On Jan. 26, 1861, Louisiana passed an Ordinance of Secession, becoming the sixth state to break free from the United States.
In 1911, the Richard Strauss opera “Der Rosenkavalier” (The Cavalier of the Rose) premiered in Dresden, Germany.
In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Rocky Mountain National Park Act, which created America’s 10th national park.
In 1962, the United States launched Ranger 3 to land scientific instruments on the moon. (The probe ended up missing its target by more than 22,000 miles.)
In 1992, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton, appearing with his wife, Hillary, on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” acknowledged “causing pain in my marriage,” but said past problems were not relevant to the campaign.
In 1993, Vaclav Havel (VAHTS’-lahv HAH’-vel) was elected president of the newly formed Czech Republic.
In 1994, a scare occurred during a visit to Sydney, Australia, by Britain’s Prince Charles as college student David Kang lunged at the prince, firing two blank shots from a starter’s pistol. (Kang was later sentenced to 500 hours of community service.)
In 1998, President Bill Clinton forcefully denied having an affair with a former White House intern, telling reporters, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
In 2005, a U.S. Marine helicopter crashed in western Iraq, killing 30 Marines and a Navy medic aboard. A man parked his SUV on railroad tracks in Glendale, California, setting off a crash of two commuter trains that killed 11 people. (The SUV’s driver, Juan Alvarez, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 11 consecutive life terms.)
In 2009, Nadya Suleman gave birth at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center in California to six boys and two girls; criticism came after the public learned that the unemployed, single mother had gotten pregnant with the octuplets and six elder children through in vitro fertilization.
In 2016, the FBI arrested the leaders of an armed group that was occupying a national wildlife refuge in Oregon for more than three weeks during a traffic stop that left one man, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, dead. Character actor Abe Vigoda, 94, died in Woodland Park, New Jersey.
In 2020, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed when their helicopter plunged into a steep hillside in dense morning fog in Southern California; the former Lakers star was 41. Eighteen-year-old singer Billie Eilish made history at the Grammy Awards, becoming the youngest to win one of Grammy’s top awards and the first to sweep all four in nearly 40 years.
Also in 2020, the U.S. consulate in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, said it would evacuate its personnel and some private citizens aboard a charter flight. Five cases of the new coronavirus were now confirmed in the United States, including new cases in California and Arizona; all involved people who had traveled to Wuhan.