[The disappearance of Jane (9), Arnna (7), and Grant (4) - collectively known as the Beaumont Children - marked a major loss of innocence in Australian culture, as previously that country's parents had considered their children safe from human predators; prompting the largest and most prolonged investigation in Australian history, and despite the identification of four plausible suspects - including Bevan Spencer von Einem, Arthur Stanley Brown, James O'Neill, and Derek Percy - no trace of any of the children has ever been found.]
1531 - An estimated 30,000 people died when Lisbon was hit by an earthquake.
1700 - The magnitude 9 Cascadia Earthquake took place off the west coast of the North America, as evidenced by Japanese records of a tsunami which struck the east coast of that country and the carbon dating of tree rings in the affected area.
1736 - Poland's King Stanislaus I abdicated his throne.
1788 - The British First Fleet, led by Arthur Phillip, sailed into Sydney Harbour to establish Sydney, the first permanent European settlement on the continent; today the event is commemorated as Australia Day.
1808 - The Rum Rebellion - the only successful (albeit short-lived) armed takeover of the government in Australian history - occurred twenty years to the day after the colony was founded, when Governor William Bligh was deposed by forces loyal to John Macarthur.
1837 - Michigan became the 26th US state.
1856 - The first Battle of Seattle occurred when US Marines from the USS Decatur - commanded by Guert Gansevoort and anchored in Elliott Bay - fired upon Suquamish and Duwamish attackers after an all day battle with settlers; the Native Americans reported 28 dead and 80 wounded. Part of the Puget Sound War, the battle occurred one year to the day after Washington Territory governor Isaac Stevens imposed the Point No Point Treaty on the S'Klallam, the Chimacum and the Skokomish tribes at Point No Point, on the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula. Stevens had only recently declared a 'war of extermination' against all the indigenous peoples of the region.
1861 - Louisiana seceded from the United States to join the Confederate States of America.
1905 - The Cullinan Diamond was discovered; it was later presented to King Edward VII and has been incorporated into the British Crown Jewels.
1911 - Richard Strauss' opera Der Rosenkavalier received its debut performance at the Dresden State Opera.
1934 - Harlem's Apollo Theater was reopened.
1950 - The Constitution of India was adopted, and India became a republic; the date is now celebrated in that country as Republic Day.
1966 - The Beaumont Children went missing from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide, South Australia, during a family picnic on that year's Australia Day.
1988 - Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera debuted on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre; it is currently the longest-running show in the history of the Great White Way, with more than 9,500 performances in that location alone, surpassing Lloyd Webber's other monster hit Cats in January 2006.
1993 - Vaclav Havel was elected President of the newly created Czech Republic.
1998 - During a televised press conference from the White House, US President Bill Clinton insisted he 'did not have sexual relations' with Monica Lewinsky; it was later revealed, however, that she'd had sexual relations with him, which is (regardless of what your definition of 'is' is) still none of our damn business - and hardly on a par with forcing the President to resign over the discovery that he'd authorized the burglary of the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate hotel, for which it was retaliation.
2001 - On India's Republic Day, an earthquake centered at Gujarat killed 30,000 and injured 55,000 more.
2004 - President Hamid Karzai signed the new constitution of Afghanistan.
2005 - Condoleezza Rice was sworn in as US Secretary of State.
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