Britain offered official support for establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine. (1917) Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, addressed a letter to Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, a prominent Jewish citizen living in Britain, declaring the country's support. The event, called the Balfour Declaration, is celebrated today in Israel as "Balfour Day." Arab nations observe this day as a day of mourning.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day was named a US federal holiday. (1983) US President Ronald Reagan signed the bill establishing the holiday, which celebrates the civil rights leader's birthday, on the third Monday each January.
The Spruce Goose flew for the first and only time. (1947) The Spruce Goose, flown by Howard Hughes, was the world's largest fixed-wing airplane prototype. Its test flight over the Long Beach Harbor spanned about a mile, but at an altitude of 70 feet (about 21 meters), the plane continued to experience a ground effect pull, which shouldn't happen at that height. The plane was never flown again.
The first commercial radio station in the US began broadcasting. (1920) The KDKA station in Pittsburgh kicked off its broadcast debut with results from the 1920 US Presidential election.
During World War II, "Operation Supercharge" was launched by the British military against the German and Italian Axis forces. (1942) The success of the British operation signaled the end of the Axis Power's control over North Africa.
North and South Dakota were admitted as the 39th and 40th US states. (1889) The entry of the two states into the Union split the existing Dakota Territory in two.
The Axis Power alliance was formed. (1936) Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator, first officially used the term "axis." He used the term to refer to a Rome-Germany Axis after Germany and Italy signed a friendship treaty on October 25.
The BBC Television Service was established by the British Broadcasting Corporation as the world's first "high definition" TV service. (1936) In 1936, "high definition" meant there were more than 200 lines per frame. By the early 21st century, that definition had changed to mean more than one million pixels per frame.
US Army General George Washington gave his farewell speech to Army troops gathered at Princeton, New Jersey. (1783) Washington resigned his General position at the end of the American Revolutionary War and returned home to Mount Vernon. Washington later was elected as the first US President in 1789.
One of the first Internet worms, the "Morris Worm," was launched. (1988) The "Morris Worm" gained widespread media attention because it ended up infecting more than 6,000 UNIX computers — about 10 percent of the existing computers in the world at that time. The worm was launched from MIT, but had been created by a Cornell University student named Robert Tappan Morris. Morris became the first person to be convicted under the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986.
More than 120,000 Cubans became eligible to apply for permanent residence in the US. (1966) Applicants for permanent residence had to have been granted entry into the US after January 1, 1959 and had to have resided in the US for a minimum of one year.
Johnny Campbell became the world's first cheerleader. (1898) Campbell was the first to organize a group chant to root on a football team. He started the first cheer at a football game at the University of Minnesota: "Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-u-mah, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-So-Tah!"
The Levelland UFO Case gained national interest in the US. (1957) The UFO incident, which still remains one of the most notable UFO cases in history, occurred in Levelland, Texas. National interest was peaked because at least 12 people, including two police officers, had separate encounters with either a large egg-shaped object in the roadway that made their cars die or they saw a red flash moving across the sky. The US Air Force attempted to claim that a severe thunderstorm was responsible, but witnesses all claim there was no storm in the area at the time.