Today in History January 3rd: National Write to Congress Day


January 3rd stands out as a date marked by pivotal historical events that have shaped not only the societal landscapes of their times but continue to reverberate in the modern world. It is a day that has witnessed revolutionary battles, profound political changes, and significant cultural moments. On this day in 1777, for instance, the tide of the American Revolutionary War shifted dramatically with General George Washington’s victory at the Battle of Princeton. This event emboldened the American fight for independence and signaled a turning tide against British colonial rule.

Cultural and religious history also saw defining events on January 3rd. In 1521, Martin Luther, the German priest and theologian, was excommunicated by Pope Leo X, cementing a split that would lead to the Protestant Reformation, a movement with far-reaching religious, cultural, and political implications. Additionally, January 3rd has been a day of notable beginnings and endings in the realm of entertainment and culture. It marked the end of the beloved Peanuts comic strip’s original run in 2000 following the death of its creator, Charles Schulz, a signifier of the end of an era in American comics.

Historic Events

January 3rd has been an influential date throughout history, seeing groundbreaking scientific attempts, pivotal political events, and notable cultural moments.

Scientific Discoveries

  • 1496: Leonardo da Vinci conducted a trial of his flying machine design, which later proved unsuccessful, but he paved the way for the future of aviation.

Political Milestones

  • 1338: Jacob of Arteveld became the elected mayor of Ghent.
  • 1431: Trial of Joan of Arc began after she was handed over to Bishop Pierre Cauchon.
  • 1521: Martin Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X, an act that was crucial in the progression of the Protestant Reformation.

Cultural Achievements

  • Joan of Arc, a French soldier and national heroine, had a trial that began on this day, marking a significant event in the realm of cultural history.
  • The epic struggles between Hoeksen & Kabeljauwen in Dordrecht sometimes resonate in cultural works as a symbol of civil strife.


The third day of January has witnessed the birth of a variety of influential individuals throughout history. They span across different fields and eras, from the ancient halls of Roman power to the canvases of German painters.

Influential Leaders

  • 106 BC: Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman and philosopher, known for his deep impact on Latin language and politics.
  • 1777: Elisa Bonaparte, sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, who became Princess of Lucca and Piombino and Grand Duchess of Tuscany.

Notable Artists

  • 1789: Carl Gustav Carus, a German physiologist and painter, remembered for his contributions to art in the midst of scientific endeavors.


January 3rd marks the passing of influential personalities spanning various spheres from historical rulers to notable figures in arts and science.

Historical Figures

  • 236: Pope Anterus, who served as the Catholic Pope, passed away and was laid to rest in Rome.
  • 1098: Walkelin, the first Norman bishop of Winchester, met his end.
  • 1322: King Philip V of France, known as “the Tall,” ended his reign through death.

Cultural Icons

  • 2017: Darren Daulton, a notable catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies and a three-time all-star, died at the age of 55.
  • 2016: Canadian jazz pianist Paul Bley, recognized for his work with Charlie Parker and Charles Mingus, passed away.

Holidays and Observances

On January 3rd, a variety of holidays and observances are marked across the globe, celebrating unique events, historical moments, and cultural practices.

Notable Observances on January 3:

  • National Drinking Straw Day: They raise their glasses to the humble drinking straw, an invention that’s been around since the ancient Sumerians but was patented in its modern form by Marvin C. Stone in 1888.
  • Festival of Sleep Day: For those recovering from the holiday festivities, this day encourages everyone to catch up on rest and enjoy the comfort of their beds.

Religious and Cultural Observances:

  • Earth at Perihelion: On this day, Earth is closest to the Sun in its elliptical orbit, technically known as perihelion. Some encourage appreciation of Earth’s orbital dynamics on this date.

Other Observances Include:

  • Women Rock! Day: It’s a day to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in various fields.
  • National Write to Congress Day: They urge the citizens to voice their opinions and concerns by writing to their congressional representatives.

During the first week of January, which includes the 3rd, there are also weekly observances that kick off the new year such as:

  • Celebration of Life Week: It’s a time for reflecting on life’s gifts and cherishing moments with loved ones.
  • Christmas Bird Count Week: Enthusiasts engage in bird watching and counting, contributing to citizen science.
  • Diet Resolution Week: Highlighting the common practice of setting health goals for the year ahead.

These occasions reflect a diverse range of interests and encourage engagement in various activities and reflections.

Miscellaneous Facts

  • 1848: The United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, marking the end of the Mexican-American War.
  • 1938: The March of Dimes was established in the United States to help fight polio.
  • 1521: Martin Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X, a pivotal moment in the Protestant Reformation.
  • 2018: In Rome, a woman received a pioneering bionic hand capable of sensing touch.
  • 1496: Leonardo da Vinci conducted a test of his flying machine, which unfortunately did not succeed.

The signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo not only ended a war but also significantly shaped the territorial boundaries of the modern United States. It’s a stark reminder of how historical treaties have long-lasting effects. The March of Dimes founding is a testament to the power of collective action in tackling public health issues.

The excommunication of Martin Luther signifies a crucial split in Christianity, leading to widespread religious reform and changes in the socio-political landscape of Europe that are still felt today. The development of the bionic hand reflects human innovation and the quest to improve quality of life through technology.

Leonardo da Vinci’s test flight highlights the timeless human ambition to conquer the skies, paving the way for future aeronautic breakthroughs. Each fact reflects a moment where individuals or groups faced and overcame challenges, reshaping the world in the process.


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