American journalist Jill Carroll was abducted in Iraq and a translator was killed. (Carroll was released unharmed after 82 days.).
Actor Brad Pitt and actress Jennifer Aniston announced they were separating after four years of marriage.
The impeachment trial of President William Clinton began in the Senate.
Impeachment of Bill Clinton
Newt Gingrich became the first Republican re-elected House speaker in 68 years.
A major blizzard paralyzed the eastern United States, claiming more than 100 lives.
Great Blizzard of 1888
Akihito is sworn in as Emperor of Japan. His accession to the throne followed the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito, on the same day.
The Khmer Rouge government of Cambodia is overthrown. Vietnamese forces captured the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh that day.
Lewis F. Powell Jr. and William H. Rehnquist were sworn in as the 99th and 100th members of the Supreme Court.
The United States recognized Fidel Castro's new government in Cuba.
Singer Marian Anderson made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, becoming the first black person to perform there as a member.
The Ed Sullivan Show
Georgetown-IBM experiment, the first public demonstration of a machine translation system, is held in New York at the head office of IBM.
History of machine translation
President Harry S. Truman announced in his State of the Union address that the United States had developed a hydrogen bomb.
Harry S. Truman
The World War II siege of Bataan began.
Battle of Bataan
The first transatlantic telephone service is established. A 3-minute call between New York and London cost about $45 USD, which is roughly $550 in today's dollars.
Timeline of the telephone
Fanny Farmer published her first cookbook.
Millard Fillmore, the 13th president of the United States, was born in Summerhill, N.Y.
Summerhill, New York
Hot air balloon crosses the English Channel. French inventor Jean-Pierre Blanchard took about 2½ hours to fly from Dover (UK) to Guînes (France).
List of English Channel crossings by air
Typewriter patented by Englishman Henry Mill (built years later).
Galileo Galilei discovers the Galilean Moons. The Italian astronomer spotted the four largest moons of Jupiter that day: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.