On this day: Remembering historical events that took place on 15 January


The day 15 January holds a significant place in history owing to several notable events that happened on this day over the years. On this day in 1759, London’s renowned British Museum was first opened to the public. On the same day in 1919, the tragic event of the Great Molasses Flood claimed the lives of 21 people. On 15 January 2001, the popular Internet-based encyclopedia- Wikipedia debuted on the internet. On that very day in 2009, US Airways flight 1549 made an emergency landing in the Hudson River, injuring five passengers.

British Museum opened in London

On 15 January 1759, the British Museum, located in London, was first opened to the general public. The Elgin Marbles and the Rosetta Stone are among its notable archaeological artefacts. On the site of Montagu House, the museum’s current structure was constructed between 1823-52 and was designed in the Greek Revival style by Sir Robert Smirke. Under the copper dome of its renowned round reading room, which was constructed in the 1850s, scholars like Thomas Carlyle, Virginia Woolf, Karl Marx, and Peter Kropotkin laboured over their research.

Great Molasses Flood

A storage tank in Boston collapsed on 15 January 1919 in Boston, sending more than two million gallons of molasses flowing through the city and resulting in the Great Molasses Flood. The deluge took a massive toll in the northern part of Boston, killing as many as 21 people. The tank was constructed in 1915 on Commercial Street, adjacent to Copp’s Hill, near Boston’s waterfront. The Purity Distilling Company, a division of United States Industrial Alcohol (USIA), used to manage it. Industrial alcohol, which was originally produced from fermented molasses, was quite profitable at the time and was utilised to develop munitions and other World War I-era weapons.

Wikipedia launched

On 15 January 2001, Wikipedia, a free Internet-based encyclopedia, debuted on the internet. It was created by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger and the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation oversees it. During its inaugural year, Wikipedia produced 20,000 articles in 18 languages including Esperanto, French, German, Polish, Dutch, Hebrew, and Chinese. The construction of articles on Wikipedia is facilitated by the usage of a collaborative system called a wiki. Although a few widely publicised issues have drawn attention to Wikipedia’s editorial procedure, they haven’t had much of an impact on the site’s popularity among Internet users.

Miracle on the Hudson

On 15 January 2009, US Airways flight 1549, made an emergency landing in the Hudson River. In the event, also known as ‘Miracle on the Hudson’, five people were seriously injured but no casualties were reported. On that day, the Airbus A320 piloted by US Airways took off from LaGuardia with its destination being Charlotte, North Carolina. A total of 150 passengers and 5 crew members were on board. Right after leaving the ground, the flight crashed into a group of Canadian geese. Due to the serious damage to both engines, there was hardly little velocity left. Captain Chesley (“Sully”) Sullenberger III, who was the pilot, showed great presence of mind. When he realised that he would not be able to return the plane to LaGuardia, he attempted a risky water landing. The plane successfully landed in the river, and the incident made Sullenberger a national hero. In 2016, Clint Eastwood released a movie on the incident, named Sully, with Tom Hanks in the lead.

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On this day: Remembering historical events that took place on 15 January
On this day: Remembering historical events that took place on 15 January
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