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THIS DAY IN HISTORY


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February 4
1974
Patty Hearst kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army
On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, the 19-year-old granddaughter of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, is kidnapped from her apartment in Berkeley, California, by three armed strangers. Her fiancee, Stephen Weed, was beaten and tied up along with a neighbor who tried to help. Witnesses rep... read more
21st Century
2004
Facebook launches
Art, Literature, and Film History
1826
"The Last of the Mohicans" is published
1938
Disney releases "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
1983
Singer-songwriter Karen Carpenter dies
Black History
1913
Civil rights icon Rosa Parks is born
Civil War
1861
States meet to form Confederacy
Cold War
1945
Yalta Conference foreshadows the Cold War
Inventions & Science
1922
Ford buys Lincoln
U.S. Presidents
1789
George Washington unanimously elected first U.S. president
Vietnam War
1962
First U.S. helicopter is shot down in Vietnam
World War I
1915
Germany declares war zone around British Isles
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I love this historical kind of trivia!  Thanks for posting it, pK...

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February 5
1994
White supremacist convicted of killing Medgar Evers
On February 5, 1994, white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith is convicted in the murder of African American civil rights leader Medgar Evers, over 30 years after the crime occurred. Evers was gunned down in the driveway of his Jackson, Mississippi, home on June 12, 1963, while his wife, Myrlie, and t... read more
American Revolution
1777
Georgia constitution abolishes primogeniture and entail
Ancient History
146 BCE
Punic Wars, between Rome and Carthage, come to an end
Art, Literature, and Film History
1919
United Artists created
Colonial America
1631
Roger Williams arrives in America
Crime
2012
Husband of missing Utah woman kills self and two young sons
Immigration
1917
Immigration act passed over President Wilson's veto
Mexico
1917
Mexican constitution proclaimed
Sports
1934
Hank Aaron is born
U.S. Presidents
1826
Millard Fillmore marries Abigail Powers
U.S. Government
1937
FDR announces "court-packing" plan
2003
Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks at UN, justifies US invasion of Iraq
Westward Expansion
1883
Southern Pacific Railroad completes New Orleans to California route
World War II
1941
Hitler to Mussolini: Fight harder!
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February 6
1952
King George VI dies; Elizabeth becomes queen
On February 6, 1952, after a long illness, King George VI of Great Britain and Northern Ireland dies in his sleep at the royal estate at Sandringham. Princess Elizabeth, the oldest of the king's two daughters and next in line to succeed him, was in Kenya at the time of her father's death; she was cr... read more
American Revolution
1778
Franco-American alliances signed
Art, Literature, and Film History
1937
"Of Mice and Men" is published
1998
Austrian superstar Falco dies
Civil War
1865
Confederate general John Pegram killed
Crime
1998
Mary Kay Letourneau goes back to prison
Roaring Twenties
1928
Woman claiming to be Anastasia Romanov arrives in the U.S.
Slavery
1820
Formerly enslaved people depart on journey to Africa
Sports
1958
Man United players among victims of plane crash
1993
Tennis great Arthur Ashe dies of AIDS
U.S. Presidents
1911
Ronald Reagan born
1985
The "Reagan Doctrine" is announced
Westward Expansion
1891
Dalton Gang commits its first train robbery
World War I
1917
German sub sinks U.S. passenger ship California
World War II
1943
Mussolini fires his son-in-law
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February 7
1964
The Beatles arrive in New York
On February 7, 1964, Pan Am Yankee Clipper flight 101 from London Heathrow lands at New York's Kennedy Airport—and "Beatlemania" arrives. It was the first visit to the United States by the Beatles, a British rock-and-roll quartet that had just scored its first No. 1 U.S. hit six days before with... read more
Europe
1992
European Union treaty signed
American Revolution
1775
Benjamin Franklin publishes "An Imaginary Speech"
Cold War
1962
Full U.S.-Cuba embargo is announced
Crime
1881
Plea bargaining gains favor in American courts
1968
Forensic evidence solves a crime
Early 20th Century U.S.
1904
The Great Baltimore Fire begins
Holocaust
1979
Josef Mengele, known as the "Angel of Death," dies
Natural Disasters & Environment
1812
Earthquake causes fluvial tsunami in Mississippi
Space Exploration
1984
Navy captain becomes the first human to perform an untethered space walk
U.S. Presidents
2002
President George W. Bush announces plan for "faith-based initiatives"
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February 8
1943
Americans secure Guadalcanal
On February 8, 1943, Japanese troops evacuate Guadalcanal, leaving the island in Allied possession after a prolonged campaign. The American victory paved the way for other Allied wins in the Solomon Islands. Guadalcanal is the largest of the Solomons, a group of 992 islands and atolls, 347 of which ... read more
Guadalcanal
On August 7, 1942, more than 19,000 Marines invaded Guadalcanal with orders to seize and hold the tropical island, in the first U.S. offensive of the Pacific War.
Stream this episode on HISTORY Vault—the best destination for thousands of HISTORY’s most fascinating series, documentaries and specials—all commercial-free.
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Art, Literature, and Film History
1915
"The Birth of A Nation" opens, glorifying the KKK
1990
Del Shannon, a '60s songwriter, dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound
1994
Jack Nicholson smashes windshield in episode of road rage
Civil Rights Movement
1968
Three protestors die in the Orangeburg Massacre
Civil War
1862
Battle of Roanoke Island
Cold War
1949
Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary sentenced
Crime
1924
First execution by lethal gas
1983
Irish race horse stolen
Great Britain
1587
Mary, Queen of Scots beheaded
Native Americans
1887
Cleveland signs the Dawes Severalty Act
Natural Disasters & Environment
1978
New England digs out after blizzard
Russia
1725
Peter the Great dies
1904
The Russo-Japanese War begins
Sports
1986
Spud Webb wins dunk contest
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February 9
1971
Satchel Paige nominated to Baseball Hall of Fame
On February 9, 1971, pitcher Leroy "Satchel" Paige is nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame. In August of that year, Paige, a pitching legend known for his fastball, showmanship and the longevity of his playing career, which spanned five decades, was induc... read more
Art, Literature, and Film History
1960
Joanne Woodward earns first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
1964
America meets the Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show"
Civil War
1864
Union general George Custer marries
Cold War
1950
Senator McCarthy says communists are in State Department
Crime
1960
Coors brewery heir is kidnapped
Sports
1992
Magic Johnson returns for All-Star Game
U.S. Presidents
1773
William Henry Harrison is born
U.S. Government
1825
Presidential election decided in the House
World War I
1918
Ukraine signs peace treaty with Central Powers
World War II
1942
The Normandie catches fire
1942
Daylight saving time instituted
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February 10
1996
World chess champion Garry Kasparov loses game to computer
On February 10, 1996, after three hours, world chess champion Garry Kasparov loses the first game of a six-game match against Deep Blue, an IBM computer capable of evaluating 200 million moves per second.  Man was ultimately victorious over machine, however, as Kasparov bested Deep Blue in ... read more
Art, Literature, and Film History
1957
Laura Ingalls Wilder, chronicler of American frontier life, dies
1972
Ziggy Stardust makes his earthly debut
2006
Final episode of "Arrested Development" airs on Fox
2014
Iconic child star Shirley Temple dies at 85
Cold War
1962
U.S.-Soviet spy swap
Colonial America
1763
The French and Indian War ends
Crime
1992
Star boxer Mike Tyson convicted of rape
Inventions & Science
1966
Auto safety crusader Ralph Nader testifies before Congress
Natural Disasters & Environment
1970
Avalanche buries skiers in France
Vietnam War
1971
Journalists killed in helicopter crash
Westward Expansion
1846
Latter-day Saints begin exodus to Utah
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February 11
1990
Nelson Mandela released from prison
Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, is released from prison after 27 years on February 11, 1990. In 1944, Mandela, a lawyer, joined the African National Congress (ANC), the oldest Black political organization in South Africa, where he became a leader of Johannesbur... read more
21st CENTURY
2020
World Health Organization officially names novel coronavirus disease COVID-19
Art, Literature, and Film History
1778
Voltaire returns to Paris from exile
1960
The Payola scandal heats up
2012
Pop superstar Whitney Houston dies at age 48
Crime
1916
Women's rights activist arrested
Native Americans
1805
Sacagawea gives birth to her first child
Religion
1858
St. Bernadette claims to see the Virgin Mary
Space Exploration
1970
Japan launches its first satellite
World War II
1945
Yalta Conference ends
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February 12
1909
The NAACP is founded
On February 12, 1909, the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, a group that included African American leaders such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Ida B. Wells-Barnett announced the formation of a new organization. Called the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, it would have a... read more
The Essential Presidential Documentaries to Watch Next
From the Founding Fathers to modern-day presidents, learn more about the lives and legacies of America's commanders in chief. With HISTORY Vault’s enormous content library at your fingertips, you’ll get unprecedented access to over 2,000 titles from every era, commercial-free, from The HISTORY Channel.

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American Revolution
1789
Ethan Allen dies
Art, Literature, and Film History
1924
"Rhapsody In Blue," by George Gershwin, performed for first time
1938
Judy Blume, popular young-adult author, is born
2005
Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "The Gates" opens in New York's Central Park
2008
Hollywood writers' strike ends after 100 days
China
1912
Last emperor of China abdicates
Europe
2002
Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic goes on trial for war crimes
Crime
1976
Actor Sal Mineo is killed in Hollywood
Latin America
1817
Revolutionary leader José de San Martín routs Spanish forces in Chile
Slavery
1793
Congress enacts first fugitive slave law
U.S. Presidents
1809
Abraham Lincoln is born
1999
President Bill Clinton acquitted on both articles of impeachment
Vietnam War
1972
Cambodians launch attack to retake Angkor Wat
1973
Release of U.S. POWs begins
World War I
1917
American schooner Lyman M. Law is sunk
World War II
1941
German General Erwin Rommel arrives in Africa
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February 13
1945
Firebombing of Dresden
On the evening of February 13, 1945, a series of Allied firebombing raids begins against the German city of Dresden, reducing the "Florence of the Elbe" to rubble and flames, and killing roughly 25,000 people. Despite the horrendous scale of destruction, it arguably accomplished little stra... read more
The Capitol Attack of 1861
February 13, 1861. The electoral votes affirming Lincoln are set to be counted, but hundreds of anti-Lincoln rioters storm the U.S. Capitol steps trying to stop the count. What was the aftermath of the mob trying to overtake the Capitol and how did democracy handle the test? 
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19th Century
1861
First Medal of Honor action
Art, Literature, and Film History
1914
ASCAP is founded
Crime
1982
Serial killer strikes in Colorado
Great Britain
1689
William and Mary proclaimed joint sovereigns of Britain
Inventions & Science
1633
Galileo arrives in Rome to face charges of heresy
Sports
1998
Downhill skier Hermann Maier crashes in Olympics
Cold War
1984
Chernenko becomes general secretary of Soviet Communist Party
U.S. Presidents
1905
Teddy Roosevelt discusses America's race problem
Vietnam War
1965
Lyndon Johnson approves Operation Rolling Thunder
World War I
1920
League of Nations recognizes perpetual Swiss neutrality
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February 14
270
St. Valentine beheaded
On February 14, around the year 270 A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed. Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time gett... read more
American Revolution
1779
Patriots defeat Loyalists at Kettle Creek
Art, Literature, and Film History
1989
Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini calls on Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of "The Satanic Verses"
Crime
1929
The St. Valentine's Day Massacre
2018
Teen gunman kills 17, injures 17 at Parkland, Florida high school
Exploration
1779
Captain Cook killed in Hawaii
Space Exploration
1990
"Pale Blue Dot" photo of Earth is taken
Sports
1988
Olympic speed skater Dan Jansen falls after sister dies
LATIN AMERICA
1989
Sandinistas agree to free elections
U.S. Presidents
1884
Theodore Roosevelt's wife and mother die
Westward Expansion
1886
First trainload of oranges leaves Los Angeles
World War II
1943
Battle of the Kasserine Pass
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February 15
1898
The USS Maine explodes in Cuba's Havana Harbor
A massive explosion of unknown origin sinks the battleship USS Maine in Cuba's Havana harbor on February 15, 1898, killing 260 of the fewer than 400 American crew members aboard. One of the first American battleships, the Maine weighed more than 6,000 tons and was built at a cost of more than $2 mil... read more
The Essential Presidential Documentaries to Watch Next
From the Founding Fathers to modern-day presidents, learn more about the lives and legacies of America's commanders in chief. With HISTORY Vault’s enormous content library at your fingertips, you’ll get unprecedented access to over 2,000 titles from every era, commercial-free, from The HISTORY Channel.

Start your 7-day trial now and watch for FREE.
Start Free Trial
1960s
1965
Canada adopts maple leaf flag
Art, Literature, and Film History
1950
Disney's "Cinderella" opens in theaters
1980
Lillian Hellman sues Mary McCarthy
Cold War
1950
USSR and PRC sign mutual defense treaty
Sports
1961
U.S. figure skating team killed in plane crash
1998
Dale Earnhardt Sr. wins his first Daytona 500
U.S. Presidents
1903
First Teddy bear goes on sale
1933
FDR escapes assassination attempt in Miami
World War II
1942
Singapore falls to Japan
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February 16
1923
Archaeologist opens tomb of King Tut
On February 16, 1923, in Thebes, Egypt, English archaeologist Howard Carter enters the sealed burial chamber of the ancient Egyptian ruler King Tutankhamen. Because the ancient Egyptians saw their pharaohs as gods, they carefully preserved their bodies after death, burying them in elaborate tombs co... read more
Unearthing King Tut
Uncover the exhibit that showcases the St Petersburg Museum of History’s Lady of the Nile side-by-side with the world’s most well-known Egyptian mummy.

Stream this episode on HISTORY Vault—the best destination for thousands of HISTORY’s most fascinating series, documentaries and specials—all commercial-free.
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19th Century
1804
U.S. Navy stages daring mission during First Barbary War
1878
Silver dollars made legal
American Revolution
1778
John Adams prepares to sail for France
Art, Literature, and Film History
1963
"The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan is published
Cold War
1951
Joseph Stalin attacks the United Nations
Crime
1894
Gunslinger John Wesley Hardin is pardoned
Inventions & Science
1968
First 9-1-1 call is placed in the United States
Latin America
1959
Fidel Castro sworn in as prime minister
Sports
1984
Bill Johnson becomes first American to win Olympic gold in downhill skiing
Vietnam War
1968
Tet Offensive results in many new refugees
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February 17
1801
Thomas Jefferson is elected third U.S. president
On February 17, 1801, Thomas Jefferson is elected the third president of the United States. The election constitutes the first peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another in the United States.... read more
Save Our Restaurants
The HISTORY Channel is partnering with the James Beard Foundation to #SaveOurRestaurants, a philanthropic initiative aimed at providing aid to restaurants who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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1970s
1979
China invades Vietnam
American Revolution
1782
French and British battle in the Indian Ocean
ART, LITERATURE, AND FILM HISTORY
1904
"Madame Butterfly" premieres
Civil War
1865
Union army sacks Columbia, South Carolina
Cold War
1947
Voice of America begins broadcasts to Russia
Crime
1906
Union leaders put on trial for assassination
Inventions & Science
1972
Beetle overtakes Model T as world's best-selling car
Sports
1996
Chess champion Garry Kasparov defeats IBM's Deep Blue
Westward Expansion
1820
Senate passes Missouri Compromise
World War I
1915
Zeppelin L-4 crashes into North Sea
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February 18
1885
Mark Twain publishes "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
On February 18, 1885, Mark Twain publishes his famous—and famously controversial—novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Twain (the pen name of Samuel Clemens) first introduced Huck Finn as the best friend of Tom Sawyer, hero of his tremendously successful novel The Adventures of Tom S... read more
Art, Literature, and Film History
1929
First Academy Awards announced
1959
Ray Charles records "What'd I Say" at Atlantic Records
Crime
2003
Arsonist sets fire in South Korean subway
2011
Green River serial killer pleads guilty to 49th murder
Inventions & Science
1930
Pluto discovered
Sports
2001
Dale Earnhardt Sr. killed in crash
U.S. Government
2010
WikiLeaks publishes the first documents leaked by Chelsea Manning
Westward Expansion
1878
Murder ignites Lincoln County War
World War II
1943
Nazis arrest White Rose resistance leaders
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February 19
1847
Donner Party rescued from the Sierra Nevada Mountains
On February 19, 1847, the first rescuers reach surviving members of the Donner Party, a group of California-bound emigrants stranded by snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In the summer of 1846, in the midst of a Western-bound fever sweeping the United States, 89 people—including 31 members of the ... read more
American Revolution
1777
Congress overlooks Benedict Arnold for promotion
Art, Literature, and Film History
1878
Thomas Edison patents the phonograph
Cold War
1981
United States calls situation in El Salvador a communist plot
Crime
1851
San Francisco vigilantes take the law into their own hands
Early U.S.
1807