Jan. 9 (UPI) — On this day in history:
In 1768, Philip Astley, regarded as the “father of the modern circus,” staged the first event in an open field at what is now the Waterloo area of London.
In 1788, Connecticut became the fifth U.S. state.
In 1861, Mississippi seceded from the Union, becoming a founding member of the Confederate States of America.
In 1916, the Ottoman Empire claimed victory in the Battle of Gallipoli following the evacuation of Allied forces from the peninsula.
In 1945, in World War II, U.S. troops landed on the Philippine island of Luzon, beginning a battle that would rage on for eight months.
In 1947, Elizabeth Short, more commonly known as the Black Dahlia, disappears. Her body was found six days later. To this day, the investigation into her death remains unsolved.
In 1951, the U.N. headquarters opened in New York.
In 1972, the luxury liner Queen Elizabeth was gutted by fire while docked in Hong Kong.
In 1982, Angelo Buono Jr., one of the so-called Hillside Stranglers, was sentenced to life in prison. He and his cousin Kenneth Bianchi raped, tortured and killed 10 women in Los Angeles from 1977-78.
In 1996, rebels in the Russian republic of Chechnya overran the town of Kizlyar and took 2,000 hostages at a hospital and in nearby homes.
In 2005, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip elected Mahmoud Abbas their new president. He succeeded the late Yasser Arafat.
In 2007, the world changed when Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone.
In 2007, Venezuelan stock prices fell almost 19 percent — the biggest drop on record — and its currency lost almost one-third of its value after President Hugo Chavez pledged to nationalize the country’s utilities.
In 2011, an Iran Air Boeing 727 with 105 people aboard crashed shortly before it was scheduled to land in northwestern Iran. Authorities said there were 50 survivors.
In 2014, as part of an agreement to end a political deadlock, Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh resigned to let a caretaker government oversee the next elections. Mehdi Jomaa, the minister of industry, became acting PM.
In 2018, at least 20 people died as a result of heavy rains that triggered flooding and mudslides in fire-ravaged parts of Southern California.