ON THIS DAY--FEBRUARY
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For a more comprehensive list, including a Year by Year timeline, see our Research Guide.
1552--Sir Edward Coke, English judge who prosecuted Sir Walter Raleigh and the Gunpowder Plot conspirators, born.
1650--Rene Descartes, French philosopher, died.
1787--The first edition of the Botanical Magazine was published in London.
1790--The first meeting of the U.S. Supreme Court took place.
1840--The first dental college opened in Baltimore, Maryland.
1851--Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, English author of Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, died.
1859--Victor Herbert, Irish-American composer and conductor, born.
1878--George Cruikshank, English caricaturist and illustrator, died.
1880--The Stage newspaper was published in London.
1884--The first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published.
1893--Thomas Alva Edison opened the first film studio in New Jersey.
1650--Nell Gwynne, comedy actress and mistress of Charles II, born.
1709--The real Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk, was rescued by captain Tomas Dover, having spent five years on the uninhabited island of Mas a Tierra.
1754--Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, French statesman and politician, born.
1801--The first parliament of Great Britain in which Ireland was represented, was assembled.
1848--The war between the U.S. and Mexico ended after the signing of the Treaty of Guadalope Hidalgo.
1850--Jesse Boot, first Lord Trent, English chemist and founder of the Boots the Chemist chain, born.
1852--The first 'Gents' opened in Britain in Fleet Street, followed on the 11 February with the first 'Ladies' at Bedford Street.
1878--Greece declared war on Turkey.
1882--James Joyce, Irish novelist of Ulysses, born.
1399--John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and father of King Henry IV, died.
1488--The first European to land on southern Africa soil, Bartholomew Diaz, Portuguese navigator, came ashore at Mossel Bay.
1730--The first stock exchange quotations were published in the Daily Advertiser, London.
1762--Richard Nash, English gambler and dandy, died.
1809--Felix Mendelssohn, German composer, born. ALSO, Illinois was organized as a territory of the U.S.
1821--Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman doctor in the U.S., born in Bristol.
1826--Walter Bagehot, English economist, author and journalist who edited the Economist, born.
1830--Lord Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquis of Salisbury, statesman and British Prime Minister, born.
1874--Gertrude Stein, U.S. author and critic, born.
1877--'The Celebrated Chop Waltz', better known as 'Chopsticks' was registered at the British Museum.
211AD--Lucius Septimius Severus, Roman emperor, died in England.
1555--Giambattista della Porta, Italian in ventor of the camera obscura, died.
1740--Tadeusz Kosciusko, Polish patriot, born.
1789--George Washington, American revolutionary leader, was unanimously elected the first president of the United States.
1802--Mark Hopkins, American educator and president of Williams College, born.
1861--The Confederate States of America was formed, an alliance of secessionist states which met at Montgomery, Alabama.
1881--Fernand Leger, French Cubist painter, born.
1679--Joost van den Vondel, Dutch poet and playwright, died.
1781--Lord George Gordon, organizer of 'The Gordon Riots', was acquitted of treason.
1788--Sir Robert Peel, first commoner to become British Prime Minister, born.
1782--Minorca was captured by the Spanish from British forces.
1798--Luigi Galvani, Italian physiologist, died.
1811--The Prince of Wales was declared Prince Regent.
1816--Rossini's The Barber of Seville was first performed, in Rome.
1840--Sir Hiram Stevens, who perfected the machine gun that bears his name, born.
1840--John Boyd Dunlop, inventor of the pneumatic bicycle tire, born.
1848--Sir John Pritchard, English conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, born.
1881--Thomas Carlyle, English author and historian, died.
1508--Maximilian I assumed the title Holy Roman Emperor.
1515--Manutius Aldus, Italian editor and printer who invented the first paperbacks and also italics, died.
1664--Christopher Marlowe, English poet and playwright of Dr. Faustus, born.
1665--Queen Anne of Britain and Ireland, last Stuart ruler, born.
1685--Charles II, King of Great Britain and Ireland, died after several days of revelry with his concubines and favorite mistresses.
1783--Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, English landscape gardener, died.
1788--Massachusetts became the 6th State of the Union.
1793--Carlo Goldini, Italian comic playwright of over 250 plays, died.
1804--A locomotive converted from a steam-hammer power source, ran on a line near Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. ALSO--Joseph Priestley, English clergyman who discovered oxygen, born.
1865--General Robert E. Lee became the Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate Armies.
301--Edward of Caernarvon (later King Edward II) became the first Prince of Wales.
1478--Sir Thomas More, English statesman, Lord Chancellor and author of Utopia, born.
1700--Philippe Buache, French geographer and cartographer, born.
1779--William Boyce, English organist and composer, died.
1812--Charles Dickens, English journalist and novelist of Oliver Twist, born.
1845--The Portland Vase, a cameo-glass Roman vase dating from 25BC, was broken by William Lloyd, a drunken visitor to the British Museum.
1863--The HMS Orpheus was wrecked on the New Zealand coast with the loss of 185 lives.
1885--Sinclair Lewis, U.S. novelist of Main Street and Nobel Prize winner, born.
1886--Gold was discovered in the Transvaal, South Africa when Englishman George Walker was building a cottage for a prospector.
1587--Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded at Fotheringay Castle, Northamptonshire, where she had been imprisoned for 19 years following her attempt to overthrow Elizabeth I.
1725--Catherine the Great became Empress of Russia in succession to Peter the Great.
1740--The Great Frost of London, which started Christmas Eve 1739, came to an end.
1750--This day in London was unseasonably hot and London experienced an minor earthquake.
1819--John Ruskin, English writer and art critic, born.
1820--William Sherman, Union general during the U.S. Civil War, born.
1828--Jules Verne, pioneer French science-fiction writer who wrote Journey to the Center of the Earth, born.
1834--Ivanovich Mendeleyev, Russian chemist who formulated the periodic table, born.
1886--A peaceful demonstration by unemployed people in Trafalgar Square turned into a riot with looting in Oxford Street and Pall Mall.
1894--R.M. Ballantyne, author of boys' adventure stories, died.
1540--The first recorded race meeting in England was held at Roodee Fields, Chester.
1649--The funeral of King Charles I took place.
1700--Daniel Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician, born.
1773--William Henry Harrison, 9th U.S. president, born.
1801--The Holy Roman Empire came to an end with the signing of the Peace of Luneville between France and Austria.
1811--Nevil Maskelyne, English astronomer royal, died.
1830--Explorer Charles Sturt discovered the termination of the Murray, Australia's longest river.
1849--Rome was proclaimed a republic by Giuseppe Mazzini.
1863--Anthony Hope, English novelist of The Prisoner of Zenda, born.
1865--General Robert E. Lee took command of the Confederate Army in the U.S. Civil War.
1881--Fyodor Dostoevsky, Russian novelist of Crime and Punishment, died.
1354--Oxford University students clashed with townspeople in a three-day street battle.
1567--Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary Queen of Scots and father of James I, was murdered near Edinburgh.
1670--William Congreve, English Restoration comedy playwright, was baptized.
1763--Following the Seven Years War, the Treaty of Paris was signed, with France ceding Canada to Britain.
1774--Andrew Becker demonstrated his practical diving suit in the Thames.
1775--Charles Lamb, English writer and essayist, born.
1824--Samuel Plimsoll, English reformer of the mercantile navy, born.
1840--Upper and Lower Canada were united. ALSO--Queen Victoria married Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
1868--Sir David Brewster, Scottish physicist and inventor of the kaleidoscope, died.
1890--Boris Pasternak, Russian author of Dr. Zhivago, born.
1765--English wig makers petitioned George III seeking financial relief as the male fashion of wearing wigs came to an end.
1800--Henry Fox Talbot, English photographic pioneer, born.
1810--Napoleon, having divorced Josephine, married Marie-Louise of Austria.
1821--Auguste Mariette, French Egyptologist who excavated the Sphinx, born.
1826--London University was granted a charter.
1839--Josiah Willard Gibbs, U.S. physicist, born.
1847--Thomas Alva Edison. U.S. inventor who registered over 1000 patents, born.
1858--Bernadette Soubirous, a young asthmatic French girl, saw a vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes. ALSO--Benito Juarez was declared Constitutional President of Mexico.
1861--Troops suppressed a riot in Chatham, Kent, when convicts broke out of a prison.
1878--The first weekly weather report was published by the meteorological office.
1553--Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for nine days, was executed at Tower Hill for treason.
1588--John Winthrop, first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company, born.
1567--Thomas Campion, English composer and lawyer, born.
1688--The Prince of Orange and Princess Mary were declared King and Queen of England to end the 'Glorious Revolution'.
1663--Cotton Mather, American writer and Puritan, born.
1804--Immanuel Kant, German philosopher, died.
1809--Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President, born. ALSO--Charles Darwin, naturalist and author of The Origin of the Species, born.
1818--Chile's independence was proclaimed in Santiago.
1828--George Meredith, English novelist, poet and critic, born.
1831--Rubber galoshes were first marketed by J.W. Goodrich, Boston.
1851--A discovery at Summerhill Creek in New South Wales, Australia, set off a gold rush.
1861--The first inter-club football match was held at Sheffield between Sheffield and Hallam.
1542--Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife was executed on Tower Green after being accused of adultery.
1668--Portugal's independence was recognized by Spain.
1689--William III and Mary II ascended to the British throne.
1692--The massacre of the Macdonalds at Glencoe in Scotland was carried out by English forces led by the Earl of Breadalbane.
1728--John Hunter, Scottish physiologist and surgeon, born. ALSO--Cotton Mather, American writer and Puritan, died.
1793--Britain, Prussia, Austria, Holland, Spain and Sardinia formed an alliance against France.
1832--The first cases of Asiatic influenza were reported in Limehouse and Rotherhithe in London.
1854--Britain's first public school for girls, the Cheltenham Ladies College, was opened.
1866--The James-Younger gang carried out their first bank robbery in Liberty, Missouri. Jesse James was only 19 years old.
1883--Richard Wagner, German composer, died.
Feb 14th. . .
1400--Richard II, deposed English king, starved himself to death on or about this day.
1477--Margery Brews sent a letter to John Paston in Norfolk, addressed 'To my right welbelovyd Voluntyne', probably the world's first known Valentine.
1525--Fiorenzo di Lorenzo, Italian painter, died.
1766--Thomas Robert Malthus, English economist and author, born.
1779--Captain James Cook, British explorer, murdered by natives in Owyhee (Hawaii).
1797--The Spanish fleet were defeated off Cape St. Vincent by Admiral John Jarvis and Captain Horatio Nelson.
1819--Christopher Latham Scholes, U.S. inventor of the modern typewriter, born.
1852--London's famous children's hospital in Great Ormond Street accepted its first patient, Eliza Armstrong.
1891--William Sherman, Union general and U.S. Civil War military commander, died.
1894--The U.S annexed Hawaii.
1519--Pedro Menedez de Aviles, Spanish explorer of Florida, born.
1564--Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer and mathematician, born.
1710--Louis XV, King of France, born.
1744--John Hadley, English inventor of the sextant, died.
1748--Jeremy Bentham, English philosopher and founder of utilitarianism, born.
1809--Cyrus Hall McCormick, U.S. engineer and inventor of the first practical mechanical harvester, born.
1812--Charles Lewis Tiffany, U.S. jeweler, born.
1845--Elihu Root, U.S. Secretary of State and Nobel Peace prize winner, born.
1882--The first cargo of frozen meat left New Zealand bound for Britain on the SS Dunedin.
1898--The U.S. sent their battleship Maine to Havana on a goodwill mission, but she struck a mine in the harbor and sank, sparking the Spanish-American War.
1519--Gaspard de Coligny, French soldier and statesman, and leader of the Huguenots, born.
1659--The first British cheque was written by Nicholas Vanacker.
1740--Giambattista Bodini, Italian printer, born.
1754--Richard Mead, English doctor and physician to George II, who promoted inoculation for smallpox, died.
1801--Pitt (the Younger) resigned as British Prime Minister when George III rejected his plans for the emancipation of Irish Catholics.
1834--Lionel Lukin, English inventor of the modern lifeboat, died.
1838--Henry Adams, American intellectual and historian, born.
1840--Henry Watterson, American journalist, born.
1876--George Maccaulay Trevelyan, English historian, born.
1887--To celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee, 25,000 prisoners in India were set free.
1405--Tamerlane (Timur) the Great, Mongol leader, died.
1673--Moliere, French playwright and actor, died.
1740--Horace Benedict de Saussure, Swiss traveler who was the first to promote the idea of climbing Mont Blanc, born.
1781--Rene Laennec, French army doctor and inventor of the stethoscope, born.
1818--Baron Karl von Drais de Sauerbrun patented the Draisine, the forerunner of the bicycle.
1856--Frederick Eugene Ives, U.S. inventor of the half-tome printing process, born. ALSO--Johann Heinrich Heine, German poet, died.
1864--The U.S. corvette Houstanic was sunk in Charleston Harbor by the Confederate submarine Hunley.
1880--A bomb exploded in an attempt to assassinate the Tsar of Russia, Alexander II, in his Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.
1883--Mr. A. Ashwell of Herne Hill, south London, patented Vacant/Engaged signs for toilet doors.
1455--Fra Angelico, Italian painter, died.
1478--George, Duke of Clarence, was murdered in the Tower of London on the orders of his older brother, Richard.
1517--Mary I, 'Bloody Mary', Queen of England, born.
1535--Heinrich Agrippa, German scholar and astrologer, died.
1546--Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation, died.
1564--Michelangelo, Italian painter, sculptor and architect, died.
1678--Pilgrim's Progress was published.
1754--Count Alessandro Volta, Italian physicist who gave his name to the measure of the power of electricity, born.
1784--Nicolo Paganini, Italian violin virtuoso, born.
1833--Richard Wagner, German composer, died.
1838--Ernst Mach, Austrian physicist who researched airflow, born.
1855--Nicholas I, Tsar of Russia, died.
1876--A direct telegraph line was established between Britain and New Zealand.
1473--Nicolas Copernicus, Polish astronomer, born.
1717--David Garrick, English actor, manager and dramatist, born.
1800--Napoleon established himself as first Consul after overthrowing the French government.
1803--Ohio became the 17th state of the Union.
1807--Aaron Burr, former U.S. vice-president, was arrested in Alabama on charges of treason.
1837--George Buchner, German poet and playwright of Danton's Death, died.
1843--Adelina Patti, Italian soprano, born in Spain.
1847--A relief party finally reached the Donner Party in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, finding only about half the original pioneers still alive.
1855--Bread riots took place in Liverpool.
1878--Thomas Alva Edison patented the phonograph two months after he demonstrated the model.
1897--Charles Blondin, French tight rope walker, died.
1437--James I, King of Scotland, was assassinated by a group of dissident nobles led by Sir Robert Graham.
1653--Admiral Blake defeated the Dutch Fleet off Portsmouth.
1694--Voltaire, French poet, playwright, and historian, born.
1707--Aurangzeb, the last Mogul emperor of India, died.
1745--Henry James Pye, English Poet Laureate, born.
1784--Adam Black, Scottish publisher and founder of A & C Black, the publishers of the original Who's Who, born.
1791--Karl Czerny, Austrian pianist and composer, born.
1808--Honore Daumier, French painter, born. (Or Feb. 26--exact date unknown)
1811--Austria informed the world she was bankrupt.
1817--Junius Booth, failing to impress the audience at Drury Lane Theatre, retreated to the U.S., where his son, John Wilkes Booth became an actor, and also Lincoln's assassinator.
1861--Violent storms hit England. The Crystal Palace was damaged and the steeple was blown off Chichester Cathedral.
1595--Robert Southwell, English poet and Jesuit martyr, hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn after three years of imprisonment and torture.
1728--Peter III, Tsar of Russia who married Catherine the Great, born.
1741--Jethro Tull, English agricultural pioneer, died.
1764--John Wilkes MP was expelled from the House of Commons for reprinting and publishing The Essay on Women, an 'impious libel'.
1794--Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Mexican revolutionary and President, born.
1801--John Henry, Cardinal Newman, English Roman Catholic, born.
1836--Leo Delibes, French composer of Coppelia, born.
1852--Nikolai Gogol, Russian short story writer and novelist, died.
1858--The first electric burglar alarm was installed by Edwin T. Holmes of Boston, Massachusetts.
1885--The 555ft high George Washington Memorial obelisk was inaugurated in Washington, D.C.
1512--Amerigo Vespucci, Italian navigator, died.
1732--George Washington, American General and first U.S. president, born.
1797--The French landed in Britain at Fishguard, but were captured and no other foreign force has managed to invade Britain since.
1819--Spain ceded Florida to the U.S.
1847--The Mexicans were defeated at the Battle of Buena Vista by the American forces under General Taylor.
1857--Heinrich Rudolph Hertz, German physicist who discovered radio waves, born. ALSO--Sir Robert Baden-Powell, English hero of the siege of Mafeking and founder of the Boy Scouts, born.
1862--Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of America.
1872--Eric Gill, English artist, born.
1879--Frank Winfield Woolworth opened his first 'five and ten cent' store in Utica, New York.
1886--The Times ran the first ever classified personal column.
1468--Johannes Gutenberg, German inventor of printing using movable type, died.
1633--Samuel Pepys, English civil servant whose diary was written in a form of shorthand, born.
1685--George Frederick Handel, German composer of Rinaldo, born.
1732--Handel's Oratorio was performed for the first time at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, London.
1743--Meyer Amschel Rothschild, German founder of the banking dynasty, born.
1792--Sir Joshua Reynolds, English painter and first President of the Royal Academy, died.
1820--The Cato Street conspiracy to assassinate the British cabinet and Prime Minister Castlereagh was uncovered.
1821--John Keats, English poet, died of consumption in Rome at 25 years of age.
1836--The siege of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas began.
1848--John Quincy Adams, 6th U.S. president, died.
1863--Captains Speke and Grant announced the discovery of the source of the Nile.
303AD--The persecution of the Christians officially began in Rome with the issuing of an edict by Galerius Valerius Maximianus.
1563--Francis, Duc de Guise, French military commander, was killed by a Huguenot while besieging Orleans.
1582--Pope Gregory XIII announced the introduction of the new Gregorian calendar. It took Britain almost 200 years to follow suit.
1786--Wilhelm Karl Grimm, German philologist and collector, with his brother Jacob, of fairytales.
1810--Henry Cavendish, English physicist, died.
1815--Robert Fulton, U.S. engineer and inventor of the steam boat, died.
1825--Thomas Bowdler, expurgator of the 'naughty bits' in the works of Shakespeare, who gave English the word 'bowdlerized', died.
1852--George Moore, Irish novelist, playwright and critic, born.
1887--The first two cities to be linked by telephone were Paris and Brussels.
1308--Edward II of England was crowned.
1570--Queen Elizabeth I was excommunicated by Pope Pius V who declared her a usurper.
1601--Robert Devereaux, Earl of Essex, English soldier, was executed for high treason after trying to raise the City of London against Queen Elizabeth's councillors.
1707--Carlo Goldini, Italian playwright of over 200 plays, born.
1723--Sir Christopher Wren, English architect of St. Paul's Cathedral, died.
1778--Jose de San Martin, Argentinian revolutionary, born.
1841--Pierre Auguste Renoir, French Impressionist painter, born. ALSO--Edward John Eyre set off to explore the Great Australian Bight.
1862--'Greenbacks' (green paper dollars) were introduced by Abraham Lincoln during the U.S. Civil War.
1868--President Andrew Johnson was impeached because of his policy of reconciliation with the defeated South. He was acquitted in May.
1531--Severe earthquakes caused the death of 20,000 people in Lisbon, Portugal.
1564--Christopher Marlowe, English poet and dramatist, baptized.
1797--The Bank of England issued the first one-pound note.
1802--Victor Hugo, French novelist of Les Miserables, born.
1815--Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from the island of Elba.
1834--Aloys Senefelder, Bavarian author and inventor of lithography, died.
1839--The first Grand National Steeplechase (known as the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase until 1847) was run at Aintree near Liverpool.
1846--'Buffalo Bill' Cody, American frontiersman and showman, born.
1848--The Second French Republic was proclaimed.
1852--The British troopship, Birkenhead, sank off Simon's Bay near Cape Town, South Africa, with the loss of 485 lives.
1857--Emile Coue, French psychologist who wrote Suggestion and Autosuggestion, died.
274--Constantine the Great, Roman emperor, born.
1558--A trade mission from Russia reached London, one year to the day after opening the first Russian embassy.
1706--John Evelyn, English writer, died.
1735--John Abuthnot, English satirist and creator of 'John Bull', the character symbolizing Britain, died.
1776--Pitt the Younger resigned his commission in the army rather than fight America.
1795--Francis Marion, American revolutionary commander, died.
1807--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, U.S. poet of 'Hiawatha', born.
1847--Dame Ellen Terry, English actress, born.
1848--Sir Hubert Parry, English composer who wrote the processional music for the coronations of Edward VII and George V, born.
1879--Saccharin had been discovered at John Hopkins University, it was reported this day.
1897--Paris saw the first couple to leave their wedding in a decorated motor car.
1533--Michel Eyquem, Seigneur de Montaigne, French philosopher and essayist, born.
1683--Rene Reaumur, French naturalist, writer and inventor of the thermometer scale, born.
1712--Marquis de Montcalm Gezan de Saint Veran, Commander of the French forces in Canada, born.
1784--John Wesley signed the 'deed of declaration' of the Wesleyan faith.
1789--Big Heart Eclipse, the most successful racehorse of its day, died.
1797--Mary Lyon, pioneer advocate of education for women, and founder of Mount Holyoke Seminary, born.
1820--Sir John Tenniel, artist, Punch cartoonist and illustrator, born.
1824--Charles Blondin, legendary French tightrope walker, born.
1874--Arthur Orton, who claimed to be the heir to the Tichborne estate, was found guilty of perjury after 260 days, the longest trial in England.
468--St. Hilarius, the 46th pope, died.
992--St. Oswald, who established Christianity in Northumbria, was slain in battle.
1528--Patrick Hamilton, Scottish Protestant and martyr, was burnt at the stake.
1712--Louis Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm, French general and commander of the forces at the Battle of Quebec, born.
1736--Ann Lee, the illiterate daughter of a blacksmith who founded the American Society of Shakers, born in Manchester, England.
1792--Gioacchnio Rossini, Italian composer of The Barber of Seville, born.
1840--John Philip Holland, U.S. developer of the modern submarine, born in Ireland.
1880--The St. Gotthard tunnel linking Switzerland and Italy was completed.