On This Day

Historical Events on February 16

  • 374 9th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet
  • 600 Pope Gregory the Great decrees saying "God bless You" is the correct response to a sneeze
  • 1249 Andrew of Longjumeau is dispatched by Louis IX of France as his ambassador to meet with the Khan of the Mongols
  • 1486 Maximilian I is elected King of the Romans at Frankfurt
  • 1512 Battle at Valeggio: French troops beat Venetianen
  • 1559 Pope Paul IV calls for deposition of sovereigns supporting heresy

Historic Event

1641 English king Charles I accepts Triennial Act requiring that Parliament meet for at least a fifty-day session once every three years

  • 1646 Battle of Great Torrington, Devon - the last major battle of the first English Civil War
  • 1659 1st known cheque written (£400), now on display at Westminster Abbey
  • 1666 Netherlands & Brandenburg sign treaty
  • 1677 Earl of Shaftesbury arrested and confined in the Tower of London

Historic Publication

1741 Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine begins publishing

Election of Interest

1742 Spencer Compton becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain (First Lord of the Treasury)

  • 1751 1st publication of Thomas Gray's poem "Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard"
  • 1760 Native American hostages killed in Fort Prince George, South Carolina

Historic Event

1771 Charles Messier presents his original list of 45 M-objects to French Academy

  • 1777 Charles Messier adds M53 to his catalog (globular cluster in Coma Berenice)
  • 1804 US Navy Lt Stephen Decatur raids Tripoli Harbor & burns Navy frigate "Philadelphia" after pirates seized it
  • 1824 Athenaeum club founded in London
  • 1838 Kentucky passes law permitting women to attend school under conditions
  • 1838 Weenen Massacre: Hundreds of Voortrekkers along the Blaukraans River, Natal are killed by Zulu warriors

Historic Discovery

1840 American Charles Wilkes discovers Shackleton Ice Shelf, Antarctica

  • 1846 Battle of Sobraon ends 1st Sikh War in India
  • 1852 Studebaker Brothers wagon company, precursor of the automobile manufacturer, is established.

Music Premiere

1854 Franz Liszt's symphony "Orpheus" premieres

  • 1857 Gallaudet College (National Deaf Mute college) forms in Washington, D.C.
  • 1859 The French Government passes a law to set the A-note above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz, in an attempt to standardize the pitch
  • 1860 Dutch Rochussen/Van Bosse government resigns

Abraham Lincoln, the Presidential Icon

1861 Abraham Lincoln stops his train at Westfield on his way to Washington to thank 11-year old Grace Bedell in person for her advice to grow a beard to gain more votes

Victory in Battle

1862 Fort Donelson is captured by General Ulysses S. Grant following the surrender of around 12,000 Confederate soldiers

  • 1864 Battle of Mobile, AL - operations by Union Army
  • 1866 Spencer Compton Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington becomes the British Secretary of State for War
  • 1868 Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks forms (NY)
  • 1880 American Society of Mechanical Engineers forms (NYC)
  • 1883 "Ladies Home Journal" begins publishing
  • 1887 1st newspaper convention (Rochester NY)
  • 1887 Eduard Douwes Dekker writes his last text (Lf8-c5)

Music Premiere

1892 Opera "Werther" by Jules Massenet premieres in Vienna

  • 1894 British troops occupy Ilorin, Gold Coast
  • 1899 Future England cricket captain Pelham Warner scores an unbeaten 132 on his Test debut in a 32 run win over South Africa in the 1st Test in Johannesburg
  • 1899 President of France Félix Faure dies in office.
  • 1899 Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur Iceland's first football club is founded
  • 1900 1st Chinese daily newspaper in US publishes (Chung Sai Yat Po, San Francisco)
  • 1900 Stanley Cup, Montreal Arena, Westmount, Quebec: Montreal Shamrocks beat Winnipeg Victorias, 5-4 to take challenge series, 3-1
  • 1903 -59°F (-51°C), Pokegama Dam, Minnesota (state record)
  • 1905 1st US Esperanto club organizes in Boston
  • 1909 1st subway car with side doors goes into service (NYC)
  • 1909 Serbia mobilizes against Austria-Hungary
  • 1912 VSV soccer team forms in Ijmuiden

Agreement of Interest

1913 US President William Howard Taft agrees not to intervene in Mexico

  • 1914 1st airplane flight from LA to SF
  • 1915 Frank Home Run Baker, 28, announces retirement following a contract dispute with Connie Mack. He sits out 1915 season
  • 1916 Russian troops conquer the Ottoman Empire city of Erzurum during WWI
  • 1916 The US rejects the right of Germany and Austria-Hungary to sink armed merchant ships

Historic Event

1916 The German ambassador in Washington announces that Germany will pay an indemnity for American lives lost on the Lusitania

  • 1917 1st synagogue in 425 years opens in Madrid
  • 1918 Lithuania declares independence from Russia & Germany (National Day)
  • 1923 Allies accept Latvia's occupation of Memel territory

Tutankhamun's Burial Chamber Found

1923 Howard Carter opens the inner burial chamber of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb and finds the sarcophagus

  • 1923 US Ladies' Figure Skating championship won by Theresa Weld Blanchard

Sports History

1923 US Men's Figure Skating championship won by Sherwin Badger

  • 1926 Suzanne Lenglen defeats US champion Helen Wills in influential tennis match in Cannes, France

Music History

1927 Noël Coward's "Marquise" premieres in London

  • 1927 US restores diplomatic relations with Turkey
  • 1929 KID-AM in Idaho Falls ID begins radio transmissions

Murder of Interest

1929 In mysterious murder suicide Ned Doheny Jr., son of oil magnate Edward L. Doheny, dies along with secretary Hugh Plunkett at Greystone Mansion, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles

  • 1931 Extreme right wing Pehr Evind Svinhufvud becomes President of Finland
  • 1932 1st patent for a tree issued to James Markham for a peach tree
  • 1933 Catholic newspaper Germania warns against Nazis and communists
  • 1933 England regains the Ashes, thanks to "bodyline" tactics
  • 1934 Austrian Civil War ends with the defeat of the Social Democrats and the Republican Schutzbund
  • 1934 Commission of Government is sworn in as form of direct rule for the Dominion of Newfoundland
  • 1936 Spanish Frente Popular (People's Front) wins elections
  • 1936 IV Winter Olympic Games close in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • 1937 DuPont Corp patents nylon, developed by employee Wallace Carothers

Historic Event

1937 Jean Anouilh's "Le Voyageur Sans Baggage" premieres in Paris

  • 1938 US Federal Crop Insurance program authorized

Film Release

1938 "Bringing Up Baby" film directed by Howard Hawks, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, is released

  • 1940 British search plane finds German supply ship Altmark, used to accommodate allied sailors from vessels sunk by the Graf Spee off Norway
  • 1942 German submarines attack Aruba oil refinery
  • 1942 Bangka Island massacre: Japanese soldiers machine-gun 22 Australian Army nurses and 60 Australian and British soldiers and crew members from two sunken ships. Only one nurse and two soldiers survive.
  • 1943 -32°F (-36°C), Falls Village, Connecticut (state record)

Contract of Interest

1943 British premier Winston Churchill contracts pneumonia

  • 1943 Withdrawing Afrika Korps reaches Mareth-line in North Africa
  • 1943 Sign on Munich facade: "Out with Hitler! Long live freedom!" done by "White Rose" student group, caught on 2/18, beheaded on 2/22
  • 1943 World War II: The USSR reconquers Kharkov.
  • 1945 US forces land on Corregidor, complete conquest on March 3
  • 1945 Venezuela declares war on Nazi Germany
  • 1946 "The Duchess Misbehaves" closes at Adelphi Theater NYC after 5 performances
  • 1946 1st commercially designed helicopter tested, Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • 1947 Morton Gould's 3rd Symphony, premieres
  • 1948 1st newsreel telecast, "20th Century Fox-Movietone News", shown on NBC
  • 1948 Miranda, famous moon of Uranus, photographed for 1st time
  • 1950 Longest-running prime-time game show, "What's My Line" begins on CBS
  • 1950 Writers fail to elect anyone to Baseball's Hall of Fame
  • 1951 NYC passes bill prohibiting racism in city-assisted housing
  • 1951 San Francisco City Hall dome fire
  • 1952 Ian Craig makes NSW cricket debut aged 16 years 249 days (NSW record)
  • 1952 United States goes 1-2 in the 500m speed skating at the Olso Winter Olympics with Ken Henry taking gold ahead of teammate Don McDermott; Norwegian Hjalmar Anderson dominates remaining 3 speed skating events

Sports History

1953 Ted Williams safely crash-lands his damaged Panther jet, later awarded the Air medal

  • 1954 WNEM TV channel 5 in Bay City, MI (NBC) begins broadcasting
  • 1957 The "Toddlers' Truce", a controversial television close down between 6 and 7 pm, abolished in the United Kingdom

Film Release

1957 Swedish film classic "The Seventh Seal" directed by Ingmar Bergman, starring Max Von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot is released

Historic Event

1959 Fidel Castro becomes the 16th Prime Minister of Cuba after overthrowing Fulgencio Batista

  • 1959 Leonard Spigelgass' "Majority of One" premieres in NYC
  • 1960 US nuclear submarine USS Triton set off on underwater round-world trip
  • 1961 1st all-solid-propellant rocket put in orbit, Wallops Island, Virginia
  • 1961 China uses its 1st nuclear reactor
  • 1961 US satellite Explorer 9 is launched

Music Premiere

1962 Darius Milhaud's 12th Symphony premieres

  • 1962 "La Jetée", French film directed by Chris Marker, starring Hélène Chatelain, Davos Hanich and Jacques Ledoux, is released
  • 1963 1st round-trip swim of Strait of Messina, Italy (Mary Revell of US)
  • 1963 Beatles top British rock charts with "Please, Please Me"
  • 1963 C & A Building in Amsterdam burns down

NBA Record

1963 North Carolina forward Billy Cunningham grabs a record 27 rebounds in a game vs Clemson

'The Banality of Evil'

1963 Philosopher Hannah Arendt's controversial account of the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann is first published in "The New Yorker"

  • 1964 "Foxy" opens at Ziegfeld Theater NYC for 72 performances
  • 1965 "Baker Street" opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 313 performances
  • 1965 Pegasus 1 launched to detect micro-meteors
  • 1966 Australian cricket batsman Bob Cowper makes a patient 307 (727 mins, 20 x 4s) in drawn 5th Test v England in Melbourne
  • 1966 End of Wally Grout's Test Cricket career, 187 dismissals as Australian wicketkeeper
  • 1966 France performs underground nuclear test at Ecker, Algeria
  • 1967 NY Yankees pitcher Red Ruffing elected to Baseball Hall of Fame
  • 1968 US 1st 911 phone system goes into service in Haleyville, Alabama

Music History

1968 Elvis Presley receives a gold record for "How Great Thou Art"

Music History

1968 Beatles George Harrison, John Lennon and their wives fly to India for transcendental meditation study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

  • 1968 Italy completes the bobsleigh double at the Grenoble Winter Olympics with victory in the 4-man; Eugenio Monti and Luciano de Paolis double up for gold winning 2-man earlier
  • 1969 Detroit Red Wings' captain Alex Delvecchio picks up an assist in a 6-2 defeat at Minnesota to become the 3rd player in NHL history to score 1,000 career points
  • 1969 "Andrei Rublev", Russian film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, starring Anatoly Solonitsyn and Ivan Lapikov, premieres in Moscow after a limited release in 1966

Boxing Title Fight

1970 Joe Frazier TKOs Jimmy Ellis in 5 for heavyweight boxing title

  • 1972 German mass murderers "Three of Breda" freed
  • 1972 Test Cricket debut of Lawrence Rowe WI v NZ Kingston, 214 & 100

NBA Record

1972 Wilt Chamberlain of the Los Angeles Lakers becomes first player in NBA history to reach the career 30,000 point mark during a 110-109 loss to the Phoenix Suns

  • 1973 West Indies v Australia at Kingston, 1st time since 1955 without Gary Sobers
  • 1975 Washington Capitals 1st NHL shutout, beating KC Scouts 3-0
  • 1975 17th Daytona 500: Benny Parsons wins after Cale Yarborough sends race leader David Pearson spinning on the backstretch; Parsons avoids the accident and takes the victory
  • 1977 USSR performs nuclear test at Sary Shagan
  • 1978 1st Computer Bulletin Board System (Ward & Randy's CBBS, Chicago)
  • 1979 George Harrison releases "Blow Away"
  • 1979 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk
  • 1979 Los Angeles premiere of Paul Schrader's allegedly fact based film "Hardcore"
  • 1980 Continuous traffic jam extends 176 km north of Lyons, France

Olympic Gold

1980 American speed skater Eric Heiden wins 5,000m in Olympic record 7:02.29; second of record 5 gold medal sweep of events at Lake Placid

  • 1982 Agatha Barbara elected as 1st female president of Malta
  • 1982 Assembled STS-3 vehicle moves from Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center (Florida) to launch pad
  • 1983 The Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia claim the lives of 75 people in one of Australia's worst ever fires
  • 1984 Bill Johnson becomes first American to win an Olympic downhill skiing gold at the Sarajevo Games; beats Swiss Peter Müller by 0.27s
  • 1984 NJ Devils 1st OT goal, Jan Ludvig beats Hartford Whalers 6-5
  • 1984 Swedish cross country skier Gunde Svan takes his 2nd gold medal of the Sarajevo Winter Olympics in the 4 x 10k relay; also wins 15k gold
  • 1984 Swedish cross country skier Thomas Wassberg wins 2nd career gold medal in 4 x 10k relay at Sarajevo Winter Olympics; 2nd of 4 career gold; 15k Lake Placid (1980), 50k Sarajevo, relay Calgary (1988)
  • 1984 Canadian speed skater Gaétan Boucher takes out the 1,500m at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics, his second gold medal of the Games; also wins the 1,000m

Olympic Gold

1984 3-time men's figure skating world champion Scott Hamilton of the US wins the gold medal at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics from Brian Orser of Canada and Jozef Sabovčík of Czechoslovakia

  • 1985 Largest NBA crowd to date, 43,816, sees Philadelphia at Detroit
  • 1985 Livingston Bramble defeats Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini to win WBA Lightweight championship, in Buffalo, New York
  • 1985 NJ Devils score their fastest hat trick in 42 seconds
  • 1985 The founding of Hezbollah.
  • 1986 "Uptown... It's Hot!" closes at Lunt-Fontanne NYC after 24 performances
  • 1986 French air force bombs Ouadi Doum airport in Chad
  • 1986 Dutch speed skater Hein Vergeer becomes World Allround champion for the second time
  • 1986 Karlstad skates world record 10 km (14:12.14)

Election of Interest

1986 Mário Soares from the Socialist Party is elected the 1st civilian President of Portugal

Daytona 500

1986 28th Daytona 500: Geoff Bodine wins on fuel mileage after Dale Earnhardt forced to pit for gas with 3 laps to go, then blows engine leaving the pits

Sports History

1986 PGA Seniors' Championship Men's Golf, PGA National GC: South African Gary Player wins first of 6 Senior Tour major titles with a 2 stroke victory over runner-up Lee Elder

  • 1987 John Demjanjuk, accused of being "Ivan the Terrible" trial begins
  • 1988 1st documented combat action by US military advisors in El Salvador
  • 1989 Egypt, Iraq, Jordan & North Yemen form common market

Contract of Interest

1989 Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser signs $7.9M-3 year contract

Contract of Interest

1989 Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens signs $7.5M-3 year contract

  • 1989 William Hayden becomes Governor-General of Australia
  • 1991 Dutch PPR, Political Party Radicals, disbands

Sports History

1991 US female Figure Skating championship won by Tonya Harding

  • 1992 Former silver Goodyear blimps are now painted yellow & blue

Sports History

1992 LA Lakers retire Magic Johnson's #32 uniform

Historic Event

1992 Ethiopia finds the remains of former Emperor Haile Selassie on the grounds of the Imperial Palace, under the private lavatory of dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, who overthrew the Emperor

  • 1992 34th Daytona 500: Davey Allison joins father Bobby as a race winner; Richard Petty and A.J. Foyt's final drives in the event
  • 1993 Sandra Völker swims world record 50m backstroke (28.33 sec)
  • 1993 Western Australia's and Australia's first woman Premier, Carmen Lawrence, is voted out of office.
  • 1994 6.5 earthquake strikes South East Sumatra, kills 200
  • 1994 Johann Olav Koss skates world record 1500m (1:51.29)
  • 1994 Premier Alfonso Bustamente ends government in Peru
  • 1996 Gary Kirsten scores 188* for South Africa v UAE at Rawalpindi
  • 1997 39th Daytona 500: Hendrick Motorsports posts a 1-2-3 finish with Jeff Gordon winning the race, ahead of Terry Labonte and Ricky Craven
  • 1998 Tellabs Inc acquires Coherent Communications Systems for $670 million

Sports History

1999 O.J. Simpson's 1968 Heisman Trophy is sold for $230,000 to help settle a $33.5 million civil judgement against Simpson for the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend

  • 1999 Across Europe, Kurdish rebels take over embassies and hold hostages after Turkey arrested one of their rebel leaders, Abdullah Öcalan.
  • 2001 Mathieu Schneider of the Los Angeles Kings becomes the first defenseman in history to score a goal against all 30 NHL teams as LA beats Minnesota, 4-0
  • 2003 45th Daytona 500: Michael Waltrip wins for the second time in 3 years; race ends after 109 laps when rain pours on the track
  • 2004 The Pittsburgh Penguins lose their 12th consecutive home game, a NHL record
  • 2005 2004-05 NHL season is cancelled by Commissioner Gary Bettman; first time a North American professional sports league has called off a season due to labor dispute
  • 2005 The Kyoto Protocol comes into force following its ratification by Russia.

Film & TV History

2005 The UK version of "The Apprentice" with British business magnate Alan Sugar premieres on the BBC

  • 2006 The last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) is decommissioned by the United States Army
  • 2013 84 people are killed and 190 are injured after a market bombing in Hazara Town, Pakistan
  • 2013 Anthony Carmona is elected President of Trinidad and Tobago

Sports History

2013 Lionel Messi scores his 14th consecutive goal in La Liga and his 300th goal in 365 appearances for Barcelona

Film & TV History

2013 Angelina Jolie undergoes a preventive double mastectomy after learning she had an 87% risk of developing breast cancer due to a defective BRCA1 gene

NBA All-Star Game

2014 63rd NBA All-Star Game, Smoothie King Centre, New Orleans, LA: East beats West, 163-155; MVP: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers, G

BAFTA Awards

2014 67th British Film and Television Awards (BAFTAS): "12 Years a Slave" Best Film, Alfonso Cuarón Best Director

  • 2014 Netherlands sweeps the medals in the women's 1,500m speed skating at the Sochi Winter Olympics; Jorien ter Mors wins gold ahead of teammates Ireen Wüst and Lotte van Beek