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January 1 in German History

January 1, 329

Kontantinus (Konstantin's Son) becomes Caesar of the Western Roman Empire. His capital is Trier.

January 1, 1076

The Holy Roman Emperor, Heinrich IV, persuades 26 bishops to refuse obedience to the Pope.

January 1, 1484

Ulrich Zwingli is born in Wildhaus, Switzerland. Zwingli was the most influential church reformer in the development of Swiss Protestantism. He studied at the Universities of Vienna and Basel. He was ordained a priest in 1506. In his early years Zwingli criticized some of the abuses of the church of those times and in a minor way was involved in the questioning of the practice of indulgences. By 1522, however, his views had developed sufficiently to lead to controversy in the church. He questioned fasting and the celibacy of priests. In 1523 he published his 67 Artikel. Progressively his leadership led to the removal of images from churches, the removal of organs and the replacement of the mass with a communion service. In 1529 the Zuricher Bibel was completed. He married Anna Reinhard on April 2, 1542. He fell into disagreement with Martin Luther on the question of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Ultimately the Swiss reforms led to the Second War of Kappel in which Zwingli was killed on October 11, 1531 in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

January 1, 1720

Death of Francis Daniel Pastorius in Germantown, Pennsylvania (born in Sommerhausen, Germany). He was a German lawyer who first traveled to America as the agent of a German Pietest organization interested in purchasing land in the New World. He purchased land from William Penn and founded the city of Germantown, Pennsylvania. He remained as a teacher in Germantown. He is the author of A New Primer or Methodical Directions to Attain the True Spelling, Reading, and Writing of English, 1698.

January 1, 1782

Johann Christian Bach

Death of Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782) in London (born in Leipzig, Germany). The eleventh and youngest son of J. S. Bach, he became a composer at the King's Theater in London in 1762 and composed in London until his death in 1782. He is sometimes referred to as 'the London Bach' or 'the English Bach', due to his time spent living in the British capital, where he came to be known as John Bach. He is noted for influencing the concerto style of Mozart.

January 1, 1819

Birth of Philip Schaff in Chur, Switzerland. Schaff, an early proponent of Protestant/Catholic ecumenicism, was educated at the Universities of Tubingen, Halle, and Berlin. He was a lecturer at Berlin until he immigrated to the United States in 1844 and was appointed professor of church history at the theological seminary in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. He expressed the view that the principles of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism would one day be blended in a new kind of ecumenical, evangelical Catholicism. The view was very controversial for the times and broadly attacked. These ideas were developed and expanded into the equally controversial "Mercersburg Theology".

January 1, 1834

German Customs Union comes into force.

January 1, 1876

Founding of the Reichsbank and the Mark becomes the German currency

Founding of the Reichsbank and the Mark becomes the German currency.

January 1, 1887

Wilhelm Canaris

Birth of Wilhelm Canaris (1887-1945) in Aplerbeck, Germany. Canaris was appointed to head the Abwehr (military intelligence) in 1935. He oversaw German military aid to Spain's general Franco during the Spanish Civil War. By 1944 he was opposed to Hitler and participated in the attempted assassination of Hitler. He was arrested, sent to the Flossenburg concentration camp and executed there.

January 1, 1894

Heinrich Hertz

Death of Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894) in Bonn, Germany. Hertz, a physicist in Karlsruhe, discovered how to produce, send and receive radio waves. The radio frequency measurement "hertz" is named for him.

January 1, 1922

Edith Stein (Sr. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce) is baptized in the Catholic Church.

January 1, 1934

Death of Jakob Wassermann in Altausee, Austria (born in Furth, Germany). A novelist, Wassermann is noted for his Die Juden von Zirndorf (1897), Caspar Hauser (1908), Christian Wahnschaffe (1919) and his autobiography Mein Weg als Deutscher und Jude (1921).

January 1, 1947

The British and American occupation zones in Germany are combined into one occupation area.

January 1, 1957


Saarland becomes a German state.

January 1, 1958

Starting date of the European Economic Community (EEC) (France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands).

January 1, 1973

Denmark, Ireland, Great Britain enter the EEC.

January 1, 1979

The European Currency System (EWS, Europaische Wahrungssystem) comes into force. The ECU is created. The name ECU was later changed to the Euro.

January 1, 1981

Greece enters the European Community.

January 1, 1986

Spain and Portugal enter the European Community.

January 1, 1995

Austria, Finland and Sweden enter the European Union.

January 1, 1995

The "Solidaritätszuschlag" (a special tax for rebuilding the East) is introduced and applies to income taxes and corporate taxes.

January 1, 1999

The Euro begins to be introduced as the common currency of Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Holland, Austria, Portugal, Spain and Finland.

January 1, 2002


The Euro is distributed to the population at large and becomes the official European currency. (Until this time it had existed as a book money rather than a physical currency.) National currencies will become invalid by the end of February, 2002.

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