Jan. 3 (UPI) — On this date in history:
In 1777, the Continental Army commanded by Gen. George Washington defeated the British at Princeton, N.J.
In 1870, construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, designed by German immigrant John Augustus Roebling, begins.
In 1933, Minnie Craig becomes the first female speaker of the North Dakota House of Representatives. Craig was the first woman to hold a speakership in the United States.
In 1938, the March of Dimes was established by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1944, USMC fighter ace Pappy Boyington is shot down over the Pacific by Japanese pilot Masajiro Kawato.
In 1959, Alaska became the 49th state of the United States.
In 1961, the United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba after Fidel Castro announced he was a communist.
In 1962, Cuban leader Fidel Castro was excommunicated by Pope John XXIII.
In 1967, Jack Ruby, who killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the assumed assassin of President John F. Kennedy, died of cancer in Dallas.
In 1969, police in Newark, N.J., confiscated a shipment of the John Lennon-Yoko Ono album Two Virgins because the cover photo, featuring full frontal nudity, violated pornography laws.
In 1990, deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega left his refuge in the Vatican Embassy in Panama City and surrendered to U.S. troops. He was taken to Florida to face narcotics trafficking charges.
In 1993, U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the START II treaty reducing strategic nuclear arsenals by two-thirds.
In 2004, a Flash Airline Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff in Egypt, killing 148 people.
In 2006, Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist, agreed to plead guilty to fraud, public corruption and tax evasion charges, and to testify against politicians and former colleagues.
In 2009, the Genesis block, the first block of the blockchain of the decentralized payment system Bitcoin, was established by Satoshi Nakamoto.
In 2015, the Boko Haram militant group began a series of attacks on the northeastern Nigerian town of Baga lasting five days. Local media said at least 100 people died, though some reports put the death toll closer to 2,000.
In 2020, a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad. The U.S. military accused him of developing plans to attack U.S. diplomats and service members in the Middle East.