On This Day

Historical Events on February 29

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1504 Christopher Columbus uses a lunar eclipse to frighten hostile Jamaican Indians

Explorer of the New World Christopher Columbus
Explorer of the New World
Christopher Columbus

USASalem Witch Trials

1692 First people are accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts - Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba, a West Indian slave

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Dramatic lithograph of the Salem witch trials produced in 1892
Dramatic lithograph of the Salem witch trials produced in 1892
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  • 1696 English ex-premier Earl Danby accused of corruption
  • 1704 French & Indians attack Deerfield, Massachusetts, kill 50, abduct 100
  • 1712 February 29 is followed by February 30 in Sweden, in a move to abolish the Swedish calendar for a return to the Old style.
  • 1720 Queen Ulrica Eleonora of Sweden resigns

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1768 Polish nobleman Casimir Pulaski joins the Bar Confederation to defend the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth against Russian influence

Military Leader Casimir Pulaski
Military Leader
Casimir Pulaski

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1784 Marquis de Sade transferred from Vincennes fortress to the Bastille

Philosopher and Writer Marquis de Sade
Philosopher and Writer
Marquis de Sade
  • 1796 Jay's Treaty proclaimed, settles some differences with England

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1832 Charles Darwin walks through the tropical forests of Bahia in Brazil, describing the experience as being in "transports of pleasure"

Naturalist Charles Darwin
Naturalist
Charles Darwin
  • 1836 Giacomo Meyerbeers opera "Les Huguenots," premieres in Paris
  • 1848 The Principality of Neuchâtel declares itself independent of Prussia
  • 1856 Hostilities in Russo-Turkish War cease

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1868 1st British government of Benjamin Disraeli forms

British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
British Prime Minister
Benjamin Disraeli
  • 1880 Gotthard railway tunnel between Switzerland & Italy completed
  • 1892 Britain & US sign treaty on seal hunting in Bering Sea

  • 1892 St. Petersburg, Florida is incorporated

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1904 Theodore Roosevelt, appoints 7-man Panama Canal Commission to proceed with completing a canal at the Isthmus

26th US President Theodore Roosevelt
26th US President
Theodore Roosevelt
  • 1908 Dutch scientists produce solid helium
  • 1920 Trying to maintain independence from Germany and the USSR, Czechoslovakia adopts a constitution
  • 1932 Failed coup attempt by fascist Lapua Movement in Finland
  • 1932 TIME magazine features eccentric American politician William "Alfalfa" Murray on its cover after Murray stated his intention to run for President of the United States.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1936 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs 2nd Neutrality Act

32nd US President Franklin D. Roosevelt
32nd US President
Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • 1940 Frederic from G & S "Pirates of Penzance" finally released by pirate

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1940 Hattie McDaniel becomes 1st African American woman to win an Oscar for "Gone with the Wind"

Film tv awardsAcademy Awards

1940 12th Academy Awards: "Gone with the Wind" wins eight Oscars, Robert Donat & Vivien Leigh also win

  • 1940 Finland initiates Winter War peace negotiations

Sport awardGolf Tournament

1940 American golfer Jimmy Demaret wins his third PGA Tour event within an 8-day span, taking the St. Petersburg Open by 1 stroke from Byron Nelson

Golfer Byron Nelson
Golfer
Byron Nelson
  • 1940 Detroit's Cecil "Tiny" Thompson becomes first goaltender in NHL history to play 40 (or more) games for 12 straight seasons; milestone comes in a 3-1 Red Wings loss at Toronto
  • 1944 5 leaders of Indonesia Communist Party sentenced to death
  • 1944 US troop land on Los Negros, Admiralty Islands

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1944 Karol Wojtyla, future Pope John Paul II, is run down and injured by a Nazi truck in Krakow

264th Pope John Paul II
264th Pope
John Paul II
  • 1948 Stern-group bomb on Cairo-Haifa train kills 27 British soldiers
  • 1948 Lawson Little earns his first tournament victory since his US Navy discharge capturing the St. Petersburg Open by 3 strokes over Bobby Locke; last golfer to win a PGA Tour event on Leap Year Day
  • 1952 Ice Dance Championship at Paris France won by Westwood & Demmy of Great Britain
  • 1952 Ice Pairs Championship at Paris won by Ria Falk & Paul Falk of West Germany

  • 1952 Ladies Figure Skating Champ in Paris won by Jacqueline du Bief of France
  • 1952 Dick Button leads an unprecedented American sweep when he wins World Men's Figure Skating Championship in Paris; beats compatriots James Grogan and Hayes Alan Jenkins for his 5th straight world title
  • 1952 The island of Heligoland is restored to German authority.
  • 1956 Islamic Republic forms in Pakistan

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1956 US President Eisenhower announces he will seek a 2nd term

34th US President & WWII General Dwight D. Eisenhower
34th US President & WWII General
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1956 MLB's Cleveland Indians franchise is sold for nearly $4m; former player and the team’s general manager Hank Greenberg is part of the new ownership group

Baseball Player Hank Greenberg
Baseball Player
Hank Greenberg

Music releaseTheater Premiere

1960 1st Playboy Club, featuring bunnies, opens in Chicago

Playboy Founder & Businessman Hugh Hefner
Playboy Founder & Businessman
Hugh Hefner
  • 1960 Agadir earthquake in Morocco kills a third of the population (12,000-15,000)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1960 JFK makes "missile gap" the presidential campaign issue

35th US President John F. Kennedy
35th US President
John F. Kennedy
  • 1960 KRET TV channel 23 in Richardson, TX (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • 1964 "Rugantino" closes at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC after 28 performances

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1964 LBJ reveals the US has secretly developed the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, an advanced, long‐range high-speed and high-altitude reconnaissance airplane [1]

36th US President Lyndon B. Johnson
36th US President
Lyndon B. Johnson
  • 1964 NC high school basketball teams play to 56-54 score in 13 overtime

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1964 Cincinnati's Jerry Lucas and Oscar Robertson combine for a rare 40-40 performance as the Royals beat host Philadelphia 76ers, 117-114; NBA MVP Robertson has 43 points; Rookie of the Year Lucas, 40 rebounds

NBA Forward Jerry Lucas
NBA Forward
Jerry Lucas
NBA Player Oscar Robertson
NBA Player
Oscar Robertson
  • 1964 Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser records the fastest 100m freestyle of her brilliant career; smashes her own world record 58.9s in Sydney; goes on to win her 3rd straight gold in the event at the Tokyo Olympics
  • 1968 Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" wins Grammy Award for Album of the Year, the first rock LP to do so

Music releaseMusic Premiere

1968 Howard Hanson's 6th Symphony, premieres

Composer and Conductor Howard Hanson
Composer and Conductor
Howard Hanson
  • 1968 US end regular flights with nuclear bombs
  • 1968 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • 1968 National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (Kerner Comm) reports against racism & demands aid given to blacks

Sports record brokenBaseball Record

1972 Future Baseball Hall of Fame right fielder Hank Aaron becomes first player to earn $200,000 average annual salary; signs 3-year deal with Atlanta Braves after one of his best seasons – .327 average, 47 HRs and 118 RBIs

Baseball Player Hank Aaron
Baseball Player
Hank Aaron
  • 1972 Jack Anderson discloses Dita Beard (ITT) memo indicating antitrust charges were dropped for $400,000 contribution to Republican Party
  • 1976 ABC-TV broadcast premiere of 1965's hit "The Sound of Music"

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1976 American driver Richard Petty wins the only Winston Cup race run on Leap Day, taking the Carolina 500 at Rockingham by 2 laps over Darrell Waltrip

Auto Racer Richard Petty
Auto Racer
Richard Petty

Sports record brokenNHL Record

1980 Future Hockey Hall of Fame right wing Gordie Howe scores in the 3rd period to become first NHL player to score 800 career goals as Hartford Whalers beat St. Louis Blues, 3-0 at Springfield Civic Center

Ice Hockey Legend Gordie Howe
Ice Hockey Legend
Gordie Howe
  • 1980 Michael Bracey ends 59 h 55 m trapped in an elevator, England

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1984 Pierre Trudeau announces he is stepping down after 15 years as Canadian Prime Minister

Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Pierre Trudeau
  • 1984 Swedish center Patrik Sundström scores a goal and adds 6 assists as Vancouver Canucks beat the Penguins 9-5 in Pittsburgh; just the 3rd player in NHL history to record 6 assists in a road game
  • 1988 KWK-FM in St Louis Missouri changes call letters to WKBG
  • 1988 New Zealand cricket batsman Mark Greatbatch scores an unbeaten 107 on debut to rescue a draw in 2nd Test v England at Eden Park, Auckland

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1988 NYC Mayor Koch calls Reagan a "WIMP" in the war on drugs

US President & Actor Ronald Reagan
US President & Actor
Ronald Reagan

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1992 Boston’s Ray Bourque becomes just the 3rd defenseman in NHL history to score 1,000 career points with a goal and 2 assists in the Bruins' 5-5 tie with Washington Capitals at Boston Garden

NHL Legend Ray Bourque
NHL Legend
Ray Bourque
  • 1996 Chasing Kenya's 166, the West Indies are dismissed for a dismal 93 in Cricket World Cup at Pune, India; spinner Maurice Odumbe takes 3/15 and fast bowler Rajab Ali 3/17 for Kenya
  • 1996 Russian spacecraft Soyuz TM-23 returning from Mir space station
  • 1996 Serb forces withdraw from Sarajevo, ending the siege after 1,425 days, the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare
  • 2004 Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigns as President of Haiti following popular rebel uprising.

Film tv awardsAcademy Awards

2004 76th Academy Awards: "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," Sean Penn & Charlize Theron win

Actress Charlize Theron
Actress
Charlize Theron
Actor and Political Activist Sean Penn
Actor and Political Activist
Sean Penn
Actress Liv Tyler
Actress
Liv Tyler
  • 2020 Watford beats Liverpool, 3-0 at Vicarage Road; first Reds loss since Manchester City January 2019; ends joint-longest winning streak (18) and second longest unbeaten run (44) in English top-flight football history
  • 2020 US and Taliban sign deal to end 18-year war in Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar. US and NATO allies will withdraw their troops after 14 months if deal kept.