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23 January: On this day in history

What events happened on 23 January in history? Dominic Sandbrook rounds up the events, births and deaths…

Published: January 23, 2022 at 6:06 am
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23 January 1312

Shortly after being released from imprisonment in York Castle for alleged involvement in a homicide, Walter Langton, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, was reappointed lord high treasurer of England.

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23 January 1571

Queen Elizabeth I opened and named London's Royal Exchange. It had been founded five years earlier by Sir Thomas Gresham in a bid to compete with the Antwerp Bourse as a centre for foreign trade.


23 January 1643

Sir Thomas Fairfax recaptured Leeds from the royalists after a three-hour battle, taking 450 prisoners. news of the parliamentarian commander’s successes led the royalists to abandon plans to move their forces from Yorkshire into the Midlands.


23 January 1789

Novelist John Cleland, the author of the erotic tour-de-force Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure dies, unmarried, in Westminster.

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23 January 1937

North Korea seizes the US spy ship Pueblo. The ship was operating in international waters when it was attacked and boarded by North Korean naval vessels, supported by MiG fighters. Its crew was held in captivity for 11 months until the US government agreed in writing that the USS Pueblo had been spying on North Korea and offered an apology. When, on 29 December the crew were released, the US immediately retracted its admission of guilt. The ship remains moored in Pyongyang, where it serves as a floating museum.

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