukraine in Kiev, Ukraine.
- 1745 - William Jessop, canal engineer (d. 1814)
- 1783 - Stendhal, French writer (d. 1842)
- 1786 - Auguste de Montferrand, French architect (d. 1858)
- 1832 - Edouard Manet, French impressionist artist (d. 1883)
- 1840 - Ernst Abbe, German physicist (d. 1905)
- 1857 - Andrija Mohorovičić, Croatian seismologist (d. 1936)
- 1862 - David Hilbert, mathematician (d. 1943)
- 1872 - Goce Delchev, Bulgarian revolutionary (d. 1903)
- 1872 - Joze Plečnik, architect (d. 1957)
- 1878 - Oton Župančič , Slovenian poet (d. 1949)
- 1884 - Ralph DePalma, race car driver (d. 1956)
- 1897 - Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, architect (d. 2000)
- 1897 - Subhas Chandra Bose
- 1898 - Sergei Eisenstein, Russian film director (d. 1948)
- 1898 - Randolph Scott, American actor (d. 1987)
- 1903 - Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, Colombian politician (d. 1948)
- 1907 - Dan Duryea, actor (d. 1968)
- 1907 - Hideki Yukawa, physicist (d. 1981)
- 1910 - Django Reinhardt, guitarist (d. 1953)
- 1915 - Potter Stewart, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (d. 1985)
- 1919 - Hans Hass, zoologist and underwater scientist
- 1919 - Ernie Kovacs, American comedian (d. 1962)
- 1920 - Ray Abrams , tenor saxophonist
- 1920 - Gottfried Böhm , architect
- 1923 - Walter M. Miller Jr., science fiction writer (d. 1996)
- 1930 - Derek Walcott, author
- 1933 - Chita Rivera, actress, dancer
- 1936 - Jerry Kramer, American football star
- 1939 - Arlene Golonka , American actress
- 1943 - Gil Gerard, actor
- 1944 - Rutger Hauer, actor
- 1947 - Megawati Sukarnoputri, President of Indonesia
- 1948 - Anita Pointer, American singer
- 1963 - Gail O'Grady , actress
- 1964 - Mariska Hargitay, actress
- 1967 - Naim Suleymanoglu, Bulgaria-born Turkish weightlifter
- 1974 - Tiffani Thiessen, actress
- 1002 - Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor (b. 980)
- 1199 - Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur (B. 1160)
- 1570 - James Stewart, Earl of Moray, Regent of Scotland (b. ca. 1531)
- 1789 - John Cleland, novelist (b. 1709)
- 1800 - Edward Rutledge, U.S. statesman (b. 1749)
- 1805 - Claude Chappe, telecommunications pioneer (semaphores) (b. 1763)
- 1837 - John Field, composer (b. 1782)
- 1875 - Charles Kingsley English writer (b. 1819)
- 1893 - Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, the only United States Supreme Court justice from Mississippi (b. 1825)
- 1923 - Max Nordau, author, philosopher and Zionist leader (b. 1849)
- 1931 - Anna Pavlova, ballerina (b. 1881)
- 1937 - Marie Prevost, actress (b. 1898)
- 1943 - Alexander Woollcott, actor, author, bon vivant (b. 1887)
- 1944 - Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter (b. 1863)
- 1973 - Kid Ory, Jazz trombonist (b. 1886)
- 1976 - Paul Robeson, actor, singer, social activist (b. 1898)
- 1978 - Jack Oakie, actor (b. 1903)
- 1978 - Terry Kath, musician ("Chicago") (b. 1946)
- 1981 - Samuel Barber, American composer (b. 1910)
- 1983 - Fred Bakewell, exciting and unorthodox Northamptonshire and England batsman (b. 1908)
- 1989 - Salvador Dalí, artist (b. 1904)
- 1990 - Allen Collins, American musician
- 1991 - Northrop Frye, literary critic (b. 1912)
- 1992 - Freddie Bartholomew, actor (b. 1924)
- 1993 - Thomas Dorsey, gospel music singer (b. 1899)
- 1994 - Brian Redhead, journalist and broadcaster (b. 1929)
- 1994 - Nikolai Ogarkov , Russian marshal
- 1997 - Richard Berry, American composer, musician
- 1999 - Prince Lincoln Thompson, 49, reggae musician and rasta
- 2001 - Francisco "Curro" Rivera , Mexican bullfighter
- 2002 - Pierre Bourdieu, French sociologist (b. 1930)
- 2002 - Robert Nozick, philosopher (b. 1938)
- 2003 - Nell Carter, singer, actress (b. 1948)
- 2004 - Bob Keeshan, actor ("Captain Kangaroo") (b. 1927)
- 2004 - Helmut Newton, photographer (b. 1920)
- 2005 - Johnny Carson, television personality (b. 1925)
- 2005 - Morys George Lyndhurst Bruce, 4th Baron Aberdare, former Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords, Minister of State (b. 1921)
- 2005 - Douglas Knight, former president of Lawrence University and Duke University
- 2005 - Charles Martin , American football player
- 2005 - Mutsuko Sakura (桜むつ子), Japanese actress
Holidays and observances
January 22 - January 24 - December 23 - February 23 -- listing of all days