Jan. 4 (UPI) -- On this date in history:
In 1853, Solomon Northrop regains his freedom following his kidnapping and being sold into slavery. He would later write a memoir, 12 Years a Slave, which would be made into an award-nominated feature film.
In 1885, Dr. William Grant of Davenport, Iowa, performed the first successful appendectomy.
In 1893, U.S. President Benjamin Harrison granted amnesty to all people who had abstained from practicing polygamy since Nov. 1, 1890. It was part of a deal for Utah to achieve statehood.
In 1896, Utah was admitted to the United States as the 45th state.
In 1936, Billboard magazine published the first pop music chart.
In 1951, Chinese and North Korean forces captured the South Korean capital of Seoul.
In 1954, a young musician who worked in a machine shop paid $4 to record two songs for his mother. His name: Elvis Presley.
In 1965, the "Great Society" is proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson during his State of the Union address. The Great Society was a set of domestic programs to eliminate poverty and racial injustice.
In 1975, Elizabeth Ann Seton was canonized as the first Roman Catholic saint born in America.
In 1987, Spanish guitar great Andres Segovia arrived in the United States for his final American tour. He died four months later in Madrid at the age of 94.
In 1990, a passenger train collided with a stationary train in Sangi, Pakistan, killing more than 200 people.
In 1995, the 104th U.S. Congress convened with Republicans in control in both houses for the first time since 1953. Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., began his term as speaker of the House.
In 1996, General Motors announced it would begin mass selling an electric vehicle, the EV1, for the first time.
In 2007, the 110th U.S. Congress convened, with Democrats in control of both the House of Representatives and Senate. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., became the first woman elected speaker of the House.
In 2010, thousands of people attended the opening of the Burj Khalifa (Burj Dubai Tower), the world's tallest building, in the United Arab Emirates. At 2,717 feet, it's more than twice as tall as New York City's Empire State Building.
In 2020, the death toll in Australia's unprecedented wildfire season rose to 23. By the end of the 2919-20 bushfire season, nearly 500 people died directly or indirectly from the disaster.