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Notable Historic Events

February 1st

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President Richard M. Nixon

President Richard M. Nixon

1790...The US Supreme Court meets for the first time with six judges appointed by President George Washington and confirmed by the Senate. John Jay is the Chief Justice. The associate judges are John Blair of Virginia, William Cushing of Massachusetts, Robert Harrison of Maryland, John Rutledge of South Carolina and James Wilson of Pennsylvania. The first meeting of the Supreme Court is held in the Royal Exchange Building in New York City.

1968...Richard Nixon announces he will run for President.

2003...The space shuttle Columbia breaks up entering the earth's atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. When the shuttle was launched a piece of foam insulation broke off from the propellant tank. It is thought it did not do serious damage. It did. It hit the shuttle's left wing and damaged the heat resistant tiles. When the shuttle reenters the earth's atmosphere the heat and wind enter the left wing of the shuttle and blow it apart, causing the shuttle to disintegrate.

February 2nd

George Donner

George Donner

1847...The first person of the Donner Party perishes as the group tries to make their way to California through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

1876...The National League of Baseball is formed.

1887...The first Ground Hog Day is celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Predicting the weather on February 2nd is a long-time tradition in Germany. Local newspaper editor Clymer Freas continues the tradition in American with the use of a groundhog named Phil. If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on February 2nd six more weeks of winter weather lay ahead. If he doesn't see his shadow there will be an early Spring.

February 3rd

Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly

1944...The Marshall Islands are captured by US troops during WWII.

1959...A plane crash in Iowa takes the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson. The tragedy becomes known as The Day the Music Died.

1966...The Soviets launches Lunik 9, and it goes on to successfully land on the moon.

February 4th

Patty Hearst

Patty Hearst

1974...Patty Hearst is kidnapped, and the nation becomes acquainted with the Stockholm syndrome. Patty Hearst is 19 years old. She is the grand-daughter of the newspaper publisher Randolph Hearst. She is kidnapped from her apartment in Berkley, California, and thrown into the trunk of a car. The SLA, a small leftist group, takes responsibility for the kidnapping. They declare Patty a prisoner of war. Patty is held prisoner for several months, during which time she declares herself sympathetic to their cause. She joins them for a bank robbery. She goes on trial for that crime. She goes to jail, but the length of her sentence is commuted by President Carter because of brainwashing by her captors and effects of the Stockholm Syndrome. She is later pardoned by President Clinton.

1938...Disney releases Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

February 5th

Roger Williams

Roger Williams

1631...Colonist Roger Williams arrives in America. Roger Williams is a religious leader from England. Roger Williams gets in trouble in Massachusetts for disagreeing with the community's punishment of religious dissension and his criticism of the confiscation of Indian land. He is banished from the Colony and starts a new one in present day Rhode Island. Other political and religious dissenters join him, including Anne Hutchinson, the Quakers and the first Jewish settlers in America. It is here that Roger Williams founds the first Baptist Church in America.

1917...Congress passes The Immigration Act. President Wilson vetoed the bill the prior week. It now passes with more than a 2/3 majority.

February 6th

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

1952...Elizabeth becomes Queen of England.

1985...The Reagan Doctrine is announced by President Reagan during the State of the Union Address.

1917...A German submarine sinks the US passenger ship California. The United States has been trying to keep out of WWI, but Germany is making it difficult. Germany feels free to attack any boat near England. When the ocean liner Lusitania is sunk, almost 2,000 people die, including 128 Americans. President Wilson warns Germany to stop these attacks. Germany responds three days later with a torpedo that sinks the California off the coast of Ireland killing 43 people. Then, in a intelligence coup that would alter the course of history, British intelligence agents intercept and decode a telegram from Germany to Mexico (the Zimmermann telegram). Mexico is promised American land if Mexico joins forces with Germany. The combination of these incidents finally forces the United States to enter the war.


The Beatles arrive in New York

The Beatles arrive in New York

1812...A fluvial tsunami occurs in the Mississippi River and the river runs backward for several hours.

1964...The Beatles arrive in New York City. The flight arrives at Kennedy Airport. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison descend to a crowd of 3,000 screaming fans. Two days later they appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. Approximately 73 million American households (40% of the population) watch it on television.

February 8th

Mary, Queen of Scotts

Mary, Queen of Scots

1943...It took 6 long months, but the Americans finally secure the Guadalcanal. The Allies have been fighting a defensive war, until now. This changes when they land at Guadalcanal. Although they meet little resistence during the surprise landing, the ensuing fight continues for six long months. The Japanese fight to take back the air base under construction. Both sides suffer heavy losses. Realizing they are outnumbered the Japanese finally evacuate the Island. The victory of the Allies at Guadalcanal keeps open the supply lines to Australia and New Zealand. Along with the Battle of Midway, this victory at Guadalcanal by the Allies in the Pacific War during WWII turned the tide of war.

1587...Mary, Queen of Scots, is beheaded.

1924...The first execution by lethal gas in the United States occurs in Carson City, Nevada.

February 9th

Senator Joseph McCarthy

Senator Joseph McCarthy

1824...The US Presidential election is decided in the House of Representatives. John Quincy Adams wins the Presidency.

1950...Joseph McCarthy warns the State Department about Communists.

1964...The Beatles appear on the Ed Sullivan Show.

February 10th

Brigham Young

Brigham Young

1846...Under the leadership of Brigham Young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called Mormons) begin their exodus to Utah. Under the leadership of President Young the desert will "blossom as a rose." Not only do these pioneers settle Utah, but they start colonies in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and California, and help to the build the American Frontier.

1861...The Confederate States have a Constitutional Convention in Montgomery, Alabama. The delegates choose Jefferson Davis to be the president of the new Confederate States of America.

1962...U2 Pilot Francis Gary Powers comes home in a prisoner exchange with the Soviet Union.

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