On This Day

February 1961 in History

Events in History

  • Feb 1 1st full-scale test of US Minuteman ICBM is successful

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 1 British minister Enoch Powell makes medical insurance more expensive

British Politician Enoch Powell
British Politician
Enoch Powell
  • Feb 2 Prince Bernhard opens new RAI building in Amsterdam
  • Feb 3 6th largest snowfall in NYC history (17.4" (44.2cm))
  • Feb 4 Sputnik 7 launches into Earth orbit; probable Venus probe failure
  • Feb 4 "Angolan War of Independence" begins
  • Feb 6 "Jail, No Bail" Jail-in movement starts in Rock Hill, South Carolina
  • Feb 9 Joseph Ileo appointed Premier of Congo
  • Feb 10 Niagara Falls hydroelectric project begins producing power
  • Feb 11 Robert Weaver sworn in as Administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, the 1st African American to be appointed to a US cabinet-level position
  • Feb 12 USSR launches Venera 1 toward Venus
  • Feb 13 Soviet Union fires a rocket from Sputnik V to Venus
  • Feb 14 Element 103, Lawrencium, 1st produced in Berkeley Calif
  • Feb 15 Entire US figure skating team is killed in an air crash outside Brussels airport in Belgium whilst flying to World Championships in Prague from NYC; 72 passengers, including 34 American skaters, coaches, officials, and other members of extended team are lost
  • Feb 16 1st all-solid-propellant rocket put in orbit, Wallops Island, Virginia
  • Feb 16 China uses its 1st nuclear reactor
  • Feb 16 US satellite Explorer 9 is launched
  • Feb 19 Albania disavows Chinese "Revisionism"
  • Feb 21 Friedrich Durrenmatt's "Die Physiker" premieres in Zurich
  • Feb 21 Gabon adopts constitution
  • Feb 21 Mercury-Atlas 2 reentry Test reaches 172 km
  • Feb 24 Explorer (10) fails to reach Earth orbit
  • Feb 25 Paul Bikle in glider climbs from 1208 m at release to record 14,10
  • Feb 27 The first congress of the Spanish Trade Union Organisation is inaugurated

AppointmentAppointment of Interest

Feb 28 JFK names Henry Kissinger special advisor

US Secretary of State and Political Scientist Henry Kissinger
US Secretary of State and Political Scientist
Henry Kissinger
35th US President John F. Kennedy
35th US President
John F. Kennedy

Birthdays in History

  • Feb 1 Daniel M. Tani, American astronaut, born in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania
  • Feb 4 Stewart O'Nan, American author (Snow Angels, The Names of the Dead), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Feb 6 Yuri Ivanovich Onufriyenko, Russian cosmonaut (Mir, Soyuz TM-23), born in Ryasne, Ukraine
  • Feb 10 George Stephanopoulos, American journalist, political commentator, and political advisor (Clinton), born in Fall River, Massachusetts
  • Feb 12 Jim Harris, Canadian author, environmentalist, and politician, born in Toronto, Ontario
  • Feb 14 Phillip Hamilton, American author, born in Albany, New York
  • Feb 20 Claudia Cummins, Clintwood Va, 4th of 5 siblings born on 2/20
  • Feb 21 Abhijit Banerjee, American economist, 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics, born in Mumbai, India

Deaths in History

  • Feb 3 Viscount Dunrossil, Gov-Gen of Australia (1959-61), dies at 67
  • Feb 4 Piet[er] L. Kramer, Influential Dutch architect (Amsterdam School), dies at 79
  • Feb 5 Anthony Gustav de Rothschild, British philanthropist, dies at 73
  • Feb 11 Patrice Lumumba, Congolese revolutionary, 1st prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, assassinated by the Belgian government at 34
  • Feb 11 Kate Carew [Mary Williams], American caricaturist, dies at 91
  • Feb 20 Otto Huiswoud, Suriname-born political activist and editor-in-chief (Negro Worker), dies at 67
  • Feb 21 Blaise Cendrars [Frederic Sauser-Hall], Swiss poet, dies at 73
  • Feb 21 Frederick McKinley Jones, American inventor (developments in refrigeration), dies of lung cancer at 67
  • Feb 22 George de Cuevas, Chilean-born ballet impresario and choreographer (Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas), dies at 75 or 76
  • Feb 26 Karl Albiker, German sculptor (Problem of the Plastic), dies at 83
  • Feb 26 Mohammed V, ibn Yusuf, sultan/King of Morocco, dies at 51