What Happened on January 18?

  • The US walked out of a World Court Case. (1985) The case concerned American paramilitary activities against the Nicaraguan government, and was the first case the US had walked out on since it joined the World Court in 1946. The court decided against America and ordered them to pay reparations, but the US government ignored the order.

  • George McGovern began his presidential campaign. (1971) McGovern was thought to represent the revolutionary young people in America, and was campaigning against the staunchly Republican Richard Nixon. He only got 3 percent of the vote, mostly because he promised to pull all American troops out of Southeast Asia within a week of becoming president.

  • Explorer Robert F. Scott reached the South Pole — only to discover that Roald Amundsen had beaten him there by almost a month. (1912) The Norwegian Amundsen's expedition beat that of the British Scott's by a little more than a month, which Scott discovered upon reading a letter that Amundsen had left at the site.

  • The mayor of Washington D.C. was arrested on drug charges. (1990) Marion Barry was arrested for using crack cocaine after being under surveillance from the FBI for more than six years. Despite serving six months in jail, Barry was elected again into several city government positions, including another term as Mayor.

  • The first landing of an aircraft onto a ship took place. (1911) Pilot Eugene Ely landed a plane on the USS Pennsylvania less than ten years after the airplane was invented. The technique would later become commonplace as aircraft carriers became major wartime assets.

  • Captain Cook discovered Hawaii. (1778) The British Captain Cook discovered Hawaii, which he called the "Sandwich Islands" on this day. Cook was a major explorer in his day, and was the first European to sail within the Antarctic circle and reach Australia. Cook was later killed by natives in Hawaii after some of his crew members killed a lesser Hawaiian chief.

  • German forces resumed forced deportations from Warsaw. (1943) Several hundred thousand Jews were transported from the Warsaw ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp, despite fierce guerrilla resistance within the ghetto. The deportations resumed after a brief hiatus caused by the resistance during which Jewish forces attempted to overwhelm the machine-gun equipped German forces with hand guns.

  • The "Boston Strangler" was sentenced to life imprisonment. (1967) Albert DeSalvo had assaulted and killed at least 13 women in Boston over the course of two years. Though DeSalvo plead insanity due to a horrific childhood, he was still convicted and sent to a maximum security prison, where he was murdered six months later.

  • The A380 jumbo jet was unveiled in France. (2005) The plane could carry an unprecedented 800 passengers, and some models featured "beyond first class" suites with en-suite bathrooms, turn-down service, and made to order five-star meals.

  • The first British convicts arrived in Australia. (1788) Australia was originally established as a penal colony for British convicts. The "First Fleet" carried over 700 convicts and began the establishment of the first European colony in Australia on this day.

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