What Happened On This Day – January 8
1994 Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov begins his record spaceflight
Polyakov stayed aboard the Mir space station for a record-breaking 437 days and 18 hours.
1959 Charles de Gaulle becomes president of France
His right-wing political ideology, Gaullism, still influences French politics today.
1912 The African National Congress (ANC) is founded
The ANC, whose most famous member is Nelson Mandela, played an important role in the fight against the South African apartheid regime and it is now the country's governing political party.
1889 Computer pioneer Herman Hollerith patents his punched card calculator
His invention paved the way for modern automatic computation.
1790 George Washington delivers the first State of the Union address
The U.S. president typically uses this annual speech to outline his political agenda.
Births On This Day – January 8
1967 R. Kelly
American singer-songwriter, producer, actor
1947 David Bowie
English singer-songwriter, producer, actor
1942 Stephen Hawking
English physicist, author
1935 Elvis Presley
American singer, guitarist, actor
1934 Jacques Anquetil
Deaths On This Day – January 8
1996 François Mitterrand
French politician, 21st President of France
1976 Zhou Enlai
Chinese politician, 1st Premier of the People's Republic of China
1942 Joseph Franklin Rutherford
American lawyer, religious leader
1642 Galileo Galilei
Italian astronomer, physicist