Lula sworn in as President of Brazil
2003 - Leftist Brazilian hero Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (above left) was sworn in as President of Latin America’s largest nation, succeeding Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Legislators received the new president to the cries of “Ole, ole, ole, ola Lula,” and sang the national anthem following the oath of office of Lula’s vice-president, Jose Alencar. Lula, 57, was swept into office with 61 per cent of the votes in late October presidential run-off elections. Tens of thousands of Brazilians from around the country gathered in Brasilia to take part in the giant street party welcoming the new president. Nine heads of state, three prime ministers and Spanish prince Felipe de Borbon were at the swearing-in ceremony, including Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
1804 - Haiti declares itself independent from France, becoming a republic.
1808 - The US Congress officially prohibits African slave trade.
1863 - US President Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation declaring slaves free.
1877 - England’s Queen Victoria proclaimed Empress of India.
1901 - Commonwealth of Australia is proclaimed.
1935 - The colonies of Cyrenaica, Tripoli and Eezaan unite to form the country of Libya.
1946 - The first civil flight takes off from London’s Heathrow Airport, heading to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1948 - The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade goes into effect.
1956 - Sudan is proclaimed an independent democratic republic.
1965 - Palestine Liberation Organisation is formed.
1984 - Brunei becomes fully independent from Britain.
1986 - Portugal and Spain are formally admitted to the European Union.
1990 - David Dinkins is sworn in as New York City’s first black Mayor.
1993 - Czechoslovakia peacefully splits into the independent Czech Republic and Slovakia.
1995 - Austria, Finland and Sweden join European Union, expanding it to 15 members.
1994 - North America Free-Trade Agreement goes into effect.
1998 - The European Central Bank is established.
1999 - Eleven nations in the European Union adopt the euro.
2003 - Gulf Cooperation Council states launch common Customs Union.
2007 - Adam Air Flight 574 crashes near Sulawesi, Indonesia, killing all 102 people on board.
2008 - Cyprus joins Eurozone, expanding the number of countries using the single European currency.
2011 - Dilma Rousseff is elected the first woman President of Brazil.
2012 - European Union imposes the Carbon Tax on airlines, under the emissions trading scheme.
2013 - At least 60 people are killed and dozens more are injured in a stampede in Ivory Coast during celebratory New Year’s fireworks.
2017 - Antonio Guterres becomes Secretary-General of the United Nations.