What Happened on January 1?

  • New Year's Day was celebrated on January 1 for the first time. (45 BC) The Julian calendar, created by Julius Caesar, came into effect on this day. Before Caesar's calendar, most of the world followed a lunar calendar, which often put the dates out of sequence with the seasons. Though celebrating New Year's on the first fell out of fashion in the Middle Ages, it came back in style with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, and has been celebrated that way ever since.

  • Y2K occurred — and nothing happened. (2000) Many people thought that the changing of the millennium would cause a collapse of all computerized systems, including banks and businesses. Others claimed that the changing of the millennium would be the end of the world. With a few minor exceptions, none of the anticipated crises occurred.

  • The Emancipation Proclamation came into effect. (1863) The act freed more than three million slaves, but contrary to popular belief, it did not free all slaves. The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to slaves in the Deep South, and many people remained enslaved until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.

  • Cigarette advertisements were shown for the last time on US television. (1971) Congress has passed a Public Health Smoking Act the year before that came into effect on January 2, 1971. The last cigarette advertisement shown on TV was for Virginia Slims.

  • The first traveler's check was issued. (1772) The London Credit Exchange Company offered traveler's checks that could be used in 90 European cities.

  • AT&T lost 22 of its companies as part of an anti-trust settlement. (1984) The company had been found to be in violation of anti-trust laws, and had to give up two-thirds of its employees and almost $100 billion US Dollars (USD) in assets.
  • The Euro became the official currency of 11 countries (1999) All the members of NATO began using it, with the exception of the United Kingdom, Denmark, Greece, and Sweden.

  • The Commonwealth of Australia came into being. (1901) Australia had existed as five separate British colonies before, but came into its modern form of government on this day.

  • Fidel Castro ousted the Cuban dictator Batista. (1959) Castro had been trying to topple Batista since the early 1950s. He finally succeeded, and Batista fled the island on this day. Thousands of Cubans celebrated in the streets when he left, and Castro came into Havana the following week.

  • While while incarcerated in San Quentin prison, Merle Haggard heard Johnny Cash sing. (1958) Haggard had been in and out of prisons since childhood, and seeing Cash perform was what made him decide to become a singer. Haggard went on to become a famous country musician.

Discussion Comments


At least for me, no matter how many times I experience it, New Years Day never gets old. Does anyone else feel the same?

At least for me, not only is it because we're always living in a new year, but even more so, it also relates to putting everything in the past and moving forward.

For most people (myself included), New Years is a time of new beginnings, and it's a completely fresh start. We don't know what the future holds, and we're always looking forward to it.

On a final note, even though many people celebrate New Years day in many ways, this year was a special occasion for me, as I normally stay home.

From 6:00 P.M. - 12:00 P.M., I went to an event at my church. There was lots of foods, and plenty of games to play. We even watched some movies in out spare time.

However, when the our drew near, we all put aside our things, and came to welcome the new year. It's moments like this that make celebrating it more than worthwhile.


Although the bullet point doesn't go into detail about this, does anyone know the reason why cigarette advertisements were shown for the last time on U.S. television?

Even though I don't have a direct answer to this, my best guess is that it's because they're not healthy to use, and the advertisers didn't exactly want to encourage the public to try them out anymore.

In fact, speaking of drugs, even though this could all be considered speculation, has anyone else noticed that in the 1980's, 1990's, and even in this day and age, there are a lot of anti-drug advertisements?

For all that we know, perhaps this was a way to counter all of the previous cigarette advertisements that had been show on television years earlier. Not that mention that we should also take into account all of the strict regulations that American television has, especially in this day and age.


@Viranty - Now that you mention it, you do make a very good point about that. However, I do think that there's one thing you forgot to mention, which comes down to how much currency is in other countries. After all, don't forget that in some countries, 10 dollars might be a lot more than what we expect in the U.S. Just food for thought.


In relation to the fourth to last bullet point, what I find especially interesting is that in some ways, it really goes to show how we need to remember that the currency that most people are used to isn't the usual currency. Using one example, I happen to live in the United States, and I'm more than used to the currency here, which not only consists of coins, but also of dollars as well.

While I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this, more than often, I tend to forget that there are other forms of currency out there as well. Overall, I definitely think it's something that many people, myself included, need to be more aware of. Does anyone else agree with me? I'd be interested in hearing some of your thoughts.

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