Today in History – Friday, Jan. 1, 2016

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Today is Friday, Jan. 1, the 1st day of 2016. There are 364 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

22 – Papacy adopts Jan. 1 as beginning of new year instead of March 25.

1801 – Act of Union of Britain and Ireland tales effect.

1803 – Denmark bans import of slaves to the Danish West Indies, becoming the first country to ban slavery.

1804 – Haiti declares itself independent from France, becoming the world’s first black republic.

1808 – U.S. Congress officially prohibits African slave trade.

1833 – British proclaim sovereignty over Falkland Islands.

1851 – The leader of the Taiping rebellion in China, Hung Hsiu-ch’uan, proclaims himself emperor.

Today in History

1863 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation declaring most slaves free.

1877 – Britain’s Queen Victoria is proclaimed Empress of India.

1892 – Ellis Island Immigrant Station in New York formally opens.

1901 – Commonwealth of Australia is proclaimed.

1935 – The colonies of Cyrenaica, Tripoli and Eezaan unite to form the nation of Libya.

1942 – Leaders of the U.S., U.K., U.S.S.R. and China sign the U. N. Declaration.

1949 – A U.N.-brokered cease-fire goes into effect between Pakistani and Indian troops fighting over the Kashmir region.

1951 – North Korean and Communist Chinese troops break through U.N. lines at 38th parallel.

1956 – Sudan is proclaimed an independent democratic republic.

1958 – European Common Market and Euratom agreements go into effect.

1959 – Fidel Castro leads Cuban revolutionaries to victory as dictator Fulgencio Batista flees to Dominican Republic.

1962 – Western Samoa becomes first sovereign independent Polynesian state.

1965 – The Palestine Liberation Organization is formed.

1979 – The United States and China hold celebrations in Washington and Beijing to mark the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

1984 – Brunei becomes fully independent from Britain.

1986 – Portugal is formally admitted to the European Community.

1990 – Prices of staple goods double and quadruple in Poland as government enacts radical plan to move from centrally planned to market economy; David Dinkins is sworn in as New York City’s first black mayor.

1991 – Four Nicaraguan Sandinista army officers and 11 Salvadorans are arrested for selling Soviet-made anti-aircraft missiles to Salvadoran rebels.

1993 – Czechoslovakia peacefully splits into the independent Czech Republic and Slovakia.

1995 – Austria, Finland and Sweden join European Union, expanding it to 15 members.

1997 – Turkish troops cross into northern Iraq and kill at least 72 Kurdish rebels after the guerrillas attack a military outpost in Turkey.

1999 – Eleven nations in the European Union adopt the euro as their common currency.

2000 – An anxious world holds its breath as computers silently switch to 2000, but the dreaded Y2K bug’s first bite is barely felt.

2003 – Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of the Workers Party is inaugurated as Brazil’s first working-class president and the first elected president from a leftist party.

2007 – Ban Ki-moon, a 62-year-old South Korean career diplomat, becomes the United Nations’ eighth secretary-general.

2008 – France’s smoking ban in bars, restaurants, nightclubs and cafes goes into effect.

2009 – Slovakia becomes 16th country to adopt the euro.

2011 – Christians clash with Egyptian police in the northern city of Alexandria, furious over an apparent suicide bombing against worshippers leaving a New Year’s Mass at a church that killed at least 21 people.

2014 — The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic dies in an explosion that occurred when he opened an old safe that had been left untouched for more than 20 years.

2015 — President Dilma Rousseff is sworn into her second term of office, confronting an expanding kickback scandal at Brazil’s state-run oil company and a moribund economy.

Today’s Birthdays:

Paul Revere, U.S. patriot (1735-1818); James George Frazer, British anthropologist (1854-1941); Kim Philby, British intelligence officer, Soviet spy (1912-1988); J. D. Salinger, U.S. author (1919-2010); Grandmaster Flash, U.S. rapper (1958–).

Thought for Today:

Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols — Thomas Mann, German author (1875-1955).