January 5 is National Bird Day in the US.
- 1895 – French military officer Alfred Dreyfus was stripped of his rank and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island for treason. Amidst charges of anti-Semitism, he was exonerated of all charges in 1906.
- 1914 – The Ford Motor Company announced an eight-hour workday and a minimum wage of $5 (0.63 cents per hour) for a day's labor.
- 1918 – The Free Committee for a German Workers Peace, which would become the Natzi party, was founded.
- 1925 – Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming became the 1st woman governor in the United States
- 1933 – Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began in San Francisco Bay.
- 1939 – Amelia Earhart, American aviator was declared dead after disappearing in 1937. She was born in 1897.
- 1972 – US President Richard Nixon orders the development of a space shuttle program.
- 1974 – The warmest reliably measured temperature (+59°F) in Antarctica was recorded at Vanda Station.
- 2005 – Eris, the largest known dwarf planet in the solar system, was discovered using images originally taken in 2003, at the Palomar Observatory.