First Posted: 1/2/2014
The History Channel
* On Jan. 26, 1788, the first of 50,000 convicts banished from England to Australia land in Botany Bay. These were not hardened criminals; only a small minority were transported for violent offenses. Among the first group was a 70-year-old woman who had stolen cheese to eat.
* On Jan. 20, 1841, China cedes the island of Hong Kong to the British. In 1898, Britain was granted an additional 99 years of rule. In September 1984, the British and the Chinese signed a formal agreement approving a 1997 turnover of the island.
* On Jan. 25, 1924, the first Winter Olympics begin at Chamonix in the French Alps. Spectators were thrilled by the ski jump and bobsled, as well as 12 other events involving a total of six sports.
* On Jan. 23, 1957, the Wham-O toy company rolls out the first batch of aerodynamic plastic discs, now known as Frisbees. The story of the Frisbee began in Bridgeport, Conn., where students from nearby universities would throw empty Frisbie Pie Company tins to each other, yelling “Frisbie!” as they let go.
* On Jan. 21, 1976, from London’s Heathrow Airport and Orly Airport outside Paris, the first Concordes with commercial passengers simultaneously take flight to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf and Rio de Janeiro, respectively. The Concordes flew well past the sound barrier at 1,350 mph.
* On Jan. 24, 1980, U.S. officials announce that America is ready to sell military equipment (excluding weapons) to communist China as a reaction to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. An additional agreement was signed for the construction of a station in China that would be able to receive information from an American satellite.
* On Jan. 22, 1998, in a Sacramento, Calif., courtroom, Theodore J. Kaczynski pleads guilty to all federal charges against him, acknowledging his responsibility for a 17-year campaign of package bombings attributed to the “Unabomber.” The “Unabomber” was named after the UNABOM Task Force. The name came from the words “university and airline bombing.”