The Republic of China was established as Dr. Sun Yat-Sen took the oath of office as the Provisional President at Nanjing. According to Homer Lea, an advisor to Sun and the only Westerner to witness the ceremony, a band played "Behold, the Conquering Hero Comes" and the hymn "God Be with You till We Meet Again". Although Sun's supporters controlled most of southern China, Yuan Shikai retained power in the north as the chief of the Emperor's army in Beijing, and would soon become President of a united nation.
The city of Timmins, Ontario, was incorporated as a company town located at the "Porcupine Camp" of a gold mining company.
The Swiss Civil Code, adopted on December 10, 1907, came into operation. The code was the work of law professor Eugen Huber and the product of 15 years of refinement. As one commentator noted, "there was nothing hurried in the preparation or adoption of this code".
England beat France, 7-1, in international soccer at Tufnell Park.
Born:Kim Philby (Harold Adrian Russell Philby), British intelligence officer who passed secret information to the Soviet Union until defecting in 1963; in Ambala, British India (d. 1988). Philby was born three days after Klaus Fuchs, who had betrayed American atomic secrets to the Soviets, and died four months after Fuchs.
With 4,000 Russian troops occupying the Persian city of Tabriz, the Russian authorities executed eight of the Iranian leaders who had supported the Constitutional Revolution and had failed to leave the city. The date chosen coincided with Shi'ite holiday of the 10th of Muharram.
Neurologist Ernst Trömner, introduced a test for what he called the Fingerbeugephänomen, though it is more commonl called "Trömner's reflex" at a meeting of the Hamburg Medical Society. The reflex is tested by on a patient's fingers for signs of a lesion of the cervical nerves.
British Antarctic Expedition: Robert Falcon Scott and seven fellow explorers made the planned separation, with the original goal of Scott, Edward Wilson, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans to make the final assault on the South Pole, and Teddy Evans, Tom Crean, William Lashly and Henry Bowers to return to base. Captain Scott changed the plan, adding Bowers to the South Pole group, and sharing four persons' resources with five people, a decision that would prove to be disastrous.
Died: Rear Admiral Robley Evans, 65, former commander of U.S. Navy Asiatic Fleet (1902–1904) and then of its North Atlantic Fleet (1905–07) at the beginning of the "Great White Fleet" voyage around the world; and Felix Dahn, 77, German author
The Moon was at its closest point to Earth in the 20th Century, at 221,451 miles distance (356,375 km). On March 2, 1984, the Moon would be furthest away during the century, at 252,731 miles. The closest approach in the 21st Century will be 221,535 miles, on November 14, 2016, and the most distant took place on March 14, 2002 (252,728 miles).
Dr. Sun Yat-sen issued the "Manifesto from the Republic of China to All Friendly Nations", shifting a change in its foreign policy with a promise to end the isolationism of the Manchu Emperors, and "to rejoin China with the international community". On the same day, Dr. Sun met with women's suffragist Lin Zongsu and pledged to aid in allowing women the right to vote in the new Republic.
New Mexico was admitted as the 47th state of the United States of America at 1:35 pm, after President Taft signed the proclamation. New Mexico had been passed up for statehood on 15 other occasions since becoming a territory in 1850. William C. McDonald was its first governor, and Albert B. Fall and Thomas B. Catron were its first U.S. Senators.
At a meeting of the Geological Association of Germany, at Frankfurt am Main, Alfred Wegener first presented the theory of continental drift, reading his paper, Die Herausbildung der Grossformen der Erdinde (Kontinente und Ozeane) auf geophysikalischer Grundlage ("The geophysical basis of the evolution of large-scale features of the earth's crust").
W. Morgan Shuster resigned as Treasurer-General of Persia, bringing to an end the war with Russia. In return for his resignation, the Russians guaranteed safe passage through occupied territory for Shuster and his family. He left Tehran on January 11 by automobile, and departed the country on the Russian steamer Teheran on January 14, returning to the United States by way of Russia.
George V, Emperor of India in addition to being King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, departed his Empire after a triumphant visit of more than one month, setting sail from Calcutta (now Kolkata) along with Queen Mary and his entourage.
The 130 foot tall Equitable Building, New York City's first skyscraper, was destroyed by a fast moving fire. The blaze had started at 5:00 in the morning, so the loss of life was low, but the offices of three of the nation's largest financial institutions- Equitable Life, Mercantile Safe Deposit, and many law firms—were destroyed. Fireproof vaults protected several billion dollars of securities, stocks and bonds from destruction.
France's Prime Minister Joseph Caillaux and his cabinet were forced to resign, two days after the French Senate concluded that he had secretly negotiated the give-away of French territory without the President's knowledge in working out a treaty with Germany. The Foreign Minister, Justin de Selves, declined to deny the accusations against Caillaux.
The Russian steamer Russ, on its way across the Black Sea from Galați to Odessa, sank in the Black Sea with 172 people on board. Among the casualties were the new Consul General, Carl Anseff, and his family.
Lawrence textile strike: Receiving their paychecks a day before the rest of the employees at the Everett Mills Company in Lawrence, Massachusetts, mostly Polish-speaking women employed as weavers found that the company had cut their pay (already low, ranging from 91⁄2 cents to 20 cents per hour) after a new state law had gone into effect limiting the work week to 54 hours. The women immediately walked off the job. The next day, the strike would spread to the other companies in the city.
Lawrence textile strike: A day after the first group of textile workers in Lawrence received smaller paychecks, other employees at the Everett Mills got their reduced pay, and walked off the job. Employees at the other companies—American Woolen, Arlington Mills and Pacific Mills—followed suit. Men, women and children from 25 different nationalities defied attempts to break up the strike, holding out for nine weeks until March 13, when American Woolen agreed to the strikers' demands, raising wages by 5 to 25%, and giving 25% extra for overtime.
German federal election, 1912: In the first round of the German parliamentary election, with 208 seats in the Reichstag at stake, Socialists won 64 of the seats, increasing their margin by 26, while the government coalition lost 29. The second round was set for January 23, with 121 seats to be filled.
The General Post Office of the British government assumed all control of the national telephone system, "leaving the United States as the only major nation in which the network was privately owned".
The lowest temperatures ever measured at Iowa (-47 °F at Washta, matched on February 3, 1996 at Elkader) and in Minnesota (-40 °F at Pipestone) were recorded on the same day. Pipestone also set the record for Minnesota's highest temperature (108 °F) on 4 occasions between 1930 and 1936.
José Canalejas, Prime Minister of Spain, resigned along with his cabinet, two days after the King Alfonso XIII pardoned 6 of the 7 rioters of Cullera, all of whom had been sentenced to death. Canalejas resumed office the next day with a new cabinet.
Camp Trouble, the first training site for U.S. Navy aviators, was opened on a peninsula in San Diego Bay, consisting of a set of tents and three airplanes. By May, all three of the planes had been wrecked, and the squadron was transferred to Annapolis, Maryland, on May 2, 1912.
The Turkish Chamber of Deputies was dissolved, three days after a proposed constitutional amendment, allowing Sultan Abdul Hamid II to dissolve Parliament in time of war, failed to receive more than 125 votes out of 188 that would have been necessary in the 376 member chamber.
British Antarctic Expedition: One day away from the South Pole, Captain Robert Scott wrote in his journal, "The worst has happened, or nearly the worst." After starting the afternoon "in high spirits", the party saw "the remains of a camp; sledge tracks and ski tracks going and coming and the clear trace of dogs' paws- many dogs. This told us the whole story. The Norwegians have forestalled us and are first at the Pole."
An attempt was made on the life of China's Premier Yuan Shih-kai. Three bombs were thrown at him as he was returning from an audience at the Imperial Palace. Yuan was unhurt, but twenty people around him were injured.
British Antarctic Expedition: "The Pole. Yes, but under very different circumstances from those expected. We have had a horrible day..." Robert Falcon Scott and his team of four explorers became the second expeditionary group to reach the South Pole, after Roald Amundsen and his party had become the first. "Great God! this is an awful place and terrible enough for us to have laboured to it without the reward of priority. Well, it is something to have got here..." Sick, cold, hungry and demoralized, Scott and his men camped at the Pole. "Now for the run home and a desperate struggle. I wonder if we can do it."
French scientist Alexis Carrel, working at the Rockefeller Institute in New York City, removed a piece of the heart of a chicken embryo, then kept the fragment alive for the remaining 32 years of his life. Carrel, who won the Nobel Prize later in the year (though not for the experiment), died on November 5, 1944. The tissue lasted until September 1946.
France's Chamber of Deputies overwhelmingly approved the new government of Prime Minister Poincaire, by a vote of 440-6.
Over 1,000 people were killed in fighting in the Ecuador Civil War between troops from the Quito national government and the Guayaquil rebel government at Yaguachi, northeast of Guayaquil. General Julio Andrade, leader of the Quito troops, defeated the rebels. General Flavio Alfaro, commander of the rebel troops, was wounded.
The results of the British Miners' Federation vote on a strike were released, showing 445,801 in favor and 115,921 against. The strike, aimed at securing a minimum wage for coal miners, would begin on March 1 and last until April 4.
President Taft pardoned Charles W. Morse after the Wall Street financier had served more than a year of a 15 year prison sentence, upon being advised that Morse was terminally ill. Morse recovered and outlived Taft, dying in 1933.
Joseph Conrad achieved his first popular success as the New York Herald began serializing his novel Chance, having bought the rights to the unfinished work, halted in 1906, in June, 1911. Conrad continued to work on finishing the book while the first chapters were appearing weekly in the Herald, completing it on March 26.
Two days after a woman and her four children in Crowley, Louisiana, were hacked to death in their home by the killer later dubbed the "Mulatto Ax Murderer", Felix Broussard, his wife and three children were killed in similar fashion in Lake Charles, about fifty miles west. Six people had been killed in November in Lafayette, 25 miles to the west of Crowley. The killings had started in January 1911 in Rayne, 15 miles from Crowley, and occurred in Texas as well. The Broussard killings marked 24 murders to that point.
The Overseas Railroad carried its first passengers from Palm Beach to Key West with the completion of the six-year construction of the Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway. Henry Morrison Flagler, the railway's owner, financed the seemingly impossible project of building bridges and landfill to lay 169 miles of railroad tracks across the waters to link the islands of the Florida Keys. Flagler, 82, arrived with the other passengers at 10:43 to a cheering crowd of 10,000 people, and told the gathering, "Now I can die happy. My dream is fulfilled." He would pass away 1 year and 4 months later.
Sun Yat-sen and Yuan Shih-kai completed their negotiations on the unification of the Republic of China and the area in Northern China, with Dr. Sun agreeing to yield the presidency to Yuan upon the abdication of the Emperor.
Former Illinois Central Railroad company President J.T. Harahan and 3 other passengers were killed in a wreck in Illinois when the private car of Vice-President F.O. Melcher of the Rock Island line was struck from behind by another train. The accident happened near Kinmundy, Illinois
The International Opium Convention was signed at The Hague by 12 nations. The signatories resolved to work toward "the gradual suppression of the abuse of opium, morphine, cocaine, as also of the drugs prepared or derived from these substances which give rise or might give rise to similar abuses."
The town of Forgan, Oklahoma was incorporated as the end of the line for the Wichita Falls & Northwestern Railroad Company
General Pedro Montero, who had been proclaimed President of Ecuador on December 29 by rebelling Ecuadorian troops, was sentenced to 16 years in prison following his court-martial in Guayaquil. Montero had been captured in battle three days earlier. As soon as former President Leónidas Plaza announced the military court's findings, members of the crowd outside protested that the sentence was too light. Several rushed in inside and shot General Montero to death, then carried his corpse outside, where the mob beheaded it, then burned it in a bonfire.
Voting in elections for the German Reichstag was concluded, with the Socialists having the largest number of seats—100 out of 397, and the Radical and National Liberal parties having 44 and 47, for a total of 191, still short of a majority. Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg was able to find a new government.
Karl Grulich, German aviator, tripled the record for staying aloft with multiple passengers, flying for 1 hour and 35 minutes in a Harlan monoplane over Johannistal. The prior record had been 31 minutes by Frenchman M. Busson on March 10, 1911 at Rheims.
A group of 47 generals and commanders of China's Imperial Army, all of whom had pledged their allegiance to the monarchy earlier in the month, signed a petition to the Emperor and the regent, asking that the Manchu rulers give way to a Republic under Yuan Shih-kai. "This memorial dealt a lethal blow to the dynasty," an author would note later.
According to his own letter to the magazine Popular Astronomy, Amateur astronomer Frank B. Harris was observing through his telescope and saw an object crossing the Moon, which he described as something that "was fully as black comparatively as marks on this paper, and in shape like a crow poised". Harris estimated it as being 250 miles long and 50 miles wide. Although nobody else reported witnessing the phenomenon, the story has been repeated in the decades that followed. The briefly reported event has been described as something "that launched the 'modern' period of anomalous lunar happenings.
A mob in Quito stormed the penetentiary where former President Eloy Alfaro and his brothers Flavio and Medardo had been held as prisoners of war since their capture on January 22. Eloy, who had been President as recently as August, and had served from 1895 to 1901, and again from 1906 to 1911, and Flavio, who had been proclaimed President by rebels in Guayaquil, were lynched along with the others.
The Lin-shih ts'an-i-yuan, also known as the Nanking Assembly and the first legislature for the Republic of China, convened at Nanjing with representatives from all of the provinces.
Renowned trial lawyer Clarence Darrow was indicted by a grand jury in Los Angeles, on charges of attempted bribery of a juror in the case that he was defending for J.B. McNamara. Arrested, he was released on $20,000 bail. Darrow would be acquitted in August after a three-month trial. In a separate case, the jury deadlocked with 8 of 12 jurors. The district attorney agreed not to renew the charges as long as Darrow agreed never to practice in California again.
Died:Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife, 62, husband of Louise Victoria, The Princess Royal of Great Britain (eldest daughter of King Edward VII) and brother-in-law of King George V, died suddenly of pleurisy at Aswan, Egypt.
In an interview with the Chicago Evening Post, former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt announced for the first time that he would accept the nomination for the presidency, though he would not actively seek a return to the White House.
^C. X. George Wei, Chinese Nationalism in Perspective: Historical and Recent Cases (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001) p108
^David Strand, An Unfinished Republic: Leading by Word and Deed in Modern China (University of California Press, 2011) p113
^Miklós Kun, Stalin: An Unknown Portrait (Central European University Press, 2003) p123
^Bruce Hall, Tea That Burns: A Family Memoir of Chinatown (Simon and Schuster, 2002) p159; "Tong Leader Slain in Chinatown War", New York Times, January 6, 1912
^"New Mexico Now a State", New York Times, January 7, 1912
^David M. Lawrence, Upheaval from the Abyss: Ocean Floor Mapping and the Earth Science Revolution (Rutgers University Press, 2002) p35
^William Morgan Shuster, The Strangling of Persia: A Story of the European Diplomacy and Oriental Intrigue that Resulted in the Denationalization of Twelve Million Mohammedans, a Personal Narrative (The Century Company, 1912) pp224-230
^"Describes Red Sea Fight", New York Times, January 15, 1912; "Italian Guns Sink Turkish Flotilla", New York Times, January 13, 1912
^Wendy Watson, Brick by Brick: An Informal Guide to the History of South Africa (New Africa Books, 2007) p51
^"India Reconciled by the King's Visit", New York Times, January 9, 1912
^"The Monetary Bill Sent to Congress", New York Times, January 10, 1912