Today In History, 26 January: What Happened On This Day

What happened today in history (January 26): Paul Newman and José Mourinho were born, RK Laxman and Kobe Bryant died, India’s Republic Day was celebrated, the Indian constitution was adopted, the Bhuj earthquake , the world’s largest diamond was discovered, Australia became a British colony, and more.

This Day in History (January 26): Republic Day of India

This Day in History (January 26): Republic Day of India

Today in history, January 26: The first month of the year is coming to an end and it still feels like 2023 has just begun. January has passed in an instant. Life moves fast and time leaves everyone behind, but knowledge stays with you forever. In that sense, let’s broaden our minds by knowing the story of January.

Today is January 26, another normal winter day. However, January 26 occupies a critical place in world history.

Read on to find out what important events occurred that day (January 26) in sports, politics and art, along with famous birthdays and deaths in world history.

Historical events on this day

  • In 1340, the English king Edward III was proclaimed king of France.
  • In 1788, British Captain Arthur Phillip raised the Union Flag in Sydney Cove, New South Wales, marking the territory as a British colony, and the day has been celebrated as Australia Day ever since.
  • In 1887 construction of the Eiffel Tower began in Paris.
  • In 1905, the world’s largest diamond, the Cullinan, weighing 3,106 carats, was discovered in South Africa.
  • In 1930, the Indian National Congress declared January 26 as the day of “Poorna Swaraj”, or complete independence.
  • In 1942, the first American military force to head to Europe during World War II landed in Northern Ireland.
  • In 1950, India became a republic after adopting the constitution, the longest in the world, and achieved complete independence from Great Britain.
  • In 1950, Dr. Rajendra Prasad became the first president of India, succeeding Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, the first and last governor general of independent India.
  • In 1963, the Indian government declared the peacock the national bird of India.
  • In 2001, a devastating earthquake (magnitude 7.6) struck Bhuj, Gujarat, killing between 13,000 and 20,000 people and causing significant damage and injuries.
  • In 2004, President Hamid Karzai signed Afghanistan’s new constitution.
  • In 2009, Nadya Suleman gave birth to the world’s first surviving octuplet babies.

Sports events today

  • In 1913, American athlete Jim Thorpe gave up his two 1912 Olympic gold medals to participate as an amateur baseball player before the Olympic Games.
  • In 1966, Dutch speed skater Ard Schenk set the 1,500m skating record, becoming the first person to finish in under 2 minutes.
  • In 2019, Japanese-American tennis star Naomi Osaka became the world’s number one player after winning the Australian Open, beating Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.

Art and culture events today

  • In 1926, John Logie Baird gave the first public demonstration of his revolutionary television invention in his London laboratory.
  • In 1936, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin saw Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera “Lady Macbeth,” but left early with his officials, and the play was later denounced in the press.
  • In 1988, the musical The Phantom of the Opera by famous English composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the novel by Gaston Leroux, premiered on Broadway and became the longest-running show in Broadway history.
  • In 2009, American actor and comedian Jamie Foxx released his single “Blame It (On the Alcohol)”, featuring T-Pain, and the song won the Billboard Award for Song of the Year.

Notable deaths on this day

No sir

Year of death




Edward Jenner, English doctor who developed the smallpox vaccine and is called “the father of immunology”



José Ferrer, Puerto Rican actor and film director best known for playing the title character in the film Cyrano de Bergerac and starring in Moulin Rouge and Dune.



RK Laxman, Indian cartoonist, illustrator and comedian best known for creating the character The Common Man and the daily comic strip You Said It in The Times of India.



Kobe Bryant, American professional basketball player who was the leading scorer and won five championships playing for the Lakers.

Famous birthdays on this day

No sir

Year of birth




BD Sharma, first chief minister of Haryana and also governor of Odisha and Madha Pradesh.



Paul Newman, American actor, director, racing driver and businessman who was one of Hollywood’s biggest draws in the 1960s and 1970s, having starred in the films Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Towering Inferno and Hud.



Eddie Van Halen, American musician who was the leader, guitarist and keyboardist of the rock band Van Halen, known for the songs “Panama”, “Jump” and “Eruption”.



Ellen DeGeneres, American comedian, television host, actress, writer, and producer who headlined the Ellen DeGeneres Show from 2003 to 2022.



Wayne Gretzky, Canadian professional ice hockey player considered the greatest player in the NHL due to his illustrious career and efforts to popularize the sport worldwide.



José Mourinho, Portuguese football manager and former player who served as manager of professional clubs Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid.



Joseph Quinn, British actor who rose to fame playing the lovable metalhead Eddie Munson in the fourth season of Stranger Things.

Related | Today in History (January 25)

Related | Today in History (January 24)

Categories: Optical Illusion

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