February 24th In History

This day in historyFebruary 24 is the 55th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 310 days remaining until the end of the year (311 in leap years).

By Roman custom, February 24 is doubled in a leap year in the Julian calendar. The Mensis Intercalaris began on this day or the following day in intercalary years in the pre-Julian calendar. This custom still has some effect around the world; for example, with respect to name days in Hungary.



Saint George before Diocletian. A 14th-century mural from Ubisi, Georgia. Christian tradition places the martyrdom of St. George, formerly a Roman army officer, in the reign of Diocletian

In 303,  Galerius publishes his edict that begins the persecution of Christians in his portion of the Roman Empire.

In 484,  King Huneric removes the Christian bishops from their offices and banished some to Corsica. A few are martyred, including former proconsul Victorian along with Frumentius and other merchants. They are killed at Hadrumetum after refusing to become Arians.

In 1303,  Battle of Roslin, of the First War of Scottish Independence.

In 1386,  King Charles III of Naples and Hungary is assassinated at Buda.

In 1446, Drawing of one of the earliest known Lottery, in Bruges, Belgium

In 1525,  Spanish-Imperial army defeat French army at Battle of Pavia.

In 1538,  Treaty of Nagyvarad between Ferdinand I and John Zápolya.

In 1582,  Pope Gregory XIII announces the Gregorian calendar.

In 1607,  L’Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi, one of the first works recognized as an opera, receives its première performance.

In 1711,  The London première of Rinaldo by George Frideric Handel, the first Italian opera written for the London stage.

In 1761, Boston lawyer James Otis Jr. questions the constitutionality of general search warrants allowed by British customs officials.

In 1803,  In Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court of the United States establishes the principle of judicial review. It ruled that an act of Congress was null and void because it conflicted with the U.S. Constitution.

In 1809,  London’s Drury Lane Theatre burns to the ground, leaving owner Richard Brinsley Sheridan destitute.

Cavendish Henry signature.jpgIn 1810, Henry Cavendish, English philosopher and scientist (b. 1731) died in 1810 (as one of the wealthiest men in Britain) and was buried, along with many of his ancestors, in the church that is now Derby Cathedral and the road he used to live on in Derby has been named after him. The University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory was endowed by one of Cavendish’s later relatives, William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire (Chancellor of the University from 1861 to 1891). He was a British natural philosopher, scientist, and an important experimental and theoretical chemist and physicist. Cavendish is noted for his discovery of hydrogen or what he called “inflammable air”. He described the density of inflammable air, which formed water on combustion, in a 1766 paper “On Factitious Airs”. Antoine Lavoisier later reproduced Cavendish’s experiment and gave the element its name. A notoriously shy man, Cavendish was nonetheless distinguished for great accuracy and precision in his researches into the composition of atmospheric air, the properties of different gases, the synthesis of water, the law governing electrical attraction and repulsion, a mechanical theory of heat, and calculations of the density (and hence the weight) of the Earth. His experiment to weigh the Earth has come to be known as the Cavendish experiment.

In 1815Robert Fulton, American engineer (b. 1765) dies. He was an American engineer and inventor who is widely credited with developing the first commercially successful steamboat. In 1800, he was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to design the Nautilus, which was the first practical submarine in history. He is also credited with inventing some of the world’s earliest naval torpedoes for use by the British Navy. Fulton became interested in steamboats in 1777 when he visited William Henry of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who had earlier learned about James Watt’s steam engine on a visit to England.

In 1822,  The 1st Swaminarayan temple in the world, Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Ahmedabad, is inaugurated.

In 1826,  The signing of the Treaty of Yandaboo marks the end of the First Burmese War.

In 1831,  The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the first removal treaty in accordance with the Indian Removal Act, is proclaimed. The Choctaws in Mississippi cede land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West.

In 1848,  King Louis-Philippe of France abdicates the throne.

In 1855, The U.S. Court of Claims was established for cases against the government.

In 1857, The first perforated U.S. postage stamps were delivered to the government.

In 1863,  Arizona is organized as a United States territory, dividing the New Mexico territory.

In 1868,  Andrew Johnson becomes the first President of the United States to be impeached by the United States House of Representatives. He is later acquitted in the Senate. This was following his attempted dismissal of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

In 1875,  The SS Gothenburg hits the Great Barrier Reef and sinks off the Australian east coast, killing approximately 100, including a number of high profile civil servants and dignitaries.

In 1881,  China and Russia sign the Sino-Russian Ili Treaty.

In 1895,  Revolution breaks out in Baire, a town near Santiago de Cuba, beginning the Cuban War of Independence, that ends with the Spanish-American War in 1898.

In 1903, the United States signed an agreement acquiring a naval station at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

In 1905, The two ends of the Simplon tunnel in Switzerland connect. They were out of alignment by only 202 mm (8.0 in) horizontally and 87 mm (3.4 in) vertically. Construction time was 7½ years, rather than 5½ years, due to problems such as water inflows and strikes.

In 1908, Japan officially agrees to restrict immigration to the U.S.

In 1916,  Governor-General of Korea established clinic called Jahyewon in Sorokdo to segregate Hansen’s disease patients.

In 1917,  World War I: The U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom is given the Zimmermann Telegram, in which Germany pledges to ensure the return of New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona to Mexico if Mexico declares war on the United States.

In 1918,  Estonian Declaration of Independence.

In 1920,  The Nazi Party is founded.

In 1921, Herbert Hoover becomes Secretary of Commerce.

In 1938, DuPont began commercial production of nylon toothbrush bristles.

In 1939, Hungary signs an anti-Communist pact with Italy, Germany and Japan.

In 1942,  The Battle of Los Angeles, one of the largest documented UFO sightings in history; the event lasted into the early hours of February 25, 1942.

In 1942,  An order-in-council passed under the Defence of Canada Regulations of the War Measures Act gives the Canadian federal government the power to intern all “persons of Japanese racial origin”.

In 1944,  Merrill’s Marauders: The Marauders begin their 1,000-mile journey through Japanese occupied Burma.

In 1945,  Egyptian Premier Ahmed Maher Pasha is killed in Parliament after reading a decree.

In 1948, Communist Party seizes complete control of Czechoslovakia.

In 1968,  Vietnam War: The Tet Offensive is halted; South Vietnam recaptures Hué.

In 1971,  The All India Forward Bloc holds an emergency central committee meeting after its chairman, Hemantha Kumar Bose, is killed 3 days earlier. P.K. Mookiah Thevar is appointed as the new chairman.

In 1976,  Cuba: national Constitution is proclaimed.

In 1980,  The United States Olympic Hockey team completes their Miracle on Ice by defeating Finland 4-2 to win the gold medal.

In 1981,  An earthquake registering 6.7 on the Richter scale hits Athens, killing 16 people and destroying buildings in several towns west of the city.

In 1983,  A special commission of the U.S. Congress releases a report that condemns the practice of Japanese internment during World War II.

In 1984,  Tyrone Mitchell perpetrates the 49th Street Elementary School shooting in Los Angeles, killing two children and injuring 12 more.

In 1989,  Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini offers a US$3 million bounty for the death of The Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie.

In 1989,  United Airlines Flight 811, bound for New Zealand from Honolulu, Hawaii, rips open during flight, blowing 9 passengers out of the business-class section.

In 1990,  Malcolm Forbes, American publisher (b. 1917)  died in 1990 of a heart attack, at his home in Far Hills, New Jersey. He was publisher of Forbes magazine, founded by his father B. C. Forbes. He was known as a promoter of capitalism and for extravagant spending on parties, travel, and his collection of homes, yachts, aircraft, and art. Forbes was born in Brooklyn, on August 19, 1919, the son of Adelaide (Stevenson) and Scottish-born financial journalist and author B. C. Forbes. He graduated from the Lawrenceville School and Princeton University. After dabbling in politics, including service in the New Jersey Senate from 1951 to 1957 and candidacy for Governor of New Jersey, he committed to the magazine full-time by 1957, three years after his father’s death. After the death of his brother Bruce Charles Forbes in 1964, he acquired sole control of the company.

Dinah Shore - promo.jpg

Dinah Shore

In 1994,  Dinah Shore, American actress and singer (b. 1916) dies with ovarian cancer.. She was an American singer, actress, television personality, and the top-charting female vocalist of the 1940s. She reached the height of her popularity as a recording artist during the Big Band era of the 1940s and 1950s, but achieved even greater success a decade later, in television, mainly as hostess of a series of variety programs for Chevrolet. After failing singing auditions for the bands of Benny Goodman and both Jimmy Dorsey and his brother Tommy Dorsey, Shore struck out on her own to become the first singer of her era to achieve huge solo success. She had a string of 80 charted popular hits, lasting from 1940 into the late 1950s, and after appearing in a handful of films went on to a four-decade career in American television, starring in her own music and variety shows in the 1950s/60s and hosting two talk shows in the 1970s. TV Guide magazine ranked her at #16 on their list of the top fifty television stars of all time. Stylistically, Shore was compared to two singers who followed her in the mid-to-late 1940s and early 1950s, Doris Day and Patti Page. Born to Solomon and Anna (née Stein) Shore, Jewish immigrants from Russia, young Frances Rose was born and lived in Winchester, Tennessee. In 1924, the Shore family (which included Dinah’s older sister Bessie) moved to McMinnville, Tennessee, where her father had opened a department store. By her fifth grade year the family had moved to Nashville, Tennessee. At 14, Shore debuted as a torch singer at a Nashville night club only to find her parents sitting ringside, having been tipped off to their daughter’s performance ahead of time. They allowed her to finish, but put her professional career on hold. She was paid $10, equal to $139.74 today. When Shore was 16, her mother died unexpectedly of a heart attack, and Shore decided to pursue her education. She went to Vanderbilt University, where she participated in many events and activities, including the Chi chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority. She graduated from the university in 1938 with a degree in sociology. She also visited the Grand Ole Opry and made her radio debut on Nashville’s WSM (AM) radio station in these years. Shore decided to return to pursuing her career in singing, so she went to New York City to audition for orchestras and radio stations, first on a summer break from Vanderbilt, and after graduation, for good. In many of her auditions, she sang the popular song “Dinah.” When disc jockey Martin Block could not remember her name, he called her the “Dinah girl,” and soon after the name stuck, becoming her stage name.  Shore eventually was hired as a vocalist at radio station WNEW, where she sang with Frank Sinatra. She recorded and performed with the Xavier Cugat orchestra, and signed a recording contract with RCA Victor Records in 1940.

In 1996,  The last occurrence of February 24 as a leap day in the European Union and for the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1999,  The State of Arizona executes Karl LaGrand, a German national convicted of murder during a botched bank robbery, in spite of Germany‘s legal action to attempt to save him.

In 2006,  Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declares Proclamation 1017 placing the country in a state of emergency in attempt to subdue a possible military coup.

Don Knotts 1975.JPGIn 2006Don Knotts, American actor (b. 1924) dies at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California from pulmonary and respiratory complications to pneumonia related to lung cancer. He was an American comedic actor best known for his portrayal of Barney Fife on the 1960s television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, a role which earned him five Emmy Awards. He also played landlord Ralph Furley on the 1970s and 1980s television sitcom Three’s Company. Knotts was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, the son of William Jesse Knotts and his wife, Elsie L. Knotts (née Moore). Knotts’s paternal ancestors had emigrated from England to America in the 17th century, originally settling in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. Knotts’s father was a farmer. William Knotts had a nervous breakdown due to the stress of the fourth child, Don, being born so late (Don’s mother was 40). Afflicted with schizophrenia and alcoholism, he sometimes terrorized his young son with a knife, causing the boy to turn inward at an early age. Knotts’s father died of pneumonia when Don, the youngest son, was 13 years old. Don and his three brothers were then raised by their mother, who ran a boarding house in Morgantown. Elsie Knotts died in 1969, at age 84. Her son William Earl Knotts (1910–1941) preceded her in death in 1941, at age 31. They are buried in the family plot at Beverly Hills Memorial Park, in Morgantown, West Virginia. Don Knotts is a sixth cousin of Ron Howard, a co-star on The Andy Griffith Show. An urban legend claims that Knotts served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II, serving as a drill instructor at Parris Island. In reality, Knotts enlisted in the United States Army after graduating from Morgantown High School and spent most of his service entertaining troops.

In 2007,  Japan launches its fourth spy satellite, stepping up its ability to monitor potential threats such as North Korea.

In 2008,  Fidel Castro retires as the President of Cuba after nearly fifty years.

In 2011,  Final Launch of Space Shuttle Discovery (OV-103).

In 2013,  Patriarch Neofit of Bulgaria is elected and enthroned as a Patriarch of Bulgaria and all Bulgarians.

In 2015, A Metrolink train derails in Oxnard, California following a collision with a truck, leaving more than 30 injured.

In 2016,  Tara Air Flight 193, a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft, crashed, with 23 fatalities, in Solighopte, Myagdi District, Dhaulagiri Zone, while en route from Pokhara Airport to Jomsom Airport.

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