1533: King Henry VIII of England secretly marries his second wife Anne Boleyn. After failing to give birth to a male heir, Henry would have Boleyn executed on charges of incest and treason in 1536.
1759: Poet Robert Burns, widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, is born in Ayrshire, Scotland. Burns' poem "Auld Lang Syne" has become a New Year's Eve tradition and he is also known for poems such as "A Red, Red Rose," "To a Mouse," "A Man's A Man for A' That," "Scots Wha Hae" and "The Battle of Sherramuir."
1787: The largest confrontation of the Shays' Rebellion, outside the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts, results in the killing of four rebels and the wounding of 20 more. The rebellion, an armed uprising of Massachusetts farmers that started in August 1786, was in response to high debt and tax burdens. Named for Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War and one of the rebel leaders, the uprising would ultimately prove unsuccessful.
1858: "The Wedding March" by Felix Mendelssohn is played at the marriage of Queen Victoria's daughter, Victoria, and Friedrich of Prussia. It would soon become a popular wedding recessional as a result.
1882: Writer Virginia Woolf, one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the 20th century, is born Adeline Virginia Stephenin London, England. Some of Woolf's most famous works include the novels "Mrs. Dalloway," "To the Lighthouse" and "Orlando," and the book-length essay "A Room of One's Own."
1890: Journalist Nellie Bly completes her record-setting round-the-world journey in 72 days in emulation of Jules Verne's character Phileas Fogg. She left New York City via steamship on Nov. 14, 1889, and arrived back in New Jersey via private train 24,899 miles later.
1905: The largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found, the Cullinan diamond at 3,106.75 carets, is found in South Africa. The Cullinan would be split and cut into nine large gem-quality stones and a number of smaller fragments. The two largest gems from the diamond, which rank as second and fourth largest polished diamonds in the world, are in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Pictured are glass copies of the gems cut from the Cullinan diamond.
1915: Alexander Graham Bell inaugurates U.S. transcontinental telephone service, speaking from New York to Thomas Watson in San Francisco.
1918: Baseball broadcaster Ernie Harwell, best known as the "voice" of the Detroit Tigers for 42 years, is born in Washington, Ga. Harwell was honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981 as the fifth broadcaster to receive its Ford C. Frick Award. He died of bile duct cancer at age 92 on May 4, 2010.
1924: The 1924 Winter Olympics opens in Chamonix, France, in the French Alps, inaugurating the Winter Olympic Games.
1931: Actor Dean Jones, best known for his light-hearted leading roles in several Walt Disney movies in the 1960s and '70s, including "The Love Bug," "That Darn Cat!" and "Blackbeard's Ghost," is born in Decatur, Ala.
1938: Singer Etta James, known for hits such as "Roll With Me, Henry," "At Last," "Tell Mama," "Something's Got a Hold on Me" and "I'd Rather Go Blind," is born in Los Angeles, Calif. She died of leukemia at age 93 on Jan. 20, 2012.
1943: Film director Tobe Hooper, best known for movies such as "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," "Salem's Lot" and "Poltergeist," is born in Austin, Texas.
1945: Allied forces triumph after six weeks of fighting in the heavily forested Ardennes Mountains of Belgium in the Battle of the Bulge. The battle was the final major German offensive of World War II, pitting thousands of American, British, Canadian, Belgian and French forces against the Nazis. The German forces initially punched through the Allied lines and got approximately half way to Brussels, creating the "bulge" in the American lines that gave the battle its memorable name, before finally being pushed back.
1947: Al Capone, the crime boss whose Prohibition-era crime syndicate was dedicated to illegal activities such as smuggling and bootlegging liquor in Chicago from the early 1920s to 1931, dies at the age of 48 in Palm Island, Fla., from cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke. Capone was convicted on federal charges of tax evasion in 1931 and served more than seven years in prison, including a some time in the then-new Alcatraz federal prison. In the final years of his life, Capone suffered mental and physical deterioration due to late-stage neurosyphilis, which he had contracted in his youth, and spent his time at his Florida mansion.
1949: The first Emmy Awards are presented at the Hollywood Athletic Club. The first awards solely honored shows produced and aired locally in the Los Angeles area, but in the 1950s the Emmys expanded into a national event, presenting the awards to shows broadcast nationwide.
1951: Steve Prefontaine, a middle and long-distance runner who competed in the 1972 Olympics, finishing fourth in the 5,000 meters race, is born in Coos Bay, Ore. Prefontaine, who once held the American record in the seven distance track events from the 2,000 meters to the 10,000 meters, would die at the age of 24 in May 1975 after flipping his car in a drunken driving accident.
1961: In Washington, D.C., President John F. Kennedy delivers the first live presidential television news conference.
1961: The Walt Disney animated film "One Hundred and One Dalmatians" premieres in theaters. The movie, the 17th in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, would end up being the 10th highest grossing film of 1961, accruing $6.4 million in distributors' domestic (U.S. and Canada) rentals during its first year of release.
1970: The movie "M*A*S*H," starring Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt and Elliott Gould, and directed by Robert Altman, premieres in theaters. The satirical black comedy based on Richard Hooker's novel "MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors," would become one of the biggest films of the early 1970s and inspire the critically acclaimed television series of the same name, which ran from 1972 to 1983.
1971: Charles Manson and three female "Family" members are found guilty of the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders. All four would be sentenced to death, but their sentences were automatically reduced to life in prison when the California Supreme Court abolished the state's death penalty in February 1972.
1971: Idi Amin leads a coup deposing Ugandan President Milton Obote while Obote is at a summit meeting in Singapore. One week after the coup, Amin would declare himself as the country's president, as well commander-in-chief of the armed forces, army chief of staff, and chief of air staff. He would rule Uganda until being overthrown himself and forced into exile in 1979. Amin's rule was characterized by human rights abuse, political repression, ethnic persecution, extrajudicial killings, nepotism, corruption and gross economic mismanagement. The number of people killed as a result of his regime is estimated by international observers and human rights groups to range from 100,000 to 500,000.
1975: Actress Mia Kirshner, best known for her role as Jenny Schecter on the Showtime dramatic series "The L Word" and for her recurring guest role on the TV series "24," is born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
1981: The 52 Americans held hostage at the former U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran, for 444 days arrive home in the United States when they land at Stewart Air Base in Newburgh, N.Y. They then were driven to the United States Military Academy, along roads jammed with cheering crowds welcoming them home, where they were reunited with their families. The route they took to West Point is marked today as "Freedom Road."
1981: Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, whose debut album, 2001's "Songs in A Minor," earned her five Grammys, is born Alicia Augello Cook in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan, N.Y. Keys is known for songs such as "Fallin'," "If I Ain't Got You," "Unbreakable," "No One" and "Girl on Fire."
1990: Actress Ava Gardner, best known for her roles in movies such as "The Killers," "Mogambo" (for which she received an Oscar nomination), "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," "The Barefoot Contessa" and "The Night of the Iguana," dies of pneumonia at the age of 67 in London, England.
1996: Billy Bailey becomes the last person to be hanged in the United States when he is executed in Smyrna, Del. Bailey, who was convicted in the 1979 shooting deaths of an elderly farming couple, was only the third person to be hanged in the United States since 1965 and the first hanged in Delaware in 50 years. Although Bailey had been sentenced to hang, because the method of execution in Delaware had been changed to lethal injection, he had the option of choosing that method, but declined. Only the states of Washington and New Hampshire still permit the hanging method of execution as of 2013.
2004: The Opportunity rover (MER-B) lands on surface of Mars, three weeks after its twin Spirit (MER-A), also part of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission, touched down on the other side of the planet. While Spirit became immobile in 2009 and ceased communications in 2010, Opportunity remains active as of 2013, having vastly exceeded its planned mission duration of roughly 92 days.
2006: Mexican professional wrestler Juana Barraza is arrested while fleeing the murder scene of a 82-year-old woman in Mexico City. She is eventually charged in conjunction with the serial killing of at least 11 elderly women. In 2008, she would be convicted and sentenced to 759 years in jail for the deaths. The authorities and media reports have given various estimates as to the total number of Barraza's victims, with estimated totals ranging from 24 to 49.
2011: Protests against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's government erupt throughout Egypt, with tens of thousands of protesters gathering in Cairo and thousands more in cities throughout Egypt. The protests mostly adhere to non-violence, although there are some reports of civilian and police casualties. The protests would spur an even bigger movement over the next few weeks, with a series of street demonstrations, marches, rallies, acts of civil disobedience, riots, labor strikes and violent clashes seen in Cairo, Alexandria, and throughout other cities in the country. Mubarak would eventually step down on Feb. 11, 2011, with elections in June 2012, picking Islamist Mohammed Morsi as Egypt's new president.
Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to a maximum sentence of five years for culpable homicide in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, last year. He was also given a three-year sentence on a firearms charge, but it was suspended.