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What Happened on January 27?

  • The Vietnam War ended. (1973) North and South Vietnam, the Viet Cong, and the US signed the Paris Peace Accord on this day, ending one of the longest and most unpopular wars in American history. Despite a ceasefire that had been put into effect a few days earlier, the last American troop to die in Vietnam was killed just 11 hours before the treaty was signed.

  • Television was demonstrated to the public for the first time. (1926) Scottish inventor John Logie Baird demonstrated a "televisor" for the first time in London on this day. He would later become the first person to make an overseas TV broadcast, and to demonstrate color television.

  • The National Geographic Society was founded. (1888) The society was the brainchild of 33 men who wished to "increase the spread of geographical knowledge." The society published its first magazine nine months after its inception, and grew to become one of the world's largest non-profit scientific and educational organizations.

  • The Outer Space Treaty was signed. (1967) The treaty, which banned nuclear warfare in space, was signed by over 60 countries. This formed the basis of international space law, and also laid the groundwork for the idea of taking responsibility for governmental actions in space.

  • Italian author Dante was exiled from Florence. (1302) The politically active Dante was exiled from Florence and began a life of vagrancy. It was during this time that he wrote the Divine Comedy, a classic literary work and the first piece of epic poetry written in vernacular language.

  • The first state university in the US was incorporated. (1785) The University of Georgia was the first state-funded university in the US. The university was somewhat controversial when it opened because, unlike most of the other universities in the US at the time, it was not associated with any one theology.

  • The US government approved the creation of "Indian Territory." (1825) The area known as Indian Territory was located in modern-day Oklahoma, and was intended to be a reservation for any Indians living in areas the US claimed to be theirs. This paved the way for the dislocation of hundreds of thousands of people, and made it possible for the "Trail of Tears" to start.

  • Western Union sent the last telegram. (2006) Telegrams had been a major means of communication throughout the US for 150 years, but had fallen out of fashion when e-mail became popular. At the time Western Union stopped telegraph services, they were sending about 20,000 telegrams a year.

  • The first atomic bomb test at the Nevada Test Site occurred. (1951) The controlled explosion could be seen as far distant as San Francisco, and was the first of many nuclear devices tested in the area.

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. (1756) The rock star of his day, Mozart was a genius and natural talent at both writing and playing music. His influence on classical music, and Western music in general, was extraordinary.

Discussion Comments

By anon316103 — On Jan 27, 2013

Alexander Pushkin, the celebrated Russian author and the founder of modern Russian literature, had a duel with his wife’s lover: a French military officer named Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès on January 27, 1837. Pushkin died two days later.

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