February 21st in History

This day in historyFebruary 21 is the 52nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 313 days remaining until the end of the year (314 in leap years).



In 362,  Athanasius returns to Alexandria.

In 1245,  Thomas, the first known Bishop of Finland, is granted resignation after confessing to torture and forgery.

In 1431, England begins trial against Joan of Arc.

King James I of Scotland.jpgIn 1437,  James I of Scotland (b. 1394) dies via Assassination. He was the son of King Robert III and Annabella Drummond. He was the last of three sons and by the time he was eight both of his elder brothers were dead—Robert had died in infancy but David, Duke of Rothesay died suspiciously in Falkland Castle while being detained by his uncle, Robert, Duke of Albany. Although parliament exonerated Albany, fears for James’s safety grew during the winter of 1405–6 and plans were made to send him to France. In February 1406, James was accompanying nobles close to his father when they clashed with supporters of Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas, forcing the prince to take refuge in the castle of the Bass Rock, a small islet in the Firth of Forth. He remained there until mid-March, when he boarded a vessel bound for France, but on 22 March while off the English coast, pirates captured the ship and delivered James to Henry IV of England. Two weeks later, on 4 April the ailing Robert III died, and the 12-year-old uncrowned King of Scots began his 18-year detention

In 1440,  The Prussian Confederation is formed.

In 1543,  Battle of Wayna Daga – A combined army of Ethiopian and Portuguese troops defeats a Muslim army led by Ahmed Gragn.

In 1613,  Mikhail I is unanimously elected Tsar by a national assembly, beginning the Romanov dynasty of Imperial Russia.

In 1630, Popcorn was introduced by an Indian named Quadequina to the English colonists at their first Thanksgiving dinner. Didn’t we see popcorn served in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving?

John Thurloe from NPG detail.jpgIn 1668,  John Thurloe, English secretary and spy (b. 1616) dies. He was a secretary to the council of state in Protectorate England and spymaster for Oliver Cromwell. Thurloe was born in Essex in 1616 and was baptised on 12 June. His father was Thomas Thurloe, rector of Abbess Roding. He was trained as a lawyer in Lincoln’s Inn. He was first in the service of Oliver St John, and, in January 1645, became a secretary to the parliamentary commissioners at the Treaty of Uxbridge. In 1647 Thurloe was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn as a member. He remained on the sidelines during the English Civil War but after the accession of Oliver Cromwell, became part of his government. In 1652 he was named a secretary for state.

In 1744, The British blockade of Toulon is broken by 27 French and Spanish warships attacking 29 British ships.

In 1777, English ambassador Joseph Yorke demands dismissal of Governor John de Graaff for saluting US flag.

In 1782, U.S. congress resolved the establishment of a US mint.

In 1792, Congress passed the Presidential Succession Act providing for the succession to the office of the President and Vice President in case of removal, death, resignation or disability.

In 1797, Trinidad, West Indies surrenders to the British.

In 1797,  A force of 1,400 French soldiers invaded Britain at Fishguard in support of the Society of United Irishmen. They were defeated by 500 British reservists.

In 1804,  The first self-propelling steam locomotive makes its outing at the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks in Wales. The machine was designed by Richard Trevithick. The engine was able to pull a load of 15 tons at a speed of about 5 mph. However, adhesion was a problem (iron wheels on iron rails = slipping). This was partially solved by Blenkinsop who in 1811 designed an engine for the Middleton Colliery, using cogged wheels engaging in racks on the railway. The problem of adhesion was finally solved by William Hedley with a design which applied power to the rails through two sets of Driving wheels. The locomotive was called Puffing Billy and operated at the Wylam Colliery near Newcastle. George Stephenson, who lived near this colliery designed his first locomotive — Blucher in 1814 again, for a colliery. The first public railway was the Stockton and Darlington Railway, which opened in 1823 with Stephenson designed locos, the first of which was called Locomotion. The Rocket’s claim to fame was that it competed in and won a competition now known as the Rainhill Trials. This was 1829. Where the Blutcher differed from these other locomotives was that the gears did not drive the rack pinions but the flanged wheels. Stephenson’s machine was therefore the first “successful” flanged-wheel “adhesion” locomotive.

In 1808,  Without a previous declaration of war, Russian troops cross the border to Sweden at Abborfors in eastern Finland, thus beginning the Finnish war, in which Sweden will lose the eastern half of the country (i.e. Finland) to Russia.

In 1828,  Initial issue of the Cherokee Phoenix is the first periodical to use the Cherokee syllabary invented by Sequoyah.

In 1838, E.T. Holmes installed the first burglar alarm in Boston, Mass.

In 1842,  John Greenough is granted the first U.S. patent for the sewing machine.

In 1848,  Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish The Communist Manifesto.

In 1849, In the Second Sikh War, Sir Hugh Gough’s well placed guns win a victory over a Sikh force twice the size of his at Gujerat on the Chenab River, assuring British control of the Punjab for years to come.

In 1853, US authorizes minting of $3 gold pieces. Authorized by the Act of February 21, 1853, the coin was designed by Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre. The obverse bears a representation of Lady Liberty wearing a headdress of a Native American princess and the reverse a wreath of corn, wheat, cotton, and tobacco.

In 1857, Congress outlawed foreign currency as legal tender in U.S.A.

In 1860, Shoe-making workers of Lynn, MS, went on strike successfully for higher wages.

In 1862, The Confederate Constitution and Presidency are declared permanent.

In 1862,  American Civil War: Battle of Valverde is fought near Fort Craig in New Mexico Territory.

In 1866, Lucy B. Hobbs (Taylor) became the first woman to graduate from a dental school, the Ohio College of Dental Surgery in Cincinnati.

In 1874,  The Oakland Daily Tribune publishes its first edition.

In 1879, Frank Winfield Woolworth opened a 5-cent and 10-cent store in Utica, New York. It was the first store to arrange items according to price.

In 1878,  The first telephone book is issued in New Haven, Connecticut. It was easy to “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking” at that time as only 50 subscriber’s names were listed.

In 1885,  The newly completed Washington Monument is dedicated.

In 1887, Oregon became the first U.S. state to make Labor Day a holiday.

James Timberlake.jpgIn 1891,  James Timberlake, American lieutenant and police officer (b. 1846) dies of an opium overdose. He was an American law enforcement officer, Civil War soldier, farmer and rancher who served as a deputy U.S. marshal for the Western District of Missouri. Timberlake is best known for being the chief enforcer and investigator against the James-Younger Gang, beginning in the 1870s, which culminated in the death of the outlaw Jesse James on April 3, 1882, at the hands of Robert Ford.

In 1895, NC Legislature, adjourns for day to mark death of Frederick Douglass.

In 1902, Dr. Harvey Cushing, the first US brain surgeon, does his first brain operation.

In 1913,  Ioannina is incorporated into the Greek state after the Balkan Wars.

In 1916,  World War I: In France, the Battle of Verdun, the longest and bloodiest battle of World War I, begins.

In 1918,  The last Carolina Parakeet dies in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo.

In 1919,  German socialist Kurt Eisner is assassinated. His death results in the establishment of the Bavarian Soviet Republic and parliament and government fleeing Munich, Germany.

In 1921,  Constituent Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Georgia adopts the country’s first constitution.

In 1921,  Rezā Shāh takes control of Tehran during a successful coup

In 1922, Great Britain grants Egypt independence.

In 1923, The first successful chinchilla farm (we’re talking real chinchilla, here) opened on this day in Los Angeles, CA. It was the first such farm in the country.

In 1925,  The New Yorker publishes its first issue.

In 1931, Alka Seltzer was introduced. Oh, what a relief it is.

In 1937,  The League of Nations bans foreign national “volunteers” in the Spanish Civil War.

In 1940, The Germans begin construction of a concentration camp at Auschwitz. The hunt for Nazi war criminals spans more than half a century.

In 1943, German tanks and two infantry battalions break the Allied line and take Kasserine Pass in North Africa.

In 1944, Hideki Tojo becomes chief of staff of the Japanese army.

In 1945,  World War II: Japanese Kamikaze planes sink the escort carrier USS Bismarck Sea and damage the USS Saratoga.

In 1945, US 10th Armour division overthrows Orscholz line.

In 1947,  In New York City, Edwin Land demonstrates the first “instant camera“, the Polaroid Land Camera, to a meeting of the Optical Society of America.

In 1948,  NASCAR is incorporated.

In 1952,  The British government, under Winston Churchill, abolishes identity cards in the UK to “set the people free”.

In 1952,  The Bengali Language Movement protests occur at the University of Dhaka in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

In 1953, Scientists F. Crick and J. Watson were credited for the discovery of the structure of DNA. DNA is a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and many viruses. DNA is a nucleic acid; alongside proteins and carbohydrates, nucleic acids compose the three major macromolecules essential for all known forms of life. Most DNA molecules are double-stranded helices, consisting of two long biopolymers made of simpler units called nucleotides—each nucleotide is composed of a nucleobase (guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine), recorded using the letters G, A, T, and C, as well as a backbone made of alternating sugars (deoxyribose) and phosphate groups (related to phosphoric acid), with the nucleobases (G, A, T, C) attached to the sugars.

In 1958,  The peace symbol, commissioned by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, is designed and completed by Gerald Holtom.

In 1960, Havana places all Cuban industry under direct control of the government.

A 38-year-old man in a suit and tie smiles broadly. He wears glasses and has a microphone around his neckIn 1965,  Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam. He was  born Malcolm Little and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz[1] (Arabic: الحاجّ مالك الشباز‎), was an African-American Muslim minister and a human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans; detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history. Malcolm X was effectively orphaned early in life. When he was six his father was killed, and there were rumors  that white racists had been responsible. Seven years later he lost his mother as well when she was placed in a mental hospital, after which he lived in a series of foster homes. In 1946, at age 20, he went to prison for larceny and breaking and entering. While in prison he became a member of the Nation of Islam, and after his parole in 1952 quickly rose to become one of its leaders. For a dozen years he was the public face of the controversial group; in keeping with the Nation’s teachings he espoused black supremacy, advocated the separation of black and white Americans and scoffed at the civil rights movement’s emphasis on integration. By March 1964 Malcolm X had grown disillusioned with the Nation of Islam and its head Elijah Muhammad, and ultimately repudiated the Nation and its teachings. He embraced Sunni Islam and, after a period of travel in Africa and the Middle East, returned to the United States to found Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. While continuing to emphasize Pan-Africanism, black self-determination, and black self-defense, he disavowed racism, saying, “I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I’m sorry for now. I was a zombie then … pointed in a certain direction and told to march”. In February 1965, shortly after repudiating the Nation of Islam, he was assassinated by three of its members. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, published shortly after his death, has been called one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.

In 1970,  Swissair Flight 330: A mid-air bomb explosion and subsequent crash kills 38 passengers and nine crew members near Zürich, Switzerland.

In 1971,  The Convention on Psychotropic Substances is signed at Vienna.

In 1972,  President Richard Nixon visits the People’s Republic of China to normalize Sino-American relations.

In 1972,  The Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20 lands on the Moon.

In 1973,  Over the Sinai Desert, Israeli fighter aircraft shoot down Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 jet killing 108.

In 1974,  The last Israeli soldiers leave the west bank of the Suez Canal pursuant to a truce with Egypt.

In 1975,  Watergate scandal: Former United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are sentenced to prison.

In 1983, Donald Davis ran one mile backwards in 6:07.1.

In 1984, U.S. Navy helicopters ferried Marine combat troops from their base at Beirut’s airport to warships in the Mediterranean as the Marine withdrawl from the Lebanese capital got under way.

In 1986,  The Legend of Zelda, the first game of The Legend of Zelda series, was released in Japan on the Famicom Disk System.

In 1988, Disgraced televangelist Jimmy Swaggart chokes back tears as he confesses before his congregation that he has sinned. One of Swaggart’s transgressions was messing around in a no-tell motel with prostitute Debra Murphee, who later described him as “cheap and quick.”

In 1995,  Steve Fossett lands in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada becoming the first person to make a solo flight across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon.

In 2011, Dwayne McDuffie, American author and screenwriter, co-founded Milestone Media (b. 1962) dies at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, due to complications from emergency heart surgery. He was an American writer of comic books and television, known for creating the animated television series Static Shock, writing and producing the animated series Justice League Unlimited and Ben 10, and co-founding the pioneering minority-owned-and-operated comic-book company Milestone Media.

In the early 1990s, wanting to express a multicultural sensibility that he felt was missing in comic books, McDuffie and three partners founded Milestone Media, which The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Ohio, described in 2000 as “the industry’s most successful minority-owned-and operated comic company.” McDuffie explained:

If you do a black character or a female character or an Asian character, then they aren’t just that character. They represent that race or that sex, and they can’t be interesting because everything they do has to represent an entire block of people. You know, Superman isn’t all white people and neither is Lex Luthor. We knew we had to present a range of characters within each ethnic group, which means that we couldn’t do just one book. We had to do a series of books and we had to present a view of the world that’s wider than the world we’ve seen before

McDuffie earned three Eisner Award nominations for his work in comics.

In 2013,  Two bomb blasts in Hyderabad, India, kill at least 17 people and injure more than 100 others.

In 2014. NASCAR’s legal department contacts WNWS 101.5 about the illegitimate use of the NASCAR trade mark for a promotional called “The Great American Race” contest.

In 2015, A new advocacy group with deep pockets and close ties to Gov. Bill Haslam is spending big bucks defending his stance on maintaining Tennessee’s K-12 education standards, Federal Communications Commission television station filings show. Since Dec. 29, Tennesseans for Student Success, a nonprofit group headed by Haslam’s 2014 campaign manager, Jeremy Harrell, has spent $137,000 broadcasting a 30-second spot in the Nashville and Knoxville media markets, according to a Times Free Press review of Tennessee-based television stations’ political advertising files. The ad even aired on Nashville NBC affiliate WSMV-TV during the Super Bowl.

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