January 3 is the 3rd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 362 days remaining (363 in leap years).
- 1496 - Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tests a flying machine
- 1521 - Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther.
- 1749 - Benning Wentworth issued the first of the New Hampshire Grants, leading to the establishment of Vermont.
- 1777 - Battle of Princeton. American general George Washington defeats British general Charles Cornwallis.
- 1815 - Austria, Britain, and France form a secret defensive alliance treaty against Prussia and Russia.
- 1823 - Stephen F. Austin receives a grant of land in Texas from the government of Mexico
- 1833 - Britain seizes control of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.
- 1834 - The government of Mexico imprisons Stephen F. Austin in Mexico City
- 1840 - One of the Herald Sun of Melbourne, Australia's predecessor papers The Port Phillip Herald is founded by George Cavanaugh.
- 1861 - American Civil War: Delaware votes not to secede from the United States
- 1868 - The Japanese Meiji dynasty is restored and the Shogunate is abolished.
- 1888 - The 91 cm refracting telescope at Lick Observatory is used for the first time. It was the largest telescope in the world at the time.
- 1899 - The first known use of the word automobile, in an editorial in the New York Times.
- 1920 - Curse of the Bambino: The Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for a sum of $125,000 and a loan of more than $300,000.
- 1925 - Benito Mussolini announces he is taking dictatorial powers over Italy.
- 1926 - General Theodorus Pángulos names himself dictator of Greece.
- 1938 - The March of Dimes is established by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
- 1947 - Proceedings of the U.S. Congress are televised for the first time.
- 1951 - Dragnet airs on television for the first time (NBC).
- 1957 - Hamilton Watch Company introduces the first electric watch.
- 1958 - West Indies Federation formed.
- 1959 - Alaska is admitted as the 49th U.S. state.
- 1961 - The United States severs diplomatic relations with Cuba.
- 1961 - The SL-1, a government-run reactor near Idaho Falls, Idaho leaks radiation, killing three workers at the installation. The radiation is contained.
- 1962 - Pope John XXIII excommunicates Fidel Castro.
- 1966 - First Acid Test at the Fillmore, San Francisco, California.
- 1973 - Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) sells the New York Yankees for $10 million to a 12-person syndicate led by George Steinbrenner.
- 1987 - Aretha Franklin becomes the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- 1990 - Former leader of Panama Manuel Noriega surrenders to American forces.
- 1993 - In Moscow, George H. W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin sign the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
- 1994 - An Aeroflot Tupolev TU-154 crashes and explodes after takeoff from Irkhutsk, Russia killing 125 including 1 on the ground
- 1997 - NBC's Today show Bryant Gumbel signs off for the last time.
- 2000 - The last Peanuts comic strip was created by Charles Schulz.
- 2004 - Flight 604, a Boeing 737 owned by Flash Airlines, an Egyptian airliner, plunges into the Red Sea, killing all 148 aboard.
- 106 BC - Cicero, Roman statesman and philosopher (d. 43 BC)
- 1793 - Lucretia Mott, American women's rights activist and abolitionist (d. 1880)
- 1803 - Douglas William Jerrold, British dramatic playwright and political satirist (d. 1857)
- 1829 - Konrad Duden , philologist (d. 1911)
- 1840 - Father Damien, Belgian missionary priest in Hawai'i (d. 1889)
- 1855 - Hubert Bland, English socialist and co-founder of Fabian Society (d. 1914)
- 1879 - Grace Coolidge, First Lady of the United States (d. 1957)
- 1883 - Clement Attlee, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1967)
- 1887 - August Macke, German painter (d. 1914)
- 1892 - J. R. R. Tolkien, South African-born writer and philologist (d. 1973)
- 1894 - Pola Negri, Polish actress (d. 1987)
- 1897 - Marion Davies, American actress (d. 1961)
- 1901 - Ngo Dinh Diem, President of South Vietnam (d. 1963)
- 1905 - Anna May Wong, Chinese-American actress (d. 1961)
- 1907 - Ray Milland, Welsh actor (d. 1986)
- 1909 - Victor Borge, Danish entertainer and humorist (d. 2000)
- 1911 - John Sturges, American director (d. 1982)
- 1916 - Betty Furness, American actress and consumer activist (d. 1994)
- 1920 - Renato Carosone, Italian musician and singer (d. 2001)
- 1924 - Hank Stram, American football coach and broadcaster
- 1924 - Nell Rankin, American soprano (d. 2005)
- 1926 - George Martin, "5th Beatle": producer of The Beatles' records
- 1929 - Sergio Leone, Italian director (d. 1989)
- 1930 - Robert Loggia, American actor
- 1932 - Dabney Coleman, American actor
- 1936 - Georgina Spelvin, pornographic film actress
- 1939 - Bobby Hull, Canadian ice hockey player
- 1941 - Van Dyke Parks, American musician, composer
- 1942 - John Thaw, British actor (d. 2002)
- 1945 - Stephen Stills, American singer, songwriter, and guitarist
- 1946 - Victoria Principal, American actress
- 1946 - John Paul Jones, English bassist from Led Zeppelin
- 1956 - Mel Gibson, Australian actor and director
- 1957 - Bojan Križaj, Slovenian alpine skier
- 1960 - Joan Chen, Chinese actress
- 1966 - Chetan Sharma , Indian cricketer
- 1968 - Shannon Sturges , American actress
- 1969 - Michael Schumacher, German Formula One driver
- 1975 - Danica McKellar, American actress
- 1975 - Jason Marsden, American actor
- 1976 - Nicholas Gonzalez, American actor
- 1977 - Alan Rogers , English footballer
- 1981 - Polly Klaas, young victim of crime (d. 1993)
- 1981 - Eli Manning, American football player
- 1989 - Alex D. Linz, American actor
- 1322 - Philip V, king of France (b. 1293)
- 1543 - Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, first European to visit California (b. 1499)
- 1641 - Jeremiah Horrocks, English astronomer (b. ca. 1619)
- 1785 - Baldassare Galuppi, Italian composer (b. 1706)
- 1795 - Josiah Wedgwood, English potter (b. 1730)
- 1875 - Pierre Larousse, French editor and encyclopedist (b. 1817)
- 1881 - Anna McNeill Whistler, Whistler's mother (b. 1804)
- 1923 - Jaroslav Hasek, Czech novelist (b. 1883)
- 1933 - Jack Pickford, Canadian actor, Hollywood's first "bad boy" (b. 1896)
- 1945 - Edgar Cayce, American psychic (b. 1877)
- 1946 - William Joyce, American Nazi propagandist (executed) (b. 1906)
- 1950 - Emil Jannings, Swiss actor (b. 1884)
- 1967 - Jack Ruby, convicted killer of Lee Harvey Oswald (b. 1911)
- 1979 - Conrad Hilton, American hotelier (b. 1887)
- 1980 - Joy Adamson, Czech conservationist and author (b. 1910)
- 1981 - Her Royal Highness Princess Alice of Albany, the last grandchild of Queen Victoria (b. 1883)
- 1992 - Dame Judith Anderson, Australian actress (b. 1897)
- 2001 - José Greco, flamenco dancer (b. 1918)
- 2002 - Freddy Heineken, Dutch CEO of the beer brewery (b. 1923)
- 2003 - Sid Gillman, American football coach (b. 1911)
- 2004 - Leon Wagner, MLB All-Star (b. 1934)
Holidays and observances
January 2 - January 4 - December 3 - February 3 - listing of all days
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