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What Happened on January 24?

  • Gold deposits were discovered in California, sparking the Gold Rush. (1848) James Marshall discovered gold in Sutter's Creek, which would eventually spark the 1849 Gold Rush. Marshall desperately tried to keep the discovery a secret, but word got out and his farm was completely overrun and ruined, and he died in poverty.

  • The Gregorian calendar was introduced in Russia. (1918) Though the calendar had been widely adopted in the late 1500s, Russia continued to use the Julian calendar until 1918. It was one of the last two countries to switch to the Gregorian calendar, along with Greece, which changed over in 1923.

  • Winston Churchill died. (1965) Churchill was a major force in British and world politics during the World Wars, and was known for his witty, yet resolute manner. He is credited as being the guiding force that led Britain through World War II.

  • The last Japanese soldier from World War II surrendered. (1972) Despite the fact that the war had been over for more than 30 years, Shoichi Yokoi was still at his post in Guam. Yokoi was unaware that the war had ended, and had been hiding out in the jungles of Guam since American troops occupied the island in the 1940s. He refused to surrender until his old commanding officer, who had retired from the military for more than 20 years, was found and told him to stand down.

  • Disney purchased Pixar. (2006) Pixar was sold for almost $7.5 billion US Dollars (USD), a price it could command after hits like Toy Story and Finding Nemo. The deal took a lot of maneuvering by the Disney and Pixar boards, but it paid off when their first joint venture, Ratatouille won the Academy Award for Best Animated Picture.

  • The US Department of Homeland Security began operating. (2003) The department had been created in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks to coordinate "homeland security" efforts. The agency later became very controversial when it wasted more than $15 billion USD in failed contracts.

  • The first university in Southeast Asia opened. (1857) The University of Calcutta was the first fully operational university in Asia, and later incorporated the first medical school in Southeast Asia. The university is still operating, and has produced four Nobel laureates, including economist Amartya Kumar Sen and Kadambini Ganguly, one of the first two women to graduate from a university in the British Empire.

  • The US announced that it would sell military equipment to China. (1980) The declaration came in response to the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan, which was extremely unpopular among US politicians. Although the US still refused to sell weapons to China, its offer of military equipment was seen as a step forwards in Sino-American relations.

  • The Roman emperor Caligula was assassinated. (41) Caligula was notorious for his extreme cruelty and extravagance, including having the spectators at the gladiatorial games thrown to the lions when he got bored, and attempting to instate his horse in the Senate. Caligula was assassinated by his own bodyguards.

  • The Boy Scout movement began. (1908) The brainchild of Robert Baden-Powell, a British soldier, the Boy Scouts would go on to be one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the world, with almost 30 million members.

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