What Happened on this Day – 16 February
- 2005 The Kyoto Protocol goes into effect. The global warming pact was ratified by 191 countries to date – excluding the United States.
- 1985 Hezbollah is foundedThe Lebanese political party and militant group is classified as a terrorist organization by several western countries.
- 1959 Fidel Castro becomes Cuba’s Prime MinisterCastro’s rise to power came shortly after his “26th of July Movement” had overthrown dictator Fulgencio Batista in what became known as the Cuban Revolution.
- 1923 The burial chamber of Pharoh Tutankhamun is opened
What Happened On This Day – 15 February
- 2003 The largest peace demonstration in history takes placeUp to 30 million people in 600 cities around the world protested against the Iraq War.
- 2001 The first draft of the human genome is publishedThe human genome contains the complete human genetic information.
- 1989 The Soviet Union pulls out of AfghanistanDespite their military superiority, the Soviet and Afghan armies did not succeed in breaking the Mujahideen insurgents’ resistance.
- 1971 The United Kingdom and Ireland decimalize their currenciesBefore the change, a pound sterling was made up of 240 pence, or 20 shillings.
What Happened On This Day – 14 February
- 2003 Dolly the sheep is put to death Dolly, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult, had shown signs of premature aging and contracted various diseases.
- 1989 Union Carbide finally agrees to pay damages to the Indian government for the Bhopal disaster. The company had a yearly turnover of 9.5 billion USD at the time; up to 25,000 people had died in the tragedy.
- 1949 The Knesset, the parliament of Israel, convenes for the first time. The term “Knesset” is derived from the Hebrew name of an ancient Great Assembly: Anshei Knesset HaGedolah.
- 1876 The telephone is patented. Both Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray applied for a patent on that day – Bell won.
What Happened On This Day – 12 February
2001 NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touchdown in the “saddle” region of 433 Eros becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.
2013 North Korea allegedly conducts its third nuclear test, saying it was a nuclear device that could be weaponized
1858 First vision of the Virgin Mary to 14-year-old Bernadette of Lourdes, France
1929 Vatican City (world’s smallest country) made an enclave of Rome
1975 Margaret Thatcher defeats Edward Heath for leadership of the British Conservative Party
1990 Nelson Mandela released after 27 years imprisonment in South Africa
Kasparov-versus-computer chess match On this day in 1996, world chess champion Garry Kasparov began a six-round match against Deep Blue, a chess-playing computer built by IBM.
American actress and diplomat Shirley Temple one of the most famous child stars and a Hollywood box-office attraction from 1935 to 1939—died in California.
The spacecraft Galileo flew past Venus on its way to Jupiter.
- 1672 Isaac Newton reads 1st optics paper before Royal Society in London
- 1807 Battle of Eylau ends inconclusively between Napoleon‘s forces and Russian Empire – 1st battle Napoleon isn’t victorious
- 1960 Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom issued an Order-in-Council, stating that she and her family would be known as the House of Windsor, and that her descendants will take the name “Mountbatten-Windsor”.
- 1971 Nasdaq Composite stock market index debuts with 50 companies and a starting value of 100
- 1910 The Boy Scouts of America, was incorporated
- 1922 President Warren G. Harding has a radio installed in the White House
- 1943 Japanese troops evacuate Guadalcanal
- 1952 Queen Elizabeth the Second Becomes Queen
- 1983 Shergar is stolen from a stud farm owned by the Aga Khan in County Kildare, Ireland
1938 – Bob Kahn, American Internet pioneer
1973 – Charles Atlas, Italian-born American bodybuilder (b. 1892)
2000 – Victor Borge, Danish-born comedian and pianist (b. 1909)
2007 – Oscar Peterson, Canadian jazz pianist and composer (b. 1925)
This is the first date that Christmas was celebrated for certain on December 25. This is significant because Christmas is arguably the most widely celebrated holiday in the world. It is also a strange date to pick, since many astronomers and scientists agree that Jesus would have been born sometime during our current summer months.
On this date, England adopted the Julian calendar. This is a significant event because it was the beginning of the adaptation of the calendar that would become not only America’s standard, but the standard of the entire world, uniting us in the common way we look at time.
Charlemagne is crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III. He would become perhaps the most important monarch in all of Europe’s history, founding the French and German monarchies. Today he is often referred to as the “Father of Europe.”
William the Conqueror is crowned King of England. He successfully lead invasion forces into England and defeated King Harold Godwinson (who died in the conflict) at the famous Battle of Hastings. He would go on to lead England in reforms on building standards, fortifications, the English language, and the Catholic Church.
The great Christmas Flood ravaged the Netherlands and parts of Germany and Scandinavia. It was caused by a violent northwest storm, the likes of which were unknown to the population at that time. The medieval dams and dikes could not handle the amount of rainfall and failed, causing massive flooding along the coastline, which is mainly flatland. At that time there was no good warning system, and the floodwaters moved so quickly it gave people little time to escape. Approximately 14,000 people lost their lives in the disaster.
On this day, at approximately 11pm, Patriot General George Washington, along with 5,400 of his men, crossed the Delaware River, in order to surprise Hessian troops celebrating the Christmas Holiday. Around 8am the next day, his attack commenced. The Hessian defenders were quickly overwhelmed and fled from the town of Trenton, all at a cost of at most four American lives. While the victory was not a big strategic victory, it had a huge effect on strengthening the Patriots moral, and would lead then to continue the fight for independence. This is largely regarded as the battle that changed the course of the war.
This event came to be known as the Christmas truce. On this day at midnight, during the height of World War I the Germans began to sing Christmas Carols. As morning came, the Germans emerged from their trenches and crossed the deadly “No Man’s Land,” unarmed, shouting “Merry Christmas” in their enemies native tongue. Seeing they were unarmed, the allies emerged as well and met their enemies, shaking hands and exchanging gifts of cigarettes and plum puddings. This event showed that, even in times of great conflict, humans are silly morally good.
On this day, The British garrison in the city of Hong Kong surrendered. The day after Pearl Harbor, December 8, 1941, the Japanese began bombing raids on the city. The British immediately put up a resistance and began evacuating the Chinese population to the Philippines. When the Japanese were alerted to this, they sent their navy to block off their evacuation roots, effectively cutting of the city from the sea. Attempts to flee the city by land were futile, as the Japanese army quickly surrounded the city, completely blockading it. They were cut off from any outside help and the Japanese cut the water and power lines to the city. Facing death by dehydration, the British raised the white flag of surrender on Christmas morning. This event set up Japan for their planned invasion and takeover of China.
On this day, the longest road trip completed on a single battery charge ended. David Turner and Tim Pickard arrived in John o’ Groat’s, Scotland, the northernmost point in Great Britain. They had set out four days earlier from Land’s End, the southernmost point in Britain, in a battery-powered Freight Rover Leyland Sherpa driven by a Lucas electric motor. They traveled 875 miles on a single battery charge. This event was a giant step in moving automobile makers away from gasoline and fossil fuels and focusing more on electric power, leading to many of the electric and hybrid cars we have today.