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What Happened on January 29?

  • The first successful gas-powered car was patented. (1886) Karl Benz patented the "Benz Patent Motorwagon" which looked much like a tricycle with a cushioned seat. Making a gas-powered car had been a long-time dream of Benz, who had originally started tinkering with engines in his spare time as a bicycle shop owner.

  • Jimmy Carter and Deng Xiaoping signed accords. (1979) This marked a turning point in Sino-American relations, which had been frosty for almost 30 years. The accords, along with the major economic reforms Deng enacted, are credited with bringing China into the modern world.

  • "Dr. Strangelove" premiered. (1964) Kubrick's classic black comedy demonstrated the nation's frustration with the nuclear arms race, and the heightened Cold War tensions in general. It became an instant classic, partially due to Peter Seller's memorable performance as Dr. Strangelove, and remains a classic example of satirical film.

  • George Bush made his "Axis of Evil" speech. (2002) In his controversial State of the Union speech, Bush named North Korea, Iran and Iraq as an Axis of Evil. In the same speech, he outlined America's proactive stance in fighting terrorism, and denounced any nations that harbored terrorists.

  • King George III died. (1820) George III is best known for his insanity and losing the American colonies. He had retired from public life after becoming permanently insane in 1789.

  • The last monarch of Hawaii came to power. (1891) Liliuokalani became Queen of Hawaii after her brother, the King Kalakaua died. She only ruled for two years before she was overthrown by a coalition of American businessmen.

  • Queen Victoria started issuing the Victoria Cross. (1856) The Victoria Cross is the highest honor available in the British military, and is awarded for "valour in the face of the enemy." Less than 2,000 VCs have ever been issued, and are extremely valuable both as collectors items and pieces of history.

  • "The Raven" was first published. (1845) Edgar Allan Poe's most famous poem was originally published in the New York Evening Mirror, where it met with lukewarm reviews. Poe was almost completely unappreciated during his lifetime, but later became an extremely popular Gothic author.

  • France stopped testing nuclear weapons. (1996) President Jacques Chirac halted the testing of nuclear weapons one day after France exploded its largest nuclear device in the South Pacific. The resulting outcry both in France and abroad was substantial, and forced Chirac to stop testing.

  • The first members of the Baseball Hall of Fame were inducted. (1936) Among the first five inductees were Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.

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