January 26 is the 26th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 339 days remaining (340 in leap years).
- 1340 - King Edward III of England is declared King of France.
- 1500 - Vicente Yáñez Pinzón becomes the first European to discover Brazil.
- 1531 - Lisbon, Portugal is hit by an earthquake--thousands die.
- 1699 - Treaty of Carlowitz signed.
- 1700 - The magnitude 9 Cascadia Earthquake took place off the coast of the American Northwest, as evidenced by Japanese records.
- 1736 - Stanislaus I of Poland abdicates his throne.
- 1785 - Benjamin Franklin writes a letter to his daughter expressing disappointment over the selection of the eagle as the symbol of the United States; he wanted the turkey.
- 1788 - The British First Fleet, led by Arthur Phillip, sail into Sydney Harbour to establish the first permanent European settlement on the continent. Celebrated as Australia Day.
- 1802 - The U.S. Congress passes an act calling for a library to be established within the U.S. Capitol; eventually this becomes the Library of Congress.
- 1808 - Rum Rebellion, the only successful (but temporary) armed takeover of the government in Australia.
- 1837 - Michigan is admitted as the 26th U.S. state.
- 1838 - Tennessee enacts the first prohibition law in the United States
- 1841 - The United Kingdom formally occupies Hong Kong, which China had ceded .
- 1863 - American Civil War: General Ambrose Burnside is relieved of command of the Army of the Potomac after the disastrous Fredericksburg campaign. He is replaced by Joseph Hooker.
- 1863 - American Civil War: Massachusetts Governor receives permission from Secretary of War to raise a militia organization for men of African descent.
- 1870 - American Civil War: Virginia rejoins the Union.
- 1885 - Troops loyal to the Mahdi conquer Khartoum.
- 1887 - Battle of Dogali : Abyssinian troops defeat Italians.
- 1905 - The Cullinan Diamond is found near Pretoria, South Africa at the Premier Mine .
- 1911 - Glenn H. Curtiss flies the first successful seaplane.
- 1934 - The Apollo Theater opens in Harlem, New York City.
- 1939 - Spanish Civil War: Troops loyal to Francisco Franco and aided by Italy take Barcelona.
- 1942 - World War II: The first American forces arrive in Europe landing in Northern Ireland.
- 1946 - Félix Gouin becomes Prime Minister of France.
- 1950 - India promulgates its constitution forming a republic and Rajendra Prasad is sworn in as its first president.
- 1956 - 1956 Winter Olympic Games open in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.
- 1961 - John F. Kennedy appoints Janet G. Travell to be his physician. This is the first time a woman holds this appointment.
- 1962 - Ranger 3 is launched to study the moon. The space probe later missed the moon by 22,000 miles (35,400 km).
- 1965 - Hindi becomes the official language of India.
- 1970 - Folk rock duo Simon and Garfunkel release classic album Bridge Over Troubled Water.
- 1980 - Israel and Egypt establish diplomatic relations.
- 1983 - Lotus 1-2-3 is released.
- 1986 - Super Bowl XX: The Chicago Bears defeat the New England Patriots, 46-10.
- 1992 - Boris Yeltsin announces that Russia is going to stop targeting United States cities with nuclear weapons.
- 1992 - Super Bowl XXVI: The Washington Redskins defeat the Buffalo Bills, 37-24.
- 1993 - Václav Havel elected President of the Czech Republic.
- 1994 - A man fires two blank shots at Charles, Prince of Wales in Sydney, Australia.
- 1996 - Whitewater scandal: Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies before a grand jury.
- 1997 - Super Bowl XXXI: The Green Bay Packers defeat the New England Patriots, 35-21.
- 1998 - Lewinsky scandal: On American television, Bill Clinton denies he had "sexual relations" with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
- 1998 - Compaq buys Digital Equipment Corporation.
- 2001 - A 50-year-old Douglas DC-3 crashes near Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela killing 24.
- 2001 - An earthquake hits Gujarat, India, causing more than 20,000 deaths.
- 2003 - Super Bowl XXXVII: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat the Oakland Raiders, 48-21, earning the Buccaneers their first Vince Lombardi Trophy.
- 2005 - The Glendale train crash occurs, involving three trains; the accident kills 11 and injures 200 in Glendale, California near Los Angeles early in the morning peak hours.
- 2005 - Having been confirmed earlier in the day by a vote of 85-13 in the United States Senate, Condoleezza Rice is sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State, becoming the first African American woman to hold the post.
- 2005 - A helicopter crash in eastern Iraq kills 31 United States soldiers.
- 1763 - Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, Napoleonic general and King Charles XIV of Sweden and Norway (d. 1841)
- 1781 - Achim von Arnim, German poet (d. 1831)
- 1826 - Louis Favre , engineer Gotthard tunnel (d. 1879)
- 1826 - Julia Dent Grant, First Lady of the United States (d. 1902)
- 1831 - Mary Mapes Dodge , writer (d. 1907)
- 1880 - Douglas MacArthur, American general (d. 1964)
- 1891 - Frank Costello, gangster (d. 1973)
- 1892 - Zara Cully, American actress (d. 1978)
- 1900 - Karl Ristenpart, German conductor (d. 1967)
- 1901 - Stuart Symington, American politician (d. 1988)
- 1904 - Ancel Keys, scientist (d. 2004)
- 1905 - Charles Lane, actor
- 1905 - Bernhard Minetti , actor
- 1905 - Maria von Trapp, singer (d. 1987)
- 1908 - Stéphane Grappelli, musician, composer (d. 1997)
- 1913 - William Prince , American actor (d. 1996)
- 1915 - William Hopper, American actor (d. 1970)
- 1913 - Jimmy Van Heusen, songwriter (d. 1990)
- 1918 - Nicolae Ceauşescu, Romanian dictator (d. 1989)
- 1918 - Vito Scotti , American actor (d. 1996)
- 1918 - Philip José Farmer, science fiction writer
- 1921 - Akio Morita, co-founder of Sony (d. 1999)
- 1922 - Michael Bentine, British comedian (d. 1996)
- 1923 - Anne Jeffreys, actress
- 1924 - Annette Strauss, philanthropist, former mayor of Dallas, Texas (d. 1998)
- 1924 - Rauf Denktash, Cypriot politician
- 1925 - Paul Newman, actor
- 1925 - Joan Leslie, American actress
- 1928 - Roger Vadim, French film director and actor (d. 2000)
- 1929 - Jules Feiffer, cartoonist, writer
- 1932 - Clement Seymour "Sir Coxsone" Dodd, Jamaican record producer
- 1935 - Bob Uecker, broadcaster, baseball player, actor
- 1937 - Joseph Saidu Momoh, Sierra Leone political leader (d. 2003)
- 1941 - Henry Jaglom , director
- 1941 - Scott Glenn, actor
- 1943 - Jean Knight, singer
- 1943 - César Gutiérrez, Major League Baseball player (d. 2005)
- 1944 - Angela Davis, feminist and activist
- 1945 - Jacqueline du Pré, English cellist (d. 1987)
- 1946 - Gene Siskel, film critic (d. 1999)
- 1953 - Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark
- 1953 - Lucinda Williams, country singer
- 1955 - Eddie Van Halen, musician
- 1958 - Ellen DeGeneres, actress, comedienne, talk show host
- 1961 - Wayne Gretzky, ice hockey player
- 1963 - Andrew Ridgeley, musician
- 1963 - Jazzie B. , singer
- 1970 - Kirk Franklin, gospel singer
- 1977 - Vince Carter, basketball player
- 1855 - Gérard de Nerval, French writer (b. 1808)
- 1886 - David Rice Atchison, American politician (b. 1807)
- 1942 - Felix Hausdorff, German mathematician (b. 1868)
- 1947 - Grace Moore, singer, died in plane crash (b. 1898)
- 1946 - Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Westrobothnia, second in line to the Swedish throne (b. 1906)
- 1962 - Lucky Luciano, mobster (b. 1897)
- 1968 - Merrill C. Meigs, newspaper publisher, aviation promoter (b. 1883)
- 1968 - Yvor Winters, poet, critic
- 1972 - Mahalia Jackson, gospel music singer (b. 1911)
- 1973 - Edward G. Robinson, actor (b. 1893)
- 1979 - Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York, Vice President of the United States (b. 1908)
- 1983 - Paul 'Bear' Bryant, football coach
- 1885 - British General 'Chinese' Charles George Gordon is killed in Sudan.
- 1990 - Lewis Mumford, historian (b. 1895)
- 1992 - José Ferrer, actor (b. 1912)
- 1993 - Jeanne Sauvé, Governor-General of Canada (b. 1922)
- 1993 - Jan Gies , Dutch resistance leader
- 1996 - Dave Schultz, Olympic wrestler
- 1996 - Harold Brodkey, American author
- 1998 - Shinichi Suzuki, music teacher
- 1997 - Jeane Dixon, astrologer
- 2000 - A. E. van Vogt, science fiction author (b. 1912)
- 2000 - Don Budge, tennis player (b. 1915)
- 2000 - Kathleen Hale, children's author
- 2001 - Al McGuire , basketball coach
- 2003 - Valeriy Brumel, Soviet athlete (b. 1942)
- 2003 - Hugh Trevor-Roper, Baron Dacre of Glanton, British historian
- 2003 - George Younger, 4th Viscount Younger of Leckie, British politician (b. 1931)
- 2004 - Fred Haas, golfer (b. 1915)
- 2004 - Wilhemina Barns-Graham , Scottish artist (b. 1912)
Holidays and observances
January 25 - January 27 - December 26 - February 26 -- listing of all days