January 2 is the 2nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 363 days remaining (364 in leap years).
- 366 - Alamanni cross the frozen Rhine in large numbers, invading Roman Empire.
- 533 - Mercurius became Pope John II, the first pope to adopt a new name upon elevation to the papacy.
- 1492 - Reconquista: Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, surrenders.
- 1757 - The United Kingdom captures Calcutta, India.
- 1788 - Georgia becomes the 4th state to ratify the United States Constitution.
- 1793 - Russia and Prussia partition Poland.
- 1815 - Lord Byron marries Anna Isabella Milbanke, Seaham, County Durham.
- 1818 - British Institution of Civil Engineers formed
- 1859 - Erastus Beadle publishes The Dime Book of Practical Etiquette .
- 1860 - The discovery of the planet Vulcan was announced at a meeting of the Académie des Sciences in Paris.
- 1870 - Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge begins.
- 1871 - Amadeus I becomes King of Spain.
- 1872 - Brigham Young is arrested for bigamy (25 wives).
- 1879 - Fred Spofforth claims the first Hat-trick in test cricket on the Sydney Cricket Ground against England.
- 1882 - John D. Rockefeller unites his oil holdings into the Standard Oil trust.
- 1890 - Alice Sanger becomes the first female staffer for the White House.
- 1893 - Introduction by Webb C. Ball of the General Railroad Timepiece Standards in North America: Railroad chronometers.
- 1900 - John Hay announces the Open Door Policy to promote trade with China.
- 1900 - Chicago Canal opens.
- 1905 - Russo-Japanese War: The Russian fleet surrenders at Port Arthur, China.
- 1917 - The Royal Bank of Canada takes over Quebec Bank .
- 1921 - The first religious radio broadcast (KDKA AM in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) .
- 1921 - DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park San Francisco opens.
- 1923 - U.S. Interior Secretary Albert Fall resigns due to the Teapot Dome scandal.
- 1929 - Canada and the United States agree on a plan to preserve Niagara Falls.
- 1935 - Bruno Hauptmann goes on trial for the murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr., infant son of aviator Charles Lindbergh.
- 1941 - WWII: German bombing severely damaged the Llandaff Cathedral, built in 1290 on the bank of the River Taff in Cardiff, Wales.
- 1942 - World War II: Manila is captured by Japanese forces.
- 1942 - The United States Navy opens a blimp base at Lakehurst, New Jersey.
- 1946 - Unable to resume his rule over Albania after World War II, King Zog abdicated but retained his claim to the throne.
- 1949 - Luis Muñoz Marín became the first democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico.
- 1955 - Panamanian president Jose Antonio Remon is assassinated.
- 1957 - San Francisco and Los Angeles stock exchanges merge.
- 1959 - CBS Radio cuts four soap operas: Backstage Wife Our Gal Sunday , Road of Life, and This is Nora Drake .
- 1967 - Dr. Christiaan Barnard performs the second successful heart transplant.
- 1971 - 66 die in stairway crush at Rangers v Celtic football match, Glasgow, Scotland. See Ibrox disaster.
- 1974 - Richard Nixon signs a bill lowering the maximum US speed limit to 55 MPH in order to conserve gasoline during an OPEC embargo.
- 1979 - Sid Vicious goes on trial for the murder of Nancy Spungen.
- 1981 - Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, is arrested.
- 1983 - The musical Annie is performed for the last time after 2,377 shows at the Uris Theatre on Broadway.
- 1991 - Sharon Pratt Dixon is sworn in as mayor of Washington, DC becoming the first African American woman to lead a city of that size and importance.
- 1992 - Paraguay becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty.
- 1993 - Leaders of the three warring factions in Bosnia meet to discuss peace plans.
- 1998 - Russia begins to circulate new rubles to stem inflation and promote confidence.
- 1999 - A brutal snowstorm smashes into the Midwestern USA, causing 14 inches (359mm) of snow at Milwaukee, Wisconsin and 19 inches (487mm) at Chicago. In Chicago, temperatures plunge to -13°F (-25°C), and 68 deaths are reported.
- 2002 - Levy Mwanawasa took office as the third President of Zambia.
- 2004 - Stardust successfully flew past Comet Wild 2, collecting samples that it will return to Earth two years later.
- 1727 - James Wolfe, British general in French and Indian War (d. 1759)
- 1777 - Christian Daniel Rauch, German sculptor (d. 1857)
- 1816 - Benjamin Hobson , medical missionary to China
- 1822 - Rudolf Clausius, German physicist, contributions to thermodynamics (d. 1888)
- 1836 - Mendele Moykher Sforim, Russian writer (d. 1917)
- 1837 - Mily Balakirev, Russian composer (d. 1910)
- 1859 - Anna Sacher , Austrian hotelier, Sacher cake (d. 1930)
- 1870 - Ernst Barlach, German sculptor, graphic artist, and poet (d. 1938)
- 1877 - Slava Raskaj, Croatian painter (d.1906)
- 1886 - Florence Lawrence, Canadian actress (d. 1938)
- 1896 - Dziga Vertov, Russian filmmaker (d. 1954)
- 1904 - Sally Rand, American fan dancer (d. 1979)
- 1905 - Michael Tippett, English composer (d. 1998)
- 1912 - Renato Guttuso , painter (d. 1987)
- 1913 - Anna Lee, English actress (d. 2004)
- 1917 - Vera Zorina , dancer, actress
- 1920 - Isaac Asimov, Russian-born American science fiction author (d. 1992)
- 1930 - Julius LaRosa , singer
- 1936 - Roger Miller, American country music singer (d. 1992)
- 1938 - Ian Brady, British serial killer
- 1938 - Hans Herbjørnsrud, Norwegian author
- 1939 - Jim Bakker, American televangelist
- 1939 - Konstanze Vernon , dancer
- 1942 - Hugh Shelton, American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- 1944 - Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Cambodian politician
- 1947 - Jack Hanna, American zoologist
- 1949 - Christopher Durang, American playwright
- 1954 - Henry Bonilla, American politician
- 1954 - Dawn Silva, singer (The Brides of Funkenstein, P-Funk)
- 1955 - Tex Brashear, American voice actor
- 1959 - Kirti Azad , Indian cricketer
- 1961 - Gabrielle Carteris, American actress
- 1961 - Todd Haynes, American film director
- 1963 - David Cone, American baseball pitcher
- 1964 - Pernell Whitaker, American boxer
- 1965 - Diane Lane, American actress
- 1967 - Tia Carrere, American actress
- 1968 - Cuba Gooding Jr., American actor
- 1969 - Christy Turlington, American fashion model
- 1969 - Tommy Morrison, American boxer
- 1972 - Taye Diggs, American actor
- 1974 - Tricia Helfer, Canadian actress and model
- 1975 - Doug Robb , American singer (Hoobastank)
- 1976 - Paz Vega, Spanish actress
- 1983 - Kate Bosworth, American actress
- 1893 - John Obadiah Westwood, British entomologist (b. 1805)
- 1904 - James Longstreet, Confederate general (b. 1821)
- 1913 - Léon Teisserenc de Bort, French meteorologist (b. 1855)
- 1917 - Edward Burnett Tylor, English anthropologist (b. 1832)
- 1924 - Sabine Baring-Gould, English composer, novelist (b. 1834)
- 1939 - Roman Dmowski, Polish politician (b. 1864)
- 1963 - Dick Powell, American actor (b. 1904)
- 1963 - Jack Carson , American actor
- 1974 - Tex Ritter, American actor, singer (b. 1905)
- 1977 - Errol Garner, American jazz musician (b. 1921)
- 1986 - Una Merkel, American actress (b. 1903)
- 1986 - Bill Veeck, baseball executive (b. 1914)
- 1990 - Alan Hale Jr., American actor (b. 1918)
- 1995 - Siad Barre, President of Somalia
- 1996 - Karl Targownik, Jewish psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor (b. 1915)
- 2000 - Patrick O'Brian, novelist (b. 1914)
- 2000 - Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., American admiral (b. 1920)
- 2000 - Nat Adderley, American musician and composer (b. 1931)
- 2005 - H. David Dalquist , founder of Nordic Ware , creator of Bundt cake pan, (b. 1918?)
- 2005 - Cyril Fletcher, British comedian (b. 1913)
- 2005 - Frank Kelly Freas, United States science fiction artist (b. 1922)
- 2005 - Ronald 'Bo' Ginn, U.S. Congressman from Georgia (b. 1934)
- 2005 - Maclyn McCarty, American geneticist and DNA research pioneer (b. 1911)
- 2005 - Edo Murtić, Croatian painter (b. 1921)
Holidays and observances
January 1 - January 3 - December 2 - February 2 -- listing of all days
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