On This Day in History: January 8

January 8 saw Great Britain start rationing certain food items during World War II. What else happened today in history?

1642: Death of Galileo Galilei

GalileoAt the age of 77, Galileo Galilei died on January 7, 1642. He is considered the “father of modern astronomy,” as well as the “father of science” because of his many discoveries at the time. He was the first person to observe the skies with a telescope, discovering Jupiter’s moons and Saturn’s rings, along with other elements of the solar system that were previously unknown. However, Galileo was charged with heresies due to his modern understandings and was sentenced to life in prison from 1633. He was eventually placed under house arrest because of his poor health.

1790: The First State of the Union Address

In history today, the first State of the Union address was given in New York City by President George Washington. One of the first things he congratulated the people on was North Carolina’s decision to join the republic, something it had rejected in July two years previously. During the address, Washington also outlined the policies of the administration.

1815: The Battle of New Orleans Takes Place

The Battle of New Orleans took place two weeks after the official end of the War of 1812. It was America’s U.S. General Andrew Jackson’s greatest victory and only took place because it took the two weeks for troops in America to hear about the signing of the Treaty of Ghent. Britain attacked the Americans with more troops, but the position of Jackson’s defenses was too great. The battle would go on to boost Jackson’s rating with the Americans and would become the last armed engagement between Britain and America.

1940: Great Britain Rations Food

World War II had started for Britain months earlier, and the country was already struggling. People found themselves rationed on many goods, especially sugar, butter and meat. Individuals were given ration books, so they were limited to the amount they could buy on a weekly basis. In some cases, foods were no longer available until after the war. The rationing started on this day in history.

Born on January 8

First United States bank head Nicholas Biddle—1786

Texas Declaration of Independence author George Childress–1804

Woman in White author Wilkie Collins–1824

Australian Prime Minister John Curtin–1885

Elvis Presley—1935

The Newlywed Game host Graham Chapman—1941

Physicist Stephen Hawking–1942

David Bowie—1947

I Wish I Could Fly singer R. Kelly–1969

Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un–1983

Princess Josephine of Denmark—2011



Featured image from Deposit Photos

Birthdays from HistoryNet.com and OnThisDay.com

Image of Galileo in the public domain (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei#/media/File:Justus_Sustermans_-_Portrait_of_Galileo_Galilei,_1636.jpg)

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