1142 - Execution, believed wrongful, of noted Song Dynasty General Yue Fei.
1186 - Henry VI, the son and heir of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, marries Constance of Sicily.
1343 - Pope Clement VI issues the Bull Unigenitus.
1593 - Vatican opens seven year trial of scholar Giordano Bruno.
1606 - Gunpowder Plot: The trial of Guy Fawkes and other conspirators begins, ending with their execution on January 31.
1695 - Mustafa II becomes the Ottoman sultan in Istanbul on the death of Ahmed II. Mustafa rules until his abdication in 1703.
1785 - The University of Georgia is founded, the first public university in the United States.
1825 - The U.S. Congress approves Indian Territory (in what is present-day Oklahoma), clearing the way for forced relocation of the Eastern Indians on the "Trail of Tears".
1870 - The first women's fraternity, Kappa Alpha Theta, is formed at DePauw University.
1888 - The National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C..
1909 - The Young Left is founded in Norway.
1918 - The first hostilities occur in the Finnish Civil War.
1939 - First flight of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.
1944 - World War II: The 900-day Siege of Leningrad is lifted.
1945 - World War II: The Red Army liberates the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland.
1951 - Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site begins with a one-kiloton bomb dropped on Frenchman Flat.
1967 - Apollo program: Apollo 1 – Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a fire during a test of the spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center.
1967 - More than sixty nations sign the Outer Space Treaty banning nuclear weapons in space.
1967 - The Doors self titled debut album is released.
1973 - Paris Peace Accords officially end the Vietnam War. Colonel William Nolde is killed in action becoming the conflict's last recorded American combat casualty.
1974 - The Brisbane River floods causing the largest flood to affect Brisbane City in the 20th Century
1983 - Pilot shaft of the Seikan Tunnel, the world's longest sub-aqueous tunnel (53.85;km) between the Japanese islands of Honshū and Hokkaidō, breaks through.
1996 - Colonel Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara deposes the first democratically elected president of Niger, Mahamane Ousmane, in a military coup.
1996 - Germany first observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
2006 - Western Union discontinues its Telegram and Commercial Messaging services.