As each year winds down we look forward to the next with anticipation. To celebrate 2016, let’s take a look at these historic January 1sts (in no particular order).

11The Euro Introduced (2002)

The Euro Introduced (2002)

The official currency of the eurozone was introduced to financial markets on January 1st, 1999, with the actual coins and currency entering circulation three years later. It currently serves as the currency of nineteen different countries. But it hasn’t been an easy ride and the Euro has been a point of controversy with countries in and outside the eurozone.

10The Velvet Divorce (1993)

The Velvet Divorce (1993)

Czechoslovakia formed in 1918, but a shaky history under communist rule led to the country’s dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. Interestingly, the revolution leading to this dissolution (the “Velvet Revolution”) was peaceful and nonviolent.

9Declaration by the United Nations (1942)

Declaration by United Nations (1942)

Serving as the basis for what would eventually become the United Nations, twenty-six countries signed this declaration, agreeing to act together in preserving human rights abroad and to join forces against its collective enemies (then defined as signatories to the Berlin Pact).

8The founding of the Republic of China (1912)

Founding of Republic of China (1912)

Following a brief uprising that started in the previous October, the formation of the Republic of China ended over two-thousand years of Imperialism in the country. However, the country remained in turmoil and was soon taken over by the Communist Party in 1949, forming the People’s Republic of China.

7Importing Slaves to the US Banned (1808)

Importing Slaves to the US Banned (1808)

The Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves took effect in 1808. However, it didn’t outlaw slavery in the United States entirely, nor was it effective in eliminating the importation of slaves into the country. Which brings us to our next entry.

6Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

President Lincoln issued this executive order turning some three-million slaves into free people. Of course, this couldn’t be enforced in rebelling states until Union forces gained control of those areas. Despite this and the adopting of the 14th Amendment in 1865, slavery continued to exist for some time in the US.

5Amazing Grace (1773)


The words to what would become the hymn “Amazing Grace” (arguably the most popular English-language hymn) first appeared alongside a sermon (it’s unknown if it was accompanied with music). Though written originally for an English parish, its popularity really took off in 1800’s America.

4The New York Ball Drop (1908)


This was the first time the ball dropped in Times Square (technically starting a minute earlier in 1907) to welcome the new year. It was introduced to replace a fireworks show previously held by The New York Times newspaper. It has dropped every year since (except 1942 and 1943).

3The First January New Year (45 BC)


In this year the Julian calendar took effect, making January 1st the official start of the year. Julius Cesar devised the calendar to have twelve months and three-hundred and sixty-five and one-quarter days (accounting for leap years).

2First Coast to  (1954)


America was the first country to use color television broadcasts, having done so in 1950, but it wasn’t until New Year’s day in 1954 when NBC broadcast the Tournament of Roses Parade all over the country. New types of televisions were produced to show this new technology to the public.

12K (2000)


The most famous New Year of them all, the Y2K bug was an issue relating to how computers understood dates. Essentially systems that understood years with two digits could mistake 2000 for 1000.

This promised to wreck everything. Then January 1st rolled around and nearly nothing happened. Though some computer issues are documented, the most far-flung fears never materialized.