On Jan. 7, 1608, an accidental fire devastated the Jamestown settlement in the Virginia Colony.
In 1789, America held its first presidential election as voters chose electors who, a month later, selected George Washington to be the nation’s first chief executive.
In 1927, commercial transatlantic telephone service was inaugurated between New York and London.
In 1953, President Truman announced in his State of the Union message to Congress that the United States had developed a hydrogen bomb.
In 1955, singer Marian Anderson made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera.”
In 1959, the United States recognized the new government of Cuba, six days after Fidel Castro led the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.
In 1963, the U.S. Post Office raised the cost of a first-class stamp from 4 to 5 cents.
In 1979, Vietnamese forces captured the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, overthrowing the Khmer Rouge government.
In 1989, Emperor Hirohito of Japan died in Tokyo at age 87; he was succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Akihito.
In 1999, for the second time in history, an impeached American president went on trial before the Senate. President Bill Clinton faced charges of perjury and obstruction of justice; he was acquitted.
In 2004, President George W. Bush proposed legal status, at least temporarily, for millions of immigrants improperly working in the U.S.
In 2015, masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French newspaper that had caricatured the Prophet Mohammad, methodically killing 12 people, including the editor, before escaping in a car. (Two suspects were killed two days later.)
In 2019, Amazon eclipsed Microsoft as the most valuable publicly traded company in the U.S. For the first time in more than 25 years, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was absent from oral arguments as she recuperated from cancer surgery.