#TodayInHistory – January 42 min read
January 4 – Some important events on this day
1490 👉🏼 Anna 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 with 400 soldiers attacks the English parliament
1847 👉🏼 Samuel Colt sells his first revolver pistol to the United States government
1847 👉🏼 Manuscripts of Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights” and Anne Brontë’s “Agnes Grey” sent to publisher T.C. Newby (published December 1847)
1863 👉🏼 4 wheeled roller skates patented by James Plimpton of NY
1865 👉🏼 New York Stock Exchange opens its 1st permanent headquarters at 10-12 Broad St, near Wall Street in New York City
1903 👉🏼 Topsy the elephant is electrocuted by her owners at Luna Park, Coney Island and filmed by Edison Manufacturing movie company.
Topsy the Elephant gained notoriety in America as part of the Forepaugh Circus when she killed a spectator in 1902 and was subsequently sold off to Luna Park. After this her reputation worsened, partly because of her alcoholic handler and the decision of her owners Frederick Thompson and Elmer Dundy to exploit her for PR purposes.
To this end they decided to execute her. Their horrific original plan to hang her at the park was stopped by the SPCA. Instead they decided to electrocute her, which they did in front of press, and a camera crew from Edison Manufacturing movie company filmed the incident – possibly the first filmed death of an animal.
The cruel act became notorious later on as the subject of an urban legend that Thomas Edison had ordered the elephant electrocuted in order to prove the danger of alternating current electricity during the War of Currents. This is false – the war between AC and DC took place ten years before the death of Topsy and Edison was never at Luna Park.
1920 👉🏼 1st Black baseball league, National Negro Baseball League, organizes
1959 👉🏼 Luna 1 (Mechta) becomes 1st craft to leave Earth’s gravity
1961 👉🏼 Longest recorded strike ends as the Danish barbers’ assistants end a 33 year strike
1989 👉🏼 Comet Tempel 1 at perihelion
2007 👉🏼 The 110th United States Congress convenes and elects Nancy Pelosi as the 1st female Speaker of the House
2020 👉🏼 Floods and landslides caused by torrential rain in Jakarta, Indonesia, kill at least 53