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What Happened on January 15?

  • Elizabeth I was crowned Queen of England. (1559) Elizabeth, the daughter of controversial monarch Henry VIII, went on to become one of the most powerful and influential monarchs in British History. Known as the "Virgin Queen," Elizabeth encouraged Protestantism in England, funded exploratory expeditions to America, and reigned over the English Renaissance.

  • A massive flood of molasses paralyzed Boston. (1919) A huge tank containing over 2.5 million gallons (about 9 million liters) of molasses exploded and killed more than 20 people. Eight foot (2.5 meter) tall waves of molasses swept the city, destroying cars and injuring thousands.

  • President Nixon suspended American fighting in North Vietnam. (1973) Americans had been involved in Vietnam for over ten years, and the war had become intensely unpopular. After 11 days of intensive bombing, the North Vietnamese agreed to peace talks, and a settlement was finally reached.

  • The donkey mascot was first used to represent the Democrat party. (1870) Political cartoonist Thomas Nast used the donkey to represent the Democrats in a drawing in Harper's Weekly. Four years later, Nast gave the Republicans their own symbol of the elephant, which has endured ever since.

  • Ilse Koch, the "Witch of Buchenwald," was sentenced to prison. (1951) Koch was the wife of the commandant of Buchenwald concentration camp. Known for her extreme sadism, Mrs. Koch often whipped and tortured prisoners, and collected lampshades of their skin. Tried and sentenced to death, Ilse Koch committed suicide before her execution could be carried out.

  • The first Superbowl was played. (1967) The Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. The sporting event would go on to become one of the most watched television broadcasts on American TV, and became beloved as much for its commercials as for the game.

  • The Coca-Cola Company was incorporated. (1889) Then known as the Pemberton Medicine Company, Coca-Cola was first incorporated in Atlanta, which continued to serve as the company's headquarters as it grew. At the time it was incorporated, the company sold Pemberton's Indian Queen Hair Dye, Pemberton's Globe Flower Cough Syrup, and Pemberton's French Wine Cola — the predecessor to Coca-Cola.

  • The Pentagon was dedicated. (1943) The seat of American military operations, the Pentagon was also the largest office building in the world at the time it was dedicated.

  • Wikipedia went online. (2001) The site started the trend of "wiki" interactive sites, and went on to become a go-to source for basic information, despite concerns about its reliability.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. was born. (1929) King was a major player in the Civil Rights Movement, and many of his speeches are still remembered and studied both as examples of great oration and for their historical value. His assassination in 1968 shocked the nation.

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