Maine Fast Fact: In the 1600’s, fishermen from Europe stopped on Damariscove Island, Maine, south of Boothbay Harbor, to salt their fish.
- 1738: Ethan Allen, American farmer, land speculator, philosopher, politician, soldier and frontiersman during the Revolutionary War
- 1824: Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, American Confederate general during the Civil War
- 1905: Christian Dior, French fashion designer
- 1940: Jack Nicklaus, American golfer
- 1953: Paul Allen, American entrepreneur, co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates
- 1956: Geena Davis, American actress
- 1965: Jam Master Jay, DJ in the rap group Run-DMC
- 1970: Mark Trojanowski, American musician, drummer for the band Sister Hazel
- 1976: Emma Bunton, English singer, known as Baby Spice in the all-girls singing group The Spice Girls
- 1793: King Louis XVI of France
- 1901: Elisha Gray, American electrical engineer, co-founder of the Western Electric Manufacturing Company, created a telephone prototype in 1876, awarded over 70 patents for his inventions
- 1924: Vladmir Lenin, Russian revolutionary
- 1950: George Orwell, English novelist and journalist, author of the novels 1984 and Animal Farm
- 1959: Cecil B. DeMille, American film director, director of The Ten Commandments, Cleopatra and The Greatest Show on Earth; Carl Switzer, American child actor, known for his role as Alfalfa on the television series Our Gang
- 1998: Jack Lord, American actor
- 1789: The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature by William Hill Brown becomes the first American novel published when it is printed in Boston, Massachusetts.
- 1793: King Louis XVI of France is executed by guillotine after being found guilty of treason by the French Convention.
- 1861: Jefferson Davis resigns from the United States Senate.
- 1925: Albania declares itself a republic.
- 1948: The Flag of Quebec is adopted and flown for the first time over the National Assembly of Quebec.
- 1954: The first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, is launched by First Lady Mamie Eisenhower in Groton, Connecticut.
- 1968: A B-52 bomber crashes near the Thule Air Base, a U.S. Air Force base in Greenland, and contaminates the area when its nuclear payload ruptures. One of the four bombs remains unfound after cleanup is complete.
- 1977: President Jimmy Carter pardons nearly all American Vietnam War draft dodgers.
- 1997: House Speaker Newt Gingrich becomes the first leader of the U.S. House of Representatives to be internally disciplined for ethical misconduct based on tax violations dating back to September 1994.
- 2002: The Canadian dollar hits its all-time low against the U.S. dollar at $0.6179.
- 2004: NASA’s Mars Rover Spirit stops communication with mission control due to problems with Flash Memory.
January 21 is National Hug Day. It has been recognized since 1986 and is also celebrated in Canada, England, Germany and Australia. Today is also Flag Day in Quebec, celebrating the day Quebec adopted and flew its flag for the first time.
For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January_21 , http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/20090121.html , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Hug_Day , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Quebec