Today in 1622, the Papal Chancery adopted January 1st as the beginning of the New Year (instead of March 25th).
Today in 1772, the first traveler's checks were issued in London.
Today in 1797, Albany became the capital of New York state, replacing New York City.
Today in 1801, the Act of Union of England, Scotland and Ireland came into force – and was officially known as the United Kingdom.
Today in 1801, Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi became the first person to discover an asteroid. He named it Ceres.
Today in 1808, the prohibition against the importation of slaves from Africa into the United States went into effect.
Today in 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that all slaves in the rebel states were free.
Today in 1892, Ellis Island Immigrant Station formally opened in New York.
Today in 1898, Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island were consolidated into New York City.
Today in 1900, Hawaii asked for a delegate to the Republican national convention. It was the first serious move toward official statehood.
Today in 1901, the Commonwealth of Australia was founded. Lord Hopetoun officially assumed the duties as the first Governor-General.
Today in 1913, the post office began parcel post deliveries.
Today in 1934, Alcatraz Island officially became a Federal Prison. It remained in operation until March 1963.
Today in 1942, American President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issued the “United Nations” declaration. It was signed by 26 countries that vowed to create an international postwar World War II peacekeeping organization.
Today in 1971, tobacco ads representing $20-million dollars in advertising were officially banned from TV and radio broadcast. It went into effect the following day.
Today in 1975, the magazine "Popular Electronics" announced the invention of the personal computer, Altair. It was developed by MITS, using an Intel microprocessor.
Today in 1984, AT&T was broken up into 22 Bell System companies under terms of an antitrust agreement with the U.S. Federal government.
Today in 1987, a pro-democracy rally took place in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
Today in 1990, David Dinkins was sworn in as New York City's first black mayor.
Today in 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. While President Trump has said the United States isn’t participating any longer – it’s really not up to him – Congress has to approve it. Similarly, while President Trump has entered into what he calls the replacement USMCA agreement, that must also be approved by Congress before it actually becomes law.
Today in 1995, the World Trade Organization officially came into existence. The group of 125 nations monitors global trade.
Today in 1998, a new anti-smoking law went into effect in California. The law prohibited people from lighting up in bars – and went largely ignored for some time.
Today in 1999, the California law defining "invasion of privacy as trespassing with the intent to capture audio or video images of a celebrity or crime victim engaging in a personal of family activity" went into effect. Signed by Governor Pete Wilson, it was the state’s first serious move against aggressive paparazzi.
Today in 2008, a New Hampshire law legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples went into effect.
Today in 2016, the Dubai skyscraper "The Address" burned as the New Year is rung in – the blaze started on the 31st.
Today in 2018, California became the largest state to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
Today in 2018, an initiative of 300 Hollywood women announced their “Times Up” campaign to combat sexual harassment.
Today in 6000, we’ll have the first reversible date since 11/11/1999.