Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., launched his successful bid for the White House.
United States Senate career of Barack Obama
Africa's first elected female head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was sworn in as Liberia's president.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Adriana Iliescu gives birth at the age of 66. The Romanian university lecturer broke the record for the world's oldest birth mother.
Pop star Michael Jackson pleaded innocent to child molestation charges in Santa Maria, Calif. (Charges were later re-filed and Jackson was acquitted.).
Trial of Michael Jackson
The space shuttle Columbia and its crew of seven blasted off from Cape Canaveral. (The shuttle broke up during its return descent on Feb. 1, killing everyone on board.).
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
Laurent Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was assassinated.
The government of El Salvador and rebel leaders signed a pact in Mexico City ending 12 years of civil war that had killed at least 75,000 people.
Salvadoran Civil War
Operation Desert Storm was announced by the White House.
Media coverage of the Gulf War
Three days of rioting erupted in Miami when a police officer fatally shot a black motorcyclist, causing a crash that also claimed the life of a passenger.
1980 Miami riots
The Shah of Iran flees the country. As a consequence, Ayatollah Khomeini later took power and proclaimed the Islamic Republic.
Mohammad Reza Shah of Iran
The final first-run episode of the long-running western 'Bonanza' aired on NBC.
Two manned Soviet Soyuz spaceships became the first vehicles to dock in space and transfer personnel.
The musical 'Hello, Dolly!' starring Carol Channing opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 2,844 performances.
Hello, Dolly! (musical)
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower took command of the Allied invasion force in London.
Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force
Actress Carole Lombard, the wife of actor Clark Gable, died in a plane crash.
A year after it was ratified, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages, went into effect.
Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Prohibition begins in the United States. The 18th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.
Prohibition in the United States
British House of Commons accepts Home Rule for Ireland (but the Great War gets in the way of it happening).
Home Rule Crisis
The U.S. Civil Service Commission established.
Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act
French King Louis XVI sentenced to death by the National Convention during the French Revolution.
Execution of Louis XVI
Ivan IV (popularly known as 'Ivan the Terrible') was crowned czar of Russia.
Ivan the Terrible
The Medici family is appointed official banker of the Papacy.
e Roman Empire is established. One of the events marking the beginning of the Imperium Romanum was the Roman Senate's granting of the honorific Augustus to Octavian on this day.