The Fists of Righteous Harmony, popularly known as the "Boxers" stepped up their opposition to the foreign presence in China, killing the first foreign missionary. Reverend S.M. Brooke from Britain was kidnapped on the day before while returning to his home in Tainanfu, and beheaded on New Year's Day.
What would, more than 90 years later, be called the Year 2000 problem or Y2K was based on the six digit programming of dates. Since 12/31/99 would be followed by 01/01/00, the fear was that programs would interpret January 1, 1900, as the day after December 31, 1999. There was a parallel in 1900 technology, for persons who owned a calendar clock. Because 1900 was not a leap year, the clocks became inaccurate on March 1.
Frederick Weyerhaeuser purchased 900,000 acres (1,406 square miles) of forestlands in Washington State from railroad owner James J. Hill, for $5,400,000 in advance of the founding of the Weyerhauser Timber Company.
An insurance carrier concluded that the British transport Victoria, last seen on November 14, had been lost in a typhoon,
in Manila, the Philippines, General Elwell Otis, the highest ranking American officer, issued orders providing for the first regulations of the sale of liquor in the city. "Until January 4, 1900", wrote the Assistant Adjutant-General, "there was, strictly speaking, no liquor license law in Manila." 
The German steamer Herzog was seized by the British warship HMS Thetis outside of Delagoa Bay in East Africa, on suspicions that it was carrying supplies to Boer troops. The Portuguese colonial Governor of Zambesia was among the passengers After none were found, the ship and its crew were released on January 22.
In the Siege of Ladysmith, Boer troops under the command of General C.J. de Villiers attempted a raid against the British fortress in South Africa. Over 1,000 soldiers died in its defense. British Lt. Gen. Sir George White held the defense until relief arrived on February 28.
For the first time in centuries, the sword of the Gorsedd bards was solemnly unsheathed at Merionethshire in Wales. According to contemporary records, "The chief bard invoked the blessing of God on British arms in South Africa, and announced that the sword would not be sheathed again till the triumph of the forces of righteousness over the hordes of evil." 
Melville E. Ingalls, President of the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, known commonly as the "Big Four", reported that William K. Vanderbilt had taken control of that line. Vanderbilt had also taken control of the Lake Erie & Western, and the Chesapeake and Ohio railroads. Ingalls was quoted as saying,"There is no doubt that the Vanderbilts now own the 'Big Four'. As a matter of fact, they have controlled it for some time, but the practical ownership has just been secured."  A meeting was held the following day, at Vanderbilt's office in Grand Central Station, of the directors of Big Four railroads
General A.W. Greely, arctic explorer and Chief Signal Officer of the U.S. Army, was beaten unconscious at his home in Washington
Nikola Tesla closed down his experimental laboratory in Colorado Springs, Colorado. During his seven months there, he made numerous discoveries in the long distance transmission of energy.
The first 27 immigrants from Okinawa arrived in Hawaii on the ship City of China, following transportation arranged by Kyuzo Toyama, and were set to begin work on a sugar plantation.
Marshal O. Waggoner, Toledo attorney, who had recently converted to Christianity, destroyed his library of books "consisting of the writings of infidels". "Many of the volumes were exceedingly rare. There were a large number of manuscripts and first prints not to be found in any other library in America." 
The home of New York World publisher (and future prize founder) Joseph Pulitzer was destroyed in a fire that killed a governess and a friend of the family. The fire broke out at the home, located on 10 East 55th Street in New York City, at 7:30 in the morning.
Arthur Balfour, Conservative leader of the House of Commons, acknowledged Britain's reverses in the Boer War, but added, "I know of no war in which Great Britain has been engaged, except that resulting in the independence of the American colonies, which did not end triumphantly." 
Secretary of War Elihu Root announced in Milwaukee that he would not accept the nomination to be William McKinley's running mate in 1900. The spot became available after the death, in 1899, of Vice President Garret A. Hobart.
Kentucky Governor William S. Taylor told associates that he would not release his office, even if challenger William Goebel were to be ruled the winner of the 1899 gubernatorial election,
Collector F.M. Davis of Chicago was arrested after bills representing $100,000 of Confederate money were found at his mail order business on Monroe Street.
Following a drought during the 1899 rainy season, famine affected more than three million people in the Central Provinces of India. The colonial government extended the area for famine relief in response to reports.
The New York Times reported that new cleaning machines had been placed in use at the Navy Department offices in Washington, with rubber tires and spreading brushes. The machine was operated by the women who formerly scrubbed the floor by hand form.
Dr. Howard Ayres, the new President of the University of Cincinnati, announced that he would ask the university's Board of Trustees to dismiss the entire faculty as part of Monday's scheduled meeting.
John Barrett, formerly the U.S. Ambassador Siam (now Thailand), said in a speech at Lake Forest College that the insurrection by Emilio Aguinaldo in the Philippines had been brought about by an anti-expansion speech made on January 9, 1899, by U.S. Senator George F. Hoar's. The speech to the Senate had been cabled to Hong Kong at cost of $4,000. "I was in the islands, and I know that many of the Filipinos were more friendly to the Americans than to Aguinaldo and his leaders until they were incited to war by such circulars as these", Barrett said. Senator Hoar denied the accusations.
The hospital at Johns Hopkins University began use of small square of adhesive plaster as tag on baby's back, between the shoulder blades. "It holds on tightly until the time comes for the baby and its mother to leave the hospital, when the tag may be readily pulled off without causing the baby any pain", a spokesman said.
Brigham H. Roberts was refused a seat in the United States House of Representatives after an investigation showed that he had committed polygamy. He had married his first wife in 1878, a second wife in 1878, and a third in 1897. The vote of a committee was seven to two against seating him, with Congressmen DeArmond and Littlefield arguing that he should be seated and then expelled.
The Yaqui Indians of the Sonora state issued a proclamation of their independence from Mexico, and asked Americans to come to their aid. The declaration, made at Bavispe, was signed by Manuel Suuveda, who declared himself President of the Yaqui state. The Mexican consul in El Paso, Francisco Mallen, described claims of the Yaquis as "simply ridiculous". Days later, the Mexican Army suppressed the rebellion, killing 200 people and injuring 500 in Nogales.
After the Attorney General of Missouri, E.B. Crow, had announced plans to seek an injunction against its completion, the Chicago Canal was opened in a hastily prepared ceremony. Governor Tanner of Illinois signed a permit at 10:15 am, and Col. Isaac Taylor of the Canal Commission made a five minute speech about the importance of connecting the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River. At 11:16 am, the dam between the canal and the Des Plaines River was lowered.
The Superintendent of Immigration in Toronto reported that nearly 14,000 Americans, with a total worth of two million dollars, emigrated to Canada during 1899, and added that "Kansas and Arkansas supplied the greater part of those who came." 
Battle of Mazocoba: In a battle during the Yaqui Wars between Mexican government troops and the indigenous Yaqui Indians, 400 of the Yaqui were killed. Another 1,800 of the defeated people were captured, of whom half died during a forced march. The Mexican Army suffered 56 deaths and 104 wounded.
The Weyerhauser Timber Company was incorporated in Washington State
The Supreme Court of Delaware refused to admit Philadelphia attorney Carrie B. Kilgore to practice, because she was not eligible to vote, a requirement of state law.
In New York, Mrs. Annie Ellsworth Smith died at the age of 73. "It was Mrs. Smith who, on May 24, 1844, when she was a girl of seventeen, sent the famous first telegraphic message, 'What hath God wrought?' from the United States Supreme Courtroom, Washington, to Baltimore." 
Henry Allen Hazen, the chief forecaster for the United States Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service), was fatally injured when his bike collided with an African-American pedestrian at the corner of 16th and M streets in Washington. He died the following day from a skull fracture. Hazen was credited with inventing the sling psychrometer, an improved thermometer shelter, and detailed barometric tables
At a closed session in Beijing, a council of "Grand Councillors, Grand Secretaries and Presidents of the Board" was convened, and agreed that the Emperor Kwang-hsu should abdicate. P'u Ch'un, age 14, was announced as heir apparent to the throne.
At the Battle of Spion Kop, Boer troops defeated the British army. General Buller cabled to London that "Gen. Warren's garrison, I am sorry to say, I find this morning, had in the night abandoned Spion Kop." 
To combat an outbreak of bubonic plague, health authorities arranged the burning of a condemned home in Honolulu. The fire got out of control and destroyed a large portion of the city at its Chinatown section, leaving 6,000 people homeless.
Born:Theodosius Dobzhansky, pioneering geneticist and evolutionary biologist, author of Genetics and the Origin of Species, in Nemyriv, the Ukraine (d. 1975)
Following the announcement of the abdication of Emperor Kwang Hsu, the Director of the Imperial Chinese Telegraph in Shanghai obtained a petition with 1,230 signatures and sent a telegram to urge that the Emperor reconsider. The Empress Tzu Hsi ordered his arrest, but the Director escaped to Macao
In Peiping (now Beijing), diplomats for Britain, the United States, France, Germany and Italy sent note to the Chinese Foreign Ministry (the Zongli Yamen) requesting an imperial decree to order the suppression of the Boxers and the Big Sword Society in Shandong and Zhili.
Despite U.S. President William McKinley's Executive Order that the new American territory be called "Puerto Rico", a Senate Committee voted unanimously to refer to the island legally as "Porto Rico". In addition, the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to retire the Puerto Rican money in favor of U.S. coinage, at the rate of 60 cents per peso.
In Baltimore, Police Marshal Hamilton enforced Maryland's 177 year old blue law, Article XXVII, section 247, which provided that "No person shall work or do any bodily labor on the Lord's Day". Every store in the city was ordered closed, including businesses that formerly had arranged open. The New York Times reported that "every cigar store, corner grocery, bakery and the like were closed up tight" and that the police were ordered to take the names of violators for future prosecution.
William Goebel, who had run for Governor of Kentucky against William S. Taylor and who had taken a court challenge over the results, was found to be the winner of the 1899 gubernatorial election. As he and his bodyguards, Colonel Jack Chinn and Warden E.P. Lillard of the state penitentiary, walked to the State Senate chamber, he was hit by gunfire that came from the neighboring state office building. Goebel attempted to draw his own revolver but collapsed on the pavement. Chinn said later that Goebel told him, "They have got me this time. I guess they have killed me." It was determined that the shots were from a .38 caliber rifle.
On his deathbed, William Goebel was sworn in as Governor of Kentucky at 8:55 pm. Chief Justice Hazelrigg also swore in J.C.W Beckham as lieutenant governor. Meanwhile, W.S. Taylor continued to assert that he was Governor, and issued an order moving the state legislature to meet in London, Kentucky.