On This Day in History for February 29

Events in History

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
  • 1692 First people are accused of witchcraft in Salem Massachusetts - Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba, a West Indian slave
  • 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
Charles Darwin
  • 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 FDR 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
  • 1940 Finland initiates Winter War peace negotiations
  • 1944 5 leaders of Indonesia Communist Party sentenced to death
  • 1944 US troop land on Los Negros, Admirality 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 Cairo-Haifa train, 27 British soldiers died
  • 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 Men's Figure Skating Championship in Paris won by Richard Button of USA
  • 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

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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1964 LBJ reveals US secretly developed the A-11 jet fighter

36th US President Lyndon B. Johnson
36th US President
Lyndon B. Johnson
  • 1968 1st pulsar announced (CP 1919 by Jocelyn Burnell at Cambridge)
  • 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
  • 1972 Jack Anderson discloses Dita Beard (ITT) memo indicating antitrust charges were dropped for $400,000 contribution to Republican Party
  • 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
  • 1988 KWK-FM in St Louis Missouri changes call letters to WKBG
  • 1988 Nazi document implicates Waldheim in WW II deportations
  • 1992 Professional Spring Football League begins
  • 1996 Soyuz TM-23, lands
  • 2004 Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigns as President of Haiti following popular rebel uprising.

Birthdays in History

  • 1468 Paul III, last Renaissance Pope (1534-49)
  • 1692 Edward Cave, England, printer (Gentlemen's Magazine)
  • 1692 John Byrom, English poet (d. 1763)
  • 1728 Robert Bage, English writer (Criticism by Peter Faulkner)

Person of interestAnn Lee

1736 Ann Lee, American founder of the Shakers, born in Manchester, England (d. 1784)

Founder of the Shakers Ann Lee
Founder of the Shakers
Ann Lee
  • 1784 Franz KL von Klenze, German architect (Hermitage, St-Petersburg)
  • 1792 Karl Ernst von Baler, Russian naturalist (discovered human ovum)
  • 1812 Sir James Wilson, Premier of Tasmania (d. 1880, also on 29 February)
  • 1828 Antonio Guzman Blanco, president Venezuela

Person of interestJohn Philip Holland

1840 John Philip Holland, Irish engineer and father of the modern submarine, born in Liscannor, Ireland (d. 1914)

  • 1840 William Harvey Carney, American Civil War soldier (first African-American to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor), born in Norfolk, Virginia (d. 1908)
  • 1852 Frank Gavan Duffy, Australian judge (d. 1936)
  • 1860 Herman Hollerith, inventor (1st electric tabulating machine)
  • 1892 Augusta Savage (Fells), Green Cove Springs Florida, African-American sculptor and equal rights advocate
  • 1896 Omer C F L Tulippe, Belgian geographer
  • 1896 Morarji Desai, Indian politician and activist, 4th Prime Minister of India (1977-79), born in Bhadeli, British India (d. 1995)
  • 1896 Stanley Swash, CEO (Woolworths)
  • 1896 William W Wellman, director (Star is Born), born in Brookline, Massachusetts
  • 1904 Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfeschlegelsteinhausen, longest ever personal name, born in Bergedorf, Germany (d. 1997) disputed date
  • 1908 Balthus, painter (Valerie)
  • 1920 Louise Wood, director of Girl Scouts of USA (1961-72)
  • 1920 Ivan Petrov, Russian operatic bass (d. 2003)
  • 1924 David Beattie, British governor-general of NZ
  • 1924 Otto Hutter, physiologist
  • 1928 McHenry Boatwright, signer
  • 1928 Terry Lewis, Australian police commissioner
  • 1928 Tempest Storm, American burlesque performer
  • 1932 Jaguar, Brazilian cartoonist
  • 1932 Gene Golub, American mathematician (d. 2007)
  • 1936 Jack R Lousma, Col USMC/astronaut (Skylab 3, STS-3), born in Grand Rapids Michigan
  • 1940 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople
  • 1944 Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri, Italian illustrator
  • 1944 Ene Ergma, Estonian politician
  • 1948 Patricia [Anne] McKillip, American sci-fi author (Fool's Run)
  • 1948 Jirō Akagawa, Japanese novelist
  • 1952 Bart Stupak, (Rep-D-Michigan)
  • 1952 Raul Gonzalez, Mexican 50K speed walker (world record)
  • 1952 Tim[othy] Powers, American sci-fi author (Last Call, Declare), born in Buffalo, New York
  • 1956 Jonathan Coleman, Anglo-Australian entertainer
  • 1956 Bob Speller, Canadian politician
  • 1956 Aileen Wuornos, American serial killer (d. 2002)
  • 1956 J. Randy Taraborrelli, American celebrity journalist
  • 1960 Tony Robbins, American motivational speaker
  • 1960 Richard Ramirez, El Paso, Texas, serial killer (Night Stalker)
  • 1964 James RB Ogilvy, son of English princess Alexandra
  • 1968 Gonzalo Lira, Chilean-American novelist
  • 1968 Pete Fenson, American curler
  • 1968 Eugene Volokh, American law professor
  • 1972 Pedro Sánchez, Spanish economist and politician, Prime Minister of Spain (2018-), born in Madrid, Spain

Weddings in History

  • 1816 Dutch (King) Willem II marries Russian grand-duchess Anna Paulowna
  • 1996 Fashion designer Nicole Miller (44) weds Kim Taipale (42) in the office of New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani

Deaths in History

  • 468 Pope St. Hilarius (461-468), calendar reformer, dies (birth date unknown)
  • 1528 Patrick Hamilton, Scottish protestant martyr, burned at stake
  • 1604 John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury (1583-1604), dies at about 74
  • 1740 Pietro Ottoboni, Italian cardinal (b. 1667)
  • 1744 John Theophilus Desaguliers, French-British natural philosopher and freemason, dies at 60
  • 1820 Johann Joachim Eschenburg, German literary critic (b. 1743)
  • 1852 John Landseer, printer/engraver (Royal Academy), dies
  • 1868 Ludwig/Louis I, King of Bavaria, dies at 81
  • 1880 Sir James Wilson, Premier of Tasmania (b. 1812, also on 29 February)
  • 1908 Pat Garrett, American Western lawman, dies at 57
  • 1908 John Hope, 1st Marquess of Linlithgow, first Governor-General of Australia (as Lord Hopetoun)
  • 1928 Adolphe Appia, Swiss set designer/theorist, dies at 65
  • 1928 Armando V Diaz, Italian marshal/minister of War (1922-24), dies at 66
  • 1928 Ina Coolbrith, first poet laureate of California (b. 1841)
  • 1940 Edward Frederic Benson, English novelist, dies at 72
  • 1944 Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, President of Finland (b. 1861)

Person of interestElpidio Quirino

1956 Elpidio Quirino, 6th President of Philippines (1949-53), dies at 65

6th President of the Philippines Elpidio Quirino
6th President of the Philippines
Elpidio Quirino

Person of interestMelvin Purvis

1960 Melvin Purvis, American FBI Agent, dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at 56

FBI Agent Melvin Purvis
FBI Agent
Melvin Purvis
  • 1964 Victor van Straelen, Flemish biologist/paleontologist, dies at 74
  • 1968 Tore Ørjasæter, Norwegian poet (b. 1886)
  • 1980 Yigol Alton, Israeli Foreign Minister, dies at 61
  • 1980 Gil Elvgren, American artist (b. 1914)
  • 1992 Earl Scheib, CEO (Earl Scheib Auto Paint), dies at 85
  • 1992 Ruth Pitter, British poet and 1st woman to receive the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1955, dies at 94
  • 1996 Duncan Stuart Wilson Fighter pilot-MacDonald, dies at 83
  • 1996 Joe Minogue, journalist, dies at 72
  • 1996 John Grant, rear-admiral, dies at 87
  • 2000 Dennis Danell, American artist (b. 1961)
  • 2004 Jerome Lawrence, American playwright (b. 1915)