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This Day in History - February 14

February 14

270 – A holy priest in Rome, Valentine, is beaten with clubs and beheaded for performing secret weddings against the ruling of Claudius the Cruel, who had banned them in an effort to recruit for his military.  There are several Saint Valentines mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of February 14, all of them martyrs and somehow tied to romance.  It is also a possibility that our normal Valentine’s Day celebrations are somehow related to the pagan festival of love, the Feast of Lupercalia, that could’ve been mixed with the dates of Valentine’s martyrdom mentioned in early history and some reports show 269 as the official date

1014 – Pope Benedict VII crowns Henry II Roman German Emperor

1076 – Pope Gregory VII excommunicates Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV

1229 – Manx King Ragnvald Godredsson dies

1349 – In Strasbourg, Germany, 2,000 Jews are burned at the stake

1400 – The deposed King, Richard II, is murdered in Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire

1549 – The brother of Emperor Charles V, Maximilian II, is recognized as the future King of Bohemia

1760 – Richard Allen, the first black ordained by a Methodist-Episcopal church, is born

1779 – American loyalists are defeated by Patriots at Kettle Creek, Georgia

1779 – Captain James Cook, the English explorer, and navigator, is murdered by natives of Hawaii

1797 – The Spanish fleet is destroyed by Admiral Jervis and his British troops, at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, off of Portugal

1817 – Activist and author Frederick Douglass is born *the official date is not known but is mostly written as 1817 or 1818, and he chose to celebrate it on Feb. 14

1819 – Inventor of the first practical typewriter, Christopher Latham Sholes is born

1842 – The Boz Ball is organized by fans of Charles Dickens to honor the writer, inviting only the elite and selling tickets for the then-outrageous price of $10

1845 – English philanthropist Quinton Hogg is born

1848 – James Polk becomes the first US President to be photographed in office by Matthew Brady

1859 – Oregon becomes the 33rd state

1859 – Inventor of the Ferris Wheel, George Washington Gale Ferris is born

1864 – Union General William T. Sherman enters Meridian, Mississippi

1867 – Sakichi Toyota, the founder of Toyota Motor Corporation, is born

1870 – Esther Morris becomes the world’s first female justice of the peace

1876 – Rival inventors Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell both apply for patents for the telephone

1884 – Future President Theodore Roosevelt’s wife and mother die just hours apart

1886 – The first trainload of oranges grown by southern California farmers leaves Los Angeles via the transcontinental railroad

1894 – Comedian, violinist, radio and TV performer Jack Benny is born

1894 – Founder of the National Negro Opera Company and appointed to JFK’s National Committee on Music, Mary Lucinda Cardwell Dawson is born

1900 – General Roberts invades South Africa’s Orange Free State with his 20,000 British troops

1904 – William Rudolph, aka the “Missouri Kid” is captured in Kansas

1912 – Arizona becomes the 48th state

1915 – Kaiser Wilhelm II invites the US Ambassador to Berlin in order to discuss the war

1918 – Warsaw demonstrators protest the transfer of Polish territory to Ukraine

1919 – President Woodrow Wilson presents the draft of the covenant for the League of Nations that had been prepared by a League Commission, during a session of the Versailles Peace Conference

1920 – The League of Women Voters is formed

1924 – Thomas Watson founds International Business Machines Corp

1929 – Chicago gang war between Al Capone and George “Bugs” Moran intensifies when seven Moran gangsters are gunned down in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre by four men dressed as police officers on orders from Capone

1929 – Sir Alexander Fleming accidentally discovers penicillin

1938 – Former silent actress Hedda Hopper writes the first installment of what will become an extremely influential gossip column in the Los Angeles Times

1939 – Bismarck, the German battleship is launched

1940 – Britain announces that all merchant ships will be armed

1942 – Japanese paratroopers attack Sumatra

1942 – 108th Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg is born

1943 – American saxophonist Maceo Parker is born

1943 – German General Erwin Rommel and his Afrika Korps launch an offensive against the Allies in Tunisia, North Africa

1945 – The Siege of Budapest ends when Soviets capture the city

1949 – The US accuses the Soviet Union with interning up to 14 million in labor camps

1949 – The Knesset, the Parliament of Israel, convenes for the first time

1951 – English soccer player Kevin Keegan is born

1955 – A Jewish couple loses their fight to adopt Catholic twins when the US Supreme Court refuses to rule on state law

1957 – The Georgia state Senate outlaws interracial athletics

1962 – President John Kennedy authorizes US military advisors in Vietnam to return fire if fired upon

1965 – Malcolm X’s home is firebombed, but no injuries occur

1970 – A Gallup Poll is released showing that 55 percent of those polled oppose an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam

1971 – Moscow publicizes a five-year plan geared to expanding consumer production

1973 -  The US and Hanoi set up a group to channel reconstruction aid directly to Hanoi

1975 – English author PG Wodehouse dies

1975 – English biologist Julian Huxley dies

1977 – The B-52’s play their first gig at a house party in Athens, Georgia

1979 – Armed guerrillas attack the US embassy in Tehran

1985 – Vietnamese troops surround the main Khmer Rouge base at Phnom Malai

1988 – US speed skater Dan Jansen falls during his competition, only hours after learning his sister had died of cancer

1989 – Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini accuses Salman Rushdie’s novel, The Satanic Verses, of being blasphemous and issues an edict calling on Muslims to kill Rushdie

1989 – The Sandinista government of Nicaragua agrees to free some political prisoners and to hold free elections within a year in return for Honduras promising to close bases being used by anti-Sandinista rebels

1989 – The Union Carbide company agrees to pay damages to the Indian government for the Bophal disaster, the world’s worst industrial disaster, where 500,000 were exposed to methyl isocyanate gas and other chemicals. Although reports vary, the official government affidavit states that 558,125 injuries were caused as a result and over 16,000 deaths

2000 – 18 people are killed in Georgia by a series of tornadoes moving through the southeastern US 

2001 – The Kansas Board of Education reversed its 1999 ruling and restored evolution to the state’s science curriculum

2003 – Dolly, the sheep that became the first cloned mammal, was euthanized because of incurable lung cancer

2005 – Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is assassinated


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the owner of Madison's Media, Madison's CPC and the Chief Administrative Officer for Lanterns. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and has two adult children. Writers seeking additional exposure: Ask how you can contribute!


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