Events in History 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

Historic Event

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 it is seized by pirates
  • 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 established - precursor of the automobile manufacturer
  • 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, Alabama - 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 in the US
  • 1887 1st newspaper convention held in Rochester, NY
  • 1887 Dutch writer Multatuli writes his last text
  • 1894 British troops occupy Ilorin, Gold Coast

Historic Publication

1896 First US newspaper comic strip, Richard Felton Outcault's "The Yellow Kid," is published in William Randolph Hearst’s "New York Journal" [1]

  • 1899 President of France Félix Faure dies in office
  • 1900 1st Chinese daily newspaper in US publishes, Chung Sai Yat Po in San Francisco
  • 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

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

Historic Event

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

  • 1916 The US rejects the right of Germany and Austria-Hungary to sink armed merchant ships
  • 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

  • 1925 Rescuers finally reach the body of caver Floyd Collins too late, 18 days after he became trapped in Sand Cave, Kentucky, bringing a tragic end to a story that had captured the nation [1]
  • 1927 US restores diplomatic relations with Turkey

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

  • 1929 KID-AM in Idaho Falls ID begins radio transmissions
  • 1931 Extreme right wing politician 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 1940 British search plane finds German supply ship Altmark, used to accommodate allied sailors from vessels sunk by the Graf Spee off Norway
  • 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.
  • 1942 German submarines attack Aruba oil refinery
  • 1943 -32°F (-36°C), Falls Village, Connecticut (state record)

Contract of Interest

1943 British premier Winston Churchill contracts pneumonia

  • 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 Withdrawing Afrika Korps reaches Mareth-line in North Africa
  • 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 1st commercially designed helicopter tested, Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • 1948 Miranda, famous moon of Uranus, photographed for 1st time
  • 1951 NYC passes bill prohibiting racism in city-assisted housing
  • 1951 San Francisco City Hall dome fire
  • 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 NASA Explorer 9 mission launches satellite for the 1st time from Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia; this was also the 1st all-solid-propellant rocket put into orbit
  • 1963 1st round-trip swim of Strait of Messina, Italy (Mary Revell of US)
  • 1963 C & A Building in Amsterdam burns down

'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"

  • 1965 Pegasus 1 launched to detect micro-meteors
  • 1966 France performs underground nuclear test at Ecker, Algeria
  • 1968 US 1st 911 phone system goes into service in Haleyville, Alabama
  • 1972 German mass murderers "Three of Breda" freed
  • 1973 West Indies v Australia at Kingston, 1st time since 1955 without Gary Sobers
  • 1977 USSR performs nuclear test at Sary Shagan
  • 1978 1st Computer Bulletin Board System (Ward & Randy's CBBS, Chicago)
  • 1979 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk
  • 1980 Continuous traffic jam extends 176 km north of Lyons, France
  • 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
  • 1985 The founding of Hezbollah.
  • 1986 French air force bombs Ouadi Doum airport in Chad
  • 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

  • 1988 1st documented combat action by US military advisors in El Salvador
  • 1989 Egypt, Iraq, Jordan & North Yemen form common market
  • 1989 William Hayden becomes Governor-General of Australia
  • 1991 Dutch PPR, Political Party Radicals, disbands

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 Former silver Goodyear blimps are now painted yellow & blue
  • 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 Premier Alfonso Bustamente ends government in Peru
  • 1996 Gary Kirsten scores 188* for South Africa v UAE at Rawalpindi
  • 1998 Tellabs Inc acquires Coherent Communications Systems for $670 million
  • 1999 Across Europe, Kurdish rebels take over embassies and hold hostages after Turkey arrested one of their rebel leaders, Abdullah Öcalan.
  • 2005 The Kyoto Protocol comes into force following its ratification by Russia committing industrialized nations to limit and reduce greenhouse gases
  • 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
  • 2016 China announces it will relocate 9,000 people in Guizhou province, before completion of world's largest telescope (FAST), designed to look for extraterrestrial life
  • 2016 Former French President Nicholas Sarkozy is placed under investigation for campaign funds
  • 2017 Car bomb in Bayaa, Baghdad kills at least 48, Islamic State claims responsibility. 3rd attack in 3 days
  • 2017 Suicide attack on shrine of Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Sehwan, Pakistan kills 72, Islamic State claims responsibility
  • 2018 More than 100,00 orangutans killed in Borneo since 1999 according to study published in "Current Biology"
  • 2018 National state of emergency declared in Ethiopia in wake of anti-government protests
  • 2019 India's new high-speed train the Vande Bharat Express breaks down on its first return trip on Delhi to Varanasi route

Historic Event

2019 Pope Francis defrocks ex-cardinal and archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick for sexually abusing minors and adults. First Cardinal to be removed for sexual abuse.

  • 2020 'Ghost ship' cargo vessel MV Alta washed up on the Irish coast near Ballycotton by Storm Dennis, after drifting across the Atlantic from Bermuda
  • 2020 America evacuates 400 citizens from COVID-19-infected cruise ship Diamond Princess quarantined in Yokohama port, Japan
  • 2021 Athens and parts of Greece covered in unusual heavy snowfall
  • 2021 US Winter storm continues with Dallas recording its lowest temperature in 70 years minus-2 degrees Fahrenheit