by Allen J. Sheinman | December 22, 2016

Allen J. SheinmanWith most people nursing hangovers, you'd think New Year's Day would be a rather subdued, nothing-much-happens occasion, but history would prove you wrong.

• 1772: The first traveler's cheques go on sale in London for use in 90 European cities.
• 1801: The kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland merge and form the United Kingdom.
• 1808: Any further importation of slaves into the United States is declared illegal.
• 1863: The Emancipation Proclamation takes effect in the Confederate states.
• 1874: New York City annexes the Bronx.
• 1892: In New York Harbor, Ellis Island opens and begins to process immigrants arriving in the U.S.
• 1895: Future FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover is born in Washington, D.C.
• 1896: German scientist Wilhelm Röntgen announces his discovery of X-rays.
• 1908: Beginning a new tradition, a ball is dropped in New York's Times Square to mark the start of the new year at midnight.
• 1919: Edsel Ford takes over running the Ford Motor Co. when his father, Henry, steps down. That same day, Ford announces it will increase its minimum wage to $6 per day.
• 1923: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is officially established.
• 1928: The first air-conditioned office building in the U.S. opens in San Antonio.
• 1953: Country-western star Hank Williams dies of a heart attack at age 29.
• 1959: Fidel Castro completes his overthrow of the Batista government in Cuba.
• 1962: In London, the Beatles audition for Decca Records -- and are turned down.
• 1966: A law goes into effect that all U.S. cigarette packs must carry the warning, "Caution! Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health."
• 1971: A ban on all cigarette advertising on American television goes into effect.
• 1993: Czechoslovakia splits into two new nations, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
• 2002: The euro officially becomes the coin of all citizens in the European Union.
• 2014: Marijuana for recreational use goes on sale in stores in Colorado, the first state to allow such.