* 1525 – The Swiss Anabaptist Movement is founded when Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, George Blaurock, and about a dozen others baptize each other in the home of Manz's mother in Zürich, breaking a thousand-year tradition of church-state union.
* 1643 – Abel Tasman becomes the first European to reach Tonga.
* 1720 – Sweden and Prussia sign the Treaty of Stockholm.
* 1749 – The Verona Philharmonic Theatre is destroyed by fire. It is rebuilt in 1754.
* 1789 – The first American novel, The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth, is printed in Boston, Massachusetts.
* 1793 – After being found guilty of treason by the French Convention, Louis XVI of France is executed by guillotine.
* 1840 – Jules Dumont d'Urville discovers Adélie Land, Antarctica.
* 1861 – American Civil War: Jefferson Davis resigns from the United States Senate.
* 1864 – The Tauranga Campaign begins during the Maori Wars.
* 1887 – 465 millimetres (18.3 in) of rain falls in Brisbane, a record for any Australian capital city.
* 1893 – The Tati Concessions Land, formerly part of Matabeleland, is formally annexed to the Bechuanaland Protectorate, now Botswana.
* 1899 – Opel manufactures its first automobile.
* 1908 – New York City passes the Sullivan Ordinance, making it illegal for women to smoke in public, only to have the measure vetoed by the mayor.
* 1911 – The first Monte Carlo Rally takes place.
* 1915 – Kiwanis International is founded in Detroit, Michigan.
* 1919 – Meeting of the First Dáil Éireann in the Mansion House Dublin. Sinn Féin adopts Ireland's first constitution. The first engagement of Irish War of Independence, Sologhead Beg, County Tipperary.
* 1925 – Albania declares itself a republic.
* 1931 – Sir Isaac Isaacs is sworn in as the first Australian-born Governor-General of Australia.
* 1948 – The Flag of Quebec is adopted and flown for the first time over the National Assembly of Quebec. The day is marked annually as Quebec Flag Day.
* 1950 – Alger Hiss is convicted of perjury.
* 1954 – The first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, is launched in Groton, Connecticut by Mamie Eisenhower, the First Lady of the United States.
* 1958 – The last Fokker C.X in military service, the Finnish Air Force FK-111 target tower, crashes, killing the pilot and winch-operator.
* 1960 – Little Joe 1B, a Mercury spacecraft, lifts off from Wallops Island, Virginia with Miss Sam, a female rhesus monkey on board.
* 1960 – Avianca Flight 671 crashes and burns upon landing at Montego Bay, Jamaica, killing 37. It is the worst air disaster in Jamaica's history and the first for Avianca.
* 1968 – Vietnam War: Battle of Khe Sanh – One of the most publicized and controversial battles of the war begins.
* 1968 – A B-52 bomber crashes near Thule Air Base, contaminating the area after its nuclear payload ruptures. One of the four bombs remains unaccounted for after the cleanup operation is complete.
* 1971 – The current Emley Moor transmitting station, the tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, begins transmitting UHF broadcasts.
* 1976 – Commercial service of Concorde begins with the London-Bahrain and Paris-Rio routes.
* 1977 – President Jimmy Carter pardons nearly all American Vietnam War draft evaders, some of whom had emigrated to Canada.
* 1981 – Production of the iconic DeLorean DMC-12 sports car begins in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland.
* 1985 – The inauguration of President Ronald Reagan to a second term, already postponed a day because January 20 fell on a Sunday, becomes the second inauguration in history moved indoors because of freezing temperatures and high winds. The parade is cancelled altogether.
* 1997 – Newt Gingrich becomes the first leader of the United States House of Representatives to be internally disciplined for ethical misconduct.
* 1999 – War on Drugs: In one of the largest drug busts in American history, the United States Coast Guard intercepts a ship with over 4,300 kilograms (9,500 lb) of cocaine on board.
* 2000 – Ecuador: After the Ecuadorian Congress is seized by indigenous organizations, Col. Lucio Gutierrez, Carlos Solorzano and Antonio Vargas depose President Jamil Mahuad. Gutierrez is later replaced by Gen. Carlos Mendoza, who resigns and allows Vice-President Gustavo Noboa to succeed Mahuad.
* 2003 – A 7.6 magnitude earthquake strikes the Mexican state of Colima, killing 29 and leaving approximately 10,000 people homeless.
* 2004 – NASA's MER-A (the Mars Rover Spirit) ceases communication with mission control. The problem lies in the management of its flash memory and is fixed remotely from Earth on February 6.
* 2005 – In Belmopan, Belize, the unrest over the government's new taxes erupts into riots.
* 2008 – Black Monday in worldwide stock markets. FTSE 100 had its biggest ever one-day points fall, European stocks closed with their worst result since 11 September 2001, and Asian stocks drop as much as 14%.