February 14th in History

This day in historyFebruary 14 is the 45th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 320 days remaining until the end of the year (321 in leap years).


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In 748,  Abbasid Revolution: The Hashimi rebels under Abu Muslim Khorasani take Merv, capital of the Umayyad province Khorasan, marking the consolidation of the Abbasid revolt.

In 842,  Charles the Bald and Louis the German swear the Oaths of Strasbourg in the French and German languages.

In 1014,  Pope Benedict VIII crowns Henry of Bavaria, King of Germany and of Italy, as Holy Roman Emperor.

In 1076,  Pope Gregory VII excommunicates Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor.

In 1130,  Pope Innocent II is elected.

In 1349,  Several hundred Jews are burned to death by mobs while the remainder of their population is forcibly removed from the city of Strasbourg.

Richard II King of England.jpgIn 1400,  Richard II dies, most likely from starvation, in Pontefract Castle, on the orders of Henry Bolingbroke. He was King of England from 1377 until he was deposed on 30 September 1399. Richard, a son of Edward, the Black Prince, was born during the reign of his grandfather, Edward III. Richard was the younger brother of Edward of Angoulême; upon the death of this elder brother, Richard—at four years of age—became second in line to the throne after his father. Upon the death of Richard’s father prior to the death of Edward III, Richard, by agnatic succession, became the first in line for the throne. With Edward III’s death the following year, Richard succeeded to the throne at the age of ten.

In 1530,  Spanish conquistadores, led by Nuño de Guzmán, overthrow and execute Tangaxuan II, the last independent monarch of the Tarascan state in present-day central Mexico.

In 1556,  Thomas Cranmer is declared a heretic.

In 1655,  Arauco War: The Mapuche under their elected military leader, Clentaru, rise up against the Spanish in an insurrection in present-day central Chile.

In 1778,  The United States Flag is formally recognized by a foreign naval vessel for the first time, when French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte renders a nine gun salute to USS Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones.

In 1779,  American Revolutionary War: the Battle of Kettle Creek is fought in Georgia.


Captain James Cook

In 1779,  James Cook is killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii. He was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.

In 1797,  French Revolutionary Wars: Battle of Cape St. VincentJohn Jervis, (later 1st Earl of St Vincent) and Horatio Nelson (later 1st Viscount Nelson) lead the British Royal Navy to victory over a Spanish fleet in action near Gibraltar.

In 1804,  Karadjordje leads the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire.

In 1831,  Ras Marye of Yejju marches into Tigray and defeats and kills Dejazmach Sabagadis in the Battle of Debre Abbay.

In 1835,  The original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in the Latter Day Saint movement, is formed in Kirtland, Ohio.

In 1849,  In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.

In 1852,  Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, the first hospital in England to provide in-patient beds specifically for children (The National Children’s Hospital in Dublin was founded over 30 years previously in 1821), is founded in London.

In 1855,  Texas is linked by telegraph to the rest of the United States, with the completion of a connection between New Orleans and Marshall, Texas.

In 1859,  Oregon is admitted as the 33rd U.S. state.

In 1876,  Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for the telephone, as does Elisha Gray.

In 1879,  The War of the Pacific breaks out when Chilean armed forces occupy the Bolivian port city of Antofagasta.

Alice Hathaway Roosevelt 1.jpgIn 1884,  Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt, American wife of Theodore Roosevelt (b. 1861) dies. She was the first wife of Theodore Roosevelt. They had one child, Alice Lee Roosevelt.  Born in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to banker George Cabot Lee and Caroline Watts Haskell, Alice was tall for the era at 5’6″. She was seen as charming and strikingly beautiful. With “blue-gray eyes and long, wavy golden hair”, she was called “Sunshine” by her family and friends, because of her cheerful disposition. Theodore was quickly smitten by her. She met Theodore “T.R.” Roosevelt, Jr. on October 18, 1878, at the home of her next-door neighbors, the Saltonstalls; T.R. was a classmate of young Richard Middlecott “Dick” Saltonstall (her cousin) at Harvard University. Of their first encounter, he would write, “As long as I live, I shall never forget how sweetly she looked, and how prettily she greeted me.”For young T.R. it was “love at first sight.” By Thanksgiving (only a few weeks after meeting her), he had decided Alice was to be his wife; the following June he proposed. She put T.R. off, however, taking another eight months before saying “yes”. It is unknown why she declined Theodore’s first offer, but a classmate’s fiancé later described him as being, “studious, ambitious, eccentric — not the sort to appeal at first.” Theodore then recruited his popular mother and sisters, whom he was very close to, to help court her. She died of kidney failure after given birth to their daughter on the same day as Theodore’s mother passed away.

In 1899,  Voting machines are approved by the U.S. Congress for use in federal elections.

In 1900,  Second Boer War: In South Africa, 20,000 British troops invade the Orange Free State.

William-Tecumseh-Sherman.jpgIn 1891,  William Tecumseh Sherman, American general (b. 1820) died. He was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–65), for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the “scorched earth” policies that he implemented in conducting total war against the Confederate States. Sherman served under General Ulysses S. Grant in 1862 and 1863 during the campaigns that led to the fall of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River and culminated with the routing of the Confederate armies in the state of Tennessee. In 1864, Sherman succeeded Grant as the Union commander in the western theater of the war. He proceeded to lead his troops to the capture of the city of Atlanta, a military success that contributed to the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln. Sherman’s subsequent march through Georgia and the Carolinas further undermined the Confederacy’s ability to continue fighting. He accepted the surrender of all the Confederate armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida in April 1865. When Grant assumed the U.S. presidency in 1869, Sherman succeeded him as Commanding General of the Army (1869–83). As such, he was responsible for the U.S. Army’s engagement in the Indian Wars over the next 15 years, in the western United States. He steadfastly refused to be drawn into politics and in 1875 published his Memoirs, one of the best-known first-hand accounts of the Civil War. British military historian B. H. Liddell Hart famously declared that Sherman was “the first modern general”.

In 1903,  The United States Department of Commerce and Labor is established (later split into the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor).

In 1912,  Arizona is admitted as the 48th U.S. state.

In 1912,  In Groton, Connecticut, the first diesel-powered submarine is commissioned.

In 1918,  The Soviet Union adopts the Gregorian calendar (on 1 February according to the Julian calendar).

In 1919,  The Polish–Soviet War begins.

In 1920,  The League of Women Voters is founded in Chicago.

In 1924,  The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company changes its name to International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

In 1929,  Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone‘s gang, are murdered in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1942,  Battle of Pasir Panjang contributes to the fall of Singapore.

In 1943,  World War II: Rostov-on-Don, Russia is liberated.

In 1943,  World War II: Tunisia CampaignGeneral Hans-Jürgen von Arnim‘s Fifth Panzer Army launches a concerted attack against Allied positions in Tunisia.

In 1944,  World War II: Anti-Japanese revolt on Java.

In 1945,  World War II: On the first day of the bombing of Dresden, the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces begin fire-bombing Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony.

In 1945,  World War II: Navigational error leads to the mistaken bombing of Prague, Czechoslovakia by an American squadron of B-17s assisting in the Soviet’s Vistula–Oder Offensive.

In 1945,  World War II: Mostar is liberated by Yugoslav partisans.

In 1945,  President Franklin D. Roosevelt meets with King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia aboard the USS Quincy, officially beginning U.S.-Saudi diplomatic relations.

In 1946,  The Bank of England is nationalized.

In 1949,  The Knesset (Israeli parliament) convenes for the first time.

In 1949,  The Asbestos Strike begins in Canada. The strike marks the beginning of the Quiet Revolution in Quebec.

In 1950,  Chinese Civil War: The National Revolutionary Army instigates the unsuccessful Battle of Tianquan against the People’s Liberation Army.

In 1956,  The XX Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union begins in Moscow. On the last night of the meeting, Premier Nikita Khrushchev condemns Joseph Stalin‘s crimes in a secret speech.

In 1961,  Discovery of the chemical elements: Element 103, Lawrencium, is first synthesized at the University of California.

In 1962,  First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy takes television viewers on a tour of the White House.

In 1966,  Australian currency is decimalised.

In 1979,  In Kabul, Setami Milli militants kidnap the American ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs who is later killed during a gunfight between his kidnappers and police.

In 1981,  Stardust Disaster: A fire in a Dublin nightclub kills 48 people

In 1983,  United American Bank of Knoxville, Tennessee collapses. Its president, Jake Butcher, is later convicted of fraud.

In 1989,  Union Carbide agrees to pay $470 million to the Indian government for damages it caused in the 1984 Bhopal disaster.

In 1989,  Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issues a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses.

In 1990,  92 people are killed aboard Indian Airlines Flight 605 at Bangalore, India.

In 1998,  An oil tanker train collides with a freight train in Yaoundé, Cameroon, spilling fuel oil. One person scavenging the oil created a massive explosion which kills 120.

In 2000,  The spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker enters orbit around asteroid 433 Eros, the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid.

In 2002,  The Budapest Open Access Initiative, one of the cornerstones of the Open access movement, was released to the public.

In 2004,  In a suburb of Moscow, Russia, the roof of the Transvaal water park collapses, killing more than 25 people, and wounding more than 100 others.

In 2005,  Lebanese self-made billionaire and business tycoon Rafik Hariri is killed, along with 21 others, when explosives, equivalent of around 1,000 kg of TNT, are detonated as his motorcade drove near the St. George Hotel in Beirut.

In 2005,  Seven people are killed and 151 wounded in a series of bombings by suspected al-Qaeda-linked militants that hit the PhilippinesMakati financial district in Metro Manila, Davao City, and General Santos City.

In 2005, Youtube is launched by a group of college students, eventually becoming the largest video sharing website in the world and a main source for viral videos.

In 2011,  As a part of Arab Spring, the Bahraini uprising, a series of demonstrations, amounting to a sustained campaign of civil resistance, in the Persian Gulf country of Bahrain begins with a ‘Day of Rage’.

In 2013, Steam for Linux is released, beginning the expansion of Valve’s game service onto the free and open-source platform.

In 2015, Two people are killed in shootings at a free-speech seminar and at a synagogue service in Copenhagen.

In 2015, According to local news reports, the police told Matt Molinari and Eric Schnepf, both 18-year-olds from Bound Brook, N.J., who were going door-to-door in their neighborhood Jan. 27, handing out homemade flyers that offered snow-shoveling services, they weren’t allowed to solicit business by going door-to-door without a permit from the local government. To get a permit for door-to-door solicitation in Bound Brook, Molinari and Schnepf would have had to pay the borough $450 (and the government-issued permission slip is only good for 180 days at a time).

Portrait of Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme CourtIn 2016, The Honorable Antonin Scalia, US Associate Supreme Court Justice (b. 1936) dies in his sleep on the night of February 12 or in the early morning of February 13, 2016, of natural causes, after a day spent hunting quail at Cibolo Creek Ranch, 33 miles (53 km) south of Marfa, Texas. His death left eight justices remaining, split 4-4 between being fairly conservative and fairly liberal, during a heated presidential election year. He was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 until his death in 2016. Appointed to the Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, Scalia was described as the intellectual anchor for the originalist and textualist position in the Court’s conservative wing.

Scalia was a native of Trenton, New Jersey, and attended public grade school and Xavier High School in New York City, then Georgetown University, obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School and spent six years in a Cleveland law firm, before he became a law school professor at the University of Virginia. In the early 1970s, he served in the Nixon and Ford administrations, eventually as an Assistant Attorney General. He spent most of the Carter years teaching at the University of Chicago, where he became one of the first faculty advisers of the fledgling Federalist Society. In 1982, Ronald Reagan appointed him as judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In 1986, Reagan appointed him to the Supreme Court. Scalia was asked few difficult questions by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, becoming the first Italian-American justice.

Scalia served on the Court for nearly thirty years, during which he established a solidly conservative voting record and ideology, advocating textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in constitutional interpretation. He was a strong defender of the powers of the executive branch, believing presidential power should be paramount in many areas. He opposed affirmative action and other policies that treated minorities as special groups. He filed separate opinions in many cases and often castigated the Court’s majority in his minority opinions using scathing language.

In 2018,  Jacob Zuma resigns as President of South Africa.

In 2018,  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in the Miami metropolitan area is one of the deadliest school massacres with 17 fatalities and 15 injuries.

In 2019,  Pulwama attack takes place in Lethpora in Pulwama districtJammu and KashmirIndia in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel and a suicide bomber were killed and 35 were injured.

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