January 4 events in history

871 Battle of Reading: Æthelred of Wessex fights, and is defeated by, a Danish invasion army
1490 Anne of Brittany announces that all those who would ally with the King of France will be considered guilty of the crime of Lese-majesty
1642 King Charles I of England sends soldiers to arrest members of Parliament, commencing England's slide into civil war
1649 English Civil War: The Rump Parliament votes to put Charles I on trial
1717 The Netherlands, Great Britain, and France sign the Triple Alliance
1762 Great Britain declares war on Spain and Naples
1798 Constantine Hangerli arrives in Bucharest, Wallachia, as its new Prince, invested by the Ottoman Empire
1847 Samuel Colt sells his first revolver pistol to the United States government
1854 The McDonald Islands are discovered by Captain William McDonald aboard the Samarang
1863 The New Apostolic Church, a Christian and chiliastic church, is established in Hamburg, Germany
1865 The New York Stock Exchange opens its first permanent headquarters at 10-12 Broad near Wall Street in New York, New York
1878 Sofia is emancipated from Ottoman rule
1884 The Fabian Society is founded in London, England, United Kingdom
1889 The Oklahoma Land Run opens 2 million acres of unused Oklahoma Territory to first serve first come settlers on April 22
1896 Utah is admitted as the 45th U.S. state
1903 Topsy, an elephant, is electrocuted by the owners of Luna Park, Coney Island. Thomas Edison's movie company filmed the execution
1912 The Scout Association is incorporated throughout the British Commonwealth by Royal charter
1944 World War II: Operation Carpetbagger, involving the dropping of arms and supplies to resistance fighters in Europe, begins
1948 Burma gains its independence from the United Kingdom
1951 Korean War: Chinese and North Korean forces capture Seoul
1955 The Greek National Radical Union is formed by Konstantinos Karamanlis
1958 Sputnik 1 falls to Earth from orbit
1959 Luna 1 becomes the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon
1965 United States President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaims his "Great Society" during his State of the Union address
1966 A military coup takes place in Upper Volta (later Burkina Faso), dissolving the National Parliament and leading to a new national constitution
1970 A magnitude 7.7 earthquake strikes Tonghai County, China, killing at least 15,000 people
1972 Rose Heilbron becomes the first female judge to sit at the Old Bailey in London, England
1974 United States President Richard Nixon refuses to hand over materials subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee
1976 The Troubles: The Ulster Volunteer Force shoots dead six Irish Catholic civilians in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. The next day, gunmen shoot dead ten Protestant civilians nearby in retaliation
1987 The 1987 Maryland train collision: An Amtrak train en route to Boston, Massachusetts from Washington, D.C., collides with Conrail engines in Chase, Maryland, killing 16 people
1989 Second Gulf of Sidra incident: a pair of Libyan MiG-23 "Floggers" are shot down by a pair of US Navy F-14 Tomcats during an air-to-air confrontation
1990 In Pakistan's deadliest train accident an overloaded passenger train collides with an empty freight train, resulting in 307 deaths and 700 injuries
1998 A massive ice storm hits eastern Canada and the northeastern United States, continuing through January 10 and causing widespread destruction
1998 Wilaya of Relizane massacres in Algeria: over 170 are killed in three remote villages
1999 Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura is sworn in as governor of Minnesota
2000 Two trains on the Røros Line collide in Åsta, Norway, resulting in an explosive fire and 19 deaths
2004 Mikheil Saakashvili is elected President of Georgia following the November 2003 Rose Revolution
2004 Spirit, a NASA Mars rover, lands successfully on Mars at 04:35 UTC
2006 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel suffers a second, apparently more serious stroke. His authority is transferred to acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
2007 The 110th United States Congress convenes, electing Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House in U.S. history
2010 Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, is officially opened
2013 A gunman kills eight people in a house-to-house rampage in Kawit, the Philippines