29 January 1916

Paris is first bombed by German zeppelins during World War 1.

January 29 1916, Paris–German Zeppelins had largely been directed at London, rather than Paris, during the war so far. Presumably this was because the Zeppelin was one of the few weapons that could hit the hated English directly, while the Germans already occupied and fought over a great deal of France already. On January 29, the Germans launched only their second attack of the war on Paris. The Zeppelin’s bombs mainly hit a dense, poorer section of Paris, killing 24 and injuring 30. French authorities blamed dense fog for their air defenses’ failure to intercept the Zeppelin. This would be the last Zeppelin raid on Paris until 1918.

29 January 1959

The first Melodifestivalen is held in Stockholm, Sweden.

With seven nations competing, the first Eurovision Song Contest took place in Lugano, Switzerland in May 1956. Sweden’s first contest was the third, in 1958. Without broadcasting a selection, Sveriges Radio chose to send Alice Babs to the contest in Hilversum. The song selected was “Samma stjärna lyser för oss två”, later renamed “Lilla stjärna”. It finished fourth at Eurovision on 12 March 1958.

The first Melodifestival, incorporated into the Säg det med musik radio series, took place on 29 January 1959 at Cirkus in Stockholm; eight songs participated. Four “expert” juries in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, and Luleå decided the winner. The competition was won by Siw Malmkvist performing “Augustin”, but SR decided that the winning song—regardless of its original performer—would be performed by Brita Borg at Eurovision. This policy, of selecting the artist for Eurovision internally and having other artists perform potential Swedish entries at Melodifestivalen, was stopped in 1961. The competition became a stand-alone television programme in 1960, known as the Eurovisionschlagern, svensk final. In the event’s early years, it was broadcast to Norway and Denmark through the Nordvision network. The competition adopted its current name, Melodifestivalen, in 1967.

The Melodifestival has failed to be staged on three occasions. In 1964, the competition was cancelled due to an artist’s strike; Sweden did not send a song to Eurovision that year. Sweden was absent at Eurovision for a second time in 1970 because of a Nordic boycott of the voting system, which had led to a four-way tie for first place at the 1969 contest. After SR staged the 1975 contest in Stockholm, left-wing groups argued that Sweden should not spend money to win and host Eurovision again. This led to mass demonstrations against commercial music and the organisation of an anti-commercial Alternativfestivalen. Therefore, Sweden decided not to send a song to Eurovision 1976, but returned in 1977.

29 January 1861

Kansas is admitted as the 34th state of the USA.


On this day in 1861, Kansas is admitted to the Union as free state. It was the 34th state tojoin the Union. The struggle between pro- and anti-slave forces in Kansas was a major factor in the eruption of the Civil War.

In 1854, Kansas and Nebraska were organized as territories with popular sovereignty (popular vote) to decide the issue of slavery. There was really no debate over the issue in Nebraska, as the territory was filled with settlers from the Midwest, where there was no slavery. In Kansas, the situation was much different. Although most of the settlers were anti-slave or abolitionists, there were many pro-slave Missourians lurking just over the border. When residents in the territory voted on the issue, many fraudulent votes were cast from Missouri. This triggered the massive violence that earned the area the name “Bleeding Kansas.” Both sides committed atrocities, and the fighting over the issue of slavery was a preview of the Civil War.

Kansas remained one of the most important political questions throughout the 1850s. Each side drafted constitutions, but the anti-slave faction eventually gained the upper hand. Kansas entered the Union as a free state; however,the conflict over slaveryinthe statecontinued into the Civil War. Kansas was the scene of some of the most brutal acts of violence during the war. One extreme example was the sacking of Lawrence in 1863, when pro-slave forces murdered nearly 200 men and burned the anti-slave town.