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This Day in History: January 16


1780 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Cape St. Vincent.

1786 – Virginia enacted the Statute for Religious Freedom authored by Thomas Jefferson.

1847 – John C. Frémont is appointed Governor of the new California Territory.

1883 – The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, establishing the United States Civil Service, is passed.

1900 – The United States Senate accepts the Anglo-German treaty of 1899 in which the United Kingdom renounces its claims to the Samoan islands.

1919 – Temperance movement: The United States ratifies the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, authorizing Prohibition in the United States one year after ratification.

1920 – Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated was founded on the campus of Howard University.

1938 – Benny Goodman, and his band, performed in concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City

1942 – Crash of TWA Flight 3, killing all 22 aboard, including film star Carole Lombard.

1945 – Adolf Hitler moves into his underground bunker, the so-called Führerbunker.

1964 – Hello, Dolly! starring Carol Channing opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 2,844 performances.

1970 – Buckminster Fuller receives the Gold Medal award from the American Institute of Architects.

1979 – The last Iranian Shah flees Iran with his family for good and relocates to Egypt.

2001 – US President Bill Clinton awards former President Theodore Roosevelt a posthumous Medal of Honor for his service in the Spanish–American War.

2002 – The UN Security Council unanimously establishes an arms embargo and the freezing of assets of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the remaining members of the Taliban.

2003 – The Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107 which would be its final one. Columbia disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry.


1807 – Charles Henry Davis, American admiral (d. 1877)

1815 – Henry Halleck, American lawyer, general, and scholar (d. 1872)

1821 – John C. Breckinridge, American general and politician, 14th Vice President of the United States (d. 1875)

1882 – Margaret Wilson, American author (d. 1973)

1901 – Frank Zamboni, American businessman, founded the Zamboni Company (d. 1988)

1932 – Dian Fossey, American zoologist and anthropologist (d. 1985)

1933 – Susan Sontag, American author and playwright (d. 2004)

1934 – Marilyn Horne, American soprano and actress

1935 – A. J. Foyt, American race car driver

1948 – John Carpenter, American director, producer, screenwriter, and composer

1949 – Anne F. Beiler, American businesswoman, founded Auntie Anne's

1950 – Debbie Allen, American actress, dancer, and choreographer

1962 – John T. Riedl, American computer scientist and academic (d. 2013)

1979 – Aaliyah, American singer, dancer, and actress (d. 2001)


1856 – Thaddeus William Harris, American entomologist and botanist (b. 1795)

1901 – Hiram Rhodes Revels, American solder, minister, and politician (b. 1822)

1906 – Marshall Field, American businessman and philanthropist, founded Marshall Field's (b. 1834)

1917 – George Dewey, American admiral (b. 1837)

1935 – Fred Barker, American criminal (b. 1901)

1935 – Ma Barker, American criminal (b. 1871)

1942 – Carole Lombard, American actress and singer (b. 1908)

1972 – Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., American singer-songwriter, pianist, producer, and actor, created Alvin and the Chipmunks (b. 1919)

2000 – Will "Dub" Jones, American singer (The Coasters and The Cadets) (b. 1928)

2014 – Russell Johnson, American actor (b. 1924)

2017 - Eugene Cernan, American Astronaut (b. 1934)