On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed and issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that slaves in rebel states shall be "forever free."
On this date:
In 1785, The Daily Universal Register -- which later became the Times of London -- published its first issue.
In 1890, the first Tournament of Roses was held in Pasadena, Calif.
In 1892, the Ellis Island Immigrant Station in New York formally opened.
In 1913, the U.S. Parcel Post system went into operation.
In 1942, 26 countries, including the United States, signed the Declaration of the United Nations, pledging "not to make a separate armistice or peace" with members of the Axis.
In 1953, country singer Hank Williams Sr., 29, was discovered dead in the back seat of his car during a stop in Oak Hill, W.Va., while he was being driven to a concert date in Canton, Ohio.
In 1959, Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries overthrew Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista, who fled to the Dominican Republic.
In 1962, The Beatles (with Pete Best) auditioned for Decca Records, which opted to sign Brian Poole and the Tremeloes instead.
In 1983, the current version of the Internet came into being as the Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, became the mandatory standard.
In 1984, the breakup of AT&T took place as the telecommunications giant was divested of its 22 Bell System companies under terms of an antitrust agreement.
In 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully split into two new countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect.
Ten years ago: More than two dozen surgeons in West Virginia stopped performing elective surgeries to protest the high cost of malpractice insurance. (They returned to work two weeks later when they were convinced that the governor and the legislature would address their concerns.) Brazil's first elected leftist president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva , took office. Oklahoma romped past Washington State 34-14 in the Rose Bowl; Georgia defeated Florida State 26-13 in the Sugar Bowl; Notre Dame saw its sixth straight bowl loss, losing to North Carolina State 28-6 in the Gator Bowl.
Five years ago: Revelers celebrated the new year around the world; a ball dropped for the 100th year in New York's Times Square. Violence claimed scores of lives in Kenya, Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. diplomat John Granville and his driver were shot to death by Sudanese gunmen in Khartoum. New no-smoking rules went into effect in France, prohibiting people from lighting up in cafes, bars and restaurants. Cyprus and Malta adopted the euro. The Georgia Bulldogs romped past Hawaii 41-10 at the Sugar Bowl, ending the Warriors' perfect season.
One year ago: A Mount Rainier National Park ranger, Margaret Anderson, was shot and killed by the driver of a car that blew through a checkpoint. (Searchers later found the body of the man, 24-year-old Benjamin Colton Barnes, in a snowy creek.)
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