On This Day

January 1st

45 B.C. - New Year’s Day was celebrated on January 1 for the first time in history as the Julian calendar took effect.

1600 – Scotland began its numbered year on January 1 instead of March 25 for the first time.

1651 – Charles II was crowned King of Scotland.

1772 – The first traveler's cheques, which could be used in 90 European cities, went on sale in London, England.

1801 – The legislative union of Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland was completed to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1808 – The importation of slaves into the United States was banned.

1833 – The United Kingdom claimed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.

1863 – The first claim under the Homestead Act in America was made by Daniel Freeman for a farm in Nebraska.

1877 – Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom was proclaimed Empress of India.

1898 – New York annexed land from surrounding counties, creating the City of Greater New York. The four initial boroughs, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx, were joined on January 25 by Staten Island to create the modern city of five boroughs.

1901 – The British colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia formed the Commonwealth of Australia; Edmund Barton was appointed the first Prime Minister.

1908 – For the first time, a ball was dropped in New York City's Times Square to signify the start of the New Year at midnight.

1913 – The British Board of Censors was established.

1927 – Turkey adopted the Gregorian calendar: December 18, 1926 (Julian), is immediately followed by January 1, 1927 (Gregorian).

1937 – Safety glass in vehicle windscreens became mandatory in the United Kingdom.

1948 – The British railway network was nationalized to form British Railways.

1956 – Sudan gained independence from Egypt and the United Kingdom.

1958 – The European Economic Community was established.

1959 - The President of Cuba, Fulgencio Batista, fled the country in the face of the rebel army of Fidel Castro.

1960 – Cameroon achieved independence from France and the United Kingdom.

1973 – Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Ireland were admitted into the European Economic Community.

1984 – Brunei became independent of the United Kingdom.

1985 – The first British mobile phone call was made by Michael Harrison to his father Sir Ernest Harrison, chairman of Vodafone.

1998 – The European Central Bank was established.

1999 – The Euro currency was introduced in 11 countries - members of the European Union (with the exception of the United Kingdom, Denmark, Greece and Sweden).

2002 - Twelve of the European Union's 15 countries woke up to a new currency as the euro reached the streets.