On This Day

What Happened in February 2021

Historical Events

Coup d'état

Feb 1 Military stage a coup in Myanmar, detaining civilian leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi and declare a one-year state of emergency

  • Feb 1 Wildfires ignite on the outskirts of Perth, Australia, forcing evacuations amid five-day COVID-19 lockdown
  • Feb 1 Wisdom the albatross, the world's oldest known bird, hatches a chick at 70 at the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge, North Pacific [1]
  • Feb 2 Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine deemed 91.6% effective according to analysis published in "The Lancet" [1]
  • Feb 2 Pete Buttigieg is the first openly gay person to be confirmed to a US cabinet post as transportation secretary
  • Feb 2 Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant to be confirmed as head of the US Department of Homeland Security

Historic Event

Feb 2 Jeff Bezos announces he is stepping down as CEO of Amazon after 30 years, becoming executive chairman

  • Feb 2 Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny jailed for three and a half years in jail over alleged parole violations in Moscow

Historic Event

Feb 2 US President Joe Biden signs executive orders to reunite immigrant families, setting up a new taskforce to address around 1000 remaining separated families [1]

  • Feb 3 US and Russia extend their New START nuclear arms control treaty for five years, the last remaining nuclear arms deal between the two countries
  • Feb 3 Engineers at MIT announce they have engineered spinach to send emails when detecting explosive materials in groundwater as part of plant nanobionic research [1]
  • Feb 4 US President Joe Biden announces an end to US support for the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen's civil war
  • Feb 4 Denmark approves plans for world's first energy island in the North Sea to provide power to 3 million Europeans
  • Feb 4 International Criminal Court convicts Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen of war crimes and crimes against humanity including forced pregnancy in legal first [1]
  • Feb 4 First successful face and double hand transplant announced performed on 22 year-old Joe DiMeo in New York
  • Feb 5 Ocean life is being drowned out by human noise, especially shipping, construction, sonar and seismic surveys according to new research [1]

Super Bowl

Feb 7 Super Bowl LV, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominate defending champion Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9; MVP: Tom Brady, TB Bucs, QB; Brady's record 7th SB win

  • Feb 7 Himalayan glacier crashes into the Dhauliganga river, destroying a dam and causing a huge flood in Uttarakhand province, India, killing 26, leaving 150 missing
  • Feb 7 Sarah Thomas becomes the first woman to referee a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, Florida

Music History

Feb 7 The Weeknd becomes the first Canadian solo artist to headline the Super Bowl half time show (Super Bowl LV)

  • Feb 8 South Africa halts rollout of Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after research into the South African variant showed no protection against mild and moderate illness
  • Feb 8 Martial law declared in Mandalay, Myanmar, amid continuing protests against the country's military coup
  • Feb 9 WHO team investigating origin of COVID-19 in Wuhan say it is "extremely unlikely" that it leaked from a local research lab [1]

Historic Event

Feb 9 US Senate Impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins in Washington D.C.

  • Feb 9 United Arab Emirates is the fifth entity to successfully orbit a probe around Mars, as probe Hope begins to study the planet's atmosphere.
  • Feb 10 17,000 year old conch shell discovered to be oldest known wind instrument, after being reassessed by archaeologists, originally found in Marsoulas cave, Pyrenees [1]
  • Feb 10 Astronomers confirm the planetoid named Farfarout as the most distant orbiting the Sun, almost four times more distant than Pluto [1]
  • Feb 11 World's second oldest person French nun Sister André' celebrates her 117th birthday after surviving COVID-19 in Toulon
  • Feb 11 US President Joe Biden rescinds the national emergency order used by Donald Trump to fund the border wall with Mexico
  • Feb 11 California's COVID-19 death toll overtakes New York's, reaching 45,496 amid first sign of falling infection numbers (Johns Hopkins)
  • Feb 11 UK Kent COVID-19 strain set "to sweep the world" and become the dominant strain globally according to UK scientist Sharon Peacock after strain detected in over 50 countries (later named Alpha)
  • Feb 12 Tokyo Olympics Chief Yoshiro Mori resigns after his comments that talkative women made meetings “drag on too long”
  • Feb 13 Former US President Donald Trump acquitted in second Senate impeachment trial on charge of incitement of insurrection after senators vote 57 to 43 in favor of conviction, less than the two thirds majority required for impeachment
  • Feb 13 Archaeologists announce discovery of oldest known beer factory in Abydos, Egypt, from early Dynastic period 3150 B.C.- 2613 B.C

Historic Event

Feb 13 Mario Draghi, former head of the European Central Bank, is sworn in as Italian Prime Minister ahead of a new coalition government

  • Feb 14 Guinea declares an Ebola epidemic after three deaths, its first deaths since 2016
  • Feb 14 63rd Daytona 500: Michael McDowell navigates through fiery, final-lap pileup to claim his first career NASCAR Cup Series win in his 14th season; race delayed by rain for 6 hours after huge Lap 14 crash
  • Feb 14 At least 60 people killed and hundreds missing after a boat capsizes on the Congo River carrying 700 people in western Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Feb 15 Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala becomes the first woman and first African to lead the World Trade Organization
  • Feb 15 Major winter storm in the US stretches from Texas to Maine, over 3 million without power in Texas, goes on to kill 210 people
  • Feb 15 UK is the first European country to require travellers from COVID 'hotspots' to isolate in quarantine hotels, following other countries such as Australia, NZ and Singapore
  • Feb 16 US Winter storm continues with Dallas recording its lowest temperature in 70 years minus-2 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Feb 16 Athens and parts of Greece covered in unusual heavy snowfall
  • Feb 17 South Africa, Africa's worst-affected country begins COVID-19 vaccinations with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Cape Town
  • Feb 17 Texan senator Ted Cruz flies to Cancun, Mexico with his family amid a winter disaster in his state, igniting widespread condemnation
  • Feb 18 Facebook blocks users in Australia from accessing news sites in response to proposed new laws for tech companies to pay to show news content
  • Feb 18 Nearly seven million people required to boil their water in Texas as unusually harsh winter storm in the state continues
  • Feb 18 NASA's Perseverance rover successfully lands at Jezero Crater, Mars, on mission to find microfossils [1]
  • Feb 19 In a softening of 4-year WADA ban on Russia from all international sport, Russia to compete under acronym "ROC" after name of the Russian Olympic Committee

Australian Open Women's Tennis

Feb 20 Australian Open Women's Tennis: Naomi Osaka of Japan wins her 4th major and second Australian title; beats American Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3

  • Feb 20 Bloodiest day of protests in Myanmar since its coup after security forces open fire, killing two people with 40 wounded in Mandalay
  • Feb 20 US President Joe Biden declares a major disaster in Texas as state struggles to cope with aftermath of a crippling winter storm
  • Feb 20 Englishwoman Jasmine Harrison (21) becomes the youngest woman to row across an ocean arriving in Antigua as part of the Atlantic Challenge after 70 days, 3 hours, 48 minutes

Australian Men's Tennis Open

Feb 21 Australian Open Men's Tennis: Novak Đoković of Serbia wins a record extending 9th Australian title; dominates Russian Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2

  • Feb 21 First democratic transfer of power in Niger, the world's poorest country, as former interior minister Mohamed Bazoum wins Presidential election [1]
  • Feb 21 WHO pleads with Tanzania to start reporting COVID-19 cases amid fears of a hidden epidemic in the country

Historic Event

Feb 21 India's BJP party issues resolution country had "defeated COVID under the able, sensitive, committed and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”, massive second wave hits two months later

  • Feb 22 US death toll from COVID-19 passes 500,000, higher than US deaths in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined
  • Feb 22 Influential French dance duo Daft Punk announce their split after 28 years
  • Feb 22 US President Joe Biden and vice-president Kamala Harris hold a candle-lighting ceremony to mark the 500,000 COVID-19 deaths outside the White House "We must not grow numb to the sorrow"

Historic Event

Feb 22 Wife of drug cartel boss "El Chapo" Emma Coronel Aispuro arrested in the US on drug trafficking charges and conspiring to free her husband from prison

  • Feb 23 Discovery of oldest Australian rock art, a 17,300-year-old painting of a kangaroo in Kimberley region, Western Australia, published in "Nature Human Behaviour" [1]
  • Feb 23 Covid-19 antibodies survey in Nigeria suggests 4 million people have had the virus in Lagos state alone, more than officially recorded for whole of Africa [1]

Sports History

Feb 23 Tiger Woods crashes his car driving south of Los Angeles, injuring both his legs

  • Feb 24 United Nations-backed COVAX initiative begins delivering vaccines to middle and low income countries with first AstraZeneca shipment to Ghana

Historic Event

Feb 25 Chinese President Xi Jinping claims the country has eradicated extreme poverty (earning less than US$620 a year), though many observers remain skeptical about the accuracy of Chinese data due to widespread corruption and lack of transparency [1]

  • Feb 25 More than 200 prisoners escape and 25 people are killed at Croix-des-Bouquets prison near Port-au-Prince, Haiti
  • Feb 26 Amnesty International Report says that Eritrean troops might have committed crimes against humanity, killing hundreds of civilians, in attack on Ethiopian city of Aksum 28-29 November [1]
  • Feb 26 Toymaker Hasbro announces that the Mr Potato Head brand name will be changed to be gender-neutral [1]
  • Feb 27 US authorizes its third COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, a one-shot vaccine
  • Feb 28 Myanmar security forces open fire on protests around the country, killing at least 18, in bloodiest day since the military coup [1]
  • Feb 28 Hong Kong charges 47 with "conspiracy to commit subversion" in harshest implementation of its new security laws imposed by China

Golden Globes

Feb 28 78th Golden Globes: Best film "Nomadland" (drama), "Borat" (comedy), Best TV series "The Crown", Chadwick Boseman posthumously wins film Best Actor


Famous Weddings

  • Feb 16 Actor Nicholas Cage marries for the fifth time to Riko Shibata at Wynn Hotel, Las Vegas

Famous Divorces

Divorce of Interest

Feb 19 Kim Kardashian West files for divorce from her third husband, Kanye West after almost seven years

Famous Deaths

  • Feb 1 Dustin Diamond, American actor (Saved By Bell - "Screech"), dies of cancer at 44
  • Feb 2 Tom Moore, English army captain knighted for raising £32 million for the NHS, dies with COVID-19 at 100
  • Feb 2 Grant Jackson, American baseball pitcher (MLB All Star 1969; World Series 1979; Philadelphia Phillies; Baltimore Orioles; Pittsburgh Pirates), dies from complications of COVID-19 at 78
  • Feb 2 Danny Ray, American MC, stage manager, valet and "cape man" for soul singer James Brown, dies at 85

Tony Trabert

Feb 3 Tony Trabert, American tennis player (Wimbledon 1955; US Open 1953, 55; French Open 1954, 55), dies at 90

  • Feb 3 Jim Weatherly, American pop and country songwriter ("Midnight Train To Georgia"), dies at 77
  • Feb 3 Jean-Pierre Bastiat, French rugby union lock (32 Tests; US Dax), dies from a stroke at 71
  • Feb 4 Nolan Porter, American R&B singer-songwriter ("Keep On Keeping On"), dies at 71
  • Feb 4 Gil Saunders, American soul singer (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes), dies of lung cancer at 68

Christopher Plummer

Feb 5 Christopher Plummer, Canadian Emmy, Tony, and Oscar winning actor (Sound of Music; Cyrano; Beginners), dies at 91 [1]

  • Feb 5 Joseph Benz, Swiss bobsledder (Olympic gold 2-man 1980; World C'ship gold 4-man 1975; 2-man 1978, 79), dies from COVID-19 at 76
  • Feb 5 Julio Canani, Peruvian thoroughbred horse racing trainer (Breeders' Cup Mile 1999, 2001; Juvenile Fillies 2004), dies at 82
  • Feb 5 Sam Gannon, Australian cricket fast bowler (3 Tests, 11 wickets; Western Australia; Chairman WACA), dies at 73
  • Feb 5 Charlie Krueger, American College Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle (Texas A&M; Pro Bowl 1960, 64; San Francisco 49ers), dies from heart and kidney failure at 84
  • Feb 5 John Pullin, English rugby union hooker (42 caps; British Lions 7 caps; Bristol RFC), dies at 79

Leon Spinks

Feb 5 Leon Spinks, American boxer (WBC, WBA heavyweight champion 1978; Olympic gold light heavyweight 1976), dies from prostate cancer at 67

  • Feb 5 Alan Scott, American lyricist (Candid Camera theme), writer, TV host (Spin the Picture), and actor, dies at 98
  • Feb 6 Ezra Moseley, Barbadian cricket fast bowler (2 Tests; 9 ODIs, West Indies; Barbados; Glamorgan), dies in a road accident at 63
  • Feb 6 Bruce Taylor, New Zealand cricket all-rounder (30 Tests, 111 wickets; 2 x 100s), dies at 77
  • Feb 6 George P. Shultz, American economist, and statesman (Secretary of State, 1982-89; Secretary of the Treasury, 1972-74), dies at 100 [1]
  • Feb 6 Ken McCaffery, Australian rugby league centre (12 Tests; North Sydney; Queensland), broadcaster (9 Network) and administrator (North Sydney DRLFC), dies at 91
  • Feb 7 Ralph Backstrom, Canadian ice hockey center (6 x Stanley Cup with Montreal Canadiens; 6 x NHL All-Star), dies at 83
  • Feb 7 Pedro Gomez, American sports journalist (ESPN 2003-21), dies at 58
  • Feb 7 Leslie Laing, Jamaican athlete (Olympic gold men's 4x400m relay 1952 WR 3:03.9), dies at 91
  • Feb 7 Mario Osbén, Chilean soccer goalkeeper (36 caps; Unión Española, Colo Colo, Cobreloa), dies from a heart attack at 70
  • Feb 8 Mary Wilson, American pop vocalist (Supremes - "Where Did Our Love Go?"), dies at 76 [1]
  • Feb 8 David Egerton, English rugby union #8 (7 caps; Bath Rugby) and broadcaster (BBC), dies from COVID-19 at 59

Marty Schottenheimer

Feb 8 Marty Schottenheimer, American football coach (Cleveland Browns, KC Chiefs; NFL Coach of Year 2004, San Diego Chargers), dies from Alzheimer's disease at 77

  • Feb 9 Armando "Chick" Corea, American jazz-fusion pianist and composer; 23 time Grammy winner (Return To Forever, Delhpi I, Toy Dance), dies of cancer at 79 [1]
  • Feb 10 Pachín, Spanish soccer defender (8 caps; Real Madrid) and manager (Osasuna, Levante, Granada), dies at 82

Larry Flynt

Feb 10 Larry Flynt, American magazine publisher (Hustler), dies of heart failure at 78

  • Feb 11 Phil Horrocks-Taylor, English rugby union fly half (9 caps England, 1 British & Irish Lions; Leicester Tigers), dies at 86
  • Feb 12 Milford Graves, American avant-garde and free jazz drummer, percussionist (New York Art Quartet), and educator (Bennington College, Vermont, 1973-2012), dies of heart failure at 79 [1]
  • Feb 13 Olle Nygren, Swedish speedway rider (World Team Cup 1960; World C'ship 1954 3rd; World Longtrack C'ship 1961 runner-up), dies at 91
  • Feb 13 Frank Orr, Canadian sports author and journalist (Hockey Hall of Fame; Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award; Toronto Star), dies at 84
  • Feb 14 Doug Mountjoy, Welsh snooker player (Masters 1977; Pot Black 1978, 85; UK C'ship 1988, World C'ship 1981 runner-up), dies at 78
  • Feb 15 Vincent Jackson, American NFL wide receiver (Pro Bowl 2009, 11, 12; SD Chargers, TB Buccaneers), dies at 38
  • Feb 15 Leopoldo Luque, Argentine soccer striker (43 caps; River Plate), dies from COVID-19 at 71
  • Feb 15 (Juan) "Johnny" Pacheco, Dominican-American salsa flutist, bandleader, composer, record producer and label executive (Fania Records), dies at 85 [1]
  • Feb 16 Wayne Giardino, Canadian football linebacker (Grey Cup 1968, 69, 73;Ottawa Rough Riders), dies at 77
  • Feb 17 Özcan Arkoç, Turkish soccer goalkeeper (9 caps; Hamburger SV) and manager (Hamburger SV, Hannover 96), dies at 81
  • Feb 17 Gianluigi Saccaro, Italian fencer (Olympic gold épée team 1960; silver épée team 1964; bronze épée 1968), dies at 82
  • Feb 17 Martí Vergés, Spanish soccer midfielder (12 caps; FC Barcelona), dies at 86
  • Feb 17 Murray Weideman, Australian rules football CHF (Collingwood VFL premiers 1953, 58 [c]; B&F 1957, 61, 62; Victoria 1956-60) and coach (Collingwood 1975-76), dies at 85
  • Feb 17 Doug Grisby, American soul music bassist, composer and producer (Patti LaBelle; Teena Marie), dies after suffering a stroke at 57
  • Feb 18 Prince Markie Dee [Mark Anthony Morales], American rapper and songwriter (Fat Boys - "Jail House Rap"; "Wipe-Out"), and actor (Disorderlies), dies at 52 [1]
  • Feb 18 Juan Pizarro, Puerto Rican MLB baseball pitcher, 1957-74, 2x All-Star (Milwaukee Braves, Chicago White Sox, and 7 other teams), dies at 84
  • Feb 20 Mauro Bellugi, Italian soccer defender (32 caps; Inter Milan, Bologna, Napoli), dies from COVID-19 at 71
  • Feb 20 Stan Williams, American baseball pitcher (MLB All-Star 1960²; World Series 1959, 1990 [coach: Cincinnati Reds]; NY Yankees, LA Dodgers), dies from cardio-pulmonary illness at 84
  • Feb 21 Doug Wilkerson, American football guard (Pro Bowl 1980–82; First-team All-Pro 1982; SD Chargers), dies at 73
  • Feb 21 Zlatko Saračević, Croatian handball player (145 caps Yugoslavia, 75 Croatia; Olympic gold 1996 Croatia), dies at 59
  • Feb 22 Lawrence Ferlinghetti, American beat poet (Coney Island of the Mind), dies at 101 [1]
  • Feb 23 Fausto Gresini, Italian Grand Prix motorcycle racer (125cc World C'ship 1985, 87) and team manager (Aprilia Racing, Gresini MotoGP), dies from COVID-19 at 60
  • Feb 23 Tormod Knutsen, Norwegian cross country skier (Olympic gold individual 1964, silver 1960), dies at 89
  • Feb 23 Juan Carlos Masnik, Uruguayan soccer defender (26 caps; NY Skyliners, Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, Nacional, NY Cosmos), dies at 77
  • Feb 23 Art Michalik, American football linebacker / guard (All-Pro 1953; Pro Bowl 1953; San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers), dies at 91
  • Feb 23 Sergiu Natra, Romanian-Israeli composer (Symphony in Red, Blue, Yellow and Green), and music professor (Tel Aviv University, 1975-85), dies at 96
  • Feb 24 Gary Halpin, Irish rugby union prop (11 caps; Wanderers F.C, Leinster, London Irish, Harlequins), dies at 55
  • Feb 24 Tom Foley, Irish racehorse trainer (trainer Danoli, "the People's Champion"), dies from cancer at 74
  • Feb 24 Atsushi Miyagi, Japanese tennis player (US Open doubles 1955 [with Kosei Kamo] first Japanese players to win a Grand Slam event), dies at 89
  • Feb 24 Peter Ostroushko, American fiddler, mandolin player, and composer (A Prairie Home Companion), dies of heart failure at 67
  • Feb 25 John Geddert, American gymnastics coach (US head coach London Olympic Team 2012), dies from self-inflicted gunshot wounds at 63
  • Feb 25 Jim Johnson, Australian jockey (Melbourne Cup: Gatum Gatum 1963, Rain Lover 1968, 69), dies at 92
  • Feb 26 Aleksandr Klepikov, Russian rower (Olympic gold Soviet Union coxed four 1976), dies at 70
  • Feb 26 Hannu Mikkola, Finnish rally driver (World Rally champion 1983), dies from cancer at 78
  • Feb 26 John Mallard, English medical physicist (developed MRI and PET scans), dies at 94
  • Feb 28 Johnny Briggs, English actor (Mike Baldwin on Coronation Street), dies at 85 [1]
  • Feb 28 Irv Cross, American football cornerback (Pro Bowl 1964, 65; Philadelphia Eagles) and broadcaster (CBS), dies from ischemic cardiomyopathy at 81
  • Feb 28 Glenn Roeder, English soccer defender (QPR, Newcastle United), and manager (Watford, West Ham, Newcastle, Norwich), dies from a brain tumour at 65