Today in History - Jan. 26

Today in History for Jan. 26:

On this date:

In 1500, the mouth of the Amazon River in South America was discovered by Vicente Yanez Pinzon, a veteran of Christopher Columbus' first voyage to the New World.

In 1564, the Vatican-appointed, counter-reformation Council of Trent, meeting in northern Italy, issued the "Tridentinum," which established a distinction between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

In 1776, the U.S. Congress ratified the appointment of Eustache Chartier de Lothbiniere, a Canadian priest, as the first chaplain of the U.S. Army.

In 1784, in a letter to his daughter, Benjamin Franklin expressed unhappiness over the choice of the eagle as the symbol of America, and expressed his own preference -- the turkey.

In 1788, the first European settlers in Australia, led by Capt. Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney.

In 1837, Michigan became the 26th U.S. state.

In 1841, Britain formally occupied Hong Kong, which the Chinese had ceded to the British. The territory was returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

In 1891, famed Montreal heart surgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield was born in Spokane, Wash.

In 1892, New York's Metropolitan Opera Company appeared for the first time in Canada, performing excerpts from Rossini's "Semiramide."

In 1905, the world's largest uncut diamond was found in Transvaal, South Africa. The 3,100-carat Cullinan diamond weighed 680 grams (24 ounces).

In 1917, what was then the biggest electric steel plant in the world opened in Toronto.

In 1924, the Canadian Red Ensign was given official recognition. It remained Canada's official flag until the Maple Leaf was adopted in 1965.

In 1925, Academy Award-winning actor Paul Newman was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio. The blue-eyed leading man starred in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Cool Hand Luke," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," and "The Color of Money." He died on Sept. 26, 2008 after a battle with cancer.

In 1934, Germany and Poland signed a 10-year non-aggression pact.

In 1943, the Second World War allies meeting in Casablanca, Morocco, agreed to settle for nothing less than the "unconditional surrender" of the Axis powers.

In 1950, India became a sovereign democratic republic -- the first within the Commonwealth.

In 1961, Hockey Hall-of-Famer Wayne Gretzky was born. He held or shared 61 NHL records in his career.

In 1962, the United States launched "Ranger 3" to land scientific instruments on the moon -- but the probe missed its target by more than 35,000 kilometres.

In 1976, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau became the first Canadian leader to pay an official visit to Cuba. Trudeau and President Fidel Castro developed a close personal relationship and remained friends for years.

In 1980, Prime Minister Joe Clark said Canada would boycott the Summer Olympics in Moscow if Soviet troops were not out of Afghanistan by Feb. 20. Canada skipped the Games.

In 1984, the federal government announced a land claims settlement with Yukon natives worth $620 million. The deal also gave them title to 20,000 square kilometres.

In 1990, a royal commission report exonerated Nova Scotia native Donald Marshall -- nearly 19 years after he was falsely convicted of the 1971 Sydney murder of Sandy Seale. The report said Nova Scotia's justice system was riddled with racism, ineptitude and unfairness. It added Marshall was victimized, at least in part, because he was a Mi'Kmaq. Marshall was later compensated with a lifetime pension worth $1.5 million. He returned to the headlines in 1999, when a legal challenge he launched produced a landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling on native fishing rights. Marshall died in August 2009. 

In 1993, former governor-general Jeanne Sauve died in a Montreal hospital at the age of 70. Not only was she Canada's first female governor general, she was also the first female Speaker of the Commons and the first French-Canadian woman to serve in the federal cabinet.

In 1999, warning that the devil is alive, the Vatican issued its first updated ritual for exorcism since 1614.

In 2001, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the law criminalizing the possession of child pornography.

In 2006, Hudson's Bay, Canada's oldest company, accepted a friendly $1.5 billion takeover offer from U.S.-based Maple Leaf Heritage Investments, headed by Jerry Zucker.

In 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an official apology and $11.5-million in compensation, including $1-million in legal fees, for Maher Arar for his deportation and torture in Syria. Arar was detained by U.S. authorities in New York in 2002 and deported to Syria on the basis of unsubstantiated RCMP suspicions.

In 2009, Caterpillar Inc, the world’s largest maker of bulldozers and excavators, announced 20,000 job cuts. Home Depot (U.S.), Sprint, Pfizer, Texas Instruments and General Motors also announced mass layoffs.

In 2009, Nadya Suleman gave birth to eight babies, the world’s second live-born set of octuplets. The unemployed, single mother was dubbed Octo-Mom.

In 2010, Saab got a new life as General Motors Co. agreed to sell the Swedish car brand to the small Dutch luxury car maker Spyker Cars NV.

In 2010, the trial of five former Norbourg employees charged with a total of 700 fraud-related counts ended dramatically in Montreal, when the jurors cold not reach a unanimous verdict.

In 2010, Toyota recalled and suspended the sales of eight of its most popular vehicles in the U.S. and Canada to fix faulty gas pedals.

In 2011, more than 460,000 people across B.C. participated in the first province-wide simultaneous earthquake drill.

In 2013, former education minister Kathleen Wynne was elected as the Ontario Liberal party's new leader and was formally sworn in as the province's first female and openly gay premier on Feb. 11. (She led the scandal-plagued Liberals to a surprising majority victory in the 2014 provincial election.)

In 2013, a Cairo judge sentenced 21 defendants to death for their roles in a soccer riot in Port Said's main stadium on Feb. 1, 2012, that left 74 dead. The verdict sparked violence in Port Said where 44 people died over the next few days.

In 2015, the 500-year-old Church of England consecrated its first female bishop. The Reverend Libby Lane became the eighth Bishop of Stockport in a service at York Minster.

In 2018, a Moncton judge ordered the RCMP to pay $550,000 for failing to properly arm and train its members in a shooting rampage four years earlier that left three New Brunswick Mounties dead and two injured.

In 2019, John McCallum resigned as ambassador to China at the request of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The move came after the former ambassador was quoted as saying it would be "great for Canada'' if the United States dropped an extradition request against a Huawei executive detained in Vancouver. That comment came on the heels of his discussion about Meng Wanzhou's case with a group of Chinese-language journalists in Toronto, listing several arguments he thought could help her with her fight against extradition.

In 2019, Naomi Osaka won the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title, recovering to beat Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 after wasting three championship points. Osaka, the U.S. Open champ, became the first Japanese to be ranked No. 1.

In 2020, Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant died along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others when their helicopter went down in Calabasas, Calif., due to bad weather. The NBA legend was 41 years old.

In 2020, the U.S. consulate in Wuhan, China, was evacuated as an outbreak of the novel coronavirus continued to spread throughout China. France said it had also considered closing down its consulate and that it was working on arranging a bus service to help French citizens leave Wuhan.


(The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

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