February 1

  • 1662 – Forces under Chinese general Koxinga seized the Island of Taiwan from the Dutch East India Company and established the Kingdom of Tungning.
  • 1790 – The Supreme Court of the United States, the highest judicial body in the United States and the head of the judicial branch of the U.S. federal government, first convened at the Merchants' Exchange Building in New York City.
  • 1796 – The capital of Upper Canada was moved from Newark to York, which was judged to be less vulnerable to attack by the United States.
  • 1814 – The most destructive eruption of the Mayon Volcano occurred, killing over 2,000 people on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.
  • 1884 – The first fascicle of the Oxford English Dictionary, a 352-page volume that covered words from A to Ant, was published.
  • 1896 – Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème premiered at the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy, eventually becoming part of the standard Italian opera repertory and one of the most frequently performed operas internationally.
  • 1946 – As a result of a compromise between the major powers within the United Nations, Norwegian politician Trygve Lie was elected as the first UN Secretary-General.
  • 1957 – Invented by German mechanical engineer Felix Wankel, the first working prototype of the Wankel rotary engine ran for the first time at the research and development department of German manufacturer NSU Motorenwerke AG.
  • 1968 – The Government of Canada merged the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force into a unified structure, the Canadian Forces.
  • 2001 – The capital of Malaysia was moved from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya, although the government's legislative functions remained in the former Federal Territory.
  • 2001 – The Timor Leste Defence Force was established from the erstwhile anti-Indonesian independence movement Falintil.
  • 2003 – The NASA Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas during reentry into the Earth's atmosphere on its 28th and final mission, killing all seven crew members.
  • 2004 – During the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII, Janet Jackson's breast was exposed by Justin Timberlake in what was later referred to as a "wardrobe malfunction", resulting in an immediate crackdown and widespread debate on perceived indecency in U.S. broadcasting.
  • 2009 – Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became Iceland's first female Prime Minister and the world's first openly gay head of government of the modern era.

February 2

  • 962 – Pope John XII crowned Otto the Great as Holy Roman Emperor, the first in nearly 40 years.
  • 1536 – An expedition to the New World led by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Mendoza founded what is now Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • 1653 – The Dutch colony New Amsterdam received municipal rights, thus becoming a city on territory that what is now New York City.
  • 1848 – The Mexican–American War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which gave 1.36 million km² (525,000 square miles) of Mexican territory known as the Mexican Cession to the United States in exchange for US$15 million.
  • 1920 – The Estonian War of Independence officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Tartu, with Russia agreeing to recognise the independence of Estonia and renounce in perpetuity all rights to that territory.
  • 1922 – The novel Ulysses was first published in its entirety after this material by author James Joyce first appeared in serialised parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, becoming one of the most important works of Modernist literature.
  • 1925 – Medical supplies to combat an outbreak of diphtheria reached Nome, Alaska Territory on dog sleds after a five and a half-day journey, inspiring the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race across Alaska.
  • 1943 – World War II: The Soviet Red Army captured 91,000 tired and starving German soldiers, ending the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the bloodiest battles in human history.
  • 1982 – The Syrian army bombarded the town of Hama in order to quell a revolt by the Muslim Brotherhood, killing about 7,000–25,000 people.
  • 1990 – President F.W. de Klerk declared the end of Apartheid in South Africa.
  • 1994 – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued its final ruling in Ney v. Landmark Education Corporation and Werner Erhard and affirmed the decision of the District Court; Werner Erhard defaulted on the payment due to Ney.

February 3

  • 1488 – Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias landed in Mossel Bay, having sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and the southern tip of Africa.
  • 1509 – Turkish–Portuguese War: Portugal defeated a joint fleet of Mamlûk Burji Sultanate of Egypt, Ottoman Empire, the Zamorin of Calicut and the Sultan of Gujarat at the Battle of Diu off the coast of Diu, India.
  • 1787 – Shays' Rebellion, an armed uprising in central and western Massachusetts, was crushed, an event that energised calls in the United States for a stronger government than what was established by the Articles of Confederation.
  • 1852 – The Argentine Confederation was defeated in the Platine War by an alliance consisting of the Empire of Brazil, Uruguay and the Argentine provinces of Entre Ríos and Corrientes.
  • 1867 – Crown Prince Mutsuhito succeeded his father Komei as Emperor of Japan, taking the title Meiji.
  • 1870 – The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, granting voting rights to citizens regardless of "race, colour, or previous condition of servitude".
  • 1913 – The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, allowing the U.S. Congress to levy an income tax without apportioning it among the States or basing it on Census results.
  • 1959 – American rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were killed when their plane crashed shortly after taking off from Mason City Municipal Airport in Iowa.
  • 1966 – The Soviet spacecraft Luna 9 became the first space probe to land on the Moon and transmit pictures from the lunar surface to Earth.
  • 1967 – Ronald Ryan became the last person to date to be legally executed in Australia, sparking public protests across the country.
  • 1996 – A 7.0 Ms earthquake struck Lijiang City, Yunnan, China, killing at least 200 people and injuring 14,000 others.
  • 1998 – Despite attracting a large national and international movement advocating the commutation of her sentence to life imprisonment, Karla Faye Tucker became the first woman to be executed in the United States since 1984.
  • 2007 – A large suicide truck bomb exploded in a busy market in Baghdad, Iraq, killing at least 135 people and injuring 339 others.

February 4

  • 960 – Emperor Taizu began his reign in China, initiating the Song Dynasty period that would eventually last for more than three centuries.
  • 1703 – Forty-six of the Forty-seven Ronin committed seppuku (ritual suicide) in Edo, present-day Tokyo, as recompense for avenging the death of their master, Daimyo of Ako Asano Naganori.
  • 1859 – German scholar Constantin von Tischendorf rediscovered the Codex Sinaiticus, a 4th century uncial manuscript of the Greek Bible, in Saint Catherine's Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai in Egypt.
  • 1862 – Bacardi, one of the world's largest rum producers, was founded as a small distillery in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
  • 1899 – An American soldier shot a Filipino soldier in Manila after a misunderstanding occurred between the two, igniting the Philippine-American War.
  • 1945 – World War II: Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin met at the Yalta Conference in Yalta on the Crimean Peninsula to discuss Europe's postwar reorganisation.
  • 1957 – USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine, logged her 60,000th nautical mile, matching the endurance of the fictional Nautilus described in Jules Verne's novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
  • 1974 – American newspaper heiress and socialite Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army and eventually joined her captors in furthering their cause.
  • 2003 – Under a new Constitutional Charter, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was reconstituted into a loose confederation of Serbia and Montenegro.
  • 2004 – Four Harvard University students launched the popular social networking website Facebook from their dorm room.
  • 2006 – A stampede at the PhilSports Stadium in Pasig City, Metro Manila in the Philippines killed 78 people and injured about 400.

February 5

  • 1782 – Running out of medical supplies to combat the disease scurvy, British troops surrendered to an allied Franco-Spanish force, ending the latter's invasion of the Island of Minorca in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • 1783 – The first of five strong earthquakes hit the region of Calabria in present-day southern Italy, killing more than 32,000 people over a period of nearly two months.
  • 1818 – Marshal of France Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte ascended to the thrones of Sweden and Norway.
  • 1862 – Domnitor Alexander John Cuza merged his two principalities, Wallachia and Moldavia, to form the Danubian Principalities.
  • 1885 – Leopold II of Belgium established the Congo Free State as his personal possession in Africa through his organisation International African Association and his private army, the Force Publique.
  • 1917 – The current constitution of Mexico was adopted, establishing a federal republic with powers separated into independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
  • 1917 – The U.S. Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917 with an overwhelming majority, overriding U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's veto, banning, among others, immigration from nearly all of South and Southeast Asia.
  • 1918 – Stephen W. Thompson scored the first aerial victory by the U.S. military when he shot down an Albatros over Saarbrucken, Germany.
  • 1923 – Australian cricketer Bill Ponsford made 429 runs to break the world record for the highest first-class score.
  • 1924 – Hourly Greenwich Time Signals from the Royal Greenwich Observatory were first broadcast by the BBC.
  • 1958 – A Mark 15 nuclear bomb now known as the Tybee Bomb disappeared off the shores of Tybee Island, Georgia, U.S. after it was jettisoned during a practice exercise when the bomber carrying it collided in midair with a fighter plane.
  • 1988 – The first Red Nose Day raised £15 million in the United Kingdom for charity.
  • 2004 – The Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front captured Gonaïves, Haiti, starting the 2004 Haitian rebellion against the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
  • 2004 – Twenty-three cockle pickers drowned after being trapped by rising tides in Morecambe Bay, England, an event that led to the establishment of the British government's Gangmasters Licensing Authority.

February 6

  • 1819 – British official Stamford Raffles signed a treaty with Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor, establishing Singapore as a new trading post for the British East India Company.
  • 1840 – The British and the Maori signed the Treaty of Waitangi, considered as the founding document of New Zealand.
  • 1862 – Union forces earned one of their first important victories in the American Civil War at the Battle of Fort Henry in western Tennessee.
  • 1922 – Britain, France, Japan, Italy and the United States signed the Washington Naval Treaty to limit naval armaments.
  • 1934 – In an attempted coup d'état against the French Third Republic, far right leagues demonstrated on the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
  • 1952 – Elizabeth II ascended to the thrones of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and three other Commonwealth countries upon the death of her father, George VI.
  • 1958 – British European Airways Flight 609, carrying the Manchester United football club, a number of their fans and journalists covering the team, crashed while attempting to take off from Munich-Riem Airport in Munich, West Germany, killing eight players and 15 others.
  • 1987 – Mary Gaudron was appointed as the first female Justice of the High Court of Australia.

February 7

  • 1301 – The title of Prince of Wales was granted for the first time to an heir apparent to the English throne, Edward of Carnarvon.
  • 1795 – The Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting the ability of U.S. citizens and foreign nationals to sue U.S. states in federal courts, was ratified in order to overrule the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Chisholm v. Georgia.
  • 1807 – Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Eylau began between the French Empire, and Russian and Prussian forces of the Fourth Coalition near Preußisch Eylau, East Prussia.
  • 1863 – In New Zealand's worst maritime tragedy, HMS Orpheus of the British Royal Navy sank off the coast of Auckland, killing 189 crew out of the ship's complement of 259.
  • 1904 – A fire destroyed over 1,500 buildings in 30 hours in Baltimore, U.S.
  • 1907 – Over 3,000 women trudged through the cold and the rutty streets of London in the Mud March, the first large procession organised by the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, to advocate for women's suffrage.
  • 1948 – Neil Harvey became the youngest Australian to score a century in Test cricket.
  • 1984 – During NASA Space Shuttle Challenger mission STS-41-B, astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart performed the first and second untethered spacewalks, respectively, using Manned Maneuvering Units.
  • 1992 – The Maastricht Treaty, which led to the formation of the European Union, was signed in Maastricht, the Netherlands.
  • 2000 – Bahria University in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, was awarded a federal charter through the Presidential Ordinance No. V of 2000, after starting off as the Bahria Institute of Management and Computer Sciences, established by the Pakistan Navy in 1996.
  • 2009 – A series of 400 individual bushfires ignited across the Australian state of Victoria on Black Saturday, eventually resulting in 173 total deaths, the highest ever loss of life from a bushfire in Australia.

February 8

  • 1587 – Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed at Fotheringhay Castle for her involvement in the Babington Plot to murder her cousin, Elizabeth I of England.
  • 1849 – The Roman Republic was proclaimed.
  • 1855 – The Devil's Footprints, a series of mysteriously hoof-like marks, appeared in the snow in Devon, England, and continued throughout the countryside for over 100 miles.
  • 1879 – At a meeting of the Royal Canadian Institute, engineer and inventor Sandford Fleming first proposed the adoption of worldwide standard time zones based on a single universal world time.
  • 1879 – The England cricket team led by Lord Harris was attacked during a riot during a match in Sydney.
  • 1904 – The Russo-Japanese War began with a surprise torpedo attack by the Japanese on Russian ships near present-day Lüshunkou, China.
  • 1910 – Newspaper man and magazine publisher William D. Boyce established the Boy Scouts of America, expanding the Scout Movement into the United States.
  • 1915 – Film director D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation was released, becoming one of the most influential and controversial films in the history of American cinema.
  • 1968 – Local policemen in Orangeburg, South Carolina, USA fired] into a crowd of people who were protesting segregation, killing three and injuring twenty-seven others.
  • 1969 – The Allende meteorite, the largest carbonaceous chondrite ever found on Earth, fell near Allende, Chihuahua, Mexico.
  • 1971 – South Vietnamese ground troops launched an incursion into Laos to try and cut off the Ho Chi Minh trail and stop communist infiltration.
  • 1979 – Denis Sassou Nguesso was chosen as the new President of the Republic of the Congo after Joachim Yhombi-Opango was forced from power.
  • 1996 – Headed by photographer Rick Smolan, the 24 Hours in Cyberspace online project took place, bringing together the world's top photographers, editors, programmers, and interactive designers.

February 9

  • 474 – As the seven-year old Leo II was deemed too young to rule, his father Zeno was crowned as co-Byzantine Emperor.
  • 1555 – Marian martyr John Hooper, the Bishop of Gloucester, was executed by burning.
  • 1621 – Alessandro Ludovisi became Pope Gregory XV, the last Pope elected by acclamation.
  • 1825 – After no presidential candidate received a majority of electoral votes, the United States House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams President of the United States.
  • 1895 – William G. Morgan, a YMCA physical education director in Holyoke, Massachusetts, US, invented a game called Mintonette, which evolved into volleyball.
  • 1920 – The Spitsbergen Treaty was signed, recognising Norwegian sovereignty over the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, but all signatories were also given equal rights to engage in commercial activities on the islands.
  • 1943 – World War II: Allied forces declared Guadalcanal secure, ending the Guadalcanal Campaign as a significant strategic victory for Allied forces fighting Japan in the Pacific War.
  • 1950 – In a speech delivered in Wheeling, West Virginia, U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy accused the U.S. State Department of being filled with communists, sparking a period of witch-hunts and anti-communist hysteria in the United States that became known as McCarthyism.
  • 1960 – Actress Joanne Woodward was honoured with the first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • 1964 – English rock band The Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show before a record-breaking audience, beginning a musical phenomenon known as the British Invasion.
  • 1971 – A 6.6 Mw earthquake struck the northern San Fernando Valley near the Los Angeles district of Sylmar, killing 65 people.
  • 1976 – The Australian Defence Force was formed.

February 10

  • 1258 – Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid caliphate, surrendered to Hulagu Khan and the Mongols after a siege of almost two weeks.
  • 1567 – After an explosion destroyed the house in Kirk o' Field, Edinburgh, where he was staying, the strangled body of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, the King consort of Scotland, was found in a nearby orchard.
  • 1763 – Britain, France, and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris to end the Seven Years' War, significantly reducing the size of the French colonial empire while at the same time marking the beginning of an extensive period of British dominance outside of Europe.
  • 1840 – Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha married Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom at the Chapel Royal, becoming prince-consort.
  • 1841 – The British Parliament passed an Act of Union abolishing the legislatures of Lower Canada and Upper Canada and establishing a new political entity, the Province of Canada, to replace them.
  • 1846 – The forces of the British East India Company defeated the army of the Sikh kingdom of the Punjab at the Battle of Sobraon, the decisive battle of the First Anglo-Sikh War.
  • 1930 – The Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang launched the failed Yen Bai mutiny in the hope of ending French colonial rule in Vietnam.
  • 1962 – "Rudolf Abel", a Soviet spy arrested by the FBI, was exchanged for Gary Powers, the pilot of a CIA spy plane shot down in the U-2 Incident two years earlier.
  • 1964 – The Royal Australian Navy aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne collided with the destroyer HMAS Voyager while both were performing manoeuvres in Jervis Bay in New South Wales, Australia, killing over eighty of Voyager's crew.
  • 1996 – Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in a game of chess, the first ever game won by a chess-playing computer against a World Chess Champion under chess tournament conditions.
  • 2008 – An arson fire severely damaged the Namdaemun, the most historically significant gate in Seoul, South Korea, and the first of that nation's National Treasures.

February 11

  • 660 BC – According to tradition, Emperor Jimmu founded Japan and established his capital in Yamato.
  • 55 – One day before his 14th birthday, Britannicus, heir to the Roman Emperorship, died under mysterious circumstances in Rome, apparently poisoned at a dinner party.
  • 1808 – Anthracite coal was first experimentally burned as a residential heating fuel by Jesse Fell in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • 1858 – Fourteen year-old peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous reported the first of eighteen Marian apparitions in Lourdes, France, resulting in the town becoming a major site for pilgrimages by Catholics.
  • 1873 – King Amadeo I of Spain abdicated, proclaimed at the Cortes Generales that Spanish people were "ungovernable," and left the country.
  • 1919 – Friedrich Ebert became the first President of the German Weimar Republic.
  • 1929 – To help settle the "Roman Question", Italy and the Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church agreed to establish the Vatican City as an independent sovereign enclave within Italy.
  • 1971 – Eighty-seven countries signed the Seabed Arms Control Treaty, outlawing weapons of mass destruction on the ocean floor in international waters.
  • 1979 – Iranian Revolution: The Pahlavi dynasty effectively collapsed when the military declared itself "neutral" after rebel troops overwhelmed forces loyal to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in armed street fighting.
  • 1990 – Anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela, a political prisoner for 27 years, was released from Victor Verster Prison near Paarl, South Africa.
  • 1991 – The international organisation Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation was established to represent the interests of indigenous peoples, minorities, occupied nations, and other areas which lack international representation.

February 12

  • 881 – Pope John VIII crowned Charles the Fat as Holy Roman Emperor.
  • 1429 – Hundred Years' War: At the Battle of the Herrings, English forces under John Fastolf successfully defended a supply convoy carrying rations to the army besieging Orleans from attack by the French.
  • 1502 – Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama set sail from Lisbon, Portugal, on his second voyage to India with the object of enforcing Portuguese interests in the Far East.
  • 1541 – Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia founded Santiago, Chile, as Santiago del Nuevo Extremo.
  • 1554 – Lady Jane Grey, "The Nine Days Queen of England" in 1553, was executed for high treason at the Tower of London.
  • 1733 – James Oglethorpe founded the city of Savannah along with the Province of Georgia, the last of the Thirteen original colonies established by Great Britain in what later became the United States.
  • 1816 – The original building of the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Italy, today the oldest continuously active opera house in Europe, was destroyed by fire. Its reconstructed building was inaugurated exactly one year later.
  • 1816 – The original building of the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Italy, today the oldest continuously active opera house in Europe, was destroyed by fire; its reconstructed building was inaugurated exactly one year later.
  • 1818 – Chile formally declared its independence from Spain.
  • 1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, one of the oldest and most influential civil rights organisations in the United States, was founded to work on behalf of the rights of African Americans.
  • 1912 – Xinhai Revolution: Puyi, the last Emperor of China, abdicated under a deal brokered by military official and politician Yuan Shikai, formally replacing the Qing Dynasty with a new republic in China.
  • 1988 – While exercising the "right of innocent passage" through Soviet waters, a Soviet Burevestnik class frigate vessel collided with USS Yorktown in what was described as "the last incident of the Cold War."
  • 2001 – NASA's robotic space probe NEAR Shoemaker touched down on Eros, becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.

February 13

  • 1689 – Glorious Revolution: Mary and her husband William were proclaimed co-rulers of England.
  • 1692 – Over seventy members of the Clan MacDonald of Glen Coe, Scotland were massacred early in the morning for not promptly pledging allegiance to the new king William II.
  • 1706 – Great Northern War: The Swedish employed the double envelopment military strategy to defeat Saxony–Poland and their Russian allies at the Battle of Fraustadt near Fraustadt in present-day Wschowa, Poland.
  • 1815 – The Cambridge Union Society, one of the oldest debating societies in the world, was founded at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England.
  • 1867 – Work began on the covering of the Senne, burying Brussels' polluted main waterway to allow urban renewal in the centre of the city.
  • 1880 – American inventor Thomas Edison observed the Edison Effect, which later formed the basis of vacuum tube diodes designed by English electrical engineer John Ambrose Fleming.
  • 1881 – Hubertine Auclert, a leading French suffragette in Paris, launched the feminist newspaper La Citoyenne.
  • 1945 – World War II: The Allies began their strategic bombing of Dresden, Saxony, Germany, resulting in a lethal firestorm which killed tens of thousands of civilians.
  • 1960 – African American college students staged the first of the Nashville sit-ins at three lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., part of a nonviolent direct action campaign to end racial segregation.
  • 1978 – A bomb exploded outside the Hilton Hotel in Sydney, the site of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, killing three people and injuring eleven others.
  • 1984 – Konstantin Chernenko succeeded the late Yuri Andropov as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

February 14

  • 1779 – English explorer James Cook was killed during a fight against Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.
  • 1804 – Karadorde Petrovic became the leader of the First Serbian Uprising.
  • 1876 – Inventor Alexander Graham Bell and electrical engineer Elisha Gray each filed a patent for the telephone, starting a controversy about who invented it first.
  • 1879 – Chilean forces occupied the Bolivian port of Antofagasta, instigating the War of the Pacific.
  • 1912 – Arizona became the 48th and last of the Contiguous United States to be admitted into the Union.
  • 1919 – The first serious armed conflict of the Polish–Soviet War took place near present-day Biaroza, Belarus.
  • 1929 – St. Valentine's Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone's gang, were murdered in Chicago, Illinois.
  • 1949 – The Knesset, the legislature of Israel, convened for the first time, succeeding the Assembly of Representatives that had functioned as the Jewish community's parliament during the British Mandate Era.
  • 1949 – Asbestos miners began a labour strike around Asbestos, Quebec, Canada, considered one of the causes of the Quiet Revolution.
  • 1961 – Lawrencium, the metallic radioactive synthetic element with atomic number 103, was first made at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.
  • 1989 – The first of at least twenty-four Medium Earth Orbit satellites in the satellite constellation of the Global Positioning System was launched into orbit.
  • 1989 – A fatwa was issued for the execution of Salman Rushdie for authoring The Satanic Verses, a novel Islamic fundamentalists considered blasphemous.
  • 2005 – Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri was assassinated when explosives were detonated as his motorcade drove past the St. George Hotel in Beirut, sparking the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon.

February 15

  • 1898 – The United States Navy battleship USS Maine exploded and sank in Havana, Cuba, killing more than 260 people and precipitating the Spanish-American War.
  • 1900 – Second Boer War: British cavalry under Major-General John French defeated Boer forces to end a 124-day siege of Kimberley, present-day South Africa.
  • 1942 – World War II: Japanese forces led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita captured Singapore, the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history.
  • 1961 – Sabena Flight 548, carrying the U.S. Figure Skating team who were en route to the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships, crashed during the approach for landing at Brussels' Zaventem Airport, killing all seventy-two on board.
  • 1971 – The British pound sterling and the Irish pound were decimalised on what is called Decimal Day.
  • 1976 – The current Constitution of Cuba, provided for a system of government and law based on those of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries, was adopted by a national referendum.
  • 1979 – Don Dunstan resigned as Premier of South Australia, ending a decade of sweeping social liberalisation.
  • 1989 – The Soviet Union officially announced that all of its troops had withdrawn from Afghanistan after a nine-year conflict.
  • 1994 – Less than four years after declaring its independence from the Soviet Union, Tatarstan officially agreed to become a federal subject of Russia.
  • 1996 – A Long March 3 rocket carrying the telecommunications satellite Intelsat 708 crashed shortly after liftoff from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China, killing at least six people, and prompting a political controversy in the United States for allowing a possible technology transfer to China.
  • 2003 – In one of the largest anti-war rallies in history, millions around the world in approximately 800 cities took part in protests against the impending invasion of Iraq.
  • 2005 – Three former PayPal employees launched the popular website YouTube, where individuals and companies can upload, view and share videos.

February 16

  • 1249 – Louis IX of France dispatched Andrew of Longjumeau as his ambassador to the Mongol Empire.
  • 1742 – Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington became British Prime Minister, but ended up being a figurehead for the true leader of the British Government: Lord Carteret, the Secretary of State for the Northern Department.
  • 1804 – United States Navy Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led a raid to destroy the captured USS Philadelphia in Tripoli, denying her use to the Barbary States in the First Barbary War.
  • 1849 – The French Government passed a law to set the A-note above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz, in an attempt to standardise the pitch and combat pitch inflation.
  • 1899 – Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur, Iceland's oldest Association football club, was established.
  • 1918 – The Council of Lithuania signed the Act of Independence of Lithuania, proclaiming the restoration of an independent Lithuania governed by democratic principles, despite the presence of German troops in the country during World War I.
  • 1923 – English archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber of Tutankhamun, an Egyptian Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty.
  • 1934 – The Austrian Civil War ended with the military of the First Austrian Republic defeating the Social Democrats and the Republikanischer Schutzbund, leaving at least several hundred people dead in the five-day conflict.
  • 1968 – The first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system for the North American Numbering Plan went into service in Haleyville, Alabama, USA.
  • 1978 – The first computer bulletin board system, CBBS, was established by Ward Christensen during a blizzard in Chicago.
  • 1983 – The Ash Wednesday fires burned 513,979 acres in South Australia and 518,921 acres in Victoria, killing 75 people and injuring 2,676 others.
  • 1985 – "The Hizballah Programme" was released, describing the ideology and goals of the Shia Islamic political and paramilitary organisation Hizballah.
  • 2005 – The Kyoto Protocol, an amendment to the international treaty on climate change, entered into force.

February 17

  • 1600 – Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno, best-known as a proponent of heliocentrism and the infinity of the universe, was burned at the stake as a heretic by the Roman Inquisition.
  • 1801 – The U.S. House of Representatives elected Thomas Jefferson as President and Aaron Burr as Vice President, resolving an electoral tie in the 1800 U.S. presidential election.
  • 1854 – Britain recognised the independence of the Orange Free State in the present-day Free State Province, South Africa.
  • 1859 – Colonisation of Cochinchina: The French Navy captured the Citadel of Saigon, a fortress that was manned by 1,000 Vietnamese soldiers, en route to conquering Saigon and other regions of southern Vietnam.
  • 1904 – Italian composer Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly premiered at La Scala in Milan, generating negative reviews that forced him to rewrite the opera.
  • 1933 – The American weekly news magazine Newsweek was first published.
  • 1936 – The Phantom, one of the first modern comic book superheroes with the hallmark skintight costume and a mask with no visible pupils, made his first appearance in a daily newspaper comic strip.
  • 1944 – World War II: The United States Navy began Operation Hailstone, a massive naval air and surface attack against the Japanese naval and air base at Truk in the Caroline Islands.
  • 1959 – Vanguard 2, the first weather satellite, was launched to measure cloud-cover distribution.
  • 1979 – About 120,000 troops of the People's Liberation Army of China crossed into northern Vietnam, starting the Sino-Vietnamese War.
  • 1995 – In the presence of the four guarantor countries of the Rio Protocol, Ecuador and Peru signed a peace declaration confirming a ceasefire, leading to the official end of the Cenepa War eleven days later.
  • 2003 – The London congestion charge, a fee that is levied on motorists travelling within designated parts of London, came into operation.
  • 2006 – A massive landslide in the Philippine province of Southern Leyte killed over 1,000 people.

February 18

  • 1268 – A coalition of Russian medieval states defeated the Livonian Brothers of the Sword at the Battle of Rakovor near present-day Rakvere, Estonia.
  • 1846 – Peasants led by Jakub Szela began an uprising against Polish nobles in Galicia in the Austrian partition, killing about 1,000 people and destroying about 500 manors.
  • 1861 – Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as the first and ultimately only President of the Confederate States of America.
  • 1861 – With Italian unification almost complete, Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont, Savoy and Sardinia assumed the title King of Italy.
  • 1885 – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain was first published.
  • 1908 – The Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, Sweden's national stage for "spoken drama", opened with playwright August Strindberg's play Master Olof.
  • 1911 – The first official flight with airmail took place when pilot Henri Pequet carried 6,500 letters from Allahabad to Naini, British India, about 13 kilometres away.
  • 1930 – Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in an fixed-wing airplane.
  • 1932 – The Empire of Japan established Manchukuo, a puppet state in northeastern China during the Sino-Japanese War.
  • 1943 – Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Propaganda Minister, delivered the Sportpalast speech to motivate the German people when the tide of World War II was turning against Germany.
  • 1954 – The Church of Scientology, the largest organisation devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system, was incorporated in Los Angeles.
  • 2003 – An arsonist started a fire aboard a Daegu Metropolitan Subway train in Daegu, South Korea, killing almost two hundred passengers.
  • 2007 – Terrorist bombs exploded on the Samjhauta Express in Panipat, Haryana, India, killing 68 people.

February 19

  • 197 – Septimius Severus defeated usurper Clodius Albinus at the Battle of Lugdunum in present-day Lyon, France, securing full control over the Roman Empire.
  • 1594 – King Sigismund III Vasa of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was crowned King of Sweden, succeeding his father John III.
  • 1600 – The Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina exploded in the most violent eruption in the recorded history of South America.
  • 1674 – The Third Anglo-Dutch War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Westminster. New York, then known as New Orange was transferred back into the hands of England.
  • 1811 – Peninsular War: An outnumbered French force under Édouard Mortier routed and nearly destroyed the Spanish at the Battle of the Gebora near Badajoz, Spain.
  • 1819 – English explorer William Smith sighted Livingston Island in the South Shetland archipelago, a group of Antarctic islands more than 1000 kilometres south of the Falkland Islands.
  • 1942 – World War II: In the largest attacks mounted by a foreign power against Australia, more than 240 bombers and fighters of the Imperial Japanese Navy bombed Darwin, Northern Territory.
  • 1942 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorising the forcible relocation of over 112,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese people residing in the United States to internment camps.
  • 1965 – Colonel Pham Ngoc Thao of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, and a communist spy of the North Vietnamese Vietminh, along with Generals Lam Van Phat and Tran Thien Khiem attempted a coup against the military junta of Nguyen Khanh.
  • 1978 – Attempting to intervene in a hijacking situation at Larnaca International Airport in Larnaca without authorisation from Cyprus authorities, Egyptian commando forces ended up exchanging gunfire with the Cypriot National Guard.
  • 1985 – The first episode of the British soap opera EastEnders was first broadcast on BBC1, eventually becoming one of the most watched television shows in the United Kingdom.
  • 1986 – The space station Mir of the Soviet space programme was launched, establishing the first long-term research station in space.

February 20

  • 1547 – Nine-year-old Edward VI was crowned King of England and Ireland.
  • 1810 – Andreas Hofer, a Tyrolean patriot and the leader of a rebellion against Napoleon's forces, was executed by firing squad.
  • 1816 – Italian composer Gioachino Rossini's opera buffa The Barber of Seville, based on the first Figaro play by French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais, debuted at the Teatro Argentina in Rome.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: The Confederates defeated Union troops at the Battle of Olustee near Lake City, Florida.
  • 1872 – New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, today containing a collection of over two million works of art, opened.
  • 1913 – Australian politician King O'Malley drove in the first survey peg to mark the commencement of work on the construction of Canberra, a planned city designed by American architect Walter Burley Griffin.
  • 1942 – World War II: American flying ace Edward O'Hare shot down five enemy planes during a single sortie defending the aircraft carrier USS Lexington, and earned himself the Medal of Honour.
  • 1943 – The Saturday Evening Post published the first of Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms in support of United States President Franklin Roosevelt's 1941 State of the Union address theme of Four Freedoms.
  • 1944 – World War II: Allied forces began a bombing campaign that became known as Big Week, launching massive attacks on the German aircraft industry in an attempt to lure the Luftwaffe into a decisive battle.
  • 1959 – The Canadian government under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker cancelled the Avro CF-105 Arrow interceptor aircraft programme amid much political debate.
  • 1962 – Aboard Friendship 7, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, circling the planet three times in 4 hours, 55 minutes.
  • 1965 – NASA's Ranger 8 spacecraft successfully transmitted 7,137 photographs of the moon in the final 23 minutes of its mission before crashing into Mare Tranquillitatis.
  • 1992 – Texas industrialist Ross Perot's U.S. presidential campaign began when he opened up the possibility of running as an independent candidate while appearing on the talk show Larry King Live.
  • 2005 – Spanish voters passed a referendum on the ratification of the proposed Constitution of the European Union, despite the lowest turnout in any election since the transition to democracy in the 1970s.

February 21

  • 1613 – Mikhail I was elected unanimously by the Zemsky Sobor to become Tsar, beginning the Romanov dynasty in Imperial Russia.
  • 1804 – Built by Cornish inventor Richard Trevithick, the first self-propelled steam engine or locomotive first ran in Wales.
  • 1848 – The Communist Manifesto by communist theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels was first published, becoming one of the world's most influential political tracts.
  • 1878 – The first telephone directory, consisting of a single page, was issued to fifty subscribers in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
  • 1952 – Protesters in Dhaka, East Pakistan walked into military crossfire demanding the establishment of the Bengali language as an official language.
  • 1958 – British artist Gerald Holtom designed a logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament that became more commonly known as the peace symbol.
  • 1965 – Black nationalist Malcolm X was assassinated while giving a speech in New York City's Audubon Ballroom.
  • 1971 – The Convention on Psychotropic Substances, a United Nations treaty designed to control psychoactive drugs, was signed at a conference of plenipotentiaries in Vienna.
  • 1995 – American aviator Steve Fossett landed in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada, after taking off from South Korea, becoming the first person to make a solo flight across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon.

February 22

  • 1744 – War of the Austrian Succession: British ships began attacking the Spanish rear of a Franco-Spanish combined fleet in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast near Toulon, France.
  • 1819 – Under the terms of the Adams–Onís Treaty, Spain sold Florida and other North American territory to the United States for about US$5 million.
  • 1909 – The sixteen United States Navy battleships of the Great White Fleet, led by Connecticut, completed a circumnavigation of the globe.
  • 1943 – Members of the White Rose, a nonviolent resistance movement in Nazi Germany that became known for a leaflet campaign that called for active opposition to Adolf Hitler's regime, were found guilty of treason and guillotined.
  • 1958 – President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and President Shukri al-Quwatli of Syria signed the union pact to form the United Arab Republic.
  • 1959 – Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500 NASCAR auto race at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, US.
  • 1959 – The President of South Vietnam Ngo Dinh Diem survived a communist assassination attempt by a gunman in Ban Me Thuot.
  • 1980 – At the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, the United States ice hockey team defeated the Soviet Union in an unlikely victory that became known as the Miracle on Ice.
  • 1983 – The play Moose Murders opened and closed on the same night at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City, becoming the standard of awfulness against which all Broadway theatre failures are judged.
  • 1986 – The People Power Revolution, a series of nonviolent mass street demonstrations in the Philippines against the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos, began.
  • 2002 – Jonas Savimbi, leader of the Angolan anti-Communist rebel and political party UNITA, was killed in a battle with Angolan government troops.
  • 2006 – At least six men staged Britain's biggest robbery ever, stealing £53,116,760 in bank notes from a Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent.

February 23

  • 1820 – British authorities arrested the conspirators of the Cato Street Conspiracy, an attempt to murder Prime Minister Lord Liverpool and all the British cabinet ministers.
  • 1847 – Mexican-American War: The United States Army used heavy artillery to repulse the much larger Mexican army at the Battle of Buena Vista near Saltillo, Coahuila.
  • 1861 – President-elect of the United States Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington, D.C. for his inauguration, thwarting an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore.
  • 1893 – Rudolf Diesel received a patent for the diesel engine.
  • 1903 – The Cuban-American Treaty was finalised, allowing the United States to lease Guantánamo Bay from Cuba in perpetuity for the purposes of operating coaling and naval stations.
  • 1909 – The Silver Dart was flown off the ice of Baddeck Bay, a sub-basin of Bras d'Or Lake on Cape Breton Island, making it the first controlled powered flight in Canada and the British Empire.
  • 1941 – Plutonium was first chemically identified by chemist Glenn T. Seaborg and his team at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • 1944 – In response to an insurgency in Chechnya, the Soviet Union began the forced deportation of native Chechen and Ingush populations of North Caucasus to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
  • 1945 – American photographer Joe Rosenthal took the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II, an image that was later reproduced as the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial.
  • 1947 – The International Organisation for Standardisation, responsible for worldwide industrial and commercial standards, was founded.
  • 1987 – The supernova SN 1987A was discovered in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
  • 2005 – The controversial French law on colonialism, requiring lycée teachers to teach their students "the positive role" of French colonialism, was passed, creating so much public uproar and opposition that it was repealed less than one year later.

February 24

  • 303 – Roman Emperor Diocletian's first "Edict against the Christians" was published, beginning the Diocletianic Persecution, the last and most severe episode of the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.
  • 1582 – Pope Gregory XIII issued the papal bull Inter gravissimas to promulgate the Gregorian calendar, a modification of the Julian calendar in use since 45 BC.
  • 1607 – Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, one of the earliest works recognised as an opera, was first performed.
  • 1803 – The U.S. Supreme Court, in Marbury v. Madison, declared an act of Congress unconstitutional for the first time, an exercise of judicial review.
  • 1822 – The first Swaminarayan temple, Swaminarayan Mandir in present-day Ahmedabad, India, was inaugurated.
  • 1848 – Amid a revolt, French King Louis-Philippe abdicated and escaped to England, leading to the creation of the French Second Republic.
  • 1875 – The steamship SS Gothenburg hit a section of the Great Barrier Reef at low tide and sank about 50 kilometres northwest of Holbourne Island, Queensland, Australia, with the loss of over 100 lives.
  • 1942 – Less than three months after United States' entry into World War II, eyewitness reports of unidentified flying objects over Los Angeles triggered a massive anti-aircraft artillery barrage, thinking it was an attacking force from Japan.
  • 1946 – Colonel Juan Perón, founder of the political movement that became known as Peronism, was elected to his first term as President of Argentina.
  • 1989 – United Airlines Flight 811 experienced a cargo door failure in flight after leaving Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii, causing a decompression that blew out several rows of seats and killed 9 passengers.
  • 1999 – Arizona executed German national Karl LaGrand.
  • 2006 – Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared a state of emergency in an attempt to subdue a possible military coup.

February 25

  • 138 – Roman Emperor Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius as his son and successor, after the death of his first adopted son Lucius Aelius.
  • 1570 – Pope Pius V issued the papal bull Regnans in Excelsis to excommunicate Queen Elizabeth I and her followers in the Church of England.
  • 1836 – American inventor and industrialist Samuel Colt received a patent for a "revolving gun", later known as a revolver.
  • 1904 – L'Orfeo, an early Baroque opera by Claudio Monteverdi, was performed for the first time in more than two centuries.
  • 1912 – Marie-Adélaïde, the eldest of six daughters of Guillaume IV, became the first reigning Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.
  • 1921 – The Soviet Red Army took over the Georgian capital Tbilisi after heavy fighting and declared the new Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic.
  • 1951 – After being postponed since 1943 due to World War II, the first Pan American Games opened in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • 1956 – In his speech On the Personality Cult and its Consequences to the 20th Party Congress, Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced the personality cult and dictatorship of his predecessor Joseph Stalin.
  • 1986 – Corazon Aquino was inaugurated as the first female President of the Philippines after Ferdinand Marcos fled the nation after twenty years of rule because of the People Power Revolution.
  • 1992 – Nagorno-Karabakh War: Armenian armed forces killed 613 ethnic Azerbaijani civilians from the town of Khojali in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.
  • 1994 – Israeli physician Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslim Arabs praying at the mosque in Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs, killing 29 people and wounding 125 others.

February 26

  • 364 – Following the death of the Roman Emperor Jovian, officers of the army at Nicaea in Bithynia selected Flavius Valentinianus to succeed him.
  • 1266 – King Manfred of Sicily was killed while fighting Angevin forces led by Charles of Anjou near Benevento, Italy.
  • 1658 – Treaty of Roskilde: After a devastating defeat in the Northern Wars (1655–1661), the King of Denmark-Norway was forced to give up nearly half his Danish territory to Sweden to save the rest.
  • 1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from Elba, an island off the coast of Italy where he had been exiled after the signing of the Treaty of Fontainebleau one year earlier.
  • 1914 – HMHS Britannic, the third and largest Olympic-class ocean liner of the White Star Line after RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic, was launched at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.
  • 1917 – New Orleans' Original Dixieland Jass Band recorded "Livery Stable Blues", the first jazz single ever released.
  • 1919 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed a law that designated most of Arizona's Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River that is considered to be one of the major natural wonders of the world, as a national park.
  • 1935 – With the aid of a radio station in Daventry, England and two receiving antennas, Scottish engineer and inventor Robert Watson-Watt first demonstrated the use of radar.
  • 1936 – Over 1400 troops of the Imperial Japanese Army staged a coup d'etat in Japan, occupying Tokyo, and killing Finance Minister Takahashi Korekiyo and several other leading politicians.
  • 1966 – The Saturn IB rocket launched for the first time from Flordia's Cape Canaveral.
  • 1991 – British computer programmer Tim Berners-Lee introduced WorldWideWeb, the world's first web browser and WYSIWYG HTML editor.
  • 1993 – A bomb-laden van exploded in the underground garage of the World Trade Centre in New York City, killing six and injuring more than one thousand people.
  • 1995 – Barings Bank, the oldest merchant bank in London, collapsed after its head derivatives trader in Singapore, Nick Leeson, lost £827 million while making unauthorised speculative trades on futures contracts.

February 27

  • 1594 – Henry IV of France was crowned at the Cathedral of Chartres near Paris, beginning the Bourbon dynasty.
  • 1617 – Rise of Sweden as a Great Power: Sweden signed the Treaty of Stolbovo to end the Ingrian War with Russia, making large territorial gains.
  • 1801 – Under the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801, Washington, D.C., a new planned city and capital of the United States, was placed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress.
  • 1870 – The current flag of Japan was first adopted as the national flag for Japanese merchant ships.
  • 1933 – The Reichstag building in Berlin, the assembly location of the German Parliament, was set on fire, a pivotal event in the establishment of the Nazi regime in Germany.
  • 1940 – American biochemists Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discovered the radioactive isotope carbon-14, which today is used extensively as the basis of the radiocarbon dating method to date archaeological, geological, and hydrogeological samples.
  • 1962 – Two dissident Republic of Vietnam Air Force pilots bombed the Independence Palace in Saigon in a failed assassination attempt of President of South Vietnam Ngo Dinh Diem.
  • 1963 – Juan Bosch became the first democratically elected President of the Dominican Republic since the assassination of dictator Rafael Trujillo two years earlier.
  • 1976 – The rebel movement Polisario Front proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in Western Sahara.
  • 1982 – The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company known for its performances of Gilbert and Sullivan's Savoy operas, gave its last performance.
  • 1989 – A wave of protests, riots and looting known as the caracazo resulted in a death toll of anywhere between 275 and 3000 people in the Venezuelan capital Caracas and its surrounding towns.
  • 1996 – The media franchise Pokémon was launched with the release of the first version of the video game Pocket Monsters Aka and Midori.
  • 2002 – The death of 58 Hindu pilgrims in a train fire triggered a violent riot in Gujarat, killing at least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, in the following days.
  • 2002 – A Sabarmati Express train was set on fire right after it left the train station in Godhra, India, killing more than 55 Hindu pilgrims.

February 28

  • 870 – The Fourth Council of Constantinople, the eighth Catholic Ecumenical Council, ended.
  • 1838 – Lower Canada Rebellion: Robert Nelson, leader of the Patriotes, proclaimed the independence of Lower Canada.
  • 1844 – A gun on USS Princeton exploded while the U.S. warship was on a Potomac River cruise, killing eight United States Cabinet members and several others.
  • 1870 – The Bulgarian Exarchate, the official name of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church before its autocephaly was recognised by the other Orthodox churches in the 1950s, was established by the firman of Sultan Abdülâziz of the Ottoman Empire.
  • 1893 – The USS Indiana, the lead ship of her class and the first battleship in the United States Navy comparable to foreign battleships of the time, was launched.
  • 1900 – Second Boer War: The 118-day Siege of Ladysmith in South Africa was lifted after British forces finally broke through the Boer positions.
  • 1914 – In the aftermath of the Balkan Wars, Greeks living in southern Albania proclaimed the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus.
  • 1933 – The England cricket team led by Douglas Jardine won the acrimonious Bodyline Test series against Australia 4–1.
  • 1935 – Working with polyamides to developing a new viable fibre for the chemical company DuPont, American chemist Wallace Carothers invented nylon.
  • 1939 – The erroneous word "Dord", one of the most famous errors in lexicography, was discovered in the Webster's New International Dictionary by Merriam–Webster editor, in which the term is defined as "density".
  • 1947 – Civil disorder in Taiwan was brutally suppressed by the Chinese Nationalist military in the 228 Incident.
  • 1972 – The ten-day siege of a mountain lodge near Karuizawa, Nagano prefecture, Japan, where members of the paramilitary group United Red Army held a woman hostage, ended when police stormed the building, an event that became the first marathon live broadcast in the country, lasting 10 hours and 40 minutes.
  • 1972 – U.S. President Richard Nixon's visit to the People's Republic of China concluded with the two countries issuing the Shanghai Communiqué, pledging to work toward the full normalisation of diplomatic relations.
  • 1983 – The final episode of the television series MASH was broadcast in the United States, and became the most-watched television programme in history.
  • 1986 – Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was assassinated by a lone gunman in Stockholm while walking home from a movie theatre with his wife Lisbet Palme.
  • 1997 – In what has been viewed as a "postmodern coup", the Turkish Military leadership issued a memorandum that eventually precipitated the retirement of Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan.
  • 1997 – GRB 970228, a highly luminous flash of gamma rays, struck the Earth for 80 seconds, providing early evidence that gamma-ray bursts occur well beyond the Milky Way.

February 29

  • 1704 – Joint French and Native American forces destroyed Deerfield, Massachusetts during Queen Anne's War, killing over fifty colonists.
  • 1712 – February 29 was followed by February 30 in Sweden, in a move to abolish the Swedish calendar.
  • 1720 – Unable to establish a joint sovereignty similar to England's William and Mary, Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden abdicated in favour of her husband, who became Frederick I.
  • 1940 – At the 12th Academy Awards ceremony, Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to be awarded an Oscar, winning Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind.
  • 1944 – The Admiralty Islands campaign during the Pacific War of World War II began when American forces assaulted Los Negros Island, the third largest of the Admiralty Islands off the coast of the Papua New Guinea mainland.
  • 1960 – Playboy Enterprises founder Hugh Hefner opened his first Playboy Club in Chicago, featuring the first service uniform registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  • 1996 – A court ruled that book publisher Random House owed British actress and author Joan Collins over US$1 million for breach of contract over an unpublished manuscript.
  • 2004 – Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned as President of Haiti following popular rebel uprising.
 
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