What are the important events that happened on January 1? Here are historical events, facts, and some myths about this day.

January 1: Facts & Myths About This Day

January 1 is the 1st day of the year 2016 in the Gregorian calendar. There are 365 days remaining until the end of this year. The day of the week is Friday.

Under the Julian calendar, this day is December 19, 2015 – a Friday. Both day of the week are the same but did you notice the difference with the Gregorian calendar?

When this day started, 403,224 hours has elapsed since midnight of January 1, 1970 – the Unix epoch.

Strange as it may, if we name this day after a polygon then it will be called ‘henagon’ day.

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Capricorn is the zodiac sign of a person born on this day. Garnet is the modern birthstone for this month. Emerald is the mystical birthstone from Tibetan origin that dates back over a thousand years.

According to the lunisolar Chinese calendar, there are 38 days remaining before the start of the next Chinese New Year.

The ancient Maya civilization believes that the end of the world will happen on December 21, 2012. There are now 1,106 days since this fabled cataclysmic event.

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January 1: This Day In History

The preceding day is December 31 of the previous year.

During the Middle Ages under the influence of the Christian Church, many countries moved the start of the year to one of several important Christian festivals — December 25 (the Nativity of Jesus), March 1, March 25 (the Annunciation), or even Easter. Eastern European countries (most of them with populations showing allegiance to the Orthodox Church) began their numbered year on September 1 from about 988.

In England, January 1 was celebrated as the New Year festival, but from the 12th century to 1752 the year in England began on March 25 (Lady Day). So, for example, the Parliamentary record records the execution of Charles I occurring in 1648 (as the year did not end until March 24), although modern histories adjust the start of the year to January 1 and record the execution as occurring in 1649.

Most western European countries changed the start of the year to January 1 before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. For example, Scotland changed the start of the Scottish New Year to January 1 in 1600. England, Ireland and the British colonies changed the start of the year to January 1 in 1752. Later that year in September, the Gregorian calendar was introduced throughout Britain and the British colonies. These two reforms were implemented by the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750.

January 1 became the official start of the year as follows:

  • 1522 The Republic of Venice
  • 1544 Holy Roman Empire (Germany)
  • 1556 Spain, Portugal
  • 1559 Prussia, Sweden
  • 1564 France
  • 1576 Southern Netherlands
  • 1579 Lorraine
  • 1583 United Provinces of the Netherlands (northern)
  • 1600 Scotland
  • 1700 Russia
  • 1721 Tuscany
  • 1752 Great Britain (excluding Scotland) and its colonies

January 1 Historical Events

  • 1515
    King Francis I of France succeeds to the French throne.
  • 1880
    Ferdinand de Lesseps begins French construction of the Panama Canal.
  • 1909
    Drilling begins on the Lakeview Gusher.
  • 1913
    The British Board of Censors is established.
  • 1958
    The European Economic Community is established.
  • 1960
    Cameroon achieves independence from France and the United Kingdom.
  • 1962
    United States Navy SEALs established.
  • 1970
    Unix time begins at 00:00:00 UTC/GMT.
  • 1990
    David Dinkins is sworn in as New York City’s first black mayor.
  • 2007
    Bulgaria and Romania officially join the European Union. Also, Bulgarian, Romanian, and Irish become official languages of the European Union, joining 20 other official languages.

Who were born on January 1?

  • 1854
    Sir James George Frazer, Scottish anthropologist (d. 1941)
  • 1860
    Michele Lega, Roman Catholic Cardinal (d. 1935)
  • 1888
    Georgios Stanotas, Greek cavalry officer (d. 1965)
  • 1921
    Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi, Palestinian philosopher (d. 1986)
  • 1933
    Frederick Lowy, Canadian educator
  • 1943
    Don Novello, American actor
  • 1966
    Tina Landon, Mexican-American choreographer
  • 1971
    Sammie Henson, American wrestler
  • 1971
    Scott Riggs, American racing driver
  • 1978
    Tarik O'Regan, British composer

Who died on January 1?

  • 1894
    Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, German physicist (b. 1857)
  • 1906
    Sir Hugh Nelson, Premier of Queensland (b. 1835)
  • 1943
    Colonel Andrew Summers Rowan, U.S. military officer who gave “a message to Garcia” (b. 1857)
  • 1969
    Barton MacLane, American actor (b. 1902)
  • 1971
    Saint Amphilochius of Pochayiv, Ukrainian Orthodox Christian Saint (b. 1894)
  • 1995
    Eugene Wigner, Hungarian American physicist, Nobel laureate (b. 1902)
  • 2005
    Bob Matsui, American politician (b. 1941)
  • 2006
    Dawn Lake, Australian TV comedienne (b. 1927)
  • 2006
    Hugh McLaughlin, Irish publisher and inventor (b. 1918)
  • 2007
    Julius Hegyi, American conductor (b. 1923)

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