* 98 – Trajan becomes Roman Emperor after the death of Nerva.
* 661 – The Rashidun Caliphate ends with death of Ali.
* 1142 – Execution, believed wrongful, of noted Song Dynasty General Yue Fei.
* 1186 – Henry VI, the son and heir of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, marries Constance of Sicily.
* 1343 – Pope Clement VI issues the Bull Unigenitus.
* 1593 – The Vatican opens seven year trial of scholar Giordano Bruno.
* 1606 – Gunpowder Plot: The trial of Guy Fawkes and other conspirators begins, ending with their execution on January 31.
* 1695 – Mustafa II becomes the Ottoman sultan in Istanbul on the death of Ahmed II. Mustafa rules until his abdication in 1703.
* 1785 – The University of Georgia is founded, the first public university in the United States.
* 1825 – The U.S. Congress approves Indian Territory (in what is present-day Oklahoma), clearing the way for forced relocation of the Eastern Indians on the "Trail of Tears".
* 1868 – Boshin War: The Battle of Toba-Fushimi between forces of the Tokugawa shogunate and pro-Imperial factions begins, which will end in defeat for the shogunate, and is a pivotal point in the Meiji Restoration.
* 1870 – The Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity is founded at DePauw University.
* 1888 – The National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C..
* 1909 – The Young Left is founded in Norway.
* 1927 – Ibn Saud takes the title of King of Nejd.
* 1939 – First flight of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.
* 1943 – World War II: The VIII Bomber Command dispatched ninety-one B-17s and B-24s to attack the U-Boat construction yards at Wilhemshafen, Germany. The first American bombing attack on Germany.
* 1944 – World War II: The 900-day Siege of Leningrad is lifted.
* 1945 – World War II: The Red Army liberates the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland.
* 1951 – Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site begins with a one-kiloton bomb dropped on Frenchman Flat.
* 1961 – Soviet submarine S-80 sinks with all hands lost.
* 1967 – Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a fire during a test of their Apollo 1 spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
* 1967 – The United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union sign the Outer Space Treaty in Washington, D.C., banning deployment of nuclear weapons in space, and limiting use of the Moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes.
* 1973 – The Paris Peace Accords officially end the Vietnam War. Colonel William Nolde is killed in action becoming the conflict's last recorded American combat casualty.
* 1974 – The Brisbane River breaches its banks causing the largest flood to affect the city of Brisbane in the 20th Century
* 1980 – Through cooperation between the U.S. and Canadian governments, six American diplomats secretly escape hostilities in Iran in the culmination of the Canadian caper.
* 1983 – The pilot shaft of the Seikan Tunnel, the world's longest sub-aqueous tunnel (53.85 km) between the Japanese islands of Honshū and Hokkaidō, breaks through.
* 1984 – Pop singer Michael Jackson suffers second degree burns to his scalp during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in the Shrine Auditorium.
* 1993 – American-born sumo wrestler Akebono Tarō becomes the first foreigner to be promoted to the sport's highest rank of yokozuna.
* 1996 – In a military coup Colonel Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara deposes the first democratically elected president of Niger, Mahamane Ousmane.
* 1996 – Germany first observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
* 2002 – An explosion at a military storage facility in Lagos, Nigeria, kills at least 1,100 people and displaces over 20,000 others.
* 2003 – The first selections for the National Recording Registry are announced by the Library of Congress.
* 2006 – Western Union discontinues its Telegram and Commercial Messaging services.
* 2010 – The 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis ends when Porfirio Lobo Sosa becomes the new President of Honduras.